8 Popular Types of White Wine
The next time you sit down to a delicious seafood meal or make a light and tasty pasta, you might want to find some white wine to go alongside it. Though slightly less popular than red wine, white wine is a superb companion to light poultry and seafood dishes and makes up a significant portion of the world’s favorite wines.
Even if you’re particularly fond of your red wines, you may want to branch out to some of the wines listed below! We’ll take you through eight of the world’s favorite white wines to give you a taste of the lighter side of vino.
You can’t talk about white wine without Chardonnay popping into the conversation. For years, it has held the distinction of “world’s favorite white wine,” and for good reason! Almost every wine region around the world grows this variety of grapes.
When you crack open a Chardonnay, you’ll never know what you might get. Depending on the region, soil, and aging method, Chardonnay can vary significantly in flavor. Take some time to learn about the differences between “oaked” and “unoaked” Chardonnay, as the flavoring of an oak barrel changes a Chardonnay. A great way to learn this difference is through a taste test at a winery!
When it comes to white wine, you’ll be hard-pressed to top a good Chardonnay!
Notable Chardonnay Regions:
- Northeast France
- Roast Chicken
- Delicate Fish
- Gruyere Cheese
2. Sauvignon Blanc
Looking for a solid, dry white wine? Look no further than the Sauvignon Blanc. Despite its lineage tracing back to the Alps, this wine is best known in the Loire Valley and Bordeaux regions! Sauvignon Blanc is often called the “wild white” because it grew wild until it was “tamed” by winemakers in the 1800s.
The acidity of Sauvignon Blanc sets it apart from many other wines, as tasting notes of gooseberry, honeydew, grapefruit, white peach, and passion fruit all come through. Just make sure to avoid low-acid foods like tomatoes and grains.
For wildly good wine, Sauvignon Blanc should be your go-to choice.
Notable Sauvignon Blanc Regions:
- Napa Valley
- Loire Valley
- Herbaceous Sauces
- Delicate Fish
- Cheese (especially goat cheese!)
As you might’ve guessed from the name, this white wine hails from the Rhine region of Germany. The Riesling varietal of wine has a centuries-old history in Germany, and clearly, its popularity hasn’t waned.
Unfortunately, Riesling wasn’t popular in the U.S. for an extended period of time. However, that has changed and has taken its rightful spot amongst the three most popular white wines in the world (next to Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, of course).
A Riesling can be a sweet or dry wine, depending on the region it grows in.
Notable Riesling Regions:
- Thai Cuisine
- Indian Cuisine
4. Pinot Gris/ Pinot Grigio
Naturally, these two wines aren’t the same thing, but they are produced from the exact same grape, and the greatest difference between the two is where they are grown. While a Gris varietal will tend to be sweeter and is often from France, a Grigio varietal sways towards the crisp end of the spectrum.
The crispness and acidity of a Pinot Gris/ Grigio are nearly unmatched, and for centuries it has astounded people with tantalizing notes of lime, green apple, lemon, peach, and pear. For one of the best white wines on the market, this one will pack a zesty, acidic punch!
Wine Insider Tip: The higher the alcohol content of a Pinot Grigio, the heavier foods it can pair with!
Notable Pinot Gris/Grigio Regions:
- France (Alsace, specifically)
5. Chenin Blanc
Another wine that originally hails from the Loire Valley of France, Chenin Blanc is highly regarded for its acidity and light fruit flavors! Though it began its vino journey in France, the biggest producer today is actually South Africa.
A Chenin Blanc will be dry, crisp, and highly versatile due to its rigid and well-maintained growing conditions. Depending on the region it originates from, you could classify a Chenin Blanc with sweet wines, dessert wines, or sparkling wines!
If you’re not sure what white to go with, a Chenin Blanc is great for many occasions.
Notable Chenin Blanc Regions:
- South Africa
- Loire Valley, France
- Grilled Chicken
- Spicy Fish Tacos
6. Grüner Veltliner
If you’re struggling to pronounce this wine, don’t worry (it’s Groo-ner Velt-lee-ner)! Grüner Veltliner is an Austrian specialty and has been the most planted wine grape in Austria from the 1950’s onward.
Grüner Veltliner has strong citrus notes and high acidity, making it a well-rounded wine to pair with various foods. Traditionally, there are two ways to make a Grüner Veltliner. There’s the classic style, which is aged for roughly two years and has slightly less complexity and acidity, and there is a more expensive style, in which the wine is aged in oak barrels for 3-5 years, giving it a high acidity and more complex flavor.
For a unique white wine experience, try a Grüner Veltliner.
Notable Grüner Veltliner Regions:
- Czech Republic
- Spicy Foods
- Classic Austrian Dishes
For fans of finding the best deal every time, Moscato just might be your next wine of choice. Though it has a centuries-long tradition dating back to Italian Antiquity, Moscato’s popularity in the States is relatively recent. While this is partly thanks to its affordability, many people are starting to appreciate Moscato’s sweet and light flavor palette.
When you think of sweet white wine, Moscato will probably be close to the top of the list, with tasting notes of tropical fruit and a high level of residual sugar left over from the Muscat grape. Though some wine snobs may sneer at a Moscato (thanks to the outdated stigma of Moscato being considered unsophisticated), it will make a delicious addition to your wine palette.
Notable Moscato Regions:
- South Africa
- Salty Foods
- Spicy Foods
- Lighter courses (appetizers, brunches)
Rounding out our list of famous white wines, we have the ever-popular Sémillon from France. Despite a recent drop in popularity, Sémillon has enjoyed some significant prominence throughout its history. At one point, it was considered one of the most planted grape varieties in the world!
Sémillon is a solid, full-bodied wine, making it a popular choice for plenty of blends. Another relatively inexpensive wine, Sémillon, might not be as popular as it once was, but it still ranks among the elite white wines of the world.
Notable Sémillon Regions:
- South Africa
- New Zealand
- Spicy Courses
- Goat Cheese
- Brussel Sprouts
Wine Insiders: Your New Home for Wine
Now that you know about our favorite white wines, it’s time to expand your horizons and check out Wine Insiders’ diverse collection of fantastic varietals and blends from across the globe.
You can also check out our blog to learn everything you could possibly need to know about wine, including where it’s grown, the different types and flavors, and even how to pour wine properly!