Lesser Known White Grapes & Wines

Airén

Airén is a white grape native to Spain where it represents almost a quarter of all grapes grown. As of 2010, Airén was estimated to be the world’s 3rd most grown grape variety by area. Its main use has generally been in the manufacture of Spanish brandy or to make simple table wines for local consumption. Airén is often blended with Viura, Verdejo or Sauvignon Blanc to make a more balanced wine. It is also good to eat!

Albana

Albana is a white grape originally from Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Its wines from this region are typically light-bodied and high in acid. But it’s used to craft four different styles of wines; Albana di Romagne DOCG secco (dry), amabile (semi-sweet), dolce (sweet) and Passito (sweet dried-grapes including a reserva style).  It is also found in the provinces of Bologna, Forli-Cesena and Ravenna.
Source: The Somm Journal- Laura Donadoni​.

Aligoté

Aligoté is a white grape used to make dry white wines, especially in the Burgundy region of France. Aligoté is used to produce a varietal white wine, and is sometimes included in the blend of Burgundian sparkling wine known as Crémant de Bourgogne. In the varietal appellation Bourgogne Aligoté AOC, up to 15% Chardonnay grapes may be blended in. In blends, Aligoté adds acidity and structure to other varieties.

The grape ripens early with moderate yields and produces wines high in acidity that can be drunk young. Its aroma includes apples and lemons with a slightly herbal flavor and higher acidity than the Chardonnay. The appellation Bouzeron-Aligoté AOC is considered the best producer. Aligoté is a crossing of Pinot noir and Gouais Blanc with an origin in near Burgundy, France.

Altesse

Altesse (aka Roussette) is a white French wine grape variety found primarily in the Savoy wine region of France. It yields small harvests and ripens late but is resistant to grey rot. Wines made from Altesse have exotic aromas, often together with citrus and herbs, and have good acidity. They are considered to age well.

Arbane

Arbane (or Arbanne) is a white French wine grape variety that has been historically grown in the Aube region of Champagne, but has now all but disappeared from the vineyards with less than 1 hectare (2.5 acres) left in France in 2006. Despite its rarity, it is still permitted grape variety to be blended with Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier and other varieties in the Champagne cuvée.

Arbois

Arbois (aka Arbois Blanc) is a white wine grape planted in the Loire region of France. It produces softer wines with lower acidity. It is mostly used as a “softening” blender with higher acid varieties of the Loire region such as Chenin Blanc and Savagnin.

Arinto

Arinto is a white indigenous grape to Portugal that produces high-acid medium weight age-able white wines. Arinto wines have flavors of lemon with distinctive minerality, balanced structure and a velvety mouth-feel. Its aroma is moderate strength with green apple, lemon, beeswax and nut.

Aromella

Aromella is a white hybrid grape variety. It is a cross of Traminette and Ravat 34. It produces an aromatic white wine that range from ‘floral’ to ‘muscat,’ Aromella is highly winter hardy and productive, with own-rooted vines. Valvin Muscat produces wines with a similar range of muscat flavors, but Aromella is both more productive and more winter hardy.

Auxerrois Blanc

Auxerrois Blanc (aka Auxerrois Blanc de Laquenexy) is a white wine grape that is important in AlsaceFrance and is also grown in Germany and Luxembourg but there is also a small amount planted in North America and South Africa. It is often blended with the similar Pinot Blanc. In northern Alsace, the cooler climate helps this low acid variety achieve good levels of freshness.

Auxerrois can produce quality wine with plenty of citrus flavors, often with rich, musky aromas. As it ages, it can take on honeyed flavors and will deepen in color. Weaker examples can be quite vegetal and flabby, out of balance and lacking in intensity.

A lot of Auxerrois is used in the sparkling wines of Cremant d’Alsace, where it is typically blended with Pinot Blanc. Strangely, under the AOC Alsace appellation it is legal for a 100-percent Auxerrois wine to be labeled as Pinot Blanc. The wine can be produced dry or off-dry, but Auxerrois does not typically achieve the concentration or sweetness of Alsatian Pinot Gris.

Bacchus

Bacchus is a German white crossing of Silvaner & Riesling. Somewhat lower acidity wines, often used as a blender. It is an important grape in English wines.

Bellone

Bellone is a white Italian wine grape variety that wine historians believed was cultivated in Roman times. The variety is still being cultivated and eligible to be blended in the wines of several Italian DOC appellation. Bellone produces a juicy white wine. Bellone is the principal white grape in Bianco blends in Cori, Marino, Nettuno, and Roma DOCs and a dozen IGPs. It is also an allowed blending component in more famous Italian white wines such as Frascati (max 30%). It is primarily grown in Lazio and Umbria.

Bical

Bical is a white Portuguese wine grape planted primarily in the Bairrada region. It can produce high acid wines and is often used in sparkling wine production.

Bourboulenc

Bourboulenc is a white grape from the Languedoc region of France. It adds freshness, strong citrus, floral and herbal characteristics to regional  blends, due to its high acid and lower alcohol. Wines made from high percentages of Bourboulenc are best drunk in their youth but prone to oxidation if aged too long. Due to its unique, fresh, citrus characteristics is best paired with different types of seafood and shellfish. It’s also a great match for the Bouillabaisse of Southern France.

Carricante

Carricante is a white grape native to Sicily Italy. It  has aromas white acacia flowers and a broad range of citrus aromas ranging from lemon and lime to grapefruit and orange with herbal notes such as mint, aniseed and fresh almonds. It typically has strong minerality and high acidity. It is a high producing grape variety which gave rise to its name “carica” means “load” in Italian.

Cayuga White

Cayuga White is a white hybrid grape variety developed from crosses of the Vitis labrusca hybrids Schuyler and Seyval Blanc at Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York. It is a hardy vine with some bunch-rot disease resistance. In warmer climates it should be picked at lower sugars to avoid overripe, sometimes labrusca-like, flavors; however this has not been observed in cooler climates such as the Finger Lakes and Pacific Northwest, where desirable, Riesling-type flavors are tasted in fully ripe Cayuga fruit. Picked at the proper time, it can produce a very nice sparkling wine with good acid balance, structure, and pleasant aromas, or a fruity white wine similar to a Riesling or Viognier. One advantage of Cayuga is that, if harvested unripe (e.g., in a shorter summer in cool climates), it can still make a good wine, albeit one with more green apple flavors in that case.

This grape, when grown on mature vines in fertile soil, can produce astonishing yields. (Up to 13 tons per acre.) Cayuga is relatively easy to make wine from. In cooler climates, it retains enough acid that a residual sugar level is advised, in order to achieve balance in the palate. Cayuga is grown in small regions in Virginia, Ohio and in the vineyards in Rhode Island.

Chardonel

Chardonel is a white hybrid grape variety created at Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. It is a Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc crossing, initially made in 1953. It is capable of making high quality wine with with good varietal character. The variety is productive, and more resistant to cold and disease than Chardonnay. However it retains much of Chardonnay’s flavor qualities and distinctive acidity. It has shown a lot of potential as a sparkling wine due to its high natural acidity and crisp, green-apple flavors. It is grown mostly in Arkansas Michigan and Missouri but also in ItalySpain and Argentina.

Chasselas

Chasselas (aka Chasselas Banc, aka Fendant, aka Gutedel) is a white wine grape variety grown mainly in Switzerland, France, Germany, Portugal, Hungary, Romania, New Zealand and Chile. Chasselas is mostly made into  a full bodied, dry and fruity white wine.  It is also suitable as a table grape, grown widely for this purpose in Turkey and Hungary.

Clairette Blanche

Clairette Blanche is a white wine grape variety most widely grown in the wine regions of Provence, Rhône and Languedoc in France.

Clairette blanche was often used to make vermouth, to which it is suited as it produces wine high in alcohol and low in acidity, and therefore yields wines that are sometimes described as “flabby” and which tend to oxidize easily. The white wines Clairette de Bellegarde and Clairette du Languedoc are made entirely from Clairette blanche, while the sparkling wine Clairette de Die can also contain Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. Clairette blanche is frequently used in the blended white Vin de pays from Languedoc.
It is also one of the thirteen grape varieties permitted in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. It is the most common white variety in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, slightly ahead of Grenache blanc.

Outside France it is also grown in South Africa for sparkling wine, Australia and Sardinia.

