White wine grapes are the most dominant type of grape used for producing wines, and are being produced all over the world. There are many variations of white wine grapes that each give different tastes, colours and aromas to the wine they produce. However, the most famous are produced in France and come from the Chardonnay grape.
Different Grape Varieties
The most famous Chardonnay grapes come from France, however, they are now produced in most areas due to the grape’s ability to be grown in differing climates and strong yields. It also has a strong history having been grown for over 2000 years. Despite the common grape Chardonnay can vary greatly from one place to the next. Some Chardonnays are famous for dry crisp flavours whilst others have a more creamy flavouring. It is common in old world wines, a famous example being Burgandy Wine, but also is pervasive in new world varieties on supermarket shelves. The colour also varies from a pale straw to a deep yellow. Chardonnay varieties are not intended for aging purposes but some high quality wines can be stored for 3 10 years showing improvements with age. Chardonnay has the most interesting history. It is believed that Chardonnay grapes arose by accident from cross pollination between Pinot and Gouais Vines. DNA evidence has supported this in part as Chardonnay is a member of the Pinot family. Chardonnay was given its name as it is said to have originated in a village with the that name. It is claimed it was then distributed throughout France by monks.
Rielsing is also a very popular example of a white wine grape. It originates in Germany although it is now used in new world varieties in the USA and New Zealand. Rielsing Wines tend to have floral aromas and are usually clear in colour. It is worth seeking out top German varieties that have been grown in a cool climate and ripened late like those grapes grown on the banks of the River Mosel. This can be purchased at a very reasonable price. The Alsace region of France also offers good quality and is easy to get hold of. If you wish to purchase wine for future consumption this can typically age for over a decade. It is important not to confuse the Reisling grape with German wines such as Cape Reisling and Welschriesling who just happen to share the same name, as these are of an inferior quality.
This white wine grape has become famous for making the New Zealand wine industry famous although it originated in the Loire Valley and Bordeaux in France. It is a crisp dry and light wine with a usually clear colour and most commonly possesses a sharp fresh cut grass aroma. It is important to note that this wine does not age well and should be drank not long after purchase.
Gewürztraminer is a distinctive wine possessing an intense spicy aroma. It is traditionally produced in the regions of Alsace and Germany and has some New world success in the US, New Zealand and Northern Italy. However, overall success in New World regions is limited. Gewürztraminer has a slightly higher alcohol content than the above grapes and is more difficult to grow and is especially susceptible to changes in climate. If it ripens too fast in a warm climate, a distasteful oily wine can be produced.
Other popular varieties of white wine grapes include Chenin Blanc, Viogner, Semillon, Pinot Blanc and Muscat although many more exist. Colours of the wine produced range from clear to a straw yellow. Fruit flavours present include Peaches, Oak and Lychee Nut.
Red wine grape varieties are known to produce health benefits in moderate amounts most notably to the heart. However, recent research has suggested that white wine grape varieties may offer similar heart benefits to red although research is still in the early stages. Other reported health benefits include improved lung health to antioxidants in the white wine grape.
Other Factors Affecting the Taste of the Wine
Along with the type of white wine grape used the wine produced is arguably also a product of the place the grapes are grown. Although some white wine grapes such as Sauvignon Blanc taste very similar wherever they are planted, many wines differ. This is due to factors such as the local climate, growing methods and soil composition. However, the type of grape used is always essential to the overall taste. The white wine grape has many varieties that produce a diverse and exciting range of aromas, colours and tastes to the final wine.