The Different Types of White Wine Cover

Wondering what the different types of white wine are?

You’re not alone! Many find the process of wine-making and vinification fascinating. Particularly if you’re a bit of a wine lover or connoisseur yourself – learning about the different types of wine can be incredibly interesting and enjoyable.

Understanding the different types of white wine is also a crucial step in getting to know what wine is best suited to specific foods, events and your own tastebuds. If you don’t know the difference between a crisp Chardonnay and a citrus-accented Pinot Grigio, how are you supposed to order from an extensive wine list with conviction, confidently walk into a charming French wine store, or order a case of white wine from your favourite Southern Highlands winery?

We’re here to help you better understand white wine varieties and discuss the many different types of white wine. As one of the Southern Highland’s most cherished white wineries, Verwood Estate are more than qualified when it comes to discussing white wine varietals and white wine grape fermentation.

Before we get onto the different varieties, let’s start with the basics of white wine.

How Is White Wine Made?

White wine varieties refer to a wine that is fermented without skin contact. This means that the process of how white wine is made, goes from harvesting to crushing, pressing, fermentation, maturation and finally, bottling.

The most significant characteristic that is distinctive to white wine is the method of pressing. To make white wine, colour is not required from the grape skins in the same way that it is for red wine production. The features of red wine are not desired for white wines; so, the winemaker always presses the grapes before fermentation to remove the grape skins entirely. While mostly white grapes are used to make white wine, the practice of pressing means that black and dark grapes can also be used in white wine production – as pressing removes the colourful skins, leaving only the pale pulp to turn into wine.

White wine tastes and aromas can vary dramatically when produced in different climates. In cooler climates, white wine can come with high acidity and green fruit flavours; where in warmer climates, the same grape can be less acidic and present tropical fruit notes.

How Does White Wine Differ from Red Wine?

The most significant difference between red and white wine is colour. The colour of white wine can be straw-yellow, yellow-green, or yellow-gold – it all depends on the grape, the fermentation and the climate.

Another contrast between red and white wine is taste. White wine is always going to be lighter, fruiter and tangier than red wine. Red wine tends to be a little more bitter, with a puckering body. Red wine typically is bolder, has a natural antioxidant and offers more complexity in taste.

One of the major differences between red and white wine is that white wine is primarily made from white grapes, and the skins are separated from the juice before the fermentation process. Red wine is generally made with darker grapes, and the skin remains on the grapes throughout the fermentation process.

What Are the Different Types of White Wine?

The different types of white wine vary enormously in taste, colour, aroma, blends and popularity. As Australian’s, we’re no strangers to lovely white wine blends and variations in white wine choices. However, you may not know the various elements that make these white wine variations characteristically different from each other. The most popular types of white wine include:

Chardonnay

When most people think about white wine, they immediately think of Chardonnay. And it’s no wonder – you may be surprised to learn that the old favourite Chardonnay grape is still one of Australia’s most popular white wine grapes! A much-loved white wine varietal across the globe, Chardonnay is a dry, medium to full-bodied white wine with moderate acidity and alcohol.

Chardonnay flavours will vary enormously depending on where it is grown and the wine-making process. Chardonnay has one of the widest-ranging tasting and aromatic profiles; you can experience flavours of green apple, lemon, pineapple and celery in your Chardonnay, rounded out with coconut, caramel or a buttery finish. At Verwood Estate, we offer a beautiful 2019 chardonnay that tastes of peach, pears and offers a refreshing citrus finish. A balanced wine that will appease most palates, our 2019 chardonnay is suited to drink now but could cellar for five years.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a green-skinned grape white variety that was first produced in the iconic Bordeaux region of France. Bold and zesty, Sauvignon Blanc comes in as a close second in popularity behind Chardonnay. Sauvignon Blanc is light and bright with flavours typical of citrus, pink grapefruit, passionfruit and peach.

Sauvignon Blanc is typically made as a dry white wine; however; many producers across Marlborough make sparkling wine with the blend or leave a touch of sugar for a rich aftertaste. Distinctly crisp and acidic, sauvignon blanc is a favourite white wine typically paired with white meats, spices and herbs and cheeses.

Riesling

Riesling is one of the most versatile types of white wine available. Recognised internationally, Riesling offers a diversity of flavours and bodies that suit almost any wine drinker’s tastes. From late-harvest Mosel Valley sweet wines to dry, crisp French counterparts, Rieslings are highly fragrant and can easily be manipulated to create a variation in tastes.

Typically presenting as either a sweet or dry white wine, Rieslings maintain a sharp, high acidity and a fresh, un-lingering body either way. Generally, on the thinner side, a Riesling is often not high in alcohol and is not overpowering when paired with food.

Semillon

Semillon is a golden-skin grape that results in dry and sweet wines, typically in either France or Australia. While Semillon can often be compared to (or even blended with) Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon is typically heavier, with lower acidity and an appealing, almost waxy or oil quality to each drop.

The longer you age Semillon, the richer the wine will become. A favourite in the Barossa Valley and the Hunter Valley, Semillon is a light to medium weight wine that can be enjoyed with various foods and dishes. Typical flavours of a Semillon include toasted bread, lemon, herbs, honey and fig.

Pinot Grigio & Pinot Gris

Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are made from the same grape variety but are crafted to produce different styles. Specifically, Pinot Grigio often tastes less sweet than other white wines because of its high acidity. Lighter bodied, crisp, fresh and with vibrant stone fruit, pinot grigio is very popular and an iconic Italian style of white wine.

Pinot Gris, on the other hand, produces a full-bodied, richer, spicier and more viscous type of white wine. More complex than Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris is often more generously flavoured and a little more French. If you’re looking for a sweeter white wine, it comes down to the maker of either Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris.

Verdelho

Verdelho is one of the main white wine varietals of Portugal. A crisp, refreshing and full-bodied white wine, Verdelho is now produced in many wine regions across the globe. Not as widely known as the types of white wine discussed in this blog post, Verdelho is an exceptional drop that is a real crowd-pleaser. With tones of guava, pineapple, red apple, and paw paw, Verdelho offers a similar weight to an unoaked Chardonnay. On the drier side, Verdelho makes a fantastic pair with salads and spicy Asian food, to get the most out of its rich texture.

Verwood Estate’s White Wine Varieties

Well, there you have it – the most popular types of white wine in Australia. If you’d like to learn more about white wine variations and the production of our white wine, check out our range of articles that cover all elements of running a Southern Highlands winery and cellar door.

If you’re looking for to order some white wine for your next event, look no further than our divine range. At Verwood Estate, we are pleased to present our lovely 2019 vintage wines, including a Chardonnay – one of the most popular white wines that we have ever produced. Order online or visit us today at our cellar door in the beautiful Southern Highlands region.

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