Ref: Wikipedia

Cococciola

Cococciola (aka Cacciuola, Cacciola) is a white Italian grape variety from the east coast of southern Italy, in Abruzzo and northern Puglia. It produces straw-colored wines with pronounced acidity and grassy, herbaceous aromas comparable to those found in Sauvignon Blanc.

It is traditionally used as a blending grape with Trebbiano, in Trebbiano d’Abruzzo wines due to its ability to produce balanced wines. Cococciola is now found increasingly in varietal wines produced and sold under Abruzzo’s various IGT titles. Mostly found in the region’s Colli Aprutini and Colline Teatine areas but has recently been approved for use in single-variety wines made under the region-wide Abruzzo DOC.

Suggested food pairings for Cococciola include; Stracci agli spinaci (spinach and bacon wrapped in pasta), Goats’ cheese tart with caramelized onion and Clams steamed in white wine with garlic.

Côtes du Rhône/Languedoc White Blends

Côtes du Rhône & Languedoc white wines are usually a blend of at least two varietals;  Marsanne, Roussanne, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, and Viognier. But Ugni Blanc and Picpoul Blanc  may also be used as smaller parts of the blend.

Dabouki

Dabouki (aka Dabuki) is an indigenous white grape variety of the Holy Land. Dabuki is heavily grown in the Palestinian areas and only grown in Israel. Dabuki is considered ideal for distillation for brandy. The grape when fermented in stainless steel and left on its lees to encourage complexity of flavor, creates one of the most interesting and the most authentically Israeli wines.

Edelzwicker

Edelzwicker is a blended wine which can be made using all the Alsace France white wine varieties, without having any proportion indications or constraints. Moreover, Edelzwicker varieties can be vinified together or separately.

Encruzado

A rare Portuguese white grape with the ability to be aged in oak, giving it a similar taste to white Burgundy; it shows a distinct, slatey minerality. Encruzado is indigenous to the Dão region, in northern central Portugal. It is planted virtually nowhere else in the country. Encruzado has much in common with Chardonnay – a natural affinity with oak and an openness to being stylized by a. But, it has some distinctive qualities all of its own which relate to the Dão region which has large pine forests. Thus it is not a coincidence that the grape offers fresh pine needle aromas on the nose and a resinous pine quality on the palate, alongside elegant floral notes, bright citrus acidity and a wet stone minerality.

Erbaluce

Erbaluce (Bianca) is a white grape almost exclusively from Piedmont Italy. It is used in the production of crisp, dry, light bodied white and sparkling wines, most famously as passito in the Erbaluce di Caluso DOCG.

Etna Bianco

Etna Bianco is typically a white field blend of Carricante, Catarratto, Grecanico, Inzolia and Minnella grapes with Carricante dominating the blend. Carricante is required in all of the denomination’s white wines, with a 60 percent minimum in  standard Etna Bianco and 80 percent in Etna Bianco Superiore. It is made from grapes grown on the slopes of the Etna volcano on the island of Sicily.

Fernão Pires/Maria Gomes​

Fernão Pires is a white Portuguese wine grape grown throughout Portugal, especially in the Tejo and Bairrada regions, where it is also known as Maria Gomes. It produces wines with a spicy aromatic character, often with delicate exotic fruity aromas. This variety  has a high alcohol content, low acid, and intense aroma. These wines are best drunk young or only matured for up to 2 or 3 years. There are also some significant plantings in South Africa.

Feteasca Regala

Feteasca Regala Is a traditional white wine grape from Romania. Its varietal wines are aromatic with strong floral elements and are usually dry and reminiscent of Greek Malagousia. It mostly comes from the Tamave wine region in theTransylvania region of Romania. It is a cross between Feteasca Alba and Grasa de Cotnari.

Forcada

Forcada is a Spanish white wine grape. It is a near-extinct variety from the Catalonian area of Spain. It has great extract, acidity and firm flavors, somewhere between peach and leafy. It is very late ripening, and thus susceptible to weather events for an extended period. It is being brought back because of its ability to thrive in hotter and drier climates being brought on by global warming.

Frontenac Gris

Frontenac Gris is a white hybrid grape that produces wines with a characteristic peach flavor. They are also blended with neutral wines to add fruit notes and make an excellent rose. This grape is grown in Vermont.

Information courtesy of Vermont Fresh Network.

Furmint

Furmint is a white grape is most famous for being from in the TokajHegyalja wine region of Hungary where it is used to produce single-varietal dry wines as well as, being the main grape in the world famous Tokaji dessert wines when blended with Harslevelu and Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains.  It is highly susceptible to botrytis and has naturally high sugar levels. The variety’s high acidity gives wines legendary longevity. As it ages, Furmint wine takes on copper and amber-like colors and nutty, spicy flavors. Sweeter styles are rich and luscious, with complex apricot, marzipan and black-tea flavors along with some flavors of brown spices and brown sugar.  Furmint can produce some of the most complex and longest-living wines in the world. It is also grown in the tiny Somlo region in northwest Hungary, where it is used to make dry, varietal wines. This style is increasingly popular, and is marked by rich, sometime smoke-scented character. These wines have aromas of lime rind, pears and oranges. It is also found planted around the Crimea, Saraland region of South Africa, Burgenland , Austria (where is known as Zapfner) and Styria (where it is known as Mosler). In the United States, there are some isolated plantings of Furmint in the Russian River AVA of Sonoma County, California.The wine made dry has the aromatics of sauvignon blanc, the rich mouthfeel of chardonnay and the vibrant acidity of riesling thus its rare combination of lushness and searing acidity makes it an good partner for the dishes that involve sweet and savoury elements often found in Asian cuisines and in Moroccan tagines.  It would pair well with many Chinese, Korean, Burmese and Thai recipes that mingle hot, sour and sweet.

Gemischter Satz

Gemischter Satz (Geh-mish-ter Sah-ts) is an Austrian white wine made from a variety of grapes. Typically a white grape field blend with up to 20 different grape varieties are planted in the same vineyard, and harvested and pressed together and co-fermented in stainless steel. The grapes often include Grüner Veltliner, Weißburgunder, Grauburgunder, Chardonnay, and Riesling.

Gentil d’Alsace

The name Gentil is reserved for white grape blends from AOC Alsace France wines fulfilling the superior-quality blending standards. This blending must have at least 50% of Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris and/or Gewurztraminer, and the rest can be either Sylvaner, Chasselas and/or Pinot Blanc. Before blending, each variety must be vinified separately and must officially qualify as an AOC Alsace wine. The vintage year must appear on the Gentil label and can only be sold after being tasted and approved.

Gentil is different from Edelzwicker which is also a blended wine but which can be made using all the Alsace white wine varieties, without having any proportion indications or constraints. Moreover, Edelzwicker varieties can be vinified together or separately.

Godello

Godello (aka Verdello)  is a  white wine grape grown in Northwestern Spain, in particular in Galicia. The grape can achieve a high level of sugar, which is balanced by a good level of mineral acidity. Its wines offer quite a range of styles. It can produce fine white wines, especially in the Valdeorras D.O. wine region. Godello wines can display flavors of fruit such as apples and pears, with citrus and hints of limes and grapefruit, and have delicate floral aromas of blossom and honeysuckle. Wines range from medium to high fruit aroma intensity, and can have flavors of honey, cream, brioche, vanilla, hazelnuts and sometimes even hints flint and white pepper.

Grechetto

Grechetto (aka Grechetto Bianco) is a white Italian grape of Greek origins. The grape is planted throughout central Italy, particularly in the Umbria region where it is used in the wine Orvieto  DOC and Valdichiana Toscana DOC. It is primarily a blending grape, though some varietal wine is also produced. Grechetto is commonly blended with Chardonnay, MalvasiaTrebbiano and Verdello and can add herbal and nutty flavors to the wine. The thick skin of Grechetto grapes allows the grape to be harvested late with high sugar levels. This works well in the production of dessert wines.

Green Hungarian / Butschera

Green Hungarian (aka Butschera, aka Putzscheere in Germany) is the Californian name for the Hungarian white grape, Butschera. Mainly used in blends, Green Hungarian was once relatively common in California, but has substantially declined in popularity, despite its high yields. The grape is thought to have originated in the border area between Hungary and Romania, or the Carpathian mountains. Its productive cropping again meant that it was once widely grown across central and eastern Europe for simple wines.

