Ready to explore the world of white wine? This simple guide can help you navigate the wine aisle and pick the right white for your meal and your budget.
TYPES OF WHITE WINE
There are hundreds of varieties of white grapes, and even more wine labels that differ both in price and flavor. However, you can start by looking at the major types of white wine, and the most common dishes to serve them with.
Chardonnays were first grown in Burgundy, France but is now produced all around the world. Australia and California produces very affordable chardonnays (sometimes as low as $10 a bottle!) but the finest, rarest ones can cost $150 a bottle or more.
Chardonnays are traditionally aged in charred oak barrels, so these have very rich, dramatic “toasty” taste. Some people also say that it has a smooth – even buttery or creamy – texture and flavor. That’s why they’re a perfect compliment to rich seafood dishes like lobster, or even a homemade well-seasoned vegetable casserole.
2. Sauvignon Blanc
This is light, medium-bodied white wine with a hint of herbal flavor and aroma. This is why it’s perfectly paired with salads, a fresh herb pasta or any meat that has been seasoned or marinated with herbs.
Some of the best Sauvignon Blancs come from France, South Africa and New Zealand. You can find a good bottle for less than $30, and since it goes well with most “comfort food” this is an excellent wine to always have in your pantry.
This is a sweet white wine with light fruity flavors. This was first developed in Germany – and we think the best Rieslings still come from here – but you can get a decent label made in Austria, France, Australia, and the US for $20 to $30.
Riesling’s sweetness holds up against strongly-seasoned roast meats or spicy Asian dishes. You can also serve it with a fruit and cheese platter.
4. Pinot Grigio
If you’re new to wine – or want to serve a “safe” wine to guests — this is a good variety to start with. It has a neutral flavor (just the slightest hint of citrus and almonds) and a light body, so it appeals even to those who don’t regularly drink alcohol.
The best pinot grigios are from Italy, but you can get good ones from California and Oregon too. You can’t go wrong with the price, either. You’ll find a great bottle for $15 or even less. It goes really well with anything that has tomato sauce – pasta, chicken, and best of all, pizza! (If you haven’t had wine with pizza, you haven’t lived.)
This is a very bold, spicy and fruity white wine, and not for the fainthearted! Buy it if you want to try something new to tickle your tastebuds. Drink on its own, or serve with a dish that can hold up to its very strong flavor. It goes incredibly well with curry!