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White Wine Types – What Goes Best With Certain Foods?

Pairing the perfect white wine types with a multicourse meal adds an elegant touch. Or relaxing with a cool glass of wine and a simple snack is an enjoyment for any occasion.

Wine Producing Regions

Many countries produce wine for local consumption and for export. The best known regions with the largest distributions worldwide are in France, California, Italy and Australia. Spain and New Zealand have suitable climates for growing white wine grapes and distribute their wines on a smaller scale. In Greece, wine production has been a way of life since early civilization and continues today. Other European countries, for instance, Germany and Hungary produce regional varieties and export within Europe and overseas. South American countries, Argentina and Chile, for example, produce vast quantities of high quality wine.

In France, the regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Alsace are known for their white wine types of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Voignier and Sauvignon. The same varieties are grown in California in the Napa Valley and Sonoma Valleys and the Central Coast regions. Australia also produces these varieties as well as Semillon and Pinto Grig. Champagne is produced only in France, sparkling wine can be found in California, Italy and many other countries.

Germany produces the wine types Rieslings and Gewürztraminer. Hungarian wines include Chardonnays, Reislings and blended table wines. The wine regions of Spain produce excellent grapes suitable for custom blends and moderately priced table wines.

The Italians have extensive knowledge of wine making that has evolved through families for generations. In Italy, the regions from Sicily to Tuscany and Tyrol harbor age-old plantings that produce quality Pinot Grigio grapes.

Sweet Varieties

There are many variations of sweetness or tartness even within a particular type. A wine that is made from only one grape (not blended) is designated as a varietal wine. Typically, the sweeter varietals will always include Reislings. Occasionally, Gewürztraminer and Chenin Blanc can be sweet. Blended wines may have a sweet tendency depending on the grapes that are used. Sweet wines can be enjoyed alone or with cheese or fruit.

Dry Varieties

Usually Chardonnay is considered a dry white wine, although, there are many variations depending on the regional climate. Pinot Gris (or Pinot Grigio), Chenin Blanc and some vintages of Voignier tend to appear dry on the palette. Chardonnays are recommended with fish or poultry.

Dessert and Aperitif Wines

Sherry is a favorite aperitif wine that is often found in Spain. Apertif wines can be semi-sweet or dry and are served sparingly. Champagnes or sparkling wines are often served as an aperitif.
Dessert wines are by nature sweet and meant to be enjoyed by sipping from a small liquor or aperitif glass. Sauterne is a popular white dessert wine and Muscat also fits this category.

Choosing the best white wine types for a particular occasion depends on personal taste. There are abundant varieties to try.

Karen Etche