Grillo

Grillo [GREE-lo]  (aka Riddu, aka Rossese Biancois) is a Sicilian Italian white grape that produces crisp and savory wines. Lighter styles have citrus blossom and peach aromas, and more aromatic versions deliver passion fruit, grapefruit and herbal flavors similar to Sauvignon Blanc. Lees contact and barrel aging create more complex, mineral-driven wines with apple, citrus and nutty flavors. Vineyards closest to the sea produce wines with pronounced saline notes.  Blending with Chardonnay  is also common.  It is also a major component of Sicily’s fortified flagship wine Marsala.

Gros Manseng

Gros Manseng is a white wine grape variety that is grown primarily in South West France, and is part of the Manseng family. It produces dry wines in the Jurançon and Béarn regions of Southwest France.

Harslevelu

Harslevelu is a richly-flavored white grape variety from Hungary. It is best known for its supporting role in sweet Tokaji wines but is sometimes made as a varietal wine, in both dry and sweet styles. Harslevelu often displays honeyed, smoky characters and its name, which means “linden leaf” in Hungarian, refers to the linden-like aromas that the wine takes on as it ages. As part of the Tokaji blend, Harslevelu adds flavors that are often described as spicy or smoky, usually with honey pollen and elderflower aromas. Harslevelu can also be vinified dry, making a more herbaceous, full-bodied style of wine. While Tokaji is undoubtedly the variety’s center, there are plantings across Hungary, and the variety is grown in GermanySlovakia and a little in South Africa.

Great food pairings for Harslevelu include; Chicken and paprika stew (dry), Salmon donburi (dry) and Roquefort blue cheese (sweet).

​Inzolia/Insolia

Inzolia/Insola (aka Ansonica) is an Italian white grape variety grown in both Sicily and Tuscany. It is most famous traditionally as an component of the fortified Marsala wines, but it is now used more and more as a crisp, dry white wine, in blends and as a single variety. Inzolia wines are moderately aromatic, and tend to display nutty, citrus characters with herbal notes. Tuscan Ansonica has unusually high levels of tannin for a white wine.

Juhfark

Juhfark, pronounced “uh-fark,” is an ancient Hungarian white grape. Its wines are mineral-driven, very high acid, citrus (very quince, or somewhere between apple and pear) flavored variety and excels when planted on the volcanic soils of the Nagy Somló region in the west of the country. Juhfark, meaning sheep’s tail, also speaks of the character of its terroir and was almost lost to time until its resurgence in the 1990s, It pairs works well with robust flavors, like one of Hungary’s savory soups, and fatty dishes thanks to the acidity and neutrality on the palate. It is also said to age well in the bottle.

Jacquère

Jacquère is a white grape found primarily in the Savoy wine region of France. It is a high-yielding vine variety which is used to produce lightly scented, refreshing and gently aromatic dry white wine, such as Vin de Savoie. Furthermore, Jacquère has been grown in some Condrieu vineyards, but it is officially not allowed to be used in Condrieu Appellation.

Kéknyelű

Kéknyelű is a white Hungarian wine grape planted primarily in the Badacsony wine region near Lake Balaton. The grape produces wines which are high acid, full bodied, with rich smokey, honey, nutty smokey flavors.

Kerner

Kerner is an aromatic white grape widely grown across Germany. It is a cross of Trollinger (a red variety) and Riesling. It received legal status in 1969. It shares many aromas and flavors with Riesling. Like Riesling, Kerner is high in acid and has the ability to age well for many years. However, it lacks the flavor and textural refinement of Riesling.

Koshu

Koshu is a near white Japanese wine grape. It is believed to have arrived around 1,000 years ago, but it wasn’t until the 1870s that the grape was used to make wine, having previously been grown for eating.  It was named after the first city producing the wine of Kofu which is in the heart of the Yamanashi wine region. It is a hybrid grape, believed to have originated naturally by a crossing of the European Vitis vinifera and an Asian Vitis species. With beautiful deep-pink berries, its color is similar to Pinot Gris or Gewürztraminer, albeit with a slightly deeper pink.

Wines made from Koshu tend to have a combination of flavors, from citrus (Japanese ‘orange’ or ‘lime’) to yellow fruit. It has been compared to Muscadet, with its freshness and breadiness when made extended lees contact and also Albariño, with its lime-acid and peach fruit. It also has a gentle salty note. It has also been compared to Hunter Valley Sémillon and can also resemble light, dry styles of Chenin Blanc from the Loire and South Africa, as well as Pinot Blanc from Alsace. It naturally produces lower alcohol wines around 11% ABV rarely above 12% ABV.  Other regular descriptors for Koshu-based whites, include creamed rice and mint. Koshu can produce wine in a range of styles base on where it’s grown and wine making techniques. Some of the most notable wines come from extended skin contact. It is even used for the creation of sparkling wines. These styles are driven by a desire to create wines that will pair successfully with the full range of flavors in Japanese cuisine, from the extremely delicate to the strong and salty foods.

Lacryma Christi Del Vesuvio (Blanco)

Lacryma Christi is made from white Caprettone grapes  indigenous to the slopes of Mount Vesuvius, in Italy and has been produced since Ancient Roman times in the 5th century BC. The vines which cover the slopes of Mount Vesuvius are directly descended from the Aminei of Thessaly Greece.

It is made mainly from Verdeca and Coda di Volpe grapes, with smaller proportions of Falanghina, Caprettone and Greco di Tufo included.

​The name Lacryma Christi has its roots in a number of legends, the most repeated of which is that of Lucifer, who took with him a piece of heaven when he was cast out. When Christ saw Italy’s Gulf of Naples, he recognized it as this stolen piece and wept over the loss; it is said that vines of Lacryma Christi sprang miraculously from the earth where his tears fell.

​The wines are pale yellow of varying intensity with golden undertones, have a Bouquet with dried floral undertones and are dry, slightly acidic,  with mild lemon fruity aromas and long finish. They have an alcohol minimum of 12% and pair well with fish and seafood, vegetables, and fresh cheeses.

La Crescent

La Crescent is a white hybrid grape that grape produces big, floral wines with aromatics including apricot, peach, citrus, and tropical fruits. This grape is grown in Vermont.

Information courtesy of Vermont Fresh Network.

Languedoc Whites

Languedoc whites are often a blend of several uniquely local white and Southern Rhone grape varieties. These include Bourboulenc, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, Piquepoul and Rolle (Vermentino).

Liliorila

Liliorila is French white grape variety is a new breed between Baroque x Chardonnay. It was cross-bred in 1956 by the Basque Pierre Marcel Durquéty (1923-2016) in France. The early-ripening, low-yielding vine is susceptible to botrytis. It produces full-bodied, aromatic white wines with relatively little acidity. The variety is therefore well suited for noble sweet wines. However, it is only cultivated in very small quantities in southwest France. This grape was recently approved for plantings in Bordeaux.

Lion de L’Oeil

Loin de L’Oeil (aka Len de l’El)  is an indigenous white grape from Gaillac in South West France.  (The name means, Far from the Eye, or Far from Sight, referring to the vine’s long stems). The grape produces both concentrated fruity dry and sweet wines. It is a thousand-year-old white varietal that has been almost abandoned. Gaillac has a long wine producing history, even longer than Bordeaux and is considered one of France’s oldest viticultural areas.

According to (AOC) regulations the white wines from Gaillac must include at least 15% Len de l’El blended with Mauzac, though there has been movements to allow substitution of Sauvignon blanc (and since 2007 growers have been officially permitted to do so).

Louise Swenson

Louise Swenson is a white hybrid grape produces light-bodied whites, with notes of pear, tangerine, honey, and flowers. This grape is grown in Vermont.

Information courtesy of Vermont Fresh Network.

Lugana Turbiana

Elegant, structured wines from the tiny Italian region of Lugana are made from unique native white grape Turbiana, a unique native grape grown on the southern shores of Lake Garda. The grape is genetically identical to Le Marche’s , Verdicchio. However, in the unique soil and climate of Lugana, the variety has taken on a personality all its own, and it is therefore considered a different biotype. Turbiana in Lugana creates a fuller and richer expression than, for instance, the lean, fruitier versions of Verdicchio dei Castelli dei Jesi. While the denomination allows up to 10% of other non-aromatic white varieties in Lugana nearly all producers use 100% Turbiana.

