The process of making red and white wines is similar, but it also has some significant differences, most importantly the lack of grape skin and seeds in the fermentation process for white wines. White wines can be categorized similarly to red wines in terms of body type, dryness or sweetness, and other distinctive qualities. Most white wines are made with Vitis vinifera grapes and their various hybrids, although there are plenty of other varieties as well (if you haven’t already, check out the “Types of Grapes” page above for more information about different grape varieties).
Some of the most notable white wine types, based on their grape varieties, are Chardonnay, Semillon, Muscat, Riesling, Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio, Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, and Champagne. The characteristics of the wine depend mostly on the type of grapes used: Muscat produces a sweet, fruity, easily recognizable wine; Riesling wines generally tend to be light, crisp, and fresh, with a mild apple flavor, while Chardonnay grapes usually produce a much heavier and more full-bodied kind of white wine.
Although it is believed by some that red wine is better for your health than white wine, it has been shown that reservatrol, the compound found in grape skin that is responsible for most of wine’s health benefits, can also be found in white wine, although in smaller quantities.
Most sparkling wines, including the world-famous French Champagne, are white wines. A good white wine tends to be quite versatile when it comes to food pairing as well. Some dry white wines, such as Riesling, can be paired well with fish and poultry dishes, similarly to Chardonnay.
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