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Wine 101 (Pt.2): Varieties of White Wine

Continuing with my Wine 101 series, I'll be discussing the varieties of white wine. White wine is not as complex or sophisticated in flavour like red wine, but I find them more refreshing, easy-to-drink, and versatile. White wines also make a great wine for parties or gatherings because it can accommodate a variety of taste preferences and pairs nicely with many cuisines, so it’ll be a safe choice that most people will like. Here are types of white wine varieties.


The most widely known white wine. Chardonnay is fruity, full-bodied, and has a smooth, rounded mouthfeel. It is more complex in flavour, carrying citrus and buttery notes of green apple, pear, lemon, vanilla, toast, and hints of oak. Chardonnays tend to be quite sweet, drier, and more yellow than other white wines. Pair it with chicken, fish, and soft white cheeses.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauv Blanc is also a widely known white wine. It’s similar to chardonnay in that it’s full-bodied, acidic and fruity, but it has more sour and earthy notes. Some flavours include melon, grapefruit, nectarine, elderflower, and grass. As well, it has high acidity. New Zealand is well known for their Sauv Blancs. Sauvignon Blanc is quite versatile, so it goes with a lot of foods. I’d suggest pairing it with musky-flavored foods like blue cheese, mushroom risotto, and nachos with hummus.


Riesling is a very dry and crisp medium-bodied white wine. It carries notes of honey, apricots, and green apple with earthy hints. Riesling is less sweet but has balanced acidity with a long finish. It pairs nicely spicy and smoky flavours in poultry and seafood. You can read more in my Riesling blog post.

Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris

These wines use the same great variety, but Italians say “Grigio”, whereas the French call it “Gris.” Pinot Grigio is medium-bodied, crisp, and dry. It carries a mix of citrus fruit, spice, and earthy notes with hints of floral. This wine goes well with cream sauce pasta and seafood like muscles and smoked salmon.

Moscato and Muscat

Moscato/Muscat is one of the sweetest white wines and is comparable to drinking juice. Like Pinot Grigio, Moscato and Muscat use the same grape variety, but Muscat is French and Moscato is Italian. Moscato has the lowest alcohol content and acidity out of the white wine varieties but has the highest sugar content. It carries sweet notes of orange blossoms, lilac, white cherry, and Japanese pear. This is a great wine to have with desserts and tangy-sauced applies.

Pinot Blanc

Pinot Blanc is a medium-bodied with dry, sour, and acidic characteristics. It has a mix of sweet, nutty, and smoky notes of pear, lemon, walnuts, star anise, and applewood. With the complexity in its flavours, Pinot Blanc does have some muskiness in its nose and taste. Make a homey, gourmet meal to go with it like roasted chicken, potatoes, and vegetables.


Gewürztraminer is a great wine for spring and summer, having a mix of floral and fruity notes with a light, refreshing mouthfeel. Gew is light-bodied, has a touch of sweetness, and low acidity. The flavour it has includes rose, lavender, lychee, grapefruit, and allspice. Pair this wine with strong-flavored and rich foods like curry and beef satay.


Semillion is full-bodied with tropical fruit flavors like mango and papaya with hints of herb and fig. This wine has a higher acidity and a long finish. Places like South Africa and Argentina make great Sémillion. French-style cuisine goes well with this wine like ham, mussels, cheddar cheese, and butternut squash.

If you didn’t get to read my first blog in the Wine 101 series on Varieties of Red Wine, click here.

On Thursday, April 9, I’ll continue to the 3rd part of my Wine 101 series where I’ll talk about sparkling wine. Be sure to subscribe to my blog to be notified when I post a new blog. Thanks for reading. Cheers!


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