Wondering how to choose the right white wine for different occasions? Here are some tips to make this seemingly difficult process a tad bit easier for you…
There are many varieties of white wine grapes, and no two varieties produce the same wine! While a few types of white wines are popular, there are innumerable others that are little-known. Before we learn about choosing the right white wine, let us have a look at the terms that are used to describe its character.
Crisp: If a wine is crisp, it means that it is fresh and slightly acidic.
Creamy: A wine is referred to as creamy if it has a smooth texture, and is not acidic.
Dry: A dry wine is one that is devoid of sweetness.
Oaky: Wine that is aged in oak barrels and has a distinct flavor similar to vanilla.
Round: This is a term used to describe wine that has a smooth texture.
Choosing the Right White Wine
It is important to note that different varieties of white wine have different characteristics, and whether you prefer your wine sweet or dry, crisp or creamy, there is one for you! Here are some tips to choose the right white wine. Have a look!
Know Your Wine!
The first step in choosing the right wine is to know about it all. After all, how can you make the right choice without being aware of all the options to choose from? You can learn about the different types of white wine from books by experts on the subject, or by surfing the Web. It helps to know that not all wines go with all kinds of food, and that some of them taste best without food. Research well to know what the different varietals of wine are, along with their distinct flavors and food pairings. Wines are classified on the basis of the grapes they are produced from, and a wine is termed as a varietal if a single variety of grapes is used in making it.
Consider the Price!
There are innumerable varieties of white wine out there, and while some are exorbitantly priced, others are available at pocket-friendly prices. So, deciding beforehand how much you’re ready to spend on your bottle of white wine will make things a lot easier for you down the line. The major factors affecting the price of wines are the variety of the wine grapes and the region they come from.
Keep the Type of Food in Mind!
Now, this one is important! As we have discussed earlier, you cannot pair a particular variety of wine with all kinds of food. So, before choosing the wine for the occasion, decide the food items on the menu. Depending on whether the food is spicy, salty, or sweet, you should choose a white wine that complements the same. Once you’ve decided what food to serve, look for the right white wine or ask an expert. As a rule, sweet wines like Rieslings and ice wine best compliment desserts, fruits, or anything that’s sweet. On the other hand, dry white wines complement light meals that are less spicy and consist of white meat, salads, cheese, fish, and pork. Examples of such wines are Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. If you’re looking for a white wine to go with flavored and spicy fare, then you can safely opt for Gewürztraminer. It is a full-bodied wine with an aroma of its own that makes it the perfect wine to go with Asian dishes, pork, and beef.
Seek Advice From Experts!
Do you have a wine connoisseur as a friend? Well, you’re certainly lucky if you do, but there’s no reason to fret even if you don’t! Just visit a specialized wine dealer in your region and ask him for advice, and he’ll be more than happy to help you. He’ll ask you some relevant questions, and then suggest a range of wines for you. This is a great way to learn a lot about wines!
Taste, Taste, Taste!
This is the most important step in choosing the right wine, and also the most interesting! The more you taste different varieties of wine, the more you’ll learn and develop your palate. Also, this is the best way to choose your wine, say experts. This is because you can never be sure of the character of a wine unless you have tasted it. Now, if you’re wondering where to head to for tasting wines, then your answer is the wine specialty store in your locality. So, go ahead and taste all the varietals that you find interesting. After all, the best wine is undoubtedly the one that appeals to your taste buds.
Popular Varieties of White Wine
This is the most popular variety of white wine, and has its origin in the Burgundy region of France. However, today green-skinned variety of grapes, from which this medium to full-bodied wine is produced, is grown in wine-producing regions all over the world. Like most other wines, the character of the Chardonnay depends on the region where it is produced. It is deep yellow in color and has a spicy flavor, with mild notes of tropical fruits. It can be crisp, sweet, dry, or creamy. So, the trick lies in reading the description on the bottle to make sure it has the desired flavors. Since this white wine is aged in oak barrels, it has a mild oaky flavor. It is the ideal white wine to be paired with fish, chicken, scallops, mushrooms, cream, and butter.
Sauvignon Blanc is a light to medium-bodied wine that is pale yellow in color. It is produced from green-skinned grapes, and has its origin in the Bordeaux region in France. This wine is dry and crisp, with flavors of tropical fruits. It is consumed young and has a refreshing feel. It is best paired with Asian dishes, cream sauces, fish, seafood, pasta, vegetable dishes, salads, and cheese. This wine varietal is known as Fume Blanc in California.
Riesling wines are sweet and acidic with fruity aromas of green apple and pear. The character of this variety of wine is highly influenced by the region. It is a fresh wine that is low in alcohol, and tastes best when aged. Certain varieties of the Riesling wine are crisp and dry, like the one from Alsace region in France. Rieslings pair best with spicy dishes, chicken, fish, seafood, salads, finger foods, and pork.
Chenin Blanc is a white wine grape variety that is grown in the Loire Valley in France, and can be used to make everything from sparkling wines to sweet dessert wines. The character of the wine varies with the region, and can be light to full-bodied. Chenin Blanc is known for its higher than average acidity and fruity flavor, and the best wines have hints of pears, peaches, honey and straw. It is also blended into other wine varieties to create unique flavors. Sometimes, the grapes are left on the vines till they develop noble rot (a gray fungus) and are then used to produce a unique dessert wine! This grape variety is widely grown in California, and is used to make inexpensive wines. It is best paired with chicken, fish and pork dishes.
Gewürztraminer is an aromatic variety of grapes with pink to red skin, and is grown primarily in Germany and the Alsace region in France. The grapes are used to produce a variety of wines, ranging from dry and crisp wines to the sweetest dessert wines. The sweet wines have a mild lychee flavor while the dry ones have floral notes. The light to medium-bodied wines are seldom aged, as doing so alters its unique spicy character. Dry versions pair best with Asian dishes, chicken, pork, and salads.
Choosing the right wine is a skill that takes time to master. However, these tips can help you get started with this delightful process. Enjoy!