White wines are made from varieties of white grapes although some are made from red grapes as long as the grape skin isn’t used. Like reds, white wines are also classified by their sweetness and dryness. If you have ever tried champagne during a party or a celebration, it’s a type of white wine made from either red or white grapes fermented in the bottle.
Dry White Wines
There are five major types of dry white wine, namely; light/grapefruit/floral, light/citrus/lemon, light/herbal/grassy, rich/creamy/nutty, and medium/perfume/floral. White is characterized by the absence of or minimal residual sugar. Put simply, dry white wine isn’t sweet. Dry white wine is produced by allowing the yeast during the fermentation process to consume all the sugar. Dry white wines with fruit flavors still retain the fruity taste however.
Examples of dry white wines are Cortese, Pinot Grigio, Verdejo, Chardonnay, and Tokaji.
Sweet White Wines
There are two types of sweet white wines, the off-dry/apricots/peaches and sweet/tropical/honey. Sweet whites have more residual sugar than dry white. Sweet wines are commonly produced by a late harvest of grapes because mature grapes contain more sugar. Sometimes the grapes that are not fully matured yet are harvested and dried under the sun to preserve acidity and produce sweetness. Some also use pressed frozen mature grapes to preserve the water in the grapes. Others add sugar to the juice in a process called chaptalization. Meanwhile, there are winemakers who simply stop the fermentation process to allow more sugar to remain.
Examples of sweet white wines are Muller-Thurgau, Chenin Blanc, Ice Wine, and Sauternes. The word “sweet” may be written in other languages such as sec (French) or Auslese/Spaetlese (German).
White Wine for Beginners
There are at least 40 varieties of white wine, so how do you pick your first bottle the next time you’re at a European-themed restaurant in Singapore? Here are the recommended varieties you can start with.
1. Chardonnay, which tastes like citrus and oak.
2. Pinot Grigio on the other hand has a fruity taste such as pear or ripe apple.
3. Moscato d’Asti is a type of off-dry white which is slightly frizzy.
4. Riesling, which has a crispy citrus flavor. Pick from dry to very sweet types.
Benefits of White Wine
Wines are made from grapes so they give the body the same benefits as most fruits. Red wines are generally regarded as healthier than white wines, but they actually provide the same benefits. White wine contains flavonoids which might help prevent cancer. A glass of white wine can help you lose weight and even has lower caloric content than beer and red wine. Champagne in particular has good effects on the heart, has very low calorie content and can even aid memory.
Like all alcoholic drinks however, drinking too much wine will only cause more harm than good. Ideally, two to three glasses every week should be good for the body.