List Page Learn About Content Graphic

White Wine

Learn about white wine — the range of styles, how it’s made and more ...

undefined, null

Types of white wine varieties

While only a handful of white wine varieties are responsible for most of the commercial production of white wine worldwide, hundreds of native varieties are important not only to local culture, but to the diversity of the global wine world. From lean and crisp to oaky and buttery, white wine comes in an array of styles and is produced in almost every wine region of the world. While they’re all important to local cultures and global wine diversity, these are the top white grapes used for production:

  • Chardonnay: Diverse styles, but often shows oak influence and a buttery quality.
  • Sauvignon Blanc: Crisp, aromatic, often un-oaked. Citrus, grassy and tropical notes.
  • Pinot Grigio/Gris: Usually un-oaked, medium-bodied, with apple, pear and citrus.
  • Chenin Blanc: Made into dry, sweet, still and sparkling wines. Apple, pear, ginger, “steel wool” minerality.
  • Riesling: Tolerates cold weather, high in acid. Lime, peach and petrol notes. Can be dry, medium sweet or lusciously sweet.
  • Semillon: Often blended with Sauvignon Blanc. Has a viscous texture and notes of citrus and tropical fruit. Susceptible to botrytis and used in rich dessert wines.

Styles of white wine

Apart from the differences between dry and sweet wines, there are 3 basic styles in dry white wines.

  • Light, crisp and uncomplicated. Think Pinot Grigio.
  • Medium-bodied, aromatic and flavorful. Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc.
  • Full, textured and richly-flavored. Chardonnay or Viognier.
  • Sweet white wine - Sweet whites occur when the winemaker stops fermentation before the yeasts have converted all the sugar to alcohol, the result being a sweet, low alcohol wine. A German Auslese Reisling is a good example of a still sweet wine.
  • Dry white wine - Dry white wine happens when the winemaker allows fermentation to continue until little to no residual sugar is left. These can be higher in alcohol, though the percentage will vary depending on the ripeness of the grapes. Cooler climate whites will be lighter in body, ranging from 11% to 12.5% alcohol by volume (ABV). Warm climate whites will be fuller, from 13% to as high as 15% ABV in some cases.

Some of the most popular New World white wine regions are California’s Sonoma and Central Coast regions, New Zealand’s Marlborough region and Chile. In the Old World, legendary regions include Burgundy and the Loire Valley in France, Germany’s Mosel and Rheingau, Italy’s Veneto and Alto Adige and Spain’s Rias Baixas.

How is white wine made?

Unlike red winemaking, the juice from white grapes is not typically left in contact with the grape skins during the fermentation process. As quickly as possible after harvest, grapes are crushed and pressed, removing the juice from the grape skins and other solids. To preserve fresh aromatics and fruit, white wines are fermented cooler than reds. The winemaker may let the wine rest on its lees (spent yeast cells) for a period of time, providing additional texture or a “biscuity” quality. They may also initiate malolactic fermentation, a process that converts tart malic acid into softer lactic acid and lends a creamy, buttery essence to the wine. Whether and how to use oak is another important decision. Barrels, especially new ones, can have a dramatic influence on a wine’s aromas and flavors, adding notes of vanilla, toast, spice and coconut. Though, older barrels can provide neutral containers for the development of the wine.

What gives white wine its color?

White wines can vary in color from nearly clear lemon-green to medium gold to pale orange or almost light brown, depending on grape variety, winemaking methods and age.

Red wine gets its color from time spent in contact with the skins. Since white wine juice is separated from the skins quickly, it tends to be pale. Un-oaked white wines are often light yellow, sometimes with greenish tints. White wines that mature in new oak will become richer in color; subtle oxidation that occurs with oak aging causes a more golden hue.

White wine color

Evaluating white wine color is best done in a well-lit room. Hold your glass against a white background and look closely. A very pale wine indicates an un-oaked, lighter-bodied wine that might come from a cool climate region like Italy’s Alto Adige or Germany’s Mosel. A straw-colored wine suggests Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon or Pinot Blanc, while fuller, oaked whites often appear golden in the glass. Deeper, darker colors result either from deliberate skin contact or longer, oxidative aging.

Pairing white wine with food

White wines can be versatile with food. Here are some terrific pairing ideas:

  • Chardonnay with poultry, lobster or crab, rich and creamy cheeses.
  • Sauvignon Blanc with light salads, light seafood dishes, goat cheese.
  • Albariño with shellfish.
  • Riesling (medium-sweet versions) with spicy Asian cuisine.

