Beginner's Guide: White Wine Appreciation (2 Basic Things You need to Know)
Updated: Oct 29, 2021
“Wine, Vin, Vino!”, doesn’t matter what you call it, but you know you love it or at least you will once you try it. Wine culture can seem daunting for a novice - from identifying the grape varietal, to the vintage or even the right type of glassware. With a little GudSht guidance, tips, and tricks and of course a couple of sips, you will be an almost-sommelier in no time. Here are 2 white wine basics you need to know to appreciate them a little better.
Types of grape varietals
You can hear wine enthusiasts spewing terms like ‘hard Chardonnay’ and ‘dry Riesling’. As a beginner you might think that they are calling for a particular brand of wine, what they are referring to is the grape varietal and the mouth feel they prefer in their glass of wine – or often than not in the entire bottle!
Here is an introduction to GudSht’s top 6 white wine grapes.
Chardonnay – This is the most popular grape varietal for white wine. It originates from Burgundy, France.
Sauvignon Blanc – This grape originates from the Bordeaux region of France.
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio – It originates from Burgundy, France but now can be found all over the world. It tends to result in a dry and semi-sweet wine.
Riesling – This grape originates from the Rhine region, Germany. It has a perfumed and flowery aroma.
Semillon – This is a golden-skinned grape mostly found in France and Australia. They tend to produce rich dessert wines.
Chenin Blanc – These are special grapes found in the Loire Valley of France. They produce more bland and neutral wines.
GudSht recommends the Wolf Blass Yellow Label Sauvignon Blanc as an introduction to the beautiful world of white wine. You can expect a full-flavoured wine with passionfruit, citrus, and tropical notes.
We will always need to start of with proper glassware. Too small a glass limits our ability to fully ‘nose’ the wine.
Choose a stemmed glass, with a narrower bowl. This will allow you to hold the stem, keep the wine at the proper temperature and swirl the wine. It also allows you to channel the aromas to your nose directly and deposit the wine on the correct part of your tongue.
Evaluate the wine with sight at an angle. Hold it against the light or a white piece of paper. Notice the colour and the clarity. Then swirl the wine and notice the “legs”. The longer the legs, the higher the alcohol content in the wine. Alcohol content in white wine varies from 10% to 14%.
Now it is time to smell. Stick your nose deep in the bowl of the glass and take a big whiff. The smell can almost tell you how the wine tastes. Notice the aromas as you swirl and taste. Swirling aerates the wine and opens it up.
Only after swirling and sniffing, you are now ready to taste. As you sip the wine, swish it around to ensure that it entirely covers your tongue and then suck it some air while the wine is still in your mouth. To know that you are doing it right, you will create a sort of ‘slurping’ noise. Repeat this for a few times to experience the full flavours of the wine. Besides the taste, also notice the viscosity and acid levels (this determines the ‘dry-ness’).
Lastly is identifying the finish of the wine. This is how the wine tastes after you swallow it. If you are tasting a range of wines, you can even opt to spit it out. Note the length and smoothness of the wine.
Wine tastings are best enjoyed with a group of friends. Always start the session with an ‘easy-to-drink’ wine then move on to more complex varietals. GudSht recommends the 19 Crimes Hard Chard. You can expect hints of butterscotch and honey balanced with layers of ripe fruit.
Begin your wine appreciation journey with GudSht’s wide range of premium wines. For more tips and bits of wine knowledge, subscribe to our newsletter. As Ernest Hemingway said, “My only regret in life is that I did not drink more wine.”