If all white wines offer such different flavors and characteristics, it is partly thanks to the diversity of the grapes used to make them. Winegrowers then choose between different varieties of grapes, also called grape varieties, to obtain a finished product that meets their expectations as closely as possible. So let's find out which grapes are used to make white wine .
Production of white wines: white grapes and black grapes
If you thought that white wines were necessarily made from white grapes, know that it is entirely possible to vinify white with red grapes . Indeed, remember that only the skin of the grape is colored, and that the pulp and juice of the grape are colorless. It is then enough to limit the contact between the colored pigments of the skin and the juice, to obtain a white wine.
It is also the technique of vinification by pressing which allows winegrowers to choose either red grapes or white grapes for their white wines. This involves quickly pressing the grape berries, then removing the skin from the grapes as quickly as possible, so that they do not tint the juice.
Good to know: with Champagne, we speak of "blanc de Blancs" when it is made with 100% white grape varieties, and "blanc de Noirs" when it is made with a mixture of white and black grapes.
The main white wine grape varieties
Of course, it is much easier and more logical for an oenologist to produce white wine from white grape varieties . It is for this reason that the majority of grape varieties used to make white wines are white. Among the best known, we note Chardonnay, Aligoté, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, and even Muscat.
Among the grape varieties with black grapes used to make white wine, Pinot Noir is best known.
The different types of white wines
Each grape variety, associated with viticulture and winemaking techniques, then reveals unique characteristics, which make it possible to obtain very varied white wines.
- Sweet white wine : subtly sweet, this type of wine is generally vinified with very ripe grapes, harvested late in the harvest. We also talk about sweet wines;
- Sweet white wine : the production of sweet wines is made from very ripe grapes. The residual sugar level is then very high (40 to 50 grams per liter);
- Dry white wine : dry wine is distinguished from sweet and sweet by its much lower residual sugar content. Generally, dry white wines are revealed by their fruity aromas.
The different shades of white wine
The color of white wine can take on very varied shades , ranging from pale yellow to straw yellow, including yellow-green. As we have seen, the type of grape can then give a more or less intense color. But the sugar level also plays a role in the color of white wines. Thus, the longer the alcoholic fermentation, the more the wine turns a nice dark yellow. This explains, for example, the pretty golden color of sweet and sweet wines. Conversely, more acidic wines, which have undergone short alcoholic fermentation, are paler.
Generally speaking, the color of white wine also depends on its age. A young wine often has a pale yellow color, with green reflections. With aging, it takes on golden or even amber hues.
What grapes are used to make Château de Berne white wines?
If Provence is especially famous for its rosé wines, the Berne estate also produces excellent white wines and red wines. White wines are then made from grape varieties that particularly appreciate the hot climate and poor soils of the Provençal terroir.
- Rolle : very common in Provence, this white grape variety allows the production of balanced, fine and fragrant wine with notes of pear, citrus, fennel and almond. Served as an aperitif, this type of white wine is also very popular with fish or white meat, or with Mediterranean cuisine;
- Sémillon : this type of vigorous white grape allows the vinification of very aromatic white wines , where we find aromas of honey, hazelnut, white flowers and apricot. If it works wonders with seafood or fish, it is also very popular with white meat;
- Ugni blanc : white wines made from ugni blanc are fine, fruity and clear wines . There are fruity aromas of quince and citrus. Very pleasant as an aperitif, white wine made from Ugni Blanc also appeals when it accompanies a light starter and seafood.
White wine is therefore essentially made from white grapes. They are the ones who will deliver the characteristics of the wine, and are therefore part of the winegrowers’ special attentions. Then learn about wine tasting, to understand what distinguishes the different grape varieties and the winemaking processes.