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TheWineBuyingGuide.com

Types of White Wine

Easily learn the basics of white wine!

By: Kristin Anderson, Editor, TheWineBuyingGuide.com
Types of White Wine
Types of White Wine
This image courtesy of thewinebuyingguide.com

“I’ll have a glass of white wine,” you say to the bartender at a party. Do you wonder what type of wine you’re going to get? They could bring you anything from a sweet and aromatic Moscato to a rich and buttery Chardonnay. Okay, it’s probably going to be Pinot Grigio. The point is that white wines are a diverse category of wine. By learning about different types of white wine, you can make sure that you’ll get exactly what you want from your wine order.

Although white wines are all different, they also have some traits in common. White wines tend to have almost no tannins, lighter body, and crisper flavor than red wines. The flavor profile is typically floral or citrusy and the alcohol content is often lower than in reds. White wines may be unoaked or oaked (oaked wines will have some tannins).

Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling are four popular types of white wine. They all have different flavors and textures, and you may enjoy them all. Read on to learn more about white wine and to get recommendations for some great bottles from our wine catalog!

Four Types of White Wine

Chardonnay

What is Chardonnay? It's a popular white wine that boasts an incredible range of flavors.

Whether a Chardonnay is oaked or unoaked is one major factor in the wine's flavor. Oaked Chardonnay is described as “buttery” and will have flavors like vanilla, caramel, and praline in addition to fruit flavors.

Unoaked Chardonnay will not have these flavors and will instead be crisper, with notes of apple and citrus. The ripeness of the grapes at the time of harvest also impacts a Chardonnay’s flavor. Riper grapes produce more tropical flavors, while greener grapes produce tarter green apple and lemon flavors.

Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is also a popular white wine. It is known for being simple, dry, and approachable. The flavors are citrusy and bright, and there is usually no oak aging. There are some variations on this style. For instance, Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are the same wine, but they differ in style. The names may be used interchangeably, but Pinot Gris often refers to a more fruit-forward French version of the wine. The fruitier Pinot Gris is also typically less acidic and has a more textured mouthfeel. Food pairings with Pinot Grigio are flexible. 

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a unique white wine that is known for its zesty and herbaceous flavor. The predominant tastes are usually citrus or green apple, ranging to melon and pineapple. The herbaceous flavors resemble freshly mown grass or bell pepper. Most Sauvignon Blancs are dry, and they may be oaked or unoaked. Goat cheese (specifically Crottin de Chavignol) and Sauvignon Blanc is a classic combination. 

Riesling

Riesling is an interesting type of white wine that ranges from dry to very sweet. The best sweet versions, which are typically found in Germany, are counter-balanced with strong acidity. Flavors include fresh apple, citrus, and honeysuckle. Because of Riesling’s sweetness, this wine pairs well with spicy foods such as Indian and Asian cuisine. If you like Riesling, you may also enjoy Gewürztraminer. If you especially like the sweetness, then you may enjoy Moscato.

White Wines From Our Wine Catalog

Enjoy browsing these and other white wines!

What is your favorite type of white wine? Share in the comments below!

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I generally prefer white wine over red, so it's really nice to know the distinction between each type of white. Like you mentioned, it's helpful to have an idea of what you like before placing your order with the bartender.

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