Its wines can be described in taste as close to Chablis and can have the same role with foods. It is delicate yet full, fun and zippy, evocative of white flowers and apples having fragrant aromas  some have tropical fruit and citrus mingle together with crushed wild herb on the nose. The vibrant, focused palate with flavors of grapefruit, pineapple and saline set against bright acidity. It is able to maintain a high level of tartaric acidity, which gives it the unusual ability to be fresh and zippy in youth, yet capable of aging for more than a decade. Lugana, is a wine with depth and structure that needs at least a year or two in bottle to fully develop.

Lugana Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) wines account for about 90% of total production, while the rest are either designated as Superiore or Riserva releases, or produced as sparkling or late-harvest selections.  Lugana Superiore DOC (which must be aged for 12 months before release) and Lugana Riserva DOC (which must be aged for 24 months, of those, six months in bottle).

Despite its proximity to the Alps, Lugana’s climate is Mediterranean thanks to Lake Garda — Italy’s largest lake — which moderates the climate with a humidity from spring to autumn. Diurnal temperature swings are minimal. It grows well in Lugana’s clay-rich soils. Near the lake — and surrounding the towns of Lugana and Rovizza — a chalky-clay topsoil produces a wine with crisp acidity and a mineral finish. Further to the south, the land is hilly, and has clay soil becomes sandier, resulting in wines that are fuller and richer. It’s a late ripener that thrives in the lake microclimate and yields less than many other varieties, another factor in quality winemaking. Turbiana has compact bunches and is susceptible to diseases like downy mildew and botrytis, so organic grape growing isn’t easy, but it is possible.

Malagousia / Malagouzia

Malagousia  (Malh-lah-goo-zee’AH) is an aromatic white wine grape grown primarily in Central and Macedonia regions of Greece. It is best known for its citrus and peach characteristics and often showing various melon flavors . It is often used as a blending wine, most notably with Assyrtiko, to which it adds middle body weight. It is also called Malagoussia, Malagouzia, Malaouzia, Melaouzia, Malagusiah. Common food pairings in Greece include; Fried zucchini, sardines escabeche, and Tuna tartare.

Malvasia Istriana

Malvasia Istriana is a white grape variety in Collio region in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia wine area of Italy. It is one of several types of Malvasia grapes. It’s a hardy variety with quite large, thin-skinned, yellow-green berries which improves  with vineyard age. It named after the Istrian Peninsula, but EU rules forbid Italian producers from using the Malvasia Istriana name on  labels. They must instead use the more generic, and less specific Malvasia name. Most varietals have fine perfumes and avoid any musky traits are sensitive to where they’re grown. On lighter and rockier soils, acidity and minerality are emphasized. Richer soils produce full-bodied, spicy wines.  Malvasia Istriana is highly vigorous and wines tend to be neutrally flavored if cropped too high but if properly grown, wines are semi-aromatic with apricot, peach, and coriander spice flavors. The wines can be rich, high in alcohol and mouth-filling, but the best great examples still retain fresh acidity. A stone fruit character of the wine increases with bottle age. In contrast to other Malvasia grapes, Istriana is not overly perfumed or oily.

Source: International Wine Review

Marawi / Hamdani

Marawi ala Hamdani is a white  grape indigenous to Judean Hills, Bethlehem,  Israel. It producers wines which are citrusy, with a good acidity, lower alcohol (12%) and distinct minerality.

Maturana Blanca

Maturana Blanca (aka Ribadavia, Maturano) is an obscure, white wine grape grown in the Rioja region of Spain. It’s varietals can achieve high alcohol content but are usually light-bodied, with high acidity and flavors that range between citrus and more exotic quince-like fruit tastes. The variety has the distinction of being one of Rioja’s first-mentioned noted as early as 1622.

Classic Spanish foods pairings include; Basque-style baked spider crab, Zucchini quiche, Potato salad with aioli and capers.

Mauzac / Mauzac Blanc / Blanquette / Pét-nat

Mauzac (aka Mauzac Blanc) a white grape variety mainly grown in the Gaillac and Limoux regions in the southwest Languedoc area of France.  In Limoux , it is the core part of the Blanquette de Limoux, where it may be blended with Chenin blanc and Chardonnay. The grape is also one of the seven permitted white varieties in Bordeaux wine.

Blanquette de Limoux is an appellation for sparkling wines from an area of southern France in the Pyrenean foothills, just south of Carcassonne. Blanquette is also a local name for the Mauzac grape variety, from which these wines are predominantly made.

As is the case in several regions in southern France, local people claim that their sparkling wines pre-date those of Champagne, although such claims are always difficult to prove. In keeping with ancient traditions, wines are still made under the appellation Blanquette de Limoux Methode Ancestrale, which produces slightly sweeter, lower-alcohol sparkling wines call a ​Pét-nat style.  They are often cloudy in appearance because they are left with their lees even after the secondary fermentation. Cremant de Limoux (made from a greater percentage of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc) is produced here as a modern-style alternative to Blanquette de Limoux.

White Meritage

White Meritage wines, while rare, are some of the most elegant and exquisite white wines crafted. A White Meritage, must be a blend of at least two of three specific white “noble” varieties – Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon or Muscadelle du Bordelais. No single variety can make up more than 90% of the blend. The wine does not qualify as a Meritage if the blend includes any other grape variety.

Meritage is a branding used in the United States under a licence paid to a firm which ownes the brand.

Merlot blanc

Merlot blanc is a white French wine grape variety that came from a natural crossing of the Bordeaux wine grape Merlot and the Cognac grape Folle blanche. Plantings of Merlot blanc were first discovered in 1891 but cuttings of the vine have not been widely propagated and the variety is very rare.

Merwah

Merwah is a light-skinned grape variety grown in Lebanon. Alongside Obaideh it is a key part of a recent renaissance of white wine production from indigenous varieties in the country. Chateau Musar in the Bekaa Valley combines it with Obaideh to create an idiosyncratic white wine with excellent aging potential. The variety is often described as being identical, or closely related to Semillon, with Obaideh having a similar relationship with Chardonnay. Merwah typically produces rich wines with light citrus and nut flavors. They can, at times, lack the acid required to balance their palate weight.

Food matches for Merwah include; Adas bil Hamod (Lebanese lentil lemon soup), Smoked-mackerel hash and Chicken shish kebab with tabbouleh.

Monemvasia

Monemvasi is a white grape variety originates from Greece. Synonyms are Artemisi, Artemissi, Klossaria, Monembasia, Monemvassia, Monembasitiko, Monemvassiatiko, Monemvassitiko, Monobasia, Monovassia and Parghino.It is one of the numerous mostly unrelated varieties with name part Malvasia. It is believed that the variety was used for the production of the famous Malvasia wines, which were shipped or exported from the historic Greek port of Monemvasia (Laconia) as early as the 13th century. There is no relationship with any of the many other Malvasia varieties.

The early-maturing, high-yielding vine is resistant to many vine diseases and drought. It yields high-alcohol, full-bodied but low-acid white wines with spicy flavours and is also used as table grape. The variety is mainly cultivated in the Cyclades, especially on the island of Paros, where it is used to make the OPAP white wine of the same name. There are also other plantings on other Aegean islands, on the island of Euboea and on the southern tip of Peloponnese (Laconia).

Source: Wine Grapes / J. Robinson, J. Harding, J. Vouillamoz / Penguin Books Ltd. 2012.

Moschofilero

Moschofilero (mow-sko-FEEL-err-oh) is floral white-wine grape grown in the Peloponnese region of MantiniaGreece. The grape’s expression is wide-ranging still white and sparkling wines offer flavors that span from light and delicate,  and ripe, to exotic and spicy.  Moschofilero is a pink-skinned grape variety, whose aromatic character and floral, grapey flavors often bear comparisons to wines made from Traminer and Musca.  Generally, It produces aromatic wines with high levels of acidity and low alcohol. The best examples are often produced with lees stirring and barrel maturation.  Moschofilero is blended in appellations, such as Peloponnese or Central Greece with International varieties like Chardonnay or indigenous grapes like Roditis and Savatiano. The best examples are often treated to lees stirring and barrel maturation. Wines made under the Mantinia PDO are required to contain at least 85 percent Moschofilero, although in practice many of these are 100%.

