White Blends

Parents & Origin: Blend of white grapes (e.g. Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc)

Grape: Small, spherical, white-green skin

Flavors: Citrus, white fruit, dried fruit, apple and many others

Notable Regions: Worldwide

The History of White Blends

White wine has existed for over 2500 years. In this case, “white blend” refers to any white wine that contains more than one white grape varietal in the final product, though certain white blends can have their own designations as recognized wines despite comprising multiple grapes.

For much of the history of European winemaking, white blends were commonplace due to the practice of consolidating grapes from vineyards across a given area. One famous example of this practice can be found in White Bordeaux, which originated in the 18th or 19th century using grapes such as Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle. Other white blends have since emerged throughout the world, though the category of wine has remained significantly overlooked compared to its red blend counterpart.

In addition to the popularity of red blends, white blends have also been overlooked due to a modern association with lower-quality table wines.

However, many high-quality wine producers elect to produce white blends, and these wines can in fact offer many unique and delicious flavors due to the winery’s ability to custom design their flavor profile. In recent years, white blends have been catching on quite rapidly as more attention is given to innovation in the winemaking arena.

White Blend Food Pairings

White blends vary in flavor, body, acidity, and alcohol content, but as a general guideline, they are most likely to pair with lighter dishes.

The Best White Blend Food Pairings

Compared to most red wines, the lighter body and lack of tannins found in white wine mean that it is best suited for equally light dishes. Dry white blends pair wonderfully with fish, seafood, or even salad. Sweet white blends are great with fruit or dessert.

Food Pairings to Avoid with White Blends

The vast range of white blends means that there are very few foods to avoid with the right choice. As a general rule, white wines are typically avoided with rich or heavy dishes, including most red meat-based entrees.

White Blend Tasting Notes

White blends are prepared from various white grapes, usually crushed and fermented individually before blending occurs. In the case of novel blends, finding the right combination often requires blending trials in which the winemaker tastes the wine and offers suggestions.

Of course, traditional white blends can follow age-old recipes such as those of White Bordeaux, Sauternes, or White Rioja. Many white blends offer significant bottle aging potential compared to most varietal whites. Flavors also vary, though most white blends will have notes of citrus and white fruit. As with any white wine, white blends are best served chilled.

Famous White Blends

White blends can be made with any combination of grapes, but there are several classic recipes that have stood the test of time. Here are just a few:

  • White Bordeaux is traditionally a blend of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle. This French blend is known for its history, aging potential, and sublime quality, offering flavors of nectarine with sweet apple notes. With age, White Bordeaux becomes richer, developing candied fruit, honey, and custard flavors.
  • Southern Rhone White Blend is originates in France’s Rhone region, where it combines a main grape of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, or Viognier with a smaller amount of Marsanne, Ugni Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc and Picpoul Blanc. This wine is also produced internationally, with flavors of stonefruit, citrus, and spice.
  • White Rioja is a popular Spanish blend that contains Viura, Malvasio, Verdejo, and Garnacha Blanca, among others. It is known for its oaking ability, offering flavors of citrus and dried fruit.
  • Sauternes is a Bordeaux white that uses the same blend of Sémillon, Sauvignon blanc, and Muscadelle. In this case, however, the grapes have been affected by noble rot, giving the wine a sweet and luxurious flavor along with a high price tag.


White Blends in a Nutshell

Since the dawn of winemaking, producers have been blending white grapes to produce exciting flavors beyond that which can be achieved with a single varietal. Often overlooked as cheap and low quality, modern wine enthusiasts have come to recognize the potential of a good white blend, whether from a classic recipe or a brand new mixture. It is difficult to generalize all white blends due to their immense variation, but keep them on your radar as a good bottle is sure to impress with the right pairing or occasion.


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