White Wine

Whilst red wine remains very popular partly due to medical studies about its good health properties, that is not to say that white wine should be ignored.

To the contrary, white wine comes in a vast array of aromas and tastes, with delicate balances between sweetness, dryness and acidity. You may say that white wine tends to appeal more to the senses with a subtlety absent in other wine varieties.

The most popular white wines today originated in France and Germany, with the French types being Sauterne and Chablis while the German types are Riesling and Moselle.

All of these white wine styles are characterized by their lightness, delicate flavor and light straw color.

As well as being produced in Europe, white wine of these varieties are now also grown and manufactured all round the world.

When pairing food and wine, the elegant and luscious flavors of white wine make them perfect for accompanying soft cheeses, pasta with white sauces, fish and poultry.

The nature of white wine means that it can be enjoyed with a meal or just a glass by itself.

To help with your understanding of white wine, here is some information on the most common types:

Varieties of White Wine


This is the most renowned type of white wine having originated in France from grapes of the same name. The flavor of chardonnay is reminiscent of pineapple, peach, citrus and apple in combination with vanilla, oatmeal, and nuts – truly superb! Chardonnay looks the part too with its deep yellow to light greenish transparence giving an elegant appearance when served in the correct wine glasses.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon blanc also comes from France, especially around the Loire Valley and is also grown successfully now in New Zealand. The flavor is very fresh with the aroma similar to that of freshly cut grass. This white wine has an herbaceous flavor with hints of fruits and is best enjoyed immediately as its fresh flavor dissipates quickly.

Chenin Blanc

Chenin blanc is another white wine product of the Loire Valley, although it is often undeservedly neglected. The great thing about chenin blanc is that it matures well and can be kept for up to ten years. The flavor is truly subtle with hints of pineapple and lime combined with honey and licorice.


Moselle is the most delicate of all the German dry white wine varieties, with a pale appearance and flower scented. They are fresh, slightly acid and have low alcoholic content which means they are easily digested and are best served cold.


Riesling is a noble tea-like, honey flavored white wine which comes from France (most famously the Alsace region) and Germany (where it is also known as Hock or Rhine). A perfect Riesling wine will be of a slightly greenish color with a smooth acid bitterness and is again best served cold. An aged Riesling develops a very distinctive flavor and aroma and exceptional examples are much sought after.


Chablis is a dry white wine with a straw color and is also best served cold. The best Chablis comes from a small area in France but production is small. Other countries are now producing Chablis wine but not yet to the standard of the original French wine.


Sauterne is a French white wine which can vary dramatically from being quite sweet to completely dry. The sweet type of Sauterne is one of the most popular dessert wines with a full and intense syrupy flavor. The original French sauterne comes from a very small vineyard and is in high demand, although other countries are now producing Sauterne.


Gewurztraminer white wine originates in Alsace, France although it is now being successfully grown in other parts of the world. This is a white wine with a bolder character, carrying hints of spice and displaying a distinctive floral taste.

Pinot Gris

Pinot gris is a crisp and smoky white wine with suggestions of apricot. It primarily comes from the Alsace area of France, North Eastern Italy and New Zealand.

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