White wines are made by pressing the grapes gently to extract only the juice. Minimising contact between the skin and the juice typically creates a light-hued wine with plenty of freshness. Richer and more complex white wines are usually made by fermenting the juice in oak barrels or leaving the wine to mature on the lees or yeast cells. Depending on the desired style, white wines may be bottled young or aged in oak barrels or in neutral stainless steel tanks. Dry white wines pair especially well with fresh seafood, grilled fish, salads, spicy Asian curries, and chicken dishes.
Key White Wine Regions
Famous white wine regions include Burgundy in France which is known for its elegant Chardonnay and Bordeaux which produces stunning white blends. White grape varieties generally tend to grow better in cooler regions, which is why Germany, Austria and Alsace are especially known for their crisp Riesling and Gruner Veltliner whites. California has a reputation for producing powerful oaky Chardonnay, while New Zealand is known for its distinctive gooseberry-flavoured Sauvignon Blanc.
White Wine Grape Varieties
White wines are normally made from white grapes, although it is also possible to press black grapes in order to extract light-coloured juice which can then be made into a white wine. The most important international types of white wine varieties are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Riesling. There are also many popular indigneous white wine grapes like Albarino or Alvarinho in Spain and Portugal, Furmint in Hungary, and Trebbiano and Fiano in Italy.