8 Most Common White Wine Types and Their Characteristics

The summer is just around the corner and it is the perfect time to reignite your passion for white wine or to discover a new type of grape to enjoy while soaking up the sun. Whether you prefer sweet or dry, tart or fruity, here are 8 of the most of popular grape varieties you’re likely to find on the wine store shelf or the menu of your favourite restaurant.

1. Chardonnay

It is only fair that we start with the most famous one of them all, the queen of white wine, the always popular- Chardonnay. Hailing from the Burgundy region of France, you’ll now find this full-bodied super grape growing in just about every large wine region the world over. A classic Chardonnay is buttery and oaky, but the grape is now also being vinified in different ways to produce something fresher or even sparkling.

2. Sauvignon Blanc

A close second in terms of popularity, Sauvignon Blanc is another green-skinned grape variety that has become a favourite of wine drinkers everywhere. It is crisp and light-bodied in the mouth, giving it a refreshing kick that makes it great for patio sipping. The dominant flavours will vary depending where the grapes are grown but grass, nettle, and tropical fruit are all commonly found.

3. Riesling

Originally cultivated in the cool climate of Germany, this grape can now to be found in any wine region that supplies chillier temperatures. Often assumed to be sweet, it is important to know that many Rieslings are dry and even sparkling. These dryer varieties can have a mineral flavour to them and offer a vibrant acidity.

4. Pinot Gris

Named for its pale grey appearance, this grape is known for producing rich, full-bodied white wines. Its most dominant flavours are generally apple and pit fruit. Pinot Gris tends to have a medium body and a long, round finish.

5. Gewürztaminer

Once you get used to pronouncing the name, you can fun exploring the large spectrum of flavours offered by this distinctive white wine variety. High aromatic, you can expect to find flavours of spice, lychee, and even orange blossom. It is usually warm yellow in colour and coats the palate completely with its rich-bodied feel.

6. Viognier

Naturally aromatic, Viognier is often referred to as the “red wine drinker’s white wine,” as it is frequently co-fermented with the red wine grape, Syrah. It is also touted as having a more complex flavour profile than some its fellow white wines and you’ll hear it described with a nose that include floral, spice, and fruit. It’s got a vibrant yellow colour and feels generous in the mouth. Dominant flavours include pear, vanilla, and white pepper.

7. Chenin Blanc

The jack of all trades, this grape can produce everything from the driest of wines to a sugary sweet desert wine. Planted most extensively in South Africa, you’ll often find this versatile grape alongside others in a blend. It is light and clean and often features flavours of honeysuckle and stone fruit.

8. Torrontés

If you’ve ever visited Argentina, you’re likely familiar with this grape that is often considered the signature of the popular South American growing region. Generally dry and zesty, this aromatic grape can take on significantly different qualities depending on where it is grown. With a lively and crisp feel in the mouth, some of the most commonly associated dominant flavours include citrus and lemon peel. Sometimes described as cross between a Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc, this is the grape for those who don’t like things too sweet but appreciate a touch of floral.

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