Wine lovers know that there are several types of white wine. So, to be able to find the best food and wine pairing, or simply to find the bottle of wine that will meet your expectations and your tastes, let's discover the specificities of each type of white wine .
The production of white wine
To make white wine , the winemaker carries out different stages of vinification:
- Pressing : generally, the grape berries are directly pressed, in order to separate the juice and the must. The juice is then placed in a tank. But pressing can also be preceded by destemming, to separate the stem from the grapes;
- De-settling : this process clarifies the juice, which is still fuzzy and still contains residues;
- Alcoholic fermentation : during this process, the sugars in the juice are transformed into alcohol under the action of yeasts. Fermentation takes place in vats, at a temperature of 20°C on average;
- Aging : this stage consists of stabilizing and clarifying the wine, letting it rest for a few weeks in vats or barrels;
Other optional steps can be applied depending on the winemaker's requirements and the expected result.
The different types of white wines
White wines are generally classified based on their residual sugar levels . We then distinguish:
- Dry white wines, with less than 2 grams of sugar per liter;
- Semi-dry white wines, with 2 to 12 grams of sugar per liter;
- Sweet white wines, with 10 to 45 grams of sugar per liter;
- Sweet white wines, with more than 45 grams of sugar per liter.
Good to know: we sometimes also talk about sweet white wine x. This category includes all white wines that contain sugar, whether sweet wines, semi-dry wines, or even sweet wines.
Where does the sugar in white wine come from?
The sugar content of white wines depends on several criteria:
- The grape variety used (muscat, for example, has a very high natural sugar content);
- The time of harvest (ripe grapes are sweeter than immature grapes);
- The climatic conditions (the heat and the sun fill the grapes with sugar).
White wines and their grape varieties
Very often, we name a white wine by the main grape variety that composes it. It is then possible to have red grape varieties, but the main white wines are made from white grape varieties.
Coming from Burgundy, Chardonnay is one of the most complex white grape varieties, but also the most versatile. In this white wine we find aromas of apple, pineapple and lemon, making it an ally to accompany dishes based on fish and seafood.
Sauvignon-based white wines generally have a nice balance between acidity and aromas. The aromatic palette is also very broad, which allows it to appeal to as many people as possible, from novices to experts. It goes very well with poultry and white meats, as well as vegetables and seafood.
Pinot gris is the cousin of pinot noir, and produces fresh and light wines with floral aromas. This Alsatian grape variety is also cultivated in late harvests, giving wines with candied and honeyed notes, perfect for tasting with seafood or pasta.
Mainly grown in Alsace, Riesling is a very aromatic white grape variety. It offers a rather sweet white wine, which goes perfectly with the spicy flavors of Mediterranean or oriental dishes. When it is dry, white wine made from Riesling is best enjoyed with noble fish.
With its aromas of peach, honeysuckle and mandarin, Viognier is a full-bodied white wine , often rich, round and intense. It has a sometimes oily texture, and it perfectly enhances grilled meats and seafood.
Like Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc is a very versatile grape variety, often used to make sparkling white wines and still dry wines. Generally blended with Viognier or Sémillon, it offers aromas of apple and honey, as well as a nice acidity. These qualities are often enjoyed with sweet and sour dishes.
Our selection of white wines
If Provence is especially renowned for producing excellent rosé wines, the wine region also knows how to make very good white wines . Here is a selection of 3 white vintages from the MDCV group .
- Château des Bertrands Blanc 2020 - AOP Côtes de Provence : this white wine in organic conversion is composed of Ugni Blanc and Rolle. These grape varieties offer a wine with aromas of white-fleshed fruits and spices, perfect to accompany noble fish or seafood;
- Grande Cuvée Blanc 2017 Château de Berne - AOP Côtes de Provence : this very balanced white wine reveals aromas of toasted hazelnuts, milk bread, liquorice and pineapple. It is very popular with foie gras, poultry or fish;
- Grande Récolte Blanc 2021 - AOP Côtes de Provence : with its notes of fresh fruit and its lemony touches, this white wine from Provence works wonders with sea bream, summer vegetables, or even white meats.
Not all white wines are the same, and everyone can find a vintage that will appeal to them. Discover the white wines of the MDCV group , by visiting us, or from our online store.