One of the advantages of white wine, compared to red, is its great ‘gift’ for ubiquity. The versatility of white wine allows you to be present in almost any situation. And although it is probably something psychosomatic – there is no reason to do the same with a red wine – the truth is that white wine, in this sense, is more like beer, and is much less restrictive than red In terms of consumption.
So much so, that in recent years white wine has gone from being a “minor wine” to presenting the largest increase in consumption in the entire planet. You can have a white wine at any time, only without food, with lighter snacks, with strong meals, with meat and fish, with stews and salads, with the aperitifs, with the dessert, in the cocktails, in the celebrations, in Hot days, on cold days, on a romantic date, at Christmas, …
Many factors that influence this versatility of white, its delicate flavors, its smooth acidity or its ability to serve at different temperatures, are some of these reasons.
On the other hand, the classification of white wines is another factor of their great versatility. We can find a quiet dry white wine, but also with a sweet sparkling white, something difficult to see in the reds.
In a first approximation, white wines are usually divided into two main categories: their bubbles and their sugar.
The quiet white wines are those that do not have bubbles, that is to say that they do not present / display carbonic gas. It should be noted that some still wines have small, practically priceless bubbles, produced by small fermentations in the bottle, without losing them the condition of still wines.
If the wines have bubbles, ie presence of carbonic gas, such as Champagne, Cava or Prosseco, we speak of sparkling white wines. In this group there are also wines with a lower presence of carbon dioxide that we call needle wines and pearl wines.
As for sugar, still wines can be classified as ‘dry’, if they have a low sugar concentration of less than 5 grams per liter, ‘semi-dry’ if they have less than 30 grams per liter of wine. The ‘semi-sweet’, that is that with less than 50 grams / liter of sugar, and white wines ‘sweet’ with more than 50 grams of sugar.
If it is sparkling wines, the classification of the sugar present in the wine presents some differences. Thus, ‘brut nature’ is called sparkling with less than 3 grams of sugar per liter, ‘extra brut’ has less than 6 grams, ‘brut’ less than 15 grams, ‘extra dry’ has less than 17 grams Grams, the ‘dry’ less than 30, the ‘semi-dry’ less than 50 grams and the white ‘sweet’ sparkling wine has concentrations higher than 50 grams of sugar per liter.
In addition to this classification of the wines we have just seen, we must add the age or aging of the white wine.
Thus we would have the ‘young wines’, which is that light and fresh wine – it is called fresh because it has a slightly higher acidity to the following -, which is bottled without any breeding, once they are finished.
The ‘white wines with aging’, which, after finishing, remain in the deposits a variable time – from some months to years – depending on the type of wine that you want to take to the market.
The ‘white wines with aging in barrels’ are those that, like the previous ones, are commented on aging but in wooden barrels that in addition to contributing the characteristics of the maturation add the nuances of the wood that brings its own flavors to the came. They are more and more demanded wines that offer complex nuances and therefore a versatility in the very wide pairing.
Finally, to all these types of white wines that we have seen, a key variable should be added when it comes to marking the character of a white wine: the grape varieties with which they are made. The varieties of grapes will mark both the type of wine to be elaborated and the own method of elaboration, because each variety responds better to one or another form of elaboration.
There are many varieties for white wines, some of the most popular (in alphabetical order) are: Airén, Albariño, Auxerrois blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin blanc, Gewürztraminer, Muscat, Pinot blanc, Riesling, Sauvignon blanc, Semillon, Treixadura and Viura.