It’s the crowning moment of your night: you’re with some friends or loved ones, and you’re staring at a tower of fabulously-bottled white wine. Maybe you’ve had a couple of glasses already. Maybe you happen to be in your favorite venue, and you want to try something new to take home, or just keep the night going. The labels are so bright, so whimsical, so edgy, and to make matters more difficult: all of the wine names are described in foreign words. This decision isn’t as easy as you thought, and the last thing you want to be is tongue-tied and tipsy, requesting the bartender’s expertise.
Do you want something dry? Something sweet? Something dry, but sweetly dry? Or something so sweet you can only take a sip of it? Don’t reach blindly for a pretty bottle and hope for the best: gear up and know your white wines! Simply start your wine purchase by reading the label, and assessing the color of the wine itself. Observing the color and body of the wine in its bottle is a great indicator of what experience you are lining yourself up for. Here is a list of popular white wines from sweet to dry. Where does your favorite wine fall?
Very Sweet White Wines
According to Wine Folly, White Port, Moscatel Dessert Wine, and Vin Santo make the top of the sweet white wine list. These wines are dessert wines, and are brownish-gold in color. The body of the wine is thick, and very sweet, with notes of golden raisins, figs, and sweetened apricot preserves. Dessert wines like these are enjoyable in small quantities. If you’re looking to split a bottle with a friend, save the dessert wine for another time and choose a wine from the semi-sweet wine list.
Sweet White Wines
Wine Folly’s second strand of dessert wine specifications include white wines like: Sauternes, Auslese Riesling, and Tokaji. The color of these wines should be No. 2 pencil gold in color with a thicker viscosity. These wines are known to have angelic notes of sweet lemons and honey. Smaller quantities are recommended for this wine as well. Yum!
Semi-Sweet White Wines
Make way for tropical fruit and perfume notes: Gewertstraminer and Moscato are at the top of Wine Folly’s semi-sweet wine list. These two wines bridge the space between dessert wine and dry wine, so when making a purchase, expect something sweet, but not over-the-top. Drink a full glass of this dark-lemon colored wine, if you so wish. Its light body and crafty notes make for a semi-sweet cup of sunshine.
Dry White Wines
Welcome to the drylands, where: Dry Riesling, Viognier, and American Pinot Gris kickstart the lessening of normal sugar present in wine. The drop in sugar is a sign of more fermentation occurring, which ups the alcohol percentage. These dry white wines are almost yellow, with a slightly green tint, and a thin body. Enjoy peach, floral, and sweet lemon notes. Chardonnay, another popular white wine, falls about one notch drier than the standard dry, white wine.
Bone Dry White Wines
Wine Folly lists Italian Pinot Grigio, Chablis, Dry Furmint, and Gavi as standard, driest-of-the-dry white wines. If you are a fan of sweet whites, know these names well and steer clear! With these dry wines, you can expect a very greenish color. Often times this green color is accompanied with bitter mineral and lemon notes.
Where do you fall in your wine preferences? Use the spectrum of white wines from sweet to dry to set up a tasting and find out. To set up a proper tasting, it is recommended to find a solid house wine from your local winery, and use it to compare complex flavors from other wines. Happy tasting, and enjoy finding the perfect wine for your occasion!