What is the Best White Wine?

By | September 14, 2015

Introduction

Which white wines impress most? Continuously have the highest quality over a span of time? Are most widely drunk? Following my article on interesting details on white wine I am trying to find out if there indeed is a best white best white wineswine in the world.

I will go on further describing six white wine grapes, something about their origin and history, best regions and more. These are the grapes of my attention:  Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris or Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Gewürztraminer.

Just read on I and I will show you why these are among the best white wines in the world.

Riesling

The Riesling grape, after the Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, is the number three among the grapes from which white wine is made. The Riesling, beside the Chardonnay, is known as one of the best white grape varieties, but do not always get the recognition they deserve. In Germany, the Riesling has been fully embraced and it is affectionately called “The grapes Queen”.

There are several stories about the origin of the Riesling, but everyone agrees that the cradle is located in the Rhine best white winesValley. Its name was derived from the German ‘rieseln’, which means trickle. The neighbouring French Alsace Riesling started making inroads at the end of the 15th century, but it was only centuries later that the planting boomed. It is suspected that the Riesling is a descendant of the Heunisch and Traminer grape variety.

The Riesling grape thrives in cool climates and it feels at home on light soils with lime, clay and stony soils and good drainage. Except in the relatively cool home country Germany, the Riesling also is planted in Austria, Northern Italy, Luxembourg, the United States and Australia and its cultivation worldwide is still rising. The Riesling is also used in the Netherlands to produce a dry, fresh wine.

The Riesling is round, small, turns from bright green to golden brown with red flecks at full maturity and has a pretty thick skin. Its natural, delicate and pure acidity is its characteristic. There are many different Riesling wines: dry, elegant, young wines to the world famous sweet wines that can be kept long. Wine made from Riesling is light in terms of alcohol, contains a lot of fruit and has the special characteristics of its terroir (eg minerals). The young wines contain elements of flowers, green apple, lemon, lime, grapefruit and minerals. In the more mature wines elements of peach, apricot, nectarine and mango come through, but there is always refreshing acidity. And unlike Chardonnay, Riesling does not take well to wood ageing.

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a regal grape for its role in producing the greatest dry white wines in the world — white Burgundies — and for being one of the main grapes of Champagne. The Chardonnay is also the most planted variety in the world, from Australia to Chile, from Italy to South Africa.

best white winesBetter than any other grape, Chardonnay easily adapts to the soil and climate. She is very strong and resistant to the cold. The Chardonnay is under way early and therefore should not be picked too late; otherwise the wine will contain too much alcohol.

Chardonnay wine has a very versatile personality. It can be wonderfully fresh and subtle, with fruity acidity: citrus in colder regions, about apples and melon, pineapple and tropical fruits to the new world. The most famous (and most delicious) Chardonnay in first category is the Chablis. Chardonnay can also have a buttery fatness and a woody character, such as Meursault, who along with Corton-Charlemagne and Puligny-Montrachet  is counted amongst the greatest Chardonnays. And Chardonnay is the basis of the best champagnes.

Chardonnay is the only white liquid which has a distinct affinity with oak. Often, the wine aged in oak barrels, giving it notes of vanilla, wood and toast. Nowadays both oaked and unoaked Chardonnays are well liked throughout the world.

Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio

Both grapes are actually the same. And many may not know it but the Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris is a blue grape. Therefore you will also find rosé or red wines from this grape.

Pinot Grigio Italy

The Pinot Grigio is planted in Veneto in Italy. The Pinot Grigio generally has a light taste of citrus, spices and a hintbest white wines of sweetness. The Pinot Grigio is one of the most popular wines in the US. This probably has to do with the fact that the girls from Sex and the City are regularly seen with a Pinot Grigio.

Alsace Pinot Gris

Pinot Gris is planted particularly in the Alsace region of France. Contrary to the Pinot Grigio, the Pinot Gris has a fuller flavour of many fruits and firmer nose.

