White wine can be a versatile and refreshing companion to any meal or occasion. However, the world of white wine can be overwhelming, with countless varietals and regions to choose from. To help simplify things, we’ve compiled a list of legendary light-bodied white wines everyone should know. These wines are characterized by their crisp acidity, delicate flavours, and low alcohol content, making them perfect for sipping on a warm summer day or pairing with seafood dishes. Whether you’re a seasoned wine enthusiast or new to the world of white wine, this guide will provide the knowledge needed to confidently select and enjoy a light-bodied white wine for any occasion.
Light-bodied white wines have a relatively low viscosity and alcohol content, ranging from 9-12% ABV, making them easy to drink and refreshing. They are typically characterized by their delicate, refreshing nature, crisp acidity and bright, fruity flavours, making them a popular choice for those who prefer a lighter and more subtle taste. They are typically served chilled and are perfect for summertime sipping or pairing with lighter dishes. Some popular light-bodied white wines include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Riesling. These wines offer a range of flavours, from crisp and citrusy to floral and aromatic. When selecting a light-bodied white wine, it’s important to consider the occasion and the food you plan to pair it with. Whether you’re looking for a wine to enjoy with seafood, salads, or to sip on a hot day, there’s sure to be a light-bodied white wine perfect for your taste and needs.
Vinho Verde is a type of Portuguese white wine produced in the Minho region of northwestern Portugal. The name translates to “green wine,” which refers to its youthfulness and freshness rather than its colour. It is made from varieties of white grapes, including Loureiro, Arinto, and Alvarinho.
Vinho Verde is best enjoyed young and known for its light, fruity flavour, crisp acidity and slightly effervescent, sparkling quality. It is a refreshing, light-bodied wine that pairs well with seafood, shellfish, salads, light pasta dishes and mild-flavoured cheeses. Vinho Verde is also a versatile wine that can be enjoyed as an aperitif or paired with spicy foods due to its low alcohol content and slight effervescence.
It is an excellent wine for summertime sipping and is usually low in alcohol content. Vinho Verde is often an excellent value for the price. It is perfect for those looking for an inexpensive, refreshing white wine.
With its refreshing and approachable style, Vinho Verde has become increasingly popular with wine drinkers seeking a fun and easy-drinking wine.
It is served cold, between 8-10°C (46-50°F).
This temperature is ideal for highlighting the wine’s delicate flavours, including its light acidity and low alcohol. It is also beneficial for helping to keep the wine’s aromas intact.
AKA: Johannisberger Riesling – Rhine Riesling – White Riesling – Riesling Renano (Italy)
Riesling is a white wine variety originating from the Rhine region of Germany. Today, it is grown in many wine regions worldwide, including France, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.
Riesling wines can range from bone dry to very sweet, with flavours and aromas of green apple, lemon, lime, apricot, honey, and floral notes. It is one of the most aromatic white wines, with a floral and fruity nose, high acidity, and the ability to express terroir, the environmental conditions in which it is grown.
It can be enjoyed on its own or with food. It is an incredibly versatile wine that pairs well with various foods, from spicy food to roasted pork and seafood. Riesling also pairs well with Asian-style dishes due to its balance of acidity and sweetness.
Riesling is also known for its ability to age gracefully, with some of the best examples being able to develop greater complexity and depth over several decades of cellaring.
Generally, Riesling should be served at about 7-10°C/45-50°F to bring out its vibrant fruit flavours and aromatic qualities without overpowering its acidity. When serving Riesling, serving it at the right temperature is essential to highlight its unique flavours and aromas.
|Cool-weather, dry, Old World||light||high||dry||low|
|Warm weather, dry, New World||medium||medium||dry, fruity||low|
|Off-dry||medium||perceived as medium||slightly sweet||low|
|Late harvest||full||perceived as low||sweet||low|
Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris
AKA: Pinot Grigio (Italy) – Pinot Gris (France) – Tokay Pinot Gris – Pinot Beurot – Malvosie (France) – Grauer Burgunder (Germany) – Graüburgunder (Austria/Germany) – Malvosie (Switzerland) – Szürkebarat (Hungary)
Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are two different names for the same type of wine. Pinot Grigio is an Italian name, and Pinot Gris is a French name. It can also be found in other regions worldwide, such as Alsace in Oregon, California in the USA, and New Zealand.
Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris wine is typically dry or off-dry wine with light to medium-bodied, with refreshing acidity and flavours of green apple, lemon, lime, pear, white peach, and honey, depending on where it is grown. The wine is a light-bodied white wine made from the Pinot Gris grape, a mutation of the Pinot Noir grape. The grapes are typically small, round and grayish-pink. It is versatile and pairs well with various foods, including seafood, salads, light pasta dishes, and white meat. With its higher acidity, Pinot Grigio food pairing is diverse, including Thai and Chinese dishes. It is also often enjoyed as an easy-drinking wine on its own.
The ideal serving temperature for Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris is between 7-10°C/45-50°F, slightly cooler than standard room temperature.
|cool climate||medium||medium to high||dry||low|
|warm climate||medium||medium||dry to slightly fruity||low|
|ice wine||medium plus to full||perceived as low||semi-sweet to sweet||low|
Grüner Veltliner is a white wine grape variety grown primarily in Austria and other Central European countries such as Slovakia and the Czech Republic. It is considered one of the country’s most iconic wine varieties.
Grüner Veltliner wines are known for their light to medium body, high acidity, and vibrant fruit flavours, such as green apple, pear, and citrus, with notes of white pepper and minerality. They are often made in a dry style, but some producers also create slightly sweet versions.
Grüner Veltliner is also an excellent wine for casual sipping. It can be enjoyed on its own or with a meal. It is a versatile wine that pairs well with various foods, mainly fish, seafood, and spicy Asian cuisine.
Its popularity has recently increased due to its food-friendliness and refreshing, easy-drinking qualities. As a result, Grüner Veltliner has become an interesting alternative to the more familiar white wine varieties.
The ideal serving temperature for Grüner Veltliner is around 10-13°C/50-55°F, which is slightly cooler than room temperature. This temperature allows the wine’s crisp and refreshing acidity to balance the fruitiness and aromatic characteristics. By serving Grüner Veltliner at the correct temperature, you can enjoy its unique flavour and appreciate its complexity.
Sauvignon Blanc / Sauvignon Vert / Friulano / Sancerre
AKA: Bordeaux Blanc (some) – Fumé Blanc (California) – Friuliano/Friulano (Italy) – Jakot (Slovenia) – Pavillon Blanc (Bordeaux) – Pouilly Fumé and Sancerre (Loire Valley) – Saint-Bris (Burgundy near Chablis) – Sauvignon Gris – Sauvignonasse (Slovenia) – Sauvignon Vert – Tocai Friulano/Tocai Friulano (formerly) – Zeleni Sauvignon.
Sauvignon Blanc is a popular white wine variety that originated in the Bordeaux region of France. Sauvignon Blanc is grown in many different regions worldwide, including France, New Zealand, California, and South Africa. Depending on the region, the taste and style of Sauvignon Blanc can vary greatly. For example, the grassy and herbaceous style of Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley in France is very different from the fruit-forward style found in New Zealand.
Sauvignon Blanc is known for its crisp, dry, and refreshing taste. It is most commonly known for its tropical and citrus fruit flavours, such as grapefruit, passionfruit, and melon. When young, Sauvignon Blanc has a crisp acidity, making it an excellent pairing for salads and seafood. As it ages, Sauvignon Blanc takes on a fuller body and can be paired with more robust dishes such as poultry and pork. Sauvignon Blanc is typically served chilled and is often enjoyed as a summer wine or paired with light seafood and vegetable dishes.
The ideal serving temperature for Sauvignon Blanc is between 7-13°C/45-55°F. Serving the wine at this temperature range allows the sweet and sour flavours of the wine to shine while also preventing the alcohol content from dominating the senses.
|Cool Climate||light to medium||high and tangy||dry||low|
|Warm Climate||light to medium||high||slight fruity||low|
|Sauvignion Vert/Friulano||light to medium||high||slight fruity||low|
|Fumé Blanc||light to medium||medium to high||slight fruity and hint oak||low|
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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