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Know the 


Here are the most popular white wine grape varieties used in winemaking today. No matter where the wine comes from, certain characteristics are associated with these varieties. Use this as a guide to predict the taste of wine and buy or order wines at a restaurant.

Bunches of Chardonnay Grapes Hanging fro


< Shar-doh-nay >


Chardonnay is the queen in the world of white wine grapes. It is often characterized by soft melony aroma, a perfect balance of acidity and sugar, and easy smoothness. Though a fairly neutral flavored grape, the taste of Chardonnay wines can be quite versatile, at any price point, more than any other grape. From rich, creamy, complex fruit flavored oak-aged wines to lean, minerally unoaked ones, these wines are appealing to wine drinkers globally.


If you like Chardonnay, chances are you'll also like Viognier.

Goes well with

Seafood (both fish and shellfish) salad or cooked with rich sauces, chicken and pork flavored with tarragon, parsley, thyme and lemon zest, oysters (with unoaked Chardonnay), vegetables (peas, zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms, truffles), pasta with creamy sauces.

Notable regions

France, New Zealand, Chile, Australia, South Africa, USA.

Golden grape Riesling (wine grape) on gr


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Riesling, a native of Germany, is probably the most glorious white wine grape varieties. It is capable of producing wines in a vast variety of styles - from lusciously sweet, semi-sweet to off-dry and bone dry; from light to medium-bodied. One of Riesling’s defining characteristics is its high acidity and distinctive floral and apple-like aromas. Its crisp, refreshing and well-balanced character make it a fantastic wine to drink on its own. At the same time, Riesling is a “go to” wine option when it comes to pairing with food. The wine’s versatility makes it the most food-friendly white wine that can be matched with a full spectrum of foods, from appetizers to desserts. Riesling wines are rarely oaked. While most Rieslings are best enjoyed when young, the complex ones have the longest ageability of any wines.


If you like Riesling, chances are you'll also like Chenin Blanc or Gewürztraminer.

Goes well with

Spicy foods especially Indian and strong flavors of Asian (Chinese or Thai), Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines. Can also be paired with chicken, duck, sweet shellfish (crab, lobster, and prawns), quiches and other egg-based dishes, pork, rich and salty meats (hams, sausages, bacon), and desserts (apple tart, date pudding, crème brulé).

Notable regions

Germany (Mosel), France (Alsace), Australia (Eden Valley, Clare Valley), USA, Austria, New Zealand.


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Chenin Blanc is arguably the most versatile of all wine grapes producing a spectrum of wines, from bone dry to sweet to sparkling (in the Loire region of France) to dessert wine, suitable for any occasion. Irrespective of the style, Chenin Blanc’s sensory trademark displays a certain floral, honeyed character, along with zesty acidity. And when conditions are right, a ‘noble rot’ adds additional complexity and intensity to the wine. A sweet-and-sour, crisp, easy-to-drink white wine that’s fun to explore.


If you like Chenin Blanc, chances are you'll also like Riesling or Pinot Grigio.

Goes well with

South Asian cuisine and foods that have a sweet-and-sour element; cream based chicken starters, turkey, firm and lean fish (like grilled halibut with mango-avocado salsa, trout, and smoked salmon), pork chops with apples, herb sautéed vegetables, salads, herb-crusted goat cheeses.

Notable regions

South Africa, France, USA, Argentina, India.

White wine_ Vine with grapes just before


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Meaning ‘Wild White’ in French, Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most popular white wine grape varieties. Depending on where it is grown, its flavor can range from aggressively grassy to sweetly tropical. Sauvignon Blanc’s crisp, intensely aromatic, elegant and refreshing character makes it ideal as an aperitif, especially on a hot day, as much a perfect companion to a multitude of dishes, which is an adventure in itself. To get the most out of Sauvignon Blanc wine, drink it young.

Goes well with

Dishes that heavily use herbs (basil, sage, rosemary, cilantro, mint and parsley), and spices including white pepper, coriander, fennel, turmeric and saffron; light fishes (sole, sea bass, perch, tilapia, cod, snapper), shellfish (crabs and lobster), mussels and clams, white meats like chicken.

Notable regions

France, New Zealand, USA, Chile, South Africa, Australia, India.

Pinot Grigio grape variety. Pinot Grigio


< Pee-know Gree/ Gree-joe >


‘Gris’ or ‘Grigio’ translates to ‘gray’, referring to the grayish-purple color of this grape variety. Like Shiraz, this grape variety has 2 names – Pinot Gris in France (its homeland) and Pinot Grigio in Italy. Though the same grape, the white wines they produce differ both in style and character. The Italian version is light and zippy, with citrus flavors – delightful as an aperitif. In contrast, the French styles are fairly rich and full-bodied, on the sweet side, with notes of spice and tropical fruit. Other regions tend to choose one or the other name depending on the style they emulate. Irrespective of the styles these wines are flavorful and easy to drink.


If you happen to like Pinot Grigio, try a Chenin Blanc or Albariño. 

Goes well with

Lighter fishes (tilapia, sea bass, sole and cod) with creamy sauces, sushi, mussels, clams, oysters, white meats and smoked foods, fresh vegetables or salads that uses shallots, ginger and garlic as a base flavor.

Notable regions

Italy, USA, Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Hungary, Romania.

Viognier is a white wine grape variety..


< Vee-oh-knee-ay >


Viognier grape is becoming more and more fashionable in the recent times. If you like the smell of flowers, you can’t stop loving this grape. Striking floral aromas, flavors of apricot followed by a light spiciness are this variety’s classical associations. Viognier wines tend to be pleasurable both on its own and with food. Its beautiful texture, mellow feel and soothing creaminess makes these wines perfect for a Friday night.


Viognier wines are likely to appeal to a Chardonnay or Riesling drinker.

Goes well with

Mild and spicy cuisines like Thai, Indian, Malaysian and even Caribbean curries. Dishes with a hint of peach or apricot (chicken salads, lamb), meats with creamy sauces, rich shellfish dishes with a hint of spice (grilled lobster, seared scallops, baked crab), sweet root vegetables especially carrots, sweet potatoes and butternut squash.

Notable regions

France, USA, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, India.

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