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Basic Guide to White Wine By Wine Folly

Updated: Jan 17, 2018

Do you love the basic white wines but want to try more? This visual guide will help you see how different, lesser known varieties fit into the major styles of white wine and will help you determine what to try next! Since there’s so much to know about white wine, this is a great way to help visualize the basics. Salut!

Beginner White Wines

Light & Zesty

These wines are light bodied and dry, with a fresh clean taste.

Albariño, Aligote, Assyrtiko, Chablis (unoaked Chardonnay), Chenin Blanc (dry or “sec”), Cortese (a.k.a. Gavi), Gargenega (a.k.a. Soave), Grenache Blanc, Muscadet (Melon de Bourgogne), Picpoul de Pinet, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Soave (“swah-vay”), Verdejo, Verdicchio


These wines are typically light bodied with “green” and herbal aromas like grass, jalapeño, or bell pepper.

Bold & Dry

These wines will blow the top of your head off with their intense flavor and a creamy-vanilla note brought about with oak aging.

Chardonnay, Marsanne, Sémillon, Trebbiano, Viognier, White Rioja

Light & Sweet

Often with just a touch of residual sugar (from the grapes), these wines are slightly sweet and very aromatic.

Gewürztraminer, Müller-Thurgau, Moschofilero, Muscat Blanc (a.k.a. Moscato), Riesling, Torrontés

Bold & Sweet

These wines are very sweet and perfect for pairing with dessert and sometimes chocolate.

Ice Wine, Late Harvest, Madeira (Bual and Malmsey), Malvasia, Sauternes, Sherry (Cream Sherry and PX), Tokaji, Vin Santo, White Port

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