White wine is often associated with light, fruity flavours that are easy to drink. However, several full-bodied white wines offer a complex and intense flavour profile that wine enthusiasts shouldn’t miss out on. These wines are perfect for pairing with rich and creamy foods or sipping on their own as a standalone drink. This article will introduce you to some of the most legendary and iconic full-bodied white wines that every wine lover should know. We’ll explore their unique characteristics, regions, and some of the best food pairings to complement their bold flavours. Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or someone just starting to explore the world of wine, these full-bodied white wines will surely impress your palate.
Full-bodied white wines are great for red wine lovers because of their rich, smooth taste, subtle creamy notes and weighty mouthfeel. They have a higher alcohol content, generally 13.5% or more.
These wines are usually made from grapes well-suited for warmer climates, producing a lusher, riper flavour. Examples include Chardonnay, Roussanne, Viognier, and Marsanne. These wines are often aged in oak barrels, adding complexity and flavour depth. So, look up the aging program to ensure the wine has had some barrel aging (usually from 6 to 12 months.)
When pairing full-bodied white wines with food, they pair well with creamy and hearty dishes like fish and chips, lobster, grilled meats and creamy sauces. They also work well with strong, robust, pungent cheeses and dishes with herbs and spices.
Chardonnay / Chablis / White Burgundy
AKA: Burgundy Villages names – California – Pouilly-Fuisse – Blanc de Blanc (for many sparkling wines) – Morillon (Austria)
White Burgundy is 100% Chardonnay from the Burgundy region of France and is one of the many styles of Chardonnay.
Chardonnay is a white wine grape variety that originated in the Burgundy region of France. It is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world. It can be found in California, Australia, South Africa, and Chile. Chardonnay wines vary in flavour and style depending on the region and winemaking techniques.
The versatility of Chardonnay makes it a popular choice among winemakers, and its popularity among consumers has made it a household name in the wine world. The grape can be used to produce light and crisp wines with green apple and citrus flavours and full-bodied wines with rich flavours of tropical fruit, vanilla, and oak. Chardonnay can also be used for sparkling wine production, such as the famous Champagne and other sparkling wines produced using the traditional method.
Chardonnay is perhaps the most famous full-bodied white wine. It is renowned for its creamy texture and rich butter, vanilla, and oak aromas.
What is the difference between oaked and unoaked Chardonnay?
When Chardonnay is aged in oak barrels, it gets a buttery, vanilla flavour and a smooth, creamy texture due to a process called malolactic fermentation. This doesn’t happen if it’s aged in plastic or steel instead of oak.
Chardonnay is a popular white wine with diverse styles, from full-bodied, oaky examples to more fruity, unoaked versions. To serve Chardonnay at the optimal temperature, it is generally recommended to chill it between 7-13°C/45-55°F before serving.
This range allows the wine to showcase its unique characteristics, with cooler temperatures emphasizing a fresher, fruitier style, while warmer temperatures bring out more complex, barrel-aged nuances.
Ultimately, the serving temperature of Chardonnay will depend on personal preference and the specific style of the wine.
|Chablis style||light||high||dry, minerally||low|
|unoaked, warm climate||light to medium||medium||dry, fruity||low|
|lightly oaked cool climate (white Burgundy style)||medium||medium||dry||low|
|lightly oaked warm climate||medium||medium||dry, fruity||medium|
|moderately oaked, warm climate||medium to full||low||dry, but creamy||medium|
AKA: Clevner – Gewürtz – Heida – Heiden –Klavner – Mala Dinka – Rotclevner – Rusa – Traminac – Traminer– Tramini – Traminette
In the U.S., Traminette is a hybrid but so similar to Gewürtztraminer that it can be considered the same.
Gewürztraminer wines are typically medium to full-bodied, with a rich and luscious texture. It is made from the Gewürztraminer grape variety, native to the Alsace region in France. The wine is often produced in cool-climate regions such as Alsace, Germany, and Northern Italy.
Gewürztraminer is a white wine grape variety with a pinkish-grey skin. It has a high level of natural sweetness and low acidity, resulting in a slightly oily texture. Gewürztraminer is known for its intense and exotic aromas, including lychee, rose petal, ginger, and exotic spice. Gewürztraminer can also age well, developing more complex flavours and aromas over time.
It pairs well with various foods, including spicy Asian cuisine, smoked cheeses, and seafood.
While it may not be as well-known as other white wine varietals, Gewürztraminer is a unique and flavorful option for wine lovers looking to expand their palate. These fragrant aromas make Gewürztraminer wines a perfect choice for those who enjoy bold and aromatic wines.