Muller-Thurgau/Rivaner

Müller-Thurgau (aka Rivaner) is a white wine grape. It is the second most planted grape in Germany. It is named after Professor Müller of Thurgau, Switzerland, who created it in 1882, by crossing Riesling and Gutedel. Its wines are generally light, with a flowery bouquet and but with less acidity than Riesling. Müller-Thurgau often carries a hint of Muscat in its flavor profile. The wines are best consumed while being fresh and young. Dry wine versions are often labeled under the synonym Rivaner.

Muscadelle

Muscadelle is a white wine grape variety. It has a simple aroma of grape juice and raisins like grapes of the Muscat family of grapes, but it is unrelated. It usually results in a sweet wine.

DNA analysis has indicated that Muscadelle is a cross between Gouais blanc and an unidentified grape variety. Planted mostly in France, Rutherglen wine region, Barossa Valley Australia.

Muscat

Muscat is rarely subtle in its flavor profile. It’s made into both dry and sweet wines but remains remarkably similar in taste in both wine types. Muscat reflects dominant white grape flavors at their most core essence.  Its aromas deliver a wide range including musk, burnt caramel, honey, orange blossom, honeysuckle, apricot, mango, and rose water. It trends to deliver wines with high alcohol levels, high extract and are highly aromatic. The wines can range from lean, high acid, highly perfumed and bone dry to full-bodied, viscous, and honeyed with a strong dried fruit character. The grape also used in fortified sweet wines. It is a very adaptable grape and does well in warm to hot climates.

Muscat is believed to the ancestor from which all wine grapes have descended. The most commonly enjoyed and nest example dry Muscat wines come from the Alsace region of France.

Obaidech

Obaideh (aka Obeidi) is a white wine grape from Lebanon, used to make both wines usually blends, but now also varietals and the traditional aniseed distilled liqueur, Arak (Araq).

The most notable use of Obaideh is alongside Merwah (another Lebanese variety) in the white wine of Chateau Musar in the Bekaa Valley. Obaideh is high in sugar and low in acidity. It often yields wine with a creamy texture and flavors of honey and lemons. The variety responds well to oak aging and, when vinified with care, is capable of aging for many years.

Olaszizling

Olaszizling is Hungary’s most widely planted white grape variety, often snubbed by those with more discerning palates, is Olaszrizling (which translates as “Italian Riesling”). Aka Welschriesling in Austria, Riesling Italico in Italy and Romania, Laški Rizling in Slovenia, Rylink Vlašský in the Czech Republic, Rizling Italyanski in Serbia, Rizling Vlašský in Slovakia and Graševina in Croatia..

It is frequently found in local bars and restaurants as the cheapest house wine. It’s often sold in bulk as folyó (jug) wine. And it is generally seen as a basic quaffer. In Croatia, it’s a standardized cheap wine with some residual sugar, representing every fourth bottle sold in the country. Austrian Welschriesling, mainly from Burgenland and Styria, is a light, dry wine with crisp acidity.

Around the Neusiedlersee in Austria, often blended with chardonnay, it can produce wonderful, unctuous botrytized sweet wines, which scoop up numerous international awards. When taken seriously, it can yield rich, terroir-driven, single-vineyard, refined dry wines.

The best on the volcanic basalt soils of Somló and Badacsony where the wines show greater depth. Whereas the variety’s Hungarian spiritual home can be found further along the northern shore at Csopak, where quality-conscious producers have established a strict quality system, the Csopak Codex, which has been functioning successfully since 2012. Csopak’s producers turn out some seriously sophisticated vineyard-selected wines that show what Olaszrizling is capable of.

Wines made from Olaszrizling range from simple wines with flavors of lemon, apple, almond, and perhaps some floral notes to more sophisticated, terroir-driven wines with mineral, salty notes and riper peach or mandarin fruit. Csopak wines may also have a touch of rhubarb. Some Olaszrizling is made into botrytized sweet wines, which are luscious with ripe fruit and honey, with brittle, burnt caramel, marzipan and vanilla notes developing as they age.

Sip it as an aperitif or pair it with some rantott hús, aka Wiener Schnitzel, smoked fish or some local cheese. Enjoy a single-vineyard Olaszrizling with salty mineral notes at a fine-dining restaurant in Budapest.

Ortega

Ortega is a white grape which is a cross of Thurgau and Siegerrebe developed in Germany. It is an important grape in English wines.

Orvieto

Orvieto is the best-known wine of Umbria, central Italy, and accounts for 80 percent of the region’s vineyard area. The wines are a blend the grapes Procanico (Trebbiano Toscano) and Grechetto, which together must account for at least 60 percent of the finished wine.

Orange Wine

Orange Wine (aka skin-contact white wine, skin-fermented white wine, or amber wine), is made from white wine grapes, but skins are not removed, as typical in white wine production, and stay in contact with the juice for days or even months. This process adds colors which range in from golden-straw yellow to vibrant amber to orange, but results in largely unpredictable changes in a wine’s flavors. However, these wines are often described as robust and bold, with honeyed aromas of tropical fruit, hazelnut, brazil nut, bruised apple, wood varnish, linseed oil, juniper, sourdough, and dried orange rind. Typically they’re big, dry, and even have tannins like a red wine with a sourness similar to fruit beer.

Most orange winemaking can be found in northeastern Italy using Pinot Gris, along the border of Slovenia in Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. Often referred to as “Ramato,” which means “auburn. The Jura region of France makes nutty-tart wines called Vin Jaune and Côtes du Jura, which both use the oxidative style of winemaking with the Savagnin grape. While made slightly differently have a similar taste to orange wines.

Orange wines pair well with bold foods, including curry dishes, Moroccan cuisine, Ethiopian Korean dishes with fermented kimchi (Bibimbap), and traditional Japanese cuisine, including fermented soybeans (Natto). They also wines pair with a wide variety of meats, ranging from beef to fish.

Pecorino

Pecorino is a white Italian wine grape variety that grows in the Marche, Abruzzo, Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio regions of Italy. This grape variety is used to produce the DOCG wines, like the Offida Pecorino DOCG, and the DOC Falerio dei Colli Ascolani DOC, the Colli Maceratesi DOC and the Falerio dei Colli Ascolani DOC. A classic Pecorino-based wine is dry and minerally, straw-yellow in color and has an elegantly floral bouquet of acacia and jasmine, sometimes spiced with a faint hint of licorice. Despite its name, there is no direct link between the Pecorino grape and Pecorino cheese. Ampelographers believe that the grape’s name derives from the Italian word pecora, meaning sheep, because this grape grows in the mountains where the sheep used to graze. According to local people, sheep in the Marche region would often eat the grapes while moving through the vineyards.

Pedro Ximénez / PX

Pedro Ximénez (aka PX) is the name of a white Spanish wine grape variety grown in several Spanish wine regions but most notably in the denominación de origen of Montilla-Moriles. Here it is used to produce a varietal wine, an intensely sweet, dark, dessert sherry.

Persan

Persan is a red French wine grape variety that is grown primarily in the Savoie region. While the name hints at a Persian origins for the grape, it is most likely native to the Rhône-Alpes region with the name “Persan” being a corruption of the synonym “Princens” which is also the name of a small hamlet by Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne in Savoie which has been noted since the 17th century for the quality of its vineyards. Persan is known as an early budding, mid-ripening vine that produces small bunches of tiny berries. It can be very vigorous and usually needs to be pruned heavily in order to maintain reasonable yields. The vines seems to thrive particularly well on stony, calcareous soils with the main viticultural hazard being a susceptibility to powdery and downy mildew.

Petite Arvine

Petite Arvine is the internationally renowned white grape native to  Valais (Switzerland). Arvine gives a complete range of wine styles, the nervy dry version with its aromas of wisteria and grapefruit; the slightly sweet Petite Arvine with notes of rhubarb; and the many sweet flétris wines, often exceptionally concentrated, with very intense aromas of a wide variety of exotic fruits. The true signature of Petite Arvine is its subtle iodine-like character. Great Food pairings include; for dry wines—seafood, shellfish, alpine pastures cheese and for slightly bubbly–foie gras in terrine, parsley cheese.

Petite Manseng

Petit Manseng (aka Small Manseng) is a white wine grape variety that has been primarily grown in South-West France, but now has become a Virginia signature grape. The name is derived from its small, thick skin berries. Petit Manseng’s thick skins and loose bunches allow this to happen without danger of botrytis making it attractive for more humid growing environments and disease resistant.  Domestically however,  notably in Virginia, it is made into distinctive dry wines which typically have  high acidity, medium to full bodied and exotic tropical fruit aromas including pineapple, apricot with light floral overtones.