Sauvignon Blanc

The Sauvignon Blanc grape is an aromatic grape variety that produces wines that are dry, refreshing, tangy and very drinkable, very quickly. Sauvignon Blanc we see in many wine regions around the world, but its origin is from France. The Loire Valley is France’s leading region for Sauvignon Blanc, with the Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre as the absolute best. best white winesThe Sauvignon Blanc grape has ensured the success of New Zealand wines, wines that stand out for a special freshness and certain grassiness typical of New Zealand.

Harvested early, the Sauvignon Blanc gives expressive aromas of citrus fruit, grass, asparagus, flowers and nettle.

The Sauvignon Blanc is sensitive to extreme heat and develops best in cool vineyards. It can be picked in a plurality of stages of maturity, so that the grassy flavours are combined with elements of ripe tropical fruits.

In the Sauvignon Blanc you can recognize the following flavours: green apples, gooseberries, grapefruit, asparagus and cut grass. Sauvigon Blanc is famous for its contribution to the noble sweet wines from the Bordeaux region, the Sauternes.

Viognier

Wines of the Viognier grape in recent years have become very popular because they offer a good alternative to the crisp, dry Sauvignon Blanc wines and the soft, supple Chardonnay wines.

The origin of the Viognier is unclear, although the leading opinion is that the Romans brought it to the Rhone a long time ago. It is also unclear where its name comes from: it most likely seems to be the name of the Roman city of Vienne, but others think that the name is derived from Gehennae (the road to hell) because of the difficult growing characteristics. Since the eighties, the Viognier is on her way back to the top: alone in the French Condrieu (Rhone), which is considered the cradle of the grape, Viognier now covers more than 100 hectares. In addition, more and more are planted in Languedoc, California and new countries such as Chile, South Africa and Australia.best white wines

The grape loves a poor, calcareous soil and granite; the harvesting should be as soon as the sugar can make a potential alcohol content of 13%. The Viognier grape is relatively difficult to grow and has a low yield; on the steep vineyards of Condrieu – where it is the only grape allowed – its yield is further lowered because of the terraced building.

Viognier is a wine at the absolute top of the white wines. They often have a lot of body and alcohol and low acidity. In good shape, the grape gives a beautiful golden yellow colour and a wide range of fragrance and flavour with elements of flowers, peach, mango, apricot, walnut and honey. Typically Viognier wine can be drunk young, although certain appellations can be kept longer.

Gewürztraminer

The Gewurztraminer grape is a grape variety that is among the “noble” varieties from Alsace. The grape gets its name best white winesfrom the village Tramin that lies in the north-east of Italy. Gewürz means herb and that is what is reflected in the wines from this grape. Both through the smell and the taste its spiciness comes forward. The skin of the grape contains a lot of pigment that makes the white wines from this grape one of the darkest that exists. The taste and odour bring, besides the spiciness, also tropical fruit and flowers to the fore. Because of its spiciness it is less suitable as an aperitif, but better suited for after the meal served with cheese or not too sweet desserts.

Gewürztraminer dislikes chalky soil and is very susceptible to diseases. To ripen well, a dry and hot summer is of importance. Outside Europe, this grape is planted in New Zealand and in the cooler regions of California.

Conclusion

I think you can conclude correctly from the above that each and every one of the grapes mentioned belongs to the top quality white wine grapes of the world. However, some distinctions can be made.best white wine

Based on quantity of wine produced, Sauvignon Blanc ranks one, closely followed by Chardonnay and in third place the Riesling.

It is commonly accepted that Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio are the most important and popular white grape varieties today.

Chardonnay has been the most popular variety in the USA for a long time. However, it may be, in the end it is your personal taste that dictates what you like best.

After three decades of drinking wines, my personal favourite is without a doubt the Chardonnay, with its wide variety and premium high quality wines. I have described a lot of top rated Chardonnays in my product reviews on this site and you can have access to and find these wines and their reviews by clicking the three images to the right (for mobile users just under this text) under the heading World best Chardonnays for delivery to the USA, UK or Australia markets.

