Why is white white and red red? The answer is simply that white wine is usually made without contact with its skins. You see, it’s the skins that contain the colour, not the pulp. An exception to this is when some natural white wines see at least some form of skin contact, which will impart some hue.
White wines are generally lighter in style than reds, and are often paired with fish, white meats and salads. Most of the well-known varieties are also of a dry style – which results from complete fermentation of the grape juice, a process that is interrupted when making the sweeter varieties.
Some of the more well-known white wine grape varieties include:
- Chardonnay – associated with Burgundy in France, but now grown around the world. This grape produces a wine with citrus and stone fruit flavours that pair well with chicken and fish.
- Sauvignon Blanc – initially from Bordeaux and the Loire Valley, this grape produces a wine with fruit qualities and minerality.
- Semillon – from Bordeaux but now grown in Australia, the US and other countries. Semillon’s citrus fruit profile lends itself well with fish dishes.
- Moscato – the relatively sweet, frizzante and fruity Moscato hails from Italy and is produced from the Muscat grape.
- Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris – Pinot Grigio to the Italians and Pinot Gris to the French, these wines cover a spectrum of styles. Generally, Gris is richer and Grigio is dryer.
- Riesling – initially from the Rhine, this variety can be made dry, off-dry or sweet.