It thrives in Virginia because it retains  both high acid and high sugar at the same time in the humid weather and warm nights and tolerates late rains near harvest very well and grows well in the clay soil which retains a lot of water. It ages well but not on an accelerated basis but slowly and seems to reach an aging plateau for a long time with enhanced honeying.

Dry Petite Manseng pairs well with a variety of foods, including Asian and Thai dishes that are not overly spicy.

In France, it is most commonly vinified into a richly sweet wine with stone fruit character such as peach and apricot, citrus and sweet spice. The low-yielding variety enjoys a long ripening season, giving the grapes time on the vine to shrivel. This is where the grapes’ sugar content is concentrated as the excess water evaporates, leaving behind resinated berries. Petit Manseng’s high level of acidity makes this extended time on the vine possible. Fermentation often takes place in oak barrels imparting a more complex, spicy character to the wines.  It is made into the sweet wines of the region Jurancon.  It is also grown in the Basque region of Spain, in Australia.

Great food pairings for sweeter Petit Manseng wines include; Prawns with lemongrass, cilantro and ginger (off-dry), glazed apricot tart and chilled bananas & lychees in sweet coconut milk.

Petit Meslier

Petit Meslier is a rare white wine grape that is a minor component of some Champagne blends. It is valued for its ability to retain acidity even in hot vintages. In the very rare cases where it is not blended, it makes crisp wines tasting of apples.

Pét-nat

​Pét-nat, Pétillant Originel  or Méthode Ancestrale, is a method of sparkling wine production.  Unlike traditional-method sparkling wines, like Champagne, which add sugar and yeast to dry, still wine in order trigger a second fermentation and produce bubbles, pét-nat works by bottling wine that is only partially fermented and continues in bottle, the resulting carbon dioxide (CO2) is trapped. After a period of time as short as a couple of months, the gas is absorbed into the wine as bubbles and the pét-nat is ready to drink. This is in contrast to the Champagne style, formerly called Méthode Champenoise (a term since banned by the European Union), now primarily known as Méthode Traditionelle, Méthode Classique or simply the “traditional method.” With pét-nat, wine clarity is an issue. The fermentation finishing in bottle will produce the same sediment as traditional-method sparklers, but with pét-nat, there’s no requirement to remove that sediment by disgorging.

Montlouis-sur-Loire AOC, where the grape is Chenin Blanc, gave legal status to the name Pétillant Originel on the label in 2007 to distinguish its pét-nats from the traditional-method sparklers already made in the area. In the French AOC Gaillac  in Southwest France, home to the Mauzac grape. Pét-nat is so integral to the production in this area that they call it Méthode Gaillacoise, after the region. The Languedoc Appellation of Limoux also produces sparkling wine with Mauzac, and has a separate pét-nat appellation called Limoux Méthode Ancestrale AOC.

Picpoul / Piquepoul

Picpoul (Blanc) (aka Piquepoul), is a white grape variety grown primarily in the Rhone Valley and Languedoc of France as well as Catalonia, Spain. The name means “string the lip”, because of the grapes natural high acidity. Wines made from this grape are light-bodied, with mouth-watering with high acidity. Picpoul de Pinet a white wine AOC within the Languedoc AOC, makes wines exclusively from Piquepoul Blanc. The wines are green-gold in color, full-bodied, and show lemon flavors. They have a soft, delicate nose, with pleasant hints of acacia and hawthorn blossoms. These wines are pale straw with green highlights, though can be more golden in color from older vines. They are delicate and fresh in the mouth with an excellent acid and structure balance. Picpoul wines neutralize the salt and iodine in shellfish and other crustaceans, and also great with rich cheese and charcuterie.

The grape is also grown in the foothills of the Chiricahua in the Willcox AVA of southern Arizona,  in the Red Mountain AVA of eastern Washington State, in Sonoma, California,  in the Texas Hill Country AVA and Texas High Plains AVA.

Prairie Star

Prairie Star is a white hybrid grape that produces neutral wines that is blended to add body to other wines, Prairie Star also has tropical fruit notes and a long cinnamon finish. This grape is grown in Vermont.

Information courtesy of Vermont Fresh Network.

Rancio Sec

Rancio Sec is a style of oxidatively aged, dry wine native to the Catalonian region, and the Rivesaltes, in Roussillon, in southern France. These wines are made by vinifying local grape varieties usually macabeu, grenache blanc and grenache noir and aging in exposed conditions, where heat, light and oxygen combine to transform the final product.  They are higher alcohol level wines usually made from late harvest wines. This process destroys the primary fruit characteristics and replaces them with complex tertiary flavors and aromas, like cocoa, curry and walnut. It is somewhat similar to a Sherry but more rounded and fresher. They can also be salty, smoky and yet fleshy.

The French government created a separate Indication Géographique Protégée (IGP) for rancio sec producers. The rules are extremely lax by French standards: the wine must be oxidatively aged for five years; it must be made from a base of the Roussillon’s typical grape varieties; and it must not contain any residual sugar. Beyond that, most decisions are left to the producer, which leads to a large diversity of production methods and expressions. They definitely have a distinctive taste profiles. Try these wines with roasted almonds, olives, and firm aged cheese. They also pair well with a range of seafood.

Reichensteiner

Reichensteiner is a higher acid white grape often used in sparkling wines. It is a Germany crossing. It is an important grape in English wines.

Retsina

Retsina is a Greek white (or rosé) resinated wine, which has been made for at least 2,000 years. Its unique flavor is said to have originated from the practice of sealing wine vessels, particularly amphorae, with Aleppo Pine resin in ancient times. The traditional grapes for Retsina are Savatiano with Assyrtiko and Rhoditis as well as sometimes other local varieties throughout Greece.

The flavor of Retsina has often been likened to turpentine, even by people who like the wine. Most modern retsinas are made with poor, thin wine. A potent addition of resin masks the dullness of the base wine with a sharp, bracing pungency. However some current producers are trying to improve the wines. Retsinas do not age well and should be consumed within the year of their production and their labels do not show a vintage.

Robola of Cephalonia

Robola of Cephalonia is a white Greek wine grape variety that is grown primarily on the Ionian island of Cephalonia. Historically the vine was thought to be the same variety as the Friuli wine grape Ribolla. However, DNA profiling has cast doubt on that theory. Today Robola is classified by the Vitis International Variety Catalogue (VIVC) as a separate variety.

Robola is widely grown in the south eastern parts of the island of Cephalonia. On Cephalonia, Robola vines are often ungrafted in the limestone soils of the island. The vine is early ripening and can produce high acid wines with significant phenolic levels. Wines made from this grape tend to be dry, medium bodied with a distinct lemon note. According to wine expert Oz Clarke, Robola wines can have flinty character as well.

Ribolla Gialla

Ribolla Gialla is one of the most important white varieties, in the Collio, which is one of the regions within the Friuli-Venezia Giulia wine area of Italy. There are two biotypes of Ribolla; Ribolla Gialla (yellow) and Ribolla Verde (green), but only the Gialla is widely planted today. Ribolla Gialla is golden yellow when ripe with very small bunches of medium large berries with thick skins, high acidity, low pH, and moderate sugar content. It is made in three different styles; the fermented in stainless steel with just a few hours cold maceration; the traditional style with lengthy maceration and/or oak aging; and a sparkling version made with early picked grapes using a modified Charmat method. These wines are typically unoaked and show ripe citrus, white pepper, and bracing acid qualities. Some producers also do oak aging. The thick skins of Ribolla Gialla contain flavor compounds that are released by maceration, resulting in rich wines with lower acidity and the texture and tannins of a red wine. The skin gives macerated Ribolla an orange color. The high natural acidity of Ribolla Gialla makes it a good candidate for sparkling wines. The grapes are fermented, aged briefly in barrel, then sugar is added and the wine is put in a stainless steel tank for the secondary fermentation. The Ribolla Gialla stainless steel style taste profile is similar to the Pinot Grigio with its pronounced minerality, but it’s a more intense, flavorful wine. Aromas of flowers and herbs and flavors of nectarine and peach with a lemon wedge. The finish is long and pleasant. A wine that van be paired well with a wide range of light fare as with Stoned Piper style Pinot Gris™.