Health benefits of white wine

While white wine is lower than red wine in certain healthful compounds like resveratrol, multiple studies have shown that moderate alcohol consumption raises HDL (good cholesterol), reduces the risk of blood clots and helps prevent artery damage caused by LDL (bad cholesterol). Moderate consumption is typically defined as up to one drink per day for women, two for men.

How do you serve white wine?

Light-bodied white wines like Pinot Grigio should be served cool, at 45F to 50F. Fuller white wines like oaked Chardonnay are best served at 55F. As for stemware, the best white wine glasses have a stem and a narrow bowl large enough to allow swirling without spilling. Ideally for storing white wine in any long-term sense, it should be at cellar temperature, about 55F.

How long does white wine last?

Once opened, a bottle of white wine will usually stay fresh in the refrigerator for a couple of days or so. Unopened, white wines stay good for about a year to, in some cases, several decades. Assessing how long to hold on to a bottle is a complicated science. If you are planning to strategically store white wine, reach out to a wine expert/professional.

Aging white wine

Most white wines are meant to be enjoyed soon after release, but some can age for decades. High quality Rieslings, as well as some White Burgundies and Semillons are in this category.

Filter by
2,367 Items
2,367 Items
Gift Type
Occasion
Variety
Rating & Price
Rating All
Price All
2,367 Items
  • Sine Qua Non The Petition 2005  Front Label
    Sine Qua Non The Petition 2005
    Other White Blends from Central Coast, California
    • RP95
    • WS91
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $299.97
    Try the
    299 97
    299 97
    Save $0.00 (0%)
  • Dr. Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese 2005 Front Label
    Dr. Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese 2005
    Riesling from Mosel, Germany
    • WS93
    • WE90
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Regular price
    Currently Unavailable $39.99
    Try the 2020 Vintage 35 99
    39 99
    39 99
    Save $0.00 (0%)
  • Hermanos Lurton Rueda 2005 Front Label
    Hermanos Lurton Rueda 2005
    Other White Blends from Rueda, Spain
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Regular price
      Currently Unavailable $13.79
      Try the
      13 79
      13 79
      Save $0.00 (0%)
    • Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2005 Front Label
      Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2005
      Chardonnay from Central Coast, California
      • RP90
      3.7 23 Ratings
      Regular price
      Currently Unavailable $19.99
      Try the
      19 99
      19 99
      Save $0.00 (0%)
    • Domaine des Baumard Carte d'Or Coteaux du Layon 2005 Front Label
      Domaine des Baumard Carte d'Or Coteaux du Layon 2005
      Chenin Blanc from Loire, France
      • WS92
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Regular price
      Currently Unavailable $22.99
      Try the
      22 99
      22 99
      Save $0.00 (0%)
    • Kistler Vineyards Stone Flat Vineyard Chardonnay 2005 Front Label
      Kistler Vineyards Stone Flat Vineyard Chardonnay 2005
      Chardonnay from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
      • RP97
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Regular price
      Currently Unavailable $149.97
      Try the
      149 97
      149 97
      Save $0.00 (0%)
    • Tablas Creek Cotes de Tablas Blanc 2005 Front Label
      Tablas Creek Cotes de Tablas Blanc 2005
      Rhone White Blends from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
      • W&S94
      • RP92
      3.5 22 Ratings
      Regular price
      Currently Unavailable $17.79
      Try the
      17 79
      17 79
      Save $0.00 (0%)
    • Bodegas Montecillo Blanco 2005 Front Label
      Bodegas Montecillo Blanco 2005
      Other White Blends from Rioja, Spain
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Regular price
        Currently Unavailable $8.49
        Try the
        8 49
        8 49
        Save $0.00 (0%)
      • Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Spatlese 2005 Front Label
        Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Spatlese 2005
        Riesling from Mosel, Germany
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Regular price
          Currently Unavailable $18.99
          Try the
          18 99
          18 99
          Save $0.00 (0%)
        • Bayten Buitenverwachting Riesling 2005 Front Label
          Bayten Buitenverwachting Riesling 2005
          Riesling from South Africa
          • WS89
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Regular price
          Currently Unavailable $15.29
          Try the
          15 29
          15 29
          Save $0.00 (0%)
        • Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Front Label
          Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2005
          Sauvignon Blanc from California
            3.6 7 Ratings
            Regular price
            Currently Unavailable $15.99
            Try the 2020 Vintage 13 99
            15 99
            15 99
            Save $0.00 (0%)
          • Marcassin Three Sisters Vineyard Chardonnay 2005 Front Label
            Marcassin Three Sisters Vineyard Chardonnay 2005
            Chardonnay from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
            • RP96
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Regular price
            Currently Unavailable $259.00
            Try the
            259
            259
            Save $0.00 (0%)
          • Waterbrook Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Front Label
            Waterbrook Sauvignon Blanc 2005
            Sauvignon Blanc from Columbia Valley, Washington
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Regular price
              Currently Unavailable $13.79
              Try the 2019 Vintage 16 99
              13 79
              13 79
