47 white wine varietals
Here is a list of vine varieties with a description of the white wines made from them.
|Aligoté||French||Poor man’s Burgundy. Pale, light, crisp wine. Not for ageing.|
|Alvarinho||Portugal||Produces Vinho Verde, very crisp, light with a slight prickle.|
|Auxerrois||French||Acidic, very dry and full-bodies, Chablisesque.|
|Bacchus||German||Silvaner, Riesling and Müller-Thurgau cross. Flowery, light Muscat bouquet,
low acidity. Used mainly for blending.
|Bual||Madeira||Sweet full-bodies fortified wine, burnt amber colour, fig-like bouquet.|
|Chardonnay||French||Ranges from crisp, apple-like flavours in cool climates to caramel, pineapple
and tropical tones in warm areas. Buttery, toasty or clove-like finish.
Ages well, usually in oak.
|Light, crisp wine with delicate bouquet in Switzerland. Rather insipid elsewhere.|
|French||Honeyed, high-acid wines in the Loire. Lots of fruit. Ages many years. California
model is much softer and fruitier.
|Colombard||French||(French Colombard) Originally a cognac grape, now grown in California for soft,
|California||High-yielding Muscadelle, Riesling cross. Aromatic, soft, fruity.|
|Californian name for Sauvignon Blanc or Sauvignon/Sémillon blend. Fruitier and
less grass than Loire model.
|French||Once a major grape in Cognac. High acid, not much character.|
|Furmint||Hungary||Principal grape of Tokay. Can be dry, off-dry or sweet. Apple or apricot and toffee bouquet, depending on style.|
Spicy, exotic, rose petal and lychee bouquet. Can be dry (Alsace) or sweet (Germany, California).
|Grüner Veltliner||Austria||Fresh, lively, fruity, dry wine for drinking young as in the “new” wine, Heurige.|
|Hárslevelü||Hungary||Spicy, full-bodied, aromatic. Good for sweet wines.|
|Jacquère||French||Light, very dry and brisk wine from Savoie.|
Trollinger, Riesling cross. Spicy, fruity wines with good acidity.
|Malvasia||Greek||Produces lusciously sweet dessert wines in warm climates and crisp dry ones in northern areas. The grape of the sweet Madeira, Malmsey.|
|Marsanne||French||Deep-coloured, high-alcohol wines blended with the more delicate Roussanne in the Rhône.|
|Morio-Muscat||German||Silvaner, Pinot Blanc cross. Full-bodied, fruity with spicy bouquet.|
|Müller-Thurgau||German||Riesling, Silvaner cross (or two clones of Riesling). Less acidic than Riesling,
soft and fruity. Lacks ageing potential.
|Muscadelle||French||Perfumey grape used to add bouquet to some white Bordeaux (Sauvignon and Sémillon).|
|Muscadet||French||(Melon de Bourgogne) Light, pale, racy wines with lively acidity from the Loire.|
|Muscat||Greek||Perfumed, raisiny bouquet with a characteristic spiciness in dessert wines. Can also
be made dry as in Alsace and Australia.
|Palomino||Spanish||The grape of sherry. Neutral wine, low acidity.|
|Pedro Ximenez||Spanish||A very sweet white wine used in sherry, thought to be Riesling.|
|Picolit||Italian||Dessert wine grape of Friuli. Deep coloured, rich, slightly bitter.|
|Pinot Blanc||French||(Pinot Bianco/Weissburgunder) Relative of Chardonnay but with less character and ageing potential. Best from Alsace.|
|Pinot Gris||E. Europe||(Pinot Grigio, Ruländer) Full-flavoured, elegant wines capable
|Riesling||German||(Johannisberg Riesling, Rhine or White Riesling)
Finest German variety, capable of making a range of wines from steely dry to toffee-sweetness. Floral nose, keen acidity.
|Rkatsiteli||E. Europe||All-purpose grape producing ordinary table wines, dessert wines and fortified wines.|
|Sacy||French||The name suggests it all. Frisky, tart wine from Chablis region.|
|Savagnin||French||Makes Sherry-style vin jaune in the Jura region.|
|Sauvignon Blanc||French||Makes grassy, gooseberry, smoky wines in the Loire and accompanies Sémillon
in dry and sweet wines of Bordeaux. California model is rounder and fruitier and fig-like.
|Scheurebe||German||Silvaner, Riesling cross. Aromatic, fruity with pronounced acidity. Best in dessert style.|
|Sémillon||French||Honey and apricot bouquet when affected by Botrytis (see page 22). Blended with Sauvignon Blanc for dry Bordeaux. Lacks acidity.|
|Sercial||Portugal||Produces the driest, lightest style of Madeira. Good acidity. Ages well.|
Makes dry wines with a grassy, green plum flavour. Does not age well.
|Silvaner||Austrian||Mild, neutral wine with good body. Useful for blending.|
|Trebbiano||Italian||(Ugni Blanc, St. Emilion) Pale colour, high acid, medium-body, shy bouquet.|
|Verdelho||Spain||Produces off-dry Madeira and soft, nutty table wines.|
|Verdicchio||Italian||Crisp, dry wines with a hint of bitterness.|
Good fruit and acidity. Can range in styles from tart Sauvignon Blanc to Late Harvest and Icewine.
|Viognier||French||Rich, elegant, full-bodied, floral-peachy wine especially in the Rhône.
Capable of ageing.
Fruity aromatic wines with high acidity capable of wood ageing.
|Welschriesling||French||(Riesling Italico, Laskiriesling, Olaszriesling)
Floral, zesty, versatile but not as elegant as Johannisberg (White or Rhine) Riesling.