White grape varieties
Discover all types of white grape varieties
A French person consumes an average of 52 liters of wine per year, making them the second largest consumers in the world .
The quality of the wine as well as the production of the vineyard depend on certain elements such as the soil, the climate but above all the grape variety , which designates the different varieties of vine plants cultivated.
There are several of them, and to distinguish them we base ourselves on the color of the skin of the grapes making that there are red, black and white grape varieties .
As for the white grape varieties, it is difficult to draw up a list but this article has looked at the most famous of them.
The most famous white grape varieties
Chardonnay ranks at the top of the list of the most famous white grape varieties and this is not insignificant, because it represents the largest grape variety cultivated in the whole world. Chardonnay is a great white grape variety.
Production area: the fact that this variety is produced in most of the major wine-growing regions of the world, including Spain, Italy, Chile, Canada, South Africa and the United States, sometimes leads us to forget that he is originally from Burgundy .
And it is precisely in this area of France that it produces the best wines. Allusion made to Montrachet (which is the grand cru in the south west of Burgundy. Considered by some to be the best dry white wine in the world), and to Meursault (possessive, this vineyard is located in the Côte d'Or department, in Côte de Beaune) it is also used to produce Chablis and other crus in the form of champagne .
Properties: the originality of this variety stems from its golden grapes which produce great white wines. Ample and elegant with very fine aromas of white flowers but also hazelnuts, almonds, brioches and citrus fruits .
These are wines that can be kept for a few years depending on the production area and its vinification. Chardonnay wine gets better with age and seems to hold up well to being in the woods. Some of its blends with wines from other grape varieties are a success, more so when it comes to sparkling wines.
Production regions: it matures very late, which considerably reduces the areas that can produce it .
Indeed, cold climates make its development difficult, causing it not to ripen as it should, on the contrary for ideal development, the climate should be warm and its culture is only perfect when it is carried out. in areas heavily exposed to the sun.
The cultivation of vermentino is no longer the exclusive domain of Italy, or of Sardinia and Corsica because other regions are now engaged in it, those bordering the Mediterranean, we mainly retain Provence, Languedoc and the Rhone Valley.
Properties: this white grape variety is sensitive to powdery mildew. The result of its vinification depends on whether it is vinified alone or as a blend. On the one hand, when it is vinified alone, it produces a mono-varietal dry white wine , which stands out for the combination of lightness and its fat character with a pale yellow color in presentation. On the other hand, it contributes to wines having a lightness and freshness due to its acidity when used in blends with grape varieties other than it, such as Ugni Blanc, Grenache or Cinsault, to name a few. than those. Vermentino has many aromas that it proudly releases with a note of green almond, sweet spices, fresh apple, hawthorn, fresh pineapple and ripe pear.
Sauvignon has a dual aspect : there is a variant with small pink grains, namely Sauvignon Gris, but also Sauvignon Blanc, also called Sauvignon B.
Production area: this variety is found in several wine-growing regions, in this case in countries such as South Africa, New Zealand, Italy and California in the United States.
But it is especially in France that we find it, it moreover covers nearly 14,000 hectares, including 6,000 in the Loire Valley with very fragrant dry white wines like Sancerre (wine produced in the cher department and the center-Val de Loire region which comes in three colors) pouilly-fumé (also called blanc fumé de pouilly is a white wine originating from pouilly-sur-Loire in the Nièvre). We find it and the same in Bordeaux which has 6,000 hectares.
The properties: this grape variety, which is sensitive to millerandage and powdery mildew, is distinguished from other grape varieties by its distinctive aromas.
They are essentially composed of herbs, particularly the aroma of grass (tomato leaves, green fruit, minerals, mint, apple). Wines made from Sauvignon Blanc often have a very acidic and dry taste.
Sauvignon is often blended with Sémillon, it is also used in the blend of Sauternes and Barsac in Bordeaux to produce white Bordeaux.
While in the Loire Valley, it is he who produces two of the most famous white wines in the world, Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé.
There are three varieties of pinot blanc: true pinot blanc, pinot blanc d'alsace, and early pinot blanc.
Regions of production: it is a grape variety that originates from Burgundy. It is the result of the mutation of pinot gris.
Worldwide, it covers an area of more than 15,000 hectares divided between France (it is located in Alsace) whose cultivation is in full expansion, far from the 1396 hectares listed in 1999, Italy with its 6,800 hectares, the Germany (with nearly 4,000 hectares) Austria (more than 2,000 hectares) but also in the Czech Republic and Slovakia as well as in some countries where it is produced in small plantations as is the case in Canada in Switzerland in South Africa and Luxembourg.
Properties: it thrives in a continental climate, it also uses its roots to feed on minerals that allow it to withstand winter frost and summer heat.