              Save $0.00 (0%)
            • Domaines Barons de Rothschild Reserve Speciale Bordeaux Blanc 2005 Front Label
              Domaines Barons de Rothschild Reserve Speciale Bordeaux Blanc 2005
              Bordeaux White Blends from Bordeaux, France
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Regular price
                Currently Unavailable $7.99
                Try the
                7 99
                7 99
                Save $0.00 (0%)
              • Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Front Label
                Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc 2005
                Sauvignon Blanc from Chile
                • WE88
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Regular price
                Currently Unavailable $7.99
                Try the
                7 99
                7 99
                Save $0.00 (0%)
              • Marcassin Marcassin Vineyard Chardonnay 2005  Front Label
                Marcassin Marcassin Vineyard Chardonnay 2005
                Chardonnay from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
                • RP98
                • WS91
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Regular price
                Currently Unavailable $369.00
                Try the
                369
                369
                Save $0.00 (0%)
              • Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Front Label
                Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2005
                Sauvignon Blanc from California
                • WS88
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Regular price
                Currently Unavailable $14.79
                Try the
                14 79
                14 79
                Save $0.00 (0%)
              • Aubert Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay 2005 Front Label
                Aubert Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay 2005
                Chardonnay from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
                • RP98
                • WS93
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Regular price
                Currently Unavailable $165.97
                Try the
                165 97
                165 97
                Save $0.00 (0%)
              • Riff Pinot Grigio 2005 Front Label
                Riff Pinot Grigio 2005
                Pinot Gris/Grigio from Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Regular price
                  Currently Unavailable $10.99
                  Try the 2021 Vintage 13 99
                  10 99
                  10 99
                  Save $0.00 (0%)
                • Stonestreet Alexander Valley Chardonnay 2005 Front Label
                  Stonestreet Alexander Valley Chardonnay 2005
                  Chardonnay from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
                    0.0 0 Ratings
                    Regular price
                    Currently Unavailable $27.99
                    Try the
                    27 99
                    27 99
                    Save $0.00 (0%)
                  • Robert Mondavi Fume Blanc 2005 Front Label
                    Robert Mondavi Fume Blanc 2005
                    Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley, California
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Regular price
                      Currently Unavailable $19.99
                      Try the
                      19 99
                      19 99
                      Save $0.00 (0%)
                    • Chalk Hill Chardonnay 2005 Front Label
                      Chalk Hill Chardonnay 2005
                      Chardonnay from Sonoma County, California
                      • CG95
                      • WS90
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Regular price
                      Currently Unavailable $46.99
                      Try the
                      46 99
                      46 99
                      Save $0.00 (0%)
                    • Cambria Katherine's Vineyard Chardonnay 2005 Front Label
                      Cambria Katherine's Vineyard Chardonnay 2005
                      Chardonnay from Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Regular price
                        Currently Unavailable $21.99
                        Try the
                        21 99
                        21 99
                        Save $0.00 (0%)
                      • Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay 2005 Front Label
                        Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay 2005
                        Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California
                        • RP93
                        • WS92
                        4.0 16 Ratings
                        Regular price
                        Currently Unavailable $35.00
                        Try the
                        35
                        35
                        Save $0.00 (0%)
                      • Kumkani Viognier 2005 Front Label
                        Kumkani Viognier 2005
                        Viognier from South Africa
                          0.0 0 Ratings
                          Regular price
                          Currently Unavailable $15.99
                          Try the
                          15 99
                          15 99
                          Save $0.00 (0%)
                        Sorry, we couldn't find any matches.

                        Internet Explorer is no longer supported.
                        Please use a different browser like Edge, Chrome or Firefox to enjoy all that Wine.com has to offer.

                        It's easy to make the switch.
                        Enjoy better browsing and increased security.

                        Yes, Update Now

                        Search for ""

                        Processing Your Order...