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All about white wine
All about the types of white wine
The secrets of its elaboration
It was discovered following the natural fermentation of grape juice . It has gone through the ages, and nowadays its manufacture is made according to the same principle, but the manufacturing stages have been perfected by man to have a better quality product.
The wine obtained depends primarily on the grape variety. It is a word used to designate varieties of vines . White wine comes from the alcoholic fermentation of particular grape varieties: white grapes or grapes with white juice.
There are several types of white grape varieties that are grown by winemakers to make good white wine .
The best known are those listed below:
- Muscat blanc : This is a whole family of grape varieties, but the most popular among them is Muscat blanc à petits grains. What characterizes this grape family is its fruity aroma (grapefruit, musk, table grapes, etc.). It is mainly found in Alsace, Italy, Australia…
Riesling : Depending on the terroir ( limestone, clayey, granite soils, etc.), it can give different types of wine. Riesling has a strong fragrance. The main aromas are lemon, cinnamon, kerosene, lime blossom… It is mainly found in Alsace and Germany where it is considered the noblest grape variety, in Spain, Canada and America. It can be used in particular for the production of sparkling wines such as the famous Crémant d'Alsace .
- Gewurztraminer : This is a grape variety that stands out for its strong aromaticity. We can distinguish pineapple, lychee, nutmeg and rose aromas. It is also found in Austria, Germany, Canada.
- Chardonnay : This is the reference grape variety in the production of dry white wine. It has several aromas: peach, butter, citrus, lychee, pear. Throughout the world, the white wines of Burgundy and the Loire Valley are a benchmark . Montrachet , a Côtes d'Or appellation, is a Chardonnay considered the greatest dry white wine in the world, just that. Chardonnay with Pinot Noir are often used in Burgundy to produce wonderful Champagnes , these sparkling wines with an elegant look, synonymous with celebration ! This variety is also found in South Africa, Canada, Australia, Italy and other countries.
- Sauvignon blanc: This is a worldwide grown grape variety. Two of the best white wines in the world are made with this grape variety. It presents aromas of herbs, green fruits, mint and apple.
- Muscadelle : Traditional grape variety of Bordeaux, this grape variety is very sensitive, it produces very good sweet and syrupy white wines but it can easily fall ill. The winegrower must therefore take very good care of it.
- Pinot Gris : Like its cousins Pinot blanc and Pinot noir, this grape variety is at home in the far east. It is highly appreciated in the production of Alsace wines for its roundness in the mouth and its robust character.
- Chenin blanc : This grape variety makes its good chenin, sorry, way, in the Loire Valley to produce good dry and sweet white wines depending on the vineyards and appellations . Well worked, it can produce great white wines , and it is even used for certain sparkling wines ( Crémant de Loire, Crémant de Limoux ).
In the Rhône Valley, too, you can taste very good white wines. If you doubt it, taste our good organic white wine, the white Côtes-du-Rhône .
These grape varieties follow well-defined processes before ending up in the bottle in a wine cellar .
From grape variety to wine
The vinification steps can vary from one manufacturer to another, but generally they look like this:
- The grape harvest: It is the harvest of the grapes. It is done in two ways, by hand or using a harvesting machine. This is a delicate operation, as it ensures the quality of the raw material used.
- Destemming and crushing: Destemming consists of separating the stalks from the berries. The crushing consists of the bursting of the grains thus separating the skin from the flesh. These are optional steps.
Pressing: it takes place after the harvest or after destemming and crushing. Pressing consists of passing the grapes through a press in order to extract the juice. The pressure applied must be carefully measured. If it is too strong, vegetable matter will be extracted with the juice and will give an acid and grassy taste to the wine. The operation must be done below 12°C in order to avoid premature alcoholic fermentation.
Settling: this stage consists of removing the solid particles (lees) from the juice. Two methods can be used: decantation or centrifugation.
- Sulphiting: the must of white grapes is very sensitive to oxidation, which is why sulfur dioxide is added to it. This helps stabilize the juice.
Alcoholic fermentation: the grape retains the natural yeasts during its fermentation. But some producers add it manually to stimulate the process. Fermentation lasts about ten days. Malolactic fermentation is reserved for red wines. This fermentation is avoided for white wines and rosé wines in order to keep the liveliness of the wine .
