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What’s the best type of white wine?

For years, I avoided white wine like it was my ex-husband.  White wine has been made the butt of jokes by wine snobs and gets little to no respect.

But let’s take a moment to ponder the plentiful variety and styles of white wines available and you’ll find you don’t need to sink to Yellowtail Chardonnay.  Shun that wine like the plague.

In case you missed what I said, “I’m telling you don’t drink that wine.”  It’s awful.  You can find a better $5 white wine at Aldi’s, so come on Carla, don’t be lazy.

The best white wine can be transcendent or you can happily drink it out of a red solo cup.  Your choice.

The best white wine can be transcendent or you can happily drink it out of a red solo cup. #bestwhitewines #wineanddrama Click To Tweet

Speaking of red solo cups…my father and his new family once “vacationed” (I use that term loosely) at my house for a month.  By the second week, I was day drinking wine out of a solo cup.  I kept hid the wine, corkscrew, and solo cups under the sink in my bathroom.  I spent many long afternoons in the bathroom.

I’m sure they thought I suffered from irritable bowel syndrome or something.

All I knew is that the five Xanax my friend shared with me were gone by day eight.  It was either day drinking or taking my stepmother down.  Stop vacuuming at six o’clock in the morning!  It’s a wood floor, for crying out loud.

How Can You Pick the Best White Wine?

In order to pick the best white wine, let’s figure out what style and flavors you like.

I happen to love Champagne, shocker! That’s a white wine.  Unfortunately, I don’t want to drop $50 every time on a decent bottle.

Let’s work within your budget, shall we?

Also, I’m leaving Champagne and sparkling wine purposely out of this round up.  Go here to find out how to pick the best champagnes.

Now, what flavors do you like?  White wine is produced in a dizzying variety of styles from dry and toasty to mouth-puckering tartness to fruity sweet.

You can choose based off the type of grape you prefer.  Do you like wines made from Muscat or Sauvignon Blanc grapes?

You can drink to match your mood or food.  Do you want to put on your secret Coldplay playlist and jam out while drinking and mentally flipping your ex the bird?  Or are you looking for a budget-friendly white wine to drink weekly on Taco Tuesday?

I’ll keep it simple and keep the cost around $13 a bottle.  Some will cost a little more and some less.  At that price point, you’re getting a solid mass-produced white wine that you can drink on the daily and not break your piggy bank.

The beautiful thing about these white wines is you don’t need a special occasion to drink them.

The beautiful thing about these white wines is you don’t need a special occasion to drink them. #bestwhitewines #wineanddrama Click To Tweet

These are easily accessible white wines that you can purchase online, at your local wine shop, and some at your grocery store.  At this price, you’ll be able to enjoy wine from the US, France, Italy, and New Zealand, including some lesser known brands.

If you want to get a little fancier, I’ll give you my favorites that go up to $30 per bottle.  Let’s get started…

Going Light Doesn’t Mean Watered-Down Wine – Ten of the Very Best White Wines

I enjoy choosing wines based on how I feel.  I know this method isn’t for everyone but if you want to drink the right white wine for you, go with what you want at that moment.  It always changes.

It’s pretty much like being a woman.  I reserve the right to change my mind at any time, without reason or explanation, and make it just a little bit terrifying when I do. How to Pick the Best White Wine

Lightness of Being – Carefree & Fresh White Wines

Have you ever wanted to run in a meadow of wildflowers?  Maybe you’re allergic so pollen makes your eyes twitch.  But maybe, just maybe you secretly want to give your resting bitch face a break and drink something that’s light, fresh, fun, and going to put a smile on it.

It’s a closed-mouth smile…but it’s still a smile.

These types of white wines evoke scents and tastes of Meyer lemons, pink grapefruit, apricots, cotton candy, gummy bears, and key lime pie.

White Wine Varieties

Assyrtiko, Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Muscat Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, and Albarino

FYI, if there’s any confusion on the difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio – they’re exactly the same type of grape.  These wines are produced in a different style.

Pinot Grigio is lighter crisp, fresh, and full of stone fruits.  Pinot Gris is richer, more full-bodied, spicier, and ages well.  I’m not a fan of Pinot Grigio but I love me some Oregon Pinot Gris.

Always chill your whites for at least an hour before drinking and drink immediately after you pour it.  White wines don’t need to decant.

Always chill your white wines for at least an hour before drinking. Icy cold is better. #bestwhitewines #wineanddrama Click To Tweet

Try this Carefree & Fresh White Wine

  • Gobelsburger Schlosskellerei, Riesling, Kamptal, Niederosterreich, Lower Austria $16 – this is a lovely dry Riesling that drinks like a Grüner Veltliner. It’s packed with fragrant citrus and freshness.  It’s one of the most gorgeous Riesling’s I’ve ever drank.

My Sweet Secret – Sweeter White Wines

These wines are the happy housewives of wine.  They’re fruity with a little zing, but they’ll never bite.  The flavors found in these wines are ginger, beeswax, mango, cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, jasmine, lime, starfruit, lychee, green mango, honeydew, gummy bears, and guava.

