Knowing how to choose a white wine is an important skill that can carry you through many social situations. A simple understanding of the categories of white wine will lead to a better understanding of how to choose a white wine. White wine is one of four types of wine: white, red, champagne, and rose. White wine is made from grape juice that is free of any imperfections such as stems, skins, or seeds. This leads to its lighter “white” color. Here is a quick little intro or lesson on how to choose a white wine in almost any social situation.
One of the first categories white wines are usually divided into are the terms sweet and dry. We all know what sweet is, but what about dry. Dry is basically just saying the opposite of sweet, in wine speak that is. All white wines fall into either one of these categories or somewhere in between. A Riesling white wine is one of the sweetest white wine categories out there. Chardonnay also falls on the sweeter side of the spectrum. A Chenin Blanc is about halfway in between sweet and dry, so that type of white wine is a safe bet if you don’t know if you like your white wine sweet. Sauvignon Blancs are more on the dry side and a Brut is definitely dry.
The next category that will help you know how to choose a white wine is how heavy or light a white wine is. A Brut white wine is a light white wine. Next comes a Fume Blanc. Somewhere almost in the middle between light and heavy is a Pinot Grigio. A Riesling is slightly on the heavy side ad a chardonnay is the heaviest.
Now you might ask in what way all of this basic information will help you in how to choose a white wine. Well, it is simple. White wine is usually meant to be enjoyed with food. So, if you know you are having a light dinner, say steamed fish or sushi, you might try successfully pairing a light white wine with such a dish. If your steamed fish has a sweet soy sauce served with it, you might try a dry light wine like a Brut to really bring out the sweetness of the dish. The rule that red wines are meant to be paired with meats is completely null and void, so if your date is ordering a steak, but enjoys white wine, you might suggest a more heavy white wine like a Chardonnay. These are only suggestions. There are no set rules on how to choose a white wine. Education and understanding of wine leads to the understanding of how to choose a white wine. You should always enjoy what you are drinking. Drinking a wine you like is always a good choice with any dinner.
If you aren’t eating a meal with your wine you could use how sweet a wine is to determine how to choose a white wine. If you know that you enjoy something more on the sweeter side you could choose as Riesling. If you are a beginner these guidelines to sweet, dry, light, and heavy are a great starting point. You can always defer to your host or waiter and let them know you prefer a heavier wine that is sweet. It is always good manners to ask you host a question in an area that you know they excel at. They may have a particular reason for choosing the wine they chose to serve at their social gathering. This is a good starting point that will set on the right track to exploring a world of white wines.