How can we differentiate the different types of white wines?

White wines are those obtained from white grapes, or from red grapes that have not been macerated with the skins, the outer skin of the grape. In this way, these wines, which are not actually white, acquire semi-transparent yellowish tones, which can range from pale shades to greenish and slightly oxidized reflections.
As with other wine varieties, white wines can be differentiated by:
-The grapes used in its production.
-Sugar levels. This is the main classification for the consumer, since, depending on the presence of sugar, they will be dry, semi-sweet or sweet.
-The winemaking method: fermentation in barrels, on lees, maceration, etc.
-The aging technique: in barrels, steel tanks… This gives the wines body, nuances of aromas, etc.
We will focus on classifications according to sugar level, as this is the most recognizable variable for customers. The factor that determines the amount of sugar that will be present in the wine is the fermentation time. White wine can exhibit the full range of nuances from extremely dry to very sweet, but is usually classified into four main categories.
-Young wines: They are bottled after the first few months after the harvest and are best served chilled. They usually have some residual sugar to make them more attractive.
-Wines aged on lees: Once fermentation is complete, the wines remain on their lees for periods of between 5 and 24 months. High aromatic complexity, very mineral and less fruity.
Barrel-fermented wines: alcoholic fermentation is carried out totally or partially in barrels. They acquire a woody bouquet and have a lower bottle aging capacity than the previous ones.
Barrel-aged wines: after fermentation in barrel or tank, the wines spend between 6 and 60 months in barrel, with or without lees. These wines have a very high aging potential and are capable of aging in bottle for many years.
In addition to this classification, it is also common to speak of types of white wines according to their origin or the origin of the grapes from which they are made:
Chardonnay: White wine from the French region of Burgundy. It is also available in a sparkling variety.
Sauvignon blanc: Made from a type of grape native to Bordeaux. Famous for its palette of flavors, ranging from herbal nuances to acidic fruit notes.
Moscato: From regions of Italy and Austria. It is usually sweet, with a fruity flavor and musky aroma.
Pinot grigio: Of Italian origin. Dry acid taste with fruity notes.
Riesling: Wine produced mainly in Germany, it is actually a lighter variant of Chardonnay.
Gewürztraminer: Grown mainly in Alsace and Germany. It has more body than other whites.
Torrontés: Variety produced only in Argentina. It has a fruity aroma and a dry taste.
In addition, in Spain we have other native or adapted varieties of white wines:
Albariño: The most extended variety in the D.O. Rías Baixas, it is a white wine, ample, dry, and very light.
Macabeo/Viura: This is a high yielding grape type. The wine made with this variety has a delicate aroma and a straw yellow color with green tones. Used for white wines from La Rioja and sparkling wine from Rueda.
Verdejo: White grape from Rueda. It produces very aromatic wines, with soft bodies and balanced acidity.

Leave a Reply