Pinot Blanc has clusters with small berries with thick skin and melting pulp which allow it to produce wines with fruity, spicy flavors , with a fair balance between the degree of acidity and alcohol. When it is blended with Auxerrois, its name changes, it becomes Klevner. Its use is not limited to wines, it is sometimes used for crémants, but also for sparkling wines.
The Viognier grape variety fascinates by its history , because it took little for it to disappear under the effect of phylloxera. But since things have changed, it can even boast of being one of the most adored varieties to this day.
Production regions: for a long time it was planted only in Condrieu and on the hillsides of neighboring villages. It is therefore with good reason that this region is considered to be its cradle . Currently, it can be found in the north of the northern Rhône coasts, but also in Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Greece, California, particularly appreciated in Australia where it alone represents 70% of white grape varieties planted.
For it to be able to express its aromas effectively, it needs perfect sunshine. Viognier thrives in less fertile areas, which explains its low yield, ranging from 20 to 30 hectares in good years.
Properties: combining rarity and complexity, it has aromas whose description is ambiguous. They are heady, intoxicating, and even elusive, because golden or full-bodied, these very rich aromas reflect yellow fruits, fresh flowers, dried fruits. It produces fat and unctuous white wines. One thing is certain, the wines of this variety are very soft on the palate and from the age of three, you can already savor the pleasure that their consumption arouses. In short, this grape variety gives the white wine both great finesse, but above all excellent quality.
The savagnin rose, the savagnin and he belong to the family of the traminers.
Considered as the symbol of wine-growing Alsace, it should be noted that originally it was known by the name of Alsatian wines. But for now, it's just a matter of looking at its production pool and then its characteristics.
Regions of production: the production of gewurztraminer is done in France in the Alsace region over almost the entire extent of the vineyard (up to the plots commonly classified as Alsace grand cru) it also bears the name.
Its production can therefore be made from Thann in the south to Wissembourg in the north, which is the equivalent of 180 kilometres. Another highlight between 1958 today, its production in Alsace has increased from 1500 hectares to 2700 hectares, almost double which is remarkable.
The properties: it is impossible to confuse it because of the small pink berries forming clusters. Its fear of spring frosts likely to hatch its buds prematurely does not detract from its robustness.
For a successful production, the requirement is made to prune its vine shoots long enough so that it gives dry or sweet white wines.
It enjoys perfumes and an aromatic palette respectively on exotic yellow fruits, honey, pastries and spices as well as flowers. Moreover, it offers a unique nose of lychee and rose.
The Savagnin is the cousin of the gewurztraminer, because it also belongs to the family of the traminers . It has the particularity of being produced far from its basin of origin and of being used to make several varieties of wine.
Production regions: originally from the Austrian Tyrol, it is not impossible to find it in many vineyards around the world, especially the German vineyard and also the Alsatian vineyard.
It changes name in other vineyards; this is the case in the Austrian vineyard where it is known under the name of weisser-traminer and in the Swiss vineyard of Valais under the name of Beida.
Its production in the rest of the world is less, the reason being that Savagnin is mostly grown in the Jura vineyards where it sports the tunic of the ideal grape variety for the production of straw wine and yellow wine.
Properties: this grape variety with small white clusters and thick-skinned berries produces straw wines (sweet wine) , the most famous of which are Arbois, Côtes du Jura and Etoile. It is not for nothing in the manufacture of Macvin du Jura (is a liqueur wine) or even in the development of Crémants de Jura.
This very aromatic grape variety produces white wines with a high aging potential. Two adjectives best describe its aromas with notes of walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, flowers, honey and green apple: power and complexity.
Still called Muscadet, the Melon de Bourgogne is part of the grape variety of several wines of the Muscadet family (Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Marine, Muscadet-Coteaux-de-la-Loire etc.) as well as some Burgundy (the ordinary and the grand-ordinary)
Production regions: first planted in the vineyards of the Loire Valley although originally from Burgundy, the Burgundy melon seems to flourish currently in the Nantes region where there is a cool oceanic climate, as well as the soils clay-siliceous conducive to its development.
Properties: the wines it produces enjoy a nice freshness in addition to being light and iodized, they have aromas of lemon, grapefruit, green almond, golden apple.
When aged on the lees, they unquestionably gain in quality and stability.
Its notes of anise and honey added to the fat of the wine give it suppleness and smoothness on the palate, making it the perfect ally to accompany seafood such as oysters.
In short, getting an idea of what a white grape variety is, where to find it, and the wines it produces has never been easier.
No need to be an expert or a white wine enthusiast, as this article has taken care to compile a list of different varieties of the most famous cultivated vine plants in the world so that it will no longer be a mystery to anyone.
We have not spoken of all the grape varieties of course, it still lacks the white chenin for example and many others.