Feel free to leave some comments and I will be back to you within 24 hours.

10 thoughts on “What is the Best White Wine?

  1. RuthM

    Funny how your perceptions can be so wrong. I always thought Riesling was a bit of a cheaper variety.. but I guess I couldn’t have been more wrong. I guess I don’t normally opt for German wines.

    Your article is really clear and helps to distinguish Chardonnay from the other varieties for someone like me who knows very little but would love to know more. I can use some of this and make myself sound knowledgeable!

    Reply
    1. Jerry Post author

      Thanks Ruth, this website is mainly about Chardonnay, but I wanted to clarify that there are other white wines as well. If Chardonnay really is your favourite, then you will find everything you wanted to know here. I am offering the best from eight countries around the world. Cheers, Jerry

      Reply
  2. Travis Smithers

    For myself I do prefer the white wines over the red, so I have had mostly white wines through the years. I would also have to say most of the white wines I have had would be from the Chardonnay side, not that I believe they are better for I have not really experienced many varieties as you have mentioned.

    I suppose sometimes it would be fun just to buy a couple of bottles of the different wines and actually see which ones I really do prefer having a wine testing party with some friends.

    Great article, you have me thinking about a wine tasting party.

    Reply
    1. Jerry Post author

      Hi Travis, thanks for your interest and reaction. I see you follow your personal tastes already, by preferring whites over reds. I guess it is a good idea to find out more about other white wines in order to further develop your tastes. Just let me know if I can be of help when you are organizing your testing party. Cheers, Jerry

      Reply
  3. Daniel

    Thanks for the great info Jerry. Ive just started really getting into wine, I used to hate it before! Its great seeing which ones you suggest and hopfully I will be able to try them soon. I also really like the ease of navigation on your site, very welcoming and Im excited to read more.

    Reply
    1. Jerry Post author

      Hi Daniel, if you are starting to like wine, you have a great journey ahead of you. There are so many different kinds of wine, each one of them coming with its own taste. If I can be of help with your trial period, then just let me know. Cheers, Jerry

      Reply
  4. Peter

    Hi Jerry,
    Like you I have been a wine drinker for many years. Living in France, the wine is quite cheap and almost a tradition with every meal. Personally, I enjoy a Chardonnay, but also appreciate the fruitiness of a Reisling or Gewürztraminer.
    In our region around Bergerac in the south west of France they produce reds, whites and rosés. They produce dry whites, but also many sweet or semi sweet whites, including Monbazillac, which are not my favorites, from the Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes.
    Recently I have tried a Chardonnay from the Loire which has a nice twist of acidity and fruity aromas. I especially enjoy the Chardonnays as an aperitif.
    Great site, I will be back for more on the Chardonnays.

    Reply
    1. Jerry Post author

      Hi Peter, you are a lucky guy to be living in such a great wine country. Just know that of late the New World countries, like Australia, California, Chile and S-Africa have catched up with the Old World wine countries in respect of producing some very fine Chardonnays. You can see my world best Chardonnays in my summary here. Cheers, Jerry

      Reply
  5. Daniella

    Hi Jerry,
    Great article , I really enjoyed reading it!
    I am from Belgium and used to travel a lot in France , Marseilles, Nice , St- Tropez, Arcachon and I remember seeing all these beautiful grape cluster fields. France also is a wonderful and very popular place in the world for wine . My favorite wines and champagnes are the Chardonnay ,Moet & Chandon, Beaujolais,and Bordeaux.
    Thank you very much for this awesome blog

    Reply
    1. Jerry Post author

      Hi Daniella, a lot of great grapes are originating from France. Two prime examples are Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc which are revered the world over. Of course I am a Chardonnay lover, but there are also some great red wines around. In France I am going for the lighter wines from Beaujolais and Cote du Rhone. I also like Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Australia. Cheers, Jerry

      Reply

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