Wine & Dine: 8 Types of White Wines for Novices

If you’re new to drinking wine, the selection available online and in the stores can seem overwhelming. With literally thousands of bottles available on the market today, how do you know which ones you should try first? This post will help identify some of the most common types of white wine that you can buy as a beginner, or that you can give to a beginning wine drinker.

Here are a few characteristics of wines, both red and white, that you may find helpful.

  • Tannin
    Mostly found in red wines, tannin is a compound that leaves behind an astringent feeling when you swallow. New wine drinkers sometimes dislike this taste sensation on their gums and teeth, so look for wines with low tannin.
  • Acidity
    Like all fruits, wine grapes have acids that make them refreshing and crisp. The acidity levels vary among different wines. As you drink, ask yourself how tart it is and if you like a more or less sour-tasting wine. Most new wine drinkers prefer wines with lower acidity.
  • Sweetness
    Sweeter wines tend to go down easier with new wine drinkers; however, that doesn’t mean that a new wine drinker has to drink sweet wine, or that an experienced wine drinker has to stay away from sweet wines. If you like wines that are a bit sweet, look for ones that have higher alcohol content, but stay away from wines with “dry” on the label.

Really, it’s up to each individual, but white wines are lighter-bodied and usually easier on the palate for new drinkers as compared to red wines. Here are a few types of white wines for those new to wine.

1. Riesling

Riesling wine can go from very sweet to dry, but most new wine drinkers will enjoy its light body, bright acidity, and crisp citrus and mineral flavours.

2. Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is a light-bodied and crisp white wine, making it very user friendly for new wine drinkers.

3. Moscato d’Asti

Moscato d’Asti is an off-dry, slightly fizzy wine from Italy, with flavours of almonds and apricots. It will tickle the nose as you drink it, and offers a juicy and crispy flavour experience.

4. Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a light-bodied, crisp, and refreshing white wine with simple flavours like citrus and kiwi. This is a very good wine for summer since it’s so refreshing to drink.

5. Prosecco

Prosecco is a wine from Italy from a grape called “Glera.” It is a sparkling wine, with a slightly sweet, fruity flavour. With no tannin and fairly low acidity, beginners will enjoy it.

6. Chardonnay

Chardonnay is made from the Chardonnay white grape. Often described as having pear and apple flavours, it can also have notes of oak, toast, and butter. This is usually a dry wine but like all whites, has no tannin. Depending on where the wine is from, the level of acidity can differ; Chardonnays from Europe usually have higher acidity than those from North America.

7. Chablis

Chablis is un-oaked Chardonnay, which gives it a very different taste profile from Chardonnay. Chablis is usually described as being dry, lean, and light-bodied with flavours of pear and citrus, with white flower aromas. It has a long and tingly finish of high acidity.

8. Viognier

Viognier is a wine that is just recently becoming more popular in North America. Winemakers in France added Viognier to their Syrah to add a fruity taste, and now more winemakers are doing the same thing. This is a very tropical-tasting white, with a banana and peach flavour, with lots of floral aromas. The alcohol content in Viognier tends to be higher than other whites, so do be careful as a new wine drinker.

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