Source: International Wine Review

Rkatsiteli

Rkatsiteli [re-KATS-ih-TEHly] (Georgian for “red horn/stem”) is wine grape used to produce white wine.  It originates in Georgia and is one of the oldest grape varieties and dates back to 3000 BC. Rkatsiteli was popular in the Soviet Union prior to its fall and was possibly the world’s most widely planted white wine grape. It was particularly known for its sweet dessert wines made in the same manner as port wine. The grape is a hearty cold-resistant variety. Rkatsiteli produces high acid, aromatic and full bodied wines. The grape is mostly planted in its ancestral home of Georgia though there are still sizable plantings in other Eastern European countries like Russia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, Macedonia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine. In these regions it often is produced an “Amber” or “Orange” style. It is also planted, in small amounts in Australia and the eastern United States, mainly in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, New Jersey and Virginia and North Carolina. In these areas it usually offers a straightforward, crisp, very dry white wine showing white flowers, white peach, tangerine, herb spice and mineral notes but often with high alcohol. It’s often compared to Riesling and Gewurztraminer. It ages well, and then adds bees wax and nut flavors.​

Roditis

Roditis is the most planted white grape variety in Greece. It is used to make hundreds of modest everyday white wines. In actual fact, however it’s skin color veers to the reddish. Cultivated throughout Greece, Roditis is the base for the however when crafted into more premium wines, Roditis  becomes clear, lemony and depending on the region—mineral aromas, light to medium body, and refreshing acidity.

Romorantin

Romorantin is a traditional French variety of white wine grape, that is a sibling of Chardonnay. Once quite widely grown in the Loire, it has now only seen in the Cour-Cheverny AOC. It produces intense, minerally wines somewhat reminiscent of Chablis.

Rotgipfler

Rotgipfler is a grape variety used to make aromatic white wine. It is almost exclusively found in the Gumpoldskirchen district of the Thermenregion in Austria. It is often blended with Zierfandler to make Spätrot-Rotgipfler.  It’s wines show flavors of peach, pear, almond and spice characters with well-balanced acidity. It’s a natural crossing of Traminer and Roter Veltliner, making it a close relative of several other key Austrian grape varieties, including its vineyard partner Zierfandler. Rotgipfler takes its name from the color of the stalks, rather than the berries themselves – rot is German for red. Great food pairings for Rotgipfler wines include: Mushrooms in white sauce with dampfnudel (flour  dumplings,  roast chicken and white asparagus risotto.

Sannio White Wines

Sannio is a hilly area north of Naples, in the heart of the Campania region, south-west Italy. Sannio gained its DOC status in 1997.
Wineries here use ancient white varieties in their wines. These include  Coda di Volpe, Falanghina, Fiano, Greco, Moscato.

A Sannio Bianco blend must comprise at least 50 percent Malvasia Bianca di Candia and/or Trebbiano Toscana. Falanghina, however has its own Falanghina del Sannio DOC.

Varietal Sannio Spumante or Metodo Classico may be made from any of the varieties allowed for varietal still wine. A spumante or metodo classico without a grape designation, whether white or rosé, must contain at least 70 percent Aglianico, with Falanghina taking care of the balance.

Sannio subregions
Several subregions may include their name on a Sannio wine label. These are:
– Sannio Guardia Sanframondi (also known as Sannio Guardiolo)
– Sannio Sant’Agata dei Goti
– Sannio Solopaca (plus Sannio Solopaca Superiore)
– Sannio Taburno

Source: Wine-Searcher

​Savatiano

Savatiano a white grape is Greece’s most planted grape variety. The variety is best known for its role in the country’s infamous Retsina wines but there are dry Savatiano wines too. Savatino wines are varying shades of yellow, usually darker yellow. Savatiano is capable of producing intense, dry wines that show herbaceous characteristics of thyme, rosemary, fennel and sage, of citrus and white flowers. Due to Savatiano’soften moderate acidity it is also commonly blended with Roditis and Assyrtico. Pairs well with greek olives, hummus and feta cheese.

Sauvignon Vert / Sauvignonasse / Friulano

Sauvignon Vert (aka Sauvignonasse, aka Friulano) is a white wine grape common in the region of FriuliItaly. It is widely planted in Chile where it was historically mistaken for Sauvignon Blanc. The grape is not the same as Muscadelle which is also called Sauvignon Vert in California. The quality of its varietal wines depends greatly how it’s grown, where it’s grown and when it’s harvested. It has the potential for very high levels of alcohol with 14.5% ABV not being uncommon. But it can be very bland, but if well produced is fresh with concentrated lemon, orange peel, yellow curry spice  flavors,  and a saline minerality.. In the Friuli region varietal wine (Friulano) is typically full bodied with moderate acidity, floral aromas and delicate fruit flavors. In Chile, Sauvignon Vert typically has with aromas of green apple in its youth that fade as it ages and is more medium bodied.

Scheurebe

Scheurebe is a white grape which was crossing of Riesling and Bukettraube, and was created by German viticulturalist Georg Scheu in 1916. The Scheurebe is regarded as an aromatic variety due to its pronounced bouquet of blackcurrants, tropical fruit and stone fruit. Grown mostly in Burgenland and Steiermark Austria. Between 1999 and 2020, the variety’s total vineyard plantings in Austria dropped, therefore, its importance is in decline.

Sekt Wines (Sparklers)

Sekt is the German word for sparkling wine. No other nation consumes as much sparkling wines. Most Sekt is a simple wine. It’s produced in vast tanks and industrial quantities, and is sold at very affordable prices. In the past decade, however, the German Sekt landscape has changed fundamentally due to an increasing number of small estates going to great effort to craft fine Sekt. Sekt is available at three levels of quality which is shown on the label. Deutscher Sekt must be made from German base wine, can be made in tank or can be made with traditional bottle fermentation (minimum 9 months on lees). Deutscher Sekt b.A. is the same but with a minimum of 85% of the grapes sourced from one of Germany’s wine regions. Finally, Winzersekt  (wine grower’s sekt) must be made by traditional bottle fermentation, with a minimum of 9 months on lees. Most winemakers far exceed that length. It uses 100% estate-grown fruit and the label must state grape variety and vintage. It can be made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Muskateller and/or Traminer, though Riesling is the most popular.

Sémillon

Sémillon wine is a white prized for its full body, like Chardonnay, but with flavors closer to Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc.  As a dry wine it develops subdued aromas of pear, honey, white flowers, nuts and has textures of lanolin and wax,and significant minerality.  It’s an important blending component in White Bordeaux French wines including Sauternes. It is also planted throughout Australia. In the US, Sémillon wines can be great quality for its price. It is France’s 3rd most planted white wine variety behind Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Despite how inexpensive it is, Sémillon has been one of the most popular wines in the world.

As a sweet wine it has aromas of melon, white flowers,  stone fruits (peach, nectarine),  tropical fruits,  honey, caramel, butterscotch, nuts and spice. One of the most expressive sweet wine varietals. Sémillon ages very well in the bottle.

Sercial

Sercial is a white grape grown in Portugal, especially on the island of Madeira. It has given name to the dryest of the four classic varieties of Madeira fortified wine.

The grape is grown in diminishing quantities at the southern end of the island. After phylloxera devastated Madeira’s vineyards, the grape became more common on the mainland, where it is known, somewhat curiously, as Esgana or Esgana Cão, meaning respectively Strangler or Dog Strangler. Its late ripening allows it to retain its characteristic acidity.

Seyval blanc

Seyval blanc is a hybrid white wine grape variety. Its vines ripen early, are productive and are suited to fairly cool climates. Seyval blanc is grown mainly in England, the United States east coast, in the Pacific Northwest, as well as to a lesser extent in Canada.

Seyval Blanc tends to exhibit higher acid and some minerality, with notes of citrus, green apple, hay, and melon. Winemakers have a lot of room for creativity with this varietal, as it can be made into sparkling wine, aged in oak, and employed in blends (often with Chardonnay.

