The Beginner's Guide to White Wine

June 25, 2017
Alison Rodriguez

It seems like there are endless types, tastes, regions and brands of white wine to choose from. Where do you begin? Here's everything you need to know about five common white wines to get you started.

If you’re like many people, wine is confusing. It seems like there are endless types, tastes, regions and brands to choose from. But if you’re like many people, you also wish you could sit at home and sip a glass of refreshing white wine after a long day of work.

White wines are light, fruity and airy to the taste — making them a perfect Summer drink to have by the pool or sunbathing on the beach. White wine can be paired with a wide range of foods, and depending on which type you buy depends on which flavors it accentuates.

Take a look at these five common types of white wine to determine which one is right for you and your wine rack.

[Looking for something more bold and bright? Check out our beginner's guide to red wine.]

Riesling

  • What does it taste like? Riesling has a light aroma, but it can be either dry — which means it has no residual surgar and isn’t sweet — or sweet, with flavors of apples or apricots.
  • Where is it from? It originated in Germany, but is also made in France and California.
  • Pair it with… Spicy foods such as Thai or Indian
  • Did you know? Riesling can last for over 100 years in a bottle.

Recommendation: Domaine Zind Humbrecht Riesling, 2015, Alsace, France

Price: $22 - $29, prices may vary

Sauvignon Blanc

  • What does it taste like? Sauvignon Blanc is a dry wine with bright fruit and herb aromas and flavors.
  • Where is it from? It originated in France, but is also made in New Zealand, California, Chile and South Africa.
  • Pair it with… Anything! Sauvignon Blanc is one of the few that even pairs with sushi.
  • Did you know? Sauvignon Blanc received its name from the French word sauvage, meaning wild, because of the chaotic way the grapes grew in the region.

Recommendation: Murphy Goode Sauvignon Blanc, 2015, North Coast, California

Price: $10 - $15, prices may vary

Chardonnay

  • What does it taste like? Chardonnay is a full-bodied — which means its taste is big a powerful — and dry wine with citrus flavors.
  • Where is it from? It originated in France, but is now grown all around the world.
  • Pair it with… Light shellfish or creamy soups and stews
  • Did you know? Chardonnay is often used in sparkling wines like Champagne.

Recommendation Beaujolais Blanc, Jean-Paul Brun, 2014, Beaujolais, France

Price: $16.99, prices may vary

Gewürztraminer

  • What does it taste like? Gewürztraminer is semi-dry, aromatic and sweet wine with rose scents.
  • Where is it from? It originated in France, but is also commonly made in Germany, Austria and certain regions in the United States.
  • Pair it with… Spicy Asian foods
  • Did you know? Gewürztraminer has a lower alcohol level than most wines, however, it often gives people headaches after a few glasses because of its sweetness!

Recommendation: Gewurztraminer Willy Gisselbrecht, 2012, Alsace, France

Price: $18.95, prices may vary

Moscato

  • What does it taste like? Moscato is a sweet wine, often with flavors of peach or nectarines.
  • Where is it from? It originated in Italy.
  • Pair it with… Desserts
  • Did you know? Moscato is made from the Muscat grape, which is also commonly used to make raisins.

Recommendation: Castello del Poggio Moscato, Italy

Price: $12.99, prices may vary