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Home | White Varieties

White Grape Varieties

Most Popular Articles
Albarino - Summer fun
As the meteorological start to summer in the northern hemisphere fast approaches, what better time to add a light, bright and refreshing white to your quiver of wine arrows. Albarino is a prolific, disease resistant white grape grown extensively in the Galicia region of Spain and the Vinho Verde region of Portugal to the south. Like so many grape varieties, Albarino is thought to have made its trek west from Eastern Europe, more specifically Germany in the twelfth century. . . . keep reading

Pecorino - Cheese or Wine?
Well the short answer is yes, however, if you Google Pecorino it is clear that this Italian name is best known as a family of hard Italian cheeses made from ewe's milk. In fact Pecorino is from the Italian Pecora for sheep. You will have to navigate your Google result list to well down on page two, after restaurants of the same name and countless recipes using the cheese, before you can locate the first reference to a little known indigenous Italian white grape. Yes, Pecorino is indeed both a cheese and a white wine grape. . . . keep reading

Garganega - Marketing Gone Wild
April 23, 2014
If you are old enough to remember Queen, Abba, and Police, you are old enough to remember the marketing blitz unleashed by Bolla Wines, specifically for Soave Bolla in the 1970's and 1980's. The onslaught rocketed Bolla wines, and more specifically Soave Bolla to front and center among wine consumers looking for value. . . . keep reading

White Grape Varieties A-Z

Muller Thurgau - The Elusive Family Tree (or Vine)
July 31, 2014
Even would be challenged by this German born white grape. Its birth in 1882 at the Geisenheim Institute in Germany is well documented, but this child was brought into the viticultural world with no parents listed on its birth certificate. . . . keep reading
Chardonnay is arguably the most popular white wine in the World.  The vineyards planted around the globe cover an area half the size of Rhode Island.  Originating in France, this var . . . keep reading
Chenin Blanc- Versatility sheathed in grape skin
Although it goes mostly unrecognized amidst the stars of the white wine world (most prominently Chardonnay, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc) Chenin Blanc makes some of the world's best wines. Because it . . . keep reading
Cortese - The bambino of the boot
Cortese - The bambino of the boot A veritable baby in relation to its viticulture cousins, the first documentation of Cortese came in 1659 in the Piemonte region in northwestern Italy. While 350 years is nothing to sneeze at, the wine grapes to the south can provide a deeper appreciation for longevity. Fortunately, Cortese found its niche and remains an important grape in the region. . . . keep reading
Friulano - Turmoil over Tocai
Originally known as Tocai Friulano [Tok-eye froo-LAH-noh], this little known Italian white grape variety has been at the center of viticultural legal wrangling for much of the last two decades. Beginning in the 1990s Hungary has lobbied the European Union to ban the word Tocai on Italian wine labels lest it be confused with "Tokay", the famous dessert wine of northeast Hungary. Even though the effort was successful with a 1995 European Court ruling, the complete ban was not in effect until the 2007 vintage. 2007 has come and gone and the wrangling continues, as it is unclear if the ban applies within Italy or only to wine exported from the region. Despite all the legalities, many wine makers still use the Tocai reference and the name continues to appear although often with a smaller font size. . . . keep reading
Gewürztraminer - Tongue Twisting Good
While it does not enjoy the international acclaim as other popular white varietals (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Riesling), this tongue-twisting grape (guh-VOORTS-truh-MEE-nur) makes some of the finest wine in the world. Its origins can be traced to the northern Italian town of Traminer, which without political demarcation would be mistaken for a German town. . . . keep reading
Trending Now - Grüner Veltliner
Well trending yes, but unfortunately for this underappreciated Austrian white grape, the trend may be downward. In what is a typical wine cycle of fad and fade, Grüner Veltliner's hay day may have been in the late 1990's and early part of this century. . . . keep reading
Marsanne - Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride
Marsanne (mahr sen) is a widely planted white grape variety in the northern reaches of the Rhone Valley in France. Thought to have originated near the village bearing the same name, Marsanne traces its roots to the Middle Ages. During the seventeenth century Marsanne wines from Hermitage were recognized worldwide, and Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1791 that white Hermitage was "the first wine in the world without a single exception". Despite the visibility, Marsanne was frequently a blending partner with its twin sister white grape Roussanne, or red grape varieties from the Rhone. After leaving France and becoming established in Australia and more recently in the United States, maybe finally this under appreciated white will have a chance at the altar. . . . keep reading
Melon de Bourgogne - A Marketing Conundrum
In much of France and Great Britain, restaurant wine lists prominently feature the wine known as Melon de Bourgogne.  This grape variety hails from the western end of the Loire Valley, in the Pay . . . keep reading
Muscat - The original grape?
Often credited with being the first grape ever used to produce wine, Muscat has a simplicity of flavors that makes identification easy, yet a nomenclature derived from its geographic and mutational reach that will make your head spin. . . . keep reading
Pinot Blanc - The forgotten Pinot
Surely you've heard of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, and maybe even Pinot Meunier, but as common as the name Pinot Blanc might sound, it is the most understated and some would say underappreciated member of the Pinot family. . . . keep reading
Pinot Gris - What's in a Name?
It seems that the most challenging aspect of growing this varietal is not the actual viticulture but rather naming the wine. Known as Tokay d'Alsace in its original home of France, Pinot Grigio in neighboring Italy, Grauburgunder or Rulander in Germany, Sivi Pinot in Eastern Europe, and Pinot Beurot or Fromentau in other parts of France, the grape certainly does not have a lack of aliases. . . . keep reading
Piquepoul Blanc - the "Lip Stinger"
This French native has been around for centuries however, as with so many lesser known grape varieties, wine made from this white varietal is beginning to see a little more visibility on the shelves o . . . keep reading
Riesling- The Misunderstood Noble
Although it ranks 20th in worldwide production, Riesling is considered to be one of the top three white grape varietals. Lagging behind the popular stalwarts Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling is often misunderstood by the general public, who often view the varietal through a one-dimensional prism. . . . keep reading
Roussanne - A Case of Mistaken Identity
Even the wine industry has its fair share of mystery and intrigue, and so is the case with the white grape variety known as Roussanne. Originally from the Rhone Valley wine region in France, its popularity there in the late 1980s led the self-proclaimed "provocateur, punster, philosopher and winemaker" Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard in Santa Cruz California, to help a few cuttings of Roussanne abscond from a vineyard in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Seemingly innocent enough, the grape cuttings travelled to the US, in the comfort of Grahm's Samsonite luggage. . . . keep reading
Sauvignon Blanc- The unassuming star
A dry, crisp and highly aromatic white grape, Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most popular white varietals in the world. While it may lack the star power and adulation Chardonnay or Riesling command, Sauvignon Blanc makes some of the best white wines in the world. Its ease of cultivation and straightforwardness in the bottle has earned it many winemaker fans around the globe. It also gives consumers a wide array of styles to choose from, depending on the region of origin. . . . keep reading
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