White wines are made using the light colored pulp found inside the skins of green/white, or red grapes. White wines tend to be drier than reds, and more aromatic and zesty.
Wines are generally named after either the variety of grape they are made from (Merlot, Chardonnay, Grenache), or the region where they are made (Bordeaux, Champagne).
Chardonnay is a green grape variety that is used to make white wine worldwide. The Chardonnay grape originates from the Burgundy region of France, but is now grown anywhere in the world where wine is made.
The grape itself is somewhat neutral in flavor. As a result, many of the flavors found in Chardonnay wines are a result of how it was grown and processed. Chardonnay wines tend to be medium or light bodied, with acidic fruit flavors such as citrus and melon.
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Chenin Blanc is a white wine grape variety that is originally from the Loire region of France. The wine is now cultivated around the world, and is very commonly grown in South Africa. Due to the high acidity of Chenin Blanc grapes, they can be used to make a variety of wines ranging from very dry, to very sweet dessert style wines. Chenin Blancs are generally dry and acidic, with apple (and sometimes floral) flavors.
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Gewurztraminer is an aromatic, pinkish red grape that is used to make white wines. It is a very old variety that is believed to have originated in the area of Europe around Switzerland, Austria, and northern Italy. Gewurztraminer is now grown in suitable climates worldwide, mainly North America and Australia. Gewurztraminer wine is known to have floral flavors and aromas, particularly of rose, as well as a sweet, delicate taste.
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Ice wine is a very sweet wine that is made from grapes that were left to freeze while still on the vine. The freezing concentrates sugars in the grapes, which gives a smaller yield of much sweeter wine. Ice wines are made from a variety of grapes, including Riesling, Vidal, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. All ice wines are very sweet and are considered 'dessert wines'.
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The Moscato (or Muscat Blanc) grape is a white wine grape that arises from the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. This sweet grape is now commonly grown in the USA and Australia as well. Moscato wine is popular for it's light bodied, easily approachable sweetness. Wine made from Moscato grapes have floral, perfume-like frangrances, and tangy, fruity flavors.
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Pinot Grigio wines are white or pink wines made using the Italian clone of the Pinot Gris grape. Pinot Grigio wines are known to be lighter bodied, floral, and fruity with peach flavors. They are far more popular than more robust Pinot Gris wines due to their pleasant, approachable drinkability.
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Pinot Gris is a white wine grape variety originating from the Burgundy region of France. The Pinot Gris variety is know for its grey-blue color ('gris' in French means grey), and is believed to be an abnormal clone of the Pinot Noir grape. Wines made from Pinot Gris grapes grown in the French style are known as 'Pinot Gris' wines, whereas wines of the Italian clone are known as Pinot Grigio. Wines of the Pinot Gris style tend to me more full bodied and richer, with spicier flavors.
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Riesling is a white grape that originally comes from the Rhine region of Germany. Riesling grapes are now grown in a variety of climates worldwide, and remain the most grown grape in Germany. Riesling wines are generally sweeter and aromatic, with honey, citrus, and peachy flavors.
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Sauternes is a sweet white wine made in the Sauternais region of France. Sauternes wine is made from a blend of Semillon, Sauvignon blanc, and Muscadelle grapes. Due to the unusual climate of the area, the grapes are affected by a fungus known as 'noble rot' which causes the flavors and sugars in the grapes to become more concentrated. Sauternes wines are thick and sweet, with apricot, peach and floral flavors.
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Sauvignon Blanc is a green skinned white wine grape originally from the Bordeaux region of France. The Sauvignon Blanc grape is believed to be derived from a wild grape native to the south of France. The grape is now widely cultivated worldwide and is renowned for its refreshing, dry, and crisp wine. Sauvignon Blanc wines have distinctive grassy and pepper flavors, combined with fruity notes.
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Semillon is a yellow skinned white wine grape that was once one of the most cultivated wine grapes in the world. Now Semillon grapes are most commonly grown in Australia, France, and South Africa. Semillon wines are generally off dry and full bodied, with honey and citrus flavors.
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