White Wine Varieties

Riesling, Moscato (often on the sweeter side and non-sparkling), Muscat, Gewurztraminer, & Torrontes (a little bit drier)

Try this Sweet Secret White Wine:

  • Saracco Moscato D’asti, Muscat, Piedmont, Italy $12 – this non-sparkling white wine is fantastic on hot summer nights or while laying by the pool. I’m not a fan of sweeter wines, but this is decadent and sweet without being syrupy.  It’s full of white peach, pink grapefruit, lychee, and has a rich mouth feel. You can enjoy with dinner or for dessert.

White dessert wines that are honeyed with soft-edges include:  Ice Wine, Sauternes, Sherry, White Port, Vin Santo, and Madeira.

My favorite dessert wine is Sauterne.  It’s a gorgeous sweet wine from Bordeaux’s Left Bank made from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes.  The primary flavors are starfruit, honey, quince, orange marmalade, baking spices, and a touch of minerals.

Be prepared for sticker shock when choosing Sauternes, most start at $50 and all Sauternes only come in a half bottle size (375mls), but here’s one I like for under $50.

Try this White Dessert Wine

Full of Character & Crisp – Unique & Outspoken Medium Bodied White Wines

These are hands-down some of my absolute favorite white wines.  They’re medium-bodied wines with strong fruit flavors like lime, green apples, pineapple, and white peaches.  New Zealand makes a lot of popular Sauvignon Blanc’s that tend to be a little richer but most are bone dry.

The flavor ranges in these white wines are often sea salt, mineral water, honeydew melon, kumquats, gooseberry, granny smith apples, a hint of nutmeg, lemongrass, pineapple, honeysuckle, lemon zest, white peaches, passionfruit, green peppercorns, creamy citrus, and cucumber with lingering zesty notes.

If oak is used in the aging process, these white wines can have notes of vanilla, cream, nutmeg, or fresh biscuits.

These wines pair well with creamy and tangy cheeses, mushrooms, green vegetables, fish, shell fish, poultry, pork, and red meat.

White Wine Varieties

Vihno Verde, Grüner Veltliner, Sauvignon Blanc, Fume Blanc, White Bordeaux (Sauvignon Blanc & Semillon) and Soave

Full of Character & Crisp White Wines to Try

Sumptuous and Strong – Full Bodied White Wines

If you’re feeling a little bored and don’t know where to turn or what to do…these wines are for you.  These wines keep it big and sumptuous.  They have acidity, but can also bring on the butter and cream and range from pale yellow gold to deep gold in color.  If you want a white wine that doesn’t require any hard decisions, they’ll make it for you and are the perfect choice.

Flavors found in these wines include walnuts, almonds, pistachios, toasted oak, caramel, vanilla, nectarines, peaches, pears, crab apples, butterscotch, pralines, mango, cinnamon, grass-fed butter, heavy cream, nutmeg, mace, ginger, and smoked avocado.

White Wine Varieties

Viogner, Marsanne, Pinot Gris, Semillon, Trebbino, White Rioja & Chardonnay

Mellow but Strong – Full Bodied White Wines to Try

Quickie List:  The Top 10 Best White Wines

  1. Saracco Moscato D’asti, Muscat, Piedmont, (Italy) $12
  2. Gobelsburger Schlosskellerei, Riesling, Kamptal, Niederosterreich (Lower Austria) $16
  3. Domane Wachau, Grüner Veltliner, Terrassen Federspiel 2014 (Austria) $15
  4. Joel Gott, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California (USA) $12
  5. Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County, California (USA), $13
  6. Starborough Sauvignon Blanc, (New Zealand) $12
  7. Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc, Loire, (France) $29
  8. D’Arenberg, The Hermit Crab, Viognier (74%) Marsanne (26%), McClaren Vale, 2014 (Australia) $19
  9. Mouton Noir Wines, Other People’s Pinot Gris (O.P.P.), Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon (USA) $18
  10. Castelnau De Suduiraut Sauternes 2010, Bordeaux, (France), made from Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc $40

What Foods Go Best with White Wines?

Poultry, fish, or shell fish for dinner?  Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc, Sancerre, Viognier, or Grüner Veltliner are excellent choices.

Cheese, Fruit, and Nuts?  Try Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris, or Pinot Blanc.

Spicy food?  Try sweeter lighter wines.  Spicy foods and cuisines often have combinations of spicy, sweet, bitter, sour, and often creamy flavors.   Sweeter or off-dry wines often take the edge off spicy food and are the perfect complement to this flavor profile.  Go for white wines like Albarino from Spain, Grüner Veltliner, Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Riesling, Mosel, or Moscato.

Is it Taco Tuesday?  In that case, I’ll take two fish tacos with extra guacamole, cause I’m a baller.  Open a bottle of Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, Viognier, or Gewurztraminer.

Now get out there and start drinking some of the best shamelessly slurpable white wines for your dollars!
Top 10 Best White Wines

About the Author Alexandra Andersen

I founded Wine & Drama to make you laugh and help you learn all about wine, food, and living well. I love stinky cheese, my Nespresso machine, Loire Valley white wines, bold full-bodied reds, and championing ladies in winemaking.

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