A glass of white wine at the end of a long day is the perfect way to unwind and relax. Especially in the summertime, this is just what you need for a refreshing treat. However, not all wine is created equal, and nothing's worse than an overly sweet wine or one that makes you squinch your face with every sip. Here are 11 types of white wine for the perfect glass!
1. Pinot Grigio
Pinot Grigio is a go-to when picking out a light, palatable summer wine. Considered on the drier side, Pinot Grigio is less sweet than Chardonnay and most other whites because of its high level of acidity. However, the cheapest bottles found in your grocery store can sometimes be on the sweeter side than the higher quality bottles. This white wine often has fruit flavors like lemon, lime, pear and apple, along with flowery notes of honeysuckle. Pinot Grigio is tasty oaked or unoaked, and Italian varieties are known to be deliciously fresh and dry.
Chardonnay is the most popular white wine in the world, beloved for its variety in flavors. Many wine lovers are most familiar with the Chardonnay from California, which is generally rich, vanilla-y and buttery, aged in oak barrels. However, some Chardonnays are made with stainless steel fermentation, resulting in a bright, crisp, clean flavor instead.
Chardonnay is made with green grapes known as the winemaker's grape because they are so adaptable to different climates. This adaptability is what makes Chardonnay so versatile. Along with this, Chardonnay is known for having more tannins than most other white wines and a higher alcohol content than average.
Another classic warm-weather wine is Riesling, an aromatic grape variety with a flowery scent. Riesling is known for its high acidity, and it can be made dry, semi-sweet, sweet or even sparkling. This wine is another highly versatile option, and wine makers say that there's a Riesling to fit any palate!
4. Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon blanc is a dry white wine, perfect for a hot summer's day. Although known to be dry, this wine also has fruity flavors, which are often lime, green apple, or peach. This flavor will depend on how ripe the grapes were when the wine was made.
Along with these more standard fruity flavors, Sauvignon is unique for its notes of more savory or herbaceous flavors, like grass, jalapeño, gooseberry and bell pepper. Sauvignon blanc is typically grown in Chile, the Loire valley of France, New Zealand, California, and South Africa. It's also grown in Argentina, despite their reputation for bold red wines like Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Moscato is a great sweet choice for those beginning their journey into wines. Its flavors of peach and orange are easy to get on board with, making it the perfect introductory wine. However, Moscato is more than just the pink Moscato enjoyed by college kids! The word Moscato is the Italian name for Muscat Blanc, which is one of the oldest wine grapes in the world. These have been grown for thousands of years, and they can be found in France, Italy, Austria, Greece, Israel and even as far as Australia.
6. Chenin Blanc
Chenin Blanc is another great choice for a dry white wine, ideal for a refreshing glass. This dry summery wine is also made as a sparkling wine! It can range from to sweet, and some styles are aged in oak barrels with a similar result to Chardonnay. Many Chenin Blancs are fruity, with notes of apple, passion fruit, lime, honeysuckle, and jasmine. Most varieties are medium to high in acidity. Because of this wide range of flavors, there is a Chenin Blanc for every preference and occasion!
7. Pinot Blanc
Pinot blanc is a versatile, white wine grape variety that is actually a genetic mutation of pinot noir and pinot gris! Pinot noir typically grows black fruit, but occasionally will naturally produce white fruit, which is how pinot blanc came to be. This tasty, medium to full bodied wine can be made as a dry white wine, a sparkling wine or even a sweet dessert wine depending on the winemaker and climate. Pinot blanc is produced in many European wine regions, from Alsace in France to Italy, Germany and Austria. This type of white wine is considered to be similar to Chardonnay, often with varietal characters of apple and almond.
8. Grüner Veltliner
For those with an affinity for Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner is its exotic cousin. This unique type of white wine is grown almost exclusively in Austria, its name meaning "Green Wine of Veltlin." Veltlin is an area in the lower Alps that is now part of Valtellina, Italy. Grüner Veltliner's main fruit flavors are grapefruit, lemon and lime, but it also has a slightly herbaceous flavor similar to white pepper. This tasty dry white wine is also beloved for its pop of acidity that adds flavor to every sip.
Another wine with an exotic name, Gewürztraminer is an extremely rare grape grown on only 20,000 acres world wide! This aromatic wine is known as the grown-up version of Moscato, with many similarities to its more common cousin. Gewürztraminer is inherently sweet, like Moscato, and it has a higher alcohol content and lower acidity than most white wines. Tasty when accompanying spicy dishes and Asian food, this aromatic sweet wine is also known to have a scent similar to lychee!
If the name didn't tip you off, Albariño is grown in the Iberian peninsula, which consists of Spain and Portugal. This delightfully bright wine is known for its fruitiness, salinity and acidity. Historically, Spanish and Portuguese winemakers prioritize fresh, clean flavors with this type of white wine, so they don't traditionally age in oak. However, in modern day Albariño winemaking, some producers make rich, oaky varieties.
Last but not least, Sauternes is a sweet white wine grown in Bordeaux, France. This French dessert wine is made from a combination of Semillon, Sauvignon blanc, and Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by noble rot, a fruit fungus. Although "rot" is typically a bad thing, in this case, it causes grapes to shrivel and dehydrate, leading to more concentrated flavors in the wine. Sauternes is one of the wine regions that uses this fungus to their advantage, creating deliciously sweet, flavorful wines with it!