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If you feel like the world of wine is too complicated to understand, you’re not alone.
In fact, 96% of UK adults wish they were braver when choosing wines, and 93% claim they would be more likely to expand their range if they understood more about wine.
When you first start exploring the world of wine, it can seem like there are endless possibilities and things to learn. But don't worry - understanding wine is easier than many people think.
The best way to learn about white wine is to try different varieties.
But before you jump in and start adding bottles to your shopping cart, this article will help you understand more about the most popular types of white wine and the foods they best pair with.
Probably the most popular white wine in the UK, most people will have tried Sauvignon Blanc at some point or other.
And there’s a reason it’s so popular. It’s refreshing, crisp, aromatic, light-bodied and is slightly sweeter than other white wines, making it easy to drink. It’s bursting with distinctive flavours of apple, citrus fruits, passion fruit and peach.
The Sauvignon Blanc grape originates from Bordeaux in France, but production has spread across the world with great Sauvignon Blanc wines being produced in the USA, New Zealand, Chile, Italy, South Africa and Australia.
If you’re looking to compare and contrast the subtle differences between Sauvignon Blanc across different regions, we’d recommend picking up a bottle from Bordeaux in France, one from Marlborough in New Zealand and another bottle produced in Chile.
If you’re looking to pair Sauvignon Blanc with a meal, it’s best served alongside light dishes such as chicken, seafood and salads.
If you’ve been to any summer barbeque, you’ve probably enjoyed a glass of Pinot Grigio.
It’s another one of the UK’s most popular white wines, and the fact that it’s refreshing, zesty and easy to drink makes Pinot Grigio ideal for summer garden parities or enjoying on a warm evening with a group of friends.
Pinot Grigio is a crisp, clean, medium-dry white wine with flavours that include citrus fruits, green apple, and pears.
A lot of people get confused with the difference between Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris. The truth is that the two wines are made from exactly the same grape. Pinot Gris is the French variation of the wine, which is produced in a way that makes it richer and slightly sweeter. Pinot Grigio is the Italian variety, which is mort popular in the UK and is lighter-bodied, crisp and drier.
Approximately 60% of Pinot Grigio is produced in Italy, with vineyards also found in the USA, Australia, Chile and Argentina.
If you’re looking to serve Pinot Grigio with a meal, it pairs really well with poultry and seafood.
Chenin Blanc is an incredibly versatile grape, and has been lauded by some as ‘the most underrated white wine grape in the world’.
It can produce a variety of different wine styles – dry white wine, sparkling wine or even sweet dessert wine.
The flavour profile of Chenin Blanc varies based on the style of wine that is produced, but it often includes flavours such as mango, apple, pear, passion fruit and ginger.
The Chenin Blanc grape originates from the Loire Valley in France, where it has been grown for centuries. But in recent years, there has been an increase in the number of high-quality Chenin Blanc wines being produced in South Africa.
If you’re wondering which kind of foods are best served with Chenin Blanc, it’s great served alongside seafood dishes and Asian cuisine.
Chardonnay is one of the most widely planted wine grapes in the world.
It can be used to make a variety of different white and sparkling wines, and it is one of the main grapes that is used in the production of Champagne.
Chardonnay has a ‘neutral’ aroma and isn’t immediately distinctive on your nose. But it commonly produces wine with flavours that include citrus fruits, green apple, pear and mango.
Burgundy in France is where the Chardonnay grape originated, but it’s now grown widely across the world with the USA and Australia being major producers.
With the diverse range of wine styles that can be produced from Chardonnay, it can pair with a wide variety of dishes. Most Chardonnay wines work well served alongside poultry, fish and tomato-based dishes.
If you’re a fan of Chardonnay, you might want to try this impressive lesser known white wine. Viognier has a lot of similarities.
Viognier is a dry white wine that originates in the Rhone Valley in France, but is now grown across the world. Some of the best international Viognier wines can be found in Eden Valley in Australia, and California in the USA.
It is a dry white wine that is very fruity, with flavours including apricot and peach.
Viognier pairs really well with spicy food, so try serving it alongside your favourite dishes from Thai, Indian or Asian cuisine.
Cortese is the name of the white wine grape that is used to make Gavi wine.
Produced in the Piedmont region of Italy, Gavi wine is dry, crisp and delicate and has flavours that includes apples, peach, melon and citrus fruits.
When you’re looking at choosing a Gavi wine, you might come across different labels. Some Gavi wines are labelled ‘Gavi di Gavi’ – this means that the vineyards that the Cortese grapes came from were inside the town of Gavi. If your wine is labelled ‘Gavi’ it means that some of the grapes came from surrounding villages in Piedmont.
Gavi wine pairs really well with many seafood dishes, and also light poultry dishes.
If you’re curious about Gavi wine, we’d recommend Santa Seraffa Gavi di Gavi.
You’re possibly thinking “I thought Rioja was a red wine?”. And for the most part you’d be right.
Rioja isn’t actually a type of grape, but it’s the name given to wines that are produced in the Rioja region in the North West of Spain.
Around 90% of Rioja wines are red wines. That is what the region is internationally famous for. But Rioja also produces some amazing white wines, called Rioja Blanco.
Rioja Blanco wines are light-bodied, fruity and dry with flavours of melon, lemon and pineapple.
They pair perfectly with shellfish, salads and Spanish dishes such as paella.
One of our favourite Rioja Blanco wines is Bodegas Medrano Irazu Rioja Blanco.
Riesing is another incredibly versatile wine grape that can be used to create a variety of different wine styles.
You can find dry Riesling wines, sweet Riesling wines and sparkling Riesling wines – so it’s always worth double checking what you’re buying. Make sure you’re picking up the right style of wine for your chosen occasion, and don’t just pick up a bottle that has ‘Riesling’ on the label!
Riesling wines are typically high in acidity and have hints of fruit such as grapefruit and lime. They pair well with spicy foods, white fish, and most meats.
We've covered a lot of ground in this article, but there's still so much more to learn about white wine.
If you’re feeling ready to start your wine journey, the best way to learn about white wine is to try different varieties.
Head over to our wide selection of affordable white wines and choose a few bottles to get started. Free UK delivery is available for all orders over £100.