Serving it at the right temperature is important to fully appreciate its complex flavours. The ideal serving temperature for Gewürztraminer is between 10-16°C/50-60°F. The wine’s aromas and flavours are more pronounced at this temperature range, enhancing its balance.
|dry||medium||medium||dry with a floral fruitiness||low|
|off-dry||medium||low||off-dry to semi-sweet||low|
Marsanne is a grape variety that originated in the Rhône Valley of France. However, in recent years, it has also been cultivated in other regions outside of France. These regions include Australia, the United States, South Africa, and New Zealand.
Marsanne is a white grape varietal used to make rich, full-bodied and aromatic wines. Marsanne wines typically have a golden yellow colour with honey, pear, and almonds aromas. On the palate, these wines are known for their richness, with flavours of ripe stone fruit, spice, and a slight nuttiness. Marsanne wines can vary in sweetness, ranging from dry to slightly off-dry styles. Marsanne wines are often aged in oak barrels, adding smoothness and complexity to the final product. Marsanne is known for its aging potential, with some wines improving with time in the bottle.
These wines pair nicely with rich dishes, such as roasted poultry or fish with creamy sauces.
Marsanne offers a unique and delicious wine experience for those looking to explore beyond the traditional white wine grape varietals.
To enjoy the full flavour profile of Marsanne, it is best served at a temperature between 10-13°C/50-55°F. The wine will have a balanced acidity at this temperature and showcase its fruity and floral notes.
Roussanne wine is a white grape varietal originally from the Rhône Valley in France. It is also grown in other regions such as California, Australia, and Italy. Roussanne is often blended with grapes such as Viognier and Marsanne to add complexity and balance. It is also used to produce sweet wines, such as the famous Vin de Paille.
Roussanne is known for producing full-bodied wines with honey, apricot, and floral notes aromas. The wines typically have a rich and creamy texture with peach, pear, and spice flavours. One of the unique characteristics of Roussanne is its ability to age well. The wine develops richer flavours and a more rounded texture as it matures. This makes it a popular choice among wine enthusiasts looking for a white wine that can be enjoyed both in its youth and after a few years of cellaring.
Roussanne is a challenging grape to cultivate, as it is prone to disease and requires specific soil and climate conditions for optimal growth. Nonetheless, it is a popular grape among winemakers and wine enthusiasts for its complex and aromatic wines.
The ideal serving temperature for Roussanne is between 10-13°C/50-55°F. This is slightly warmer than other white wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. The slightly warmer temperature allows the wine’s complexity and layers of flavour to be fully appreciated.
Viognier is a full-bodied white wine grape variety known for its aromatic and rich character. Originally from the Rhone Valley in France, its unique flavour profile has gained popularity worldwide.
The taste is generally described as dry, with a hint of sweetness and notes of apricots, peaches, and tropical fruits. Viognier wine is often compared to Chardonnay. However, the two wines differ in flavour profile and texture.
Viognier is loved for its fragrant bouquet of floral and fruity aromas, often described as honeysuckle, lavender, apricot, peach, and orange blossom. These aromatic notes are complemented by its full-bodied and smooth texture, making it an excellent choice for those who prefer a richer and more robust white wine.
Its bold flavour and acidity make it an excellent match for various dishes. Viognier wine pairs well with spicy and aromatic dishes due to its complex and intense flavours. It pairs well with seafood, especially scallops and lobster. It is a versatile wine that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with various foods.
It is a difficult grape to grow as it is sensitive to disease and requires a warm climate to ripen properly.
The ideal temperature to serve Viognier is typically around 50-55°F or 10-12°C. Serving Viognier at this temperature allows the aromas and flavours to develop, fully showcasing its floral and fruity character. It is important to avoid serving Viognier too cold, as this may mask its delicate flavours and aromas. Alternatively, serving Viognier too warm may cause it to lose its unique flavour and become overly sweet. To achieve the optimal serving temperature for Viognier, it is recommended to let the wine sit in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before opening or placing it in an ice bucket for about 15 minutes to chill it down quickly.
The classic wine categories include sparkling, white (light, medium and full-bodied), rosé, red (light, medium and full-bodied) and dessert wine.
Sparkling wine is known for its effervescence, with carbon dioxide bubbles naturally forming during fermentation. White (light, medium and full-bodied) wine is usually produced from lighter-coloured grapes with a lighter body and a more delicate flavour. Rosé wine is a pink-coloured wine made from red grapes with a refreshing taste and versatile food pairings. Red (light, medium and full-bodied) wine is typically made from dark-coloured grapes, giving it a deeper colour and bold flavour profile. Dessert wine is a type of wine that is sweet and often served after a meal or paired with desserts.
These classic wine categories are the foundation of the wine industry and the starting point for exploring the many variations and complexities within each category.
This article is part of “How to plan an unforgettable wine & cheese party”
These tips are from my own experience;
I’m neither a party organizer, a sommelier, nor a turophile (a cheese connoisseur).
I just love cheese, wine and spending time with family and friends.
I hope my easy tips will give you the confidence to host a wine and cheese party with a handful of close friends.
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