- Breeding: It can be done in two ways. The first is to put the wine in large barrels with the lees. The wine then undergoes a malolactic fermentation to give a softer wine. The second way is to store the wine for a few weeks without lees. Before bottling, the wine will be subjected to microfiltration to obtain browned wine.
Each producer can add his personal touch to produce varieties of wine.
To know the difference between IGP and AOC, dive into this article
Read also this article on the mysteries of yellow wine!
The different kinds of white wine
On the market, there are several kinds of white wines on sale:
- Sweet white wines or sweet wines : sweet wines are wines with a lower sugar content than sweet wines . They are made from ripe grapes with a late harvest. Sweet wines, for example, go very well with foie gras. A Hillsides du layon is an example of a sweet white wine.
Sweet wines: These are wines with a high residual sugar content, around 40 to 50 grams per litre . In its manufacture, the producer adds water and gray rot. This will result in the ripening of the grapes.
- Fruity dry whites: dry white wines are dry wines, ie less sweet with aromas of fruit, soft on the palate . We can take the example of Alsatian Gewurztraminer.
Powerful dry whites: These are dry white wines aged in large oak barrels. The taste is intense.
- Light or semi-dry dry whites : These are lighter and more delicate wines with a fine citrus aroma.
Read also this detailed article on dry white wine
The production of white wine and its manufacture are very delicate. They are branded drinks that represent the pride of their producers and the region. Let us cite a few examples: the Muenchberg, the Steinert; there are white Bordeaux wines like Bordeaux de Maucaillou blanc… And also wines from the great vintages .
We invite you to discover in this article the difference between natural white wines, biodynamic white wines and organic white wines.
To understand what a vegan wine means, it's happening here
The notes of white wine
The juice of white wine, unlike that of red wine, does not macerate with the grains and skins of the grapes. It is for this reason that white wines are not tannic , they are less rough in the mouth and more lively . We really appreciate their lightness and their pleasant roundness in the mouth.
White wines for laying down, which are sweeter, develop tertiary aromas with flavors of candied fruit, vanilla, tobacco or straw. The drier white wines are finer, sometimes with mineral notes , a hint of acidity and a floral and fruity aromatic bouquet .
Food and wine pairings
Having fun with a white wine is child's play! This wine is a chameleon and goes well with many dishes, just choose the right ones to find the perfect balance.
Natural sweet wines , even sweet wines, such as Savoie wines , yellow wines , straw wines from the Jura or sweet wines from Alsace are real wonders for the palate when you combine them with foie gras , cheeses from goat cheese , blue-veined cheeses and especially cheeses from the region! To make a flawless in your food/wine pairings, the security is to opt for a wine and a dish from the same region.
Its association with seafood is a must in white wine . This wine perfectly highlights seafood such as oysters and mussels , and our white Bordeaux goes perfectly with products from the South-West .
White -fleshed fish and white meats are also very good options to go with a good bottle of white wine . You can grill them on the barbecue or bake them with a little aromatic herbs and a lemon sauce and you're done! Easy right?
If you are real experts, you can also have fun cooking a good blanquette to impress the gallery. Served with a white wine, you may see Jean Dujardin arrive to ask you “how is your blanquette?” ! ;)
Sometimes forgotten, products such as asparagus or artichokes accompanied by a good homemade mayonnaise and a glass of Muscadet are excellent for starting a meal in style!
The colors of white wine
Wine is a story of aromas and color . We use the term “ dress ” to talk about the visual aspect of the wine. With such a word, impossible not to dream. Using the word dress gives life to the wine, we dress it and we recognize one of its great qualities, its aestheticism to die for.
Who hasn't cracked in front of a beautiful glass of white wine?
At the tasting, the wine is served in the glass and then swirled to observe its color and smell it. The tears (or legs) of the wine then take shape on the edges of the glass, creating a true work of art.
The color of white wine ranges from yellow-green to red. The younger the wine, the clearer, paler its color with green highlights . When it matures, its coloring evolves towards more golden, even orange tones.
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