Silvaner / Sylvaner / ​Johannisberg

Silvaner is predominately German white grape variety. The Franken wine region produces what many consider the region’s finest Silvaner wines. It seems best suited for dry rather than fruitier styles of wine. Franken Silvaners are not very aromatic wines but they have a mineral, raciness as well as very firm, full body. The region with the greatest amount of plantings of Silvaner however is Rheinhessen region, where it has an forest-like leafiness. This additional “green aroma” is customarily recommended to be paired with asparagus. In Rheinhessen, consuming Silvaner with the new season’s asparagus is strong custom. Few other regions of Germany grow Silvaner in any quantity although there is some in Pfalz and the Nahe. Some is also grown in the Czech Republic. It is also grown as Sylvaner in the French wine region of Alsace where it has a distinctively full-bodied style with a aromas of earth and smoke with high acidity and is so excellent that it is considered Alsace Grand Cru. It is known as Johannisberg in Valais, French-speaking Switzerland where it is the second most planted grape variety. Silvaner wines are relatively neutral and New World wine producers have shown virtually no interest in the grape.

Smederevka

Smederevka is the leading grape variety for production of white wines in Macedonia. Since it is sensitive to low temperatures, mostly it is grown in the warmer wine growing regions in Macedonia on fertile, healthy and deep soils. The grapes are big with oval shape and thin, translucent, and hard skin with greenish-yellow color. It produces white wines with fruity aromas, low in alcohol, best drunk young. Smederevka is best served at a temperature between 45° to 50° F with light appetizers, white meat, cheese, fish and green seasonal salads. During Macedonia’s hot summer days, Smederevka is mixed with soda water and served as a drink named “spritzer” or “bunar” with mix fresh fruits. Smederevka grapes are used also for production of spirits, as well, especially for Macedonian brandy called “rakija”.

Solaris

Solaris is a hybrid white wine variety grown mainly in Baden, Germany, where it was developed in 1975. Solaris wines are most often made in off-dry styles, but the variety’s extremely high natural sugar levels make it well suited to the production of sweet wines. It is disease resistant, and ripens earlier than almost any other wine grape. The name Solaris, which means “sun”, is particularly apt, as the variety is used in regions noted for their cool climates and low sunshine levels. Solaris vines produce yields and early-ripening fruit, an excellent combination for growers looking to ensure an abundant harvest.

In Europe’s very coldest wine regions – those in Denmark, Norway and Sweden – Solaris has proved invaluable as a wine grape. The variety is also found in various parts of northern Switzerland, and in Belgium. In Germany Solaris is used almost exclusively as a blending agent, and is most often paired with Riesling or Pinot Blanc.

Source:wine-searcher

Timorasso

Timorasso is an ancient white grape from the Colli Tortonesi region of southeast Piedmont Italy. It is a yellow-green-skinned grape which has enjoyed a resurgence in dry white wine and grappa production. Timorasso wines tend to be full-bodied with very high acidity with peach and citrus flavors. It is an aromatic variety and can range tropical fruit aromas to more floral notes. As it ages it takes on some honey and petro aromas. It also ages well in oak, which gives the wines enhanced complexity.. Its ageability makes it an attractive grape. If produced as a varietal wine in Piedmonte, it must constitute at least 85 percent of the labeled wine, the balance being Moscato Bianco and Favorita (Vermentino).

Traminette

Traminette is a white hybrid grape and cross between the French/American hybrid, Joannes Seyve and the Vitis vinifera grape, Gewürztraminer. but offers the same spicy/floral characteristics that make Gewürztraminer popular. Created in 1965 by H.C. Barrett at the University of Illinois, Traminette was bred to be a strong variety that could withstand a colder climate.   Traminette has become a quality hybrid that is used in wine production across the Mid-Atlantic (Virginia)  and Midwestern United States. It is now claimed by Indiana as the signature grape of the state, as it has shown to grow well in the colder climate caused by harsher winters.

Trebbiano / Verdicchio / Ugni Blanc

Trebbiano is a name given to a broad and confusing group of white wine grape varieties originating in ItalyTrebbiano Toscano aka Ugni Blanc is allowed for use in about 85 of the Italy’s 300-plus DOCs. Trebbiano di Soave identical to Verdicchio, making the latter one of the most-grown white grape varieties in Italy. Trebbiano di Spagna is also the same grape. It is most associated with balsamic vinegar of Modena, but vineyards in the nearby hills can make delicious fruity white wines, named Trebbianina. Trebbiano Abruzzese aka Trebbiano d’Abruzzo is grown mainly in the Abruzzo region on the eastern side of central Italy. Trebbiano Giallo is an important part of the blends made in Lazio, near Rome; Frascati is the best known example and the grape takes its name from its golden color. Trebbiano Modenese is the main ingredient of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena, though some good dry wines and sparkling wines are made. Trebbiano Romagnolo is found in Emilia-Romagna. One particular variant of this grape is Trebbiano della Fiamma (of the Flame) due to the bright golden-bronze color of its fully-ripe grapes.

Trebbiano at their best can be as rich and complex as Trebbiano Toscana, but others are very light. Many producers use the grape for easy-drinking sparkling wine. The grape is call Ugni Blan in France.

Treixadura

Treixadura or Trajadura is white Portuguese wine grape variety grown primarily in the Vinho Verde wine region of northeast Portugal and the Galician wine regions of Ribeiro and Rías Baixas in Spain where the variety is known as Treixadura. The grape is primarily a blending variety that adds body and light lemony aromatics to wines as well as crisp, citrus characters with some stonefruit and apple. It is most commonly blended with Loureiro and Alvarinho in Rías Baixas while in Ribeiro it is often blended with Torrontés and Lado.  The variety is increasingly being used to make high-quality wines on its own as well. Trajadura’s has fairly low acidity and high levels of alcohol, which help to provide some balance to the region’s blended white wines.

In Galicia, Spain, where it is known as Treixadura. Here, it is the principal grape of Ribeiro, making varietal wines as well as blends with the DO’s other permitted varieties, including Godello (Verdelho), Albarino, Palomino and Macabeo (Viura). It can also be found blended with Albarino in Rias Baixas. Trajadura wines offer fresh aromatics and typical flavors of lemon, apple and pear through to peach and apricot.

Trentodoc

Trentodoc wines are sparkling wines produced in the Trentino DOC region of Northern Italy. The wines can have equal proportions of Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Meunier and/or Pinot Noir. This blend largely follows Champagne’s example. The wines have flavors of stone fruit, berry and citrus flavors with pronounced saline-laced minerality. They have high acidity because of the Alpine area in which they are grown and are great to pair with a wide range of foods. They are made using the standard Champagne methods. The Non-vintage wines must be aged at least 15 months prior to release, vintage -dated bottles a minimum 24 months and those labeled riserva a minimum of 36 months.

Txakolina (aka Txakoli)

Txakolina [cha-ko-lee] is  a white wine predominantly produced in the Spanish provinces of the Basque Country;  Cantabria and northern Burgos. It is made from the local Hondarrabi Zuri grapes. They are generally light in alcohol, slightly sparkling, high acid, dry and lower in alcohol. There are three subregions of Txakolina in Spain’s Basque country. Txakoli de Getariais the largest of the three sub-regions, located close to the coastal town of  San Sebastián. Ageing on lees is widely used. Txakoli de Bizkaia, produces particularly minerally examples from along the coast in the north-west of the region. Lastly, Txakolí de Álava ist is the smallest, located further inland in the Ayala Valley.

The best wines of the region spend some time resting on lees, adding roundness to the otherwise crisp, tangy and mineral style. Txakolina wines have flavors dominated by apple and stone fruit. They are similar to somewhat more well-known wines such as Muscadet, Vinho Verde and Picpoul de Pinet. They are a great pairing with salty Basque seafood dishes like oysters or clams in parsley sauce.

Verdejo

Verdejo is a white variety wine grape that grows almost exclusively in the Rueda (DO) region of Spain. (Not to be confused with Verdelho, a Portuguese grape used in primarily in Madeira.) Verdjo is named for the Spanish word verde (green). Wines labeled Rueda must contain 50% Verdejo; the remainder is typically Sauvignon Blanc or Macabeo. Wines designated “Rueda Verdejo” must contain 85% Verdejo, and are often 100% Verdejo.

Verdejo wines are aromatic, herbaceous, high in acidity and can be unoaked or oaked in style. The wines typically have flavors of lime, Meyer lemon, grapefruit, grass, fennel, and citrus blossom. They’re often compared to Sauvignon Blanc and Gruner Veltliner. Unoaked style wines are clean, crisp and refreshing. Oaked versions add a smoother creamer texture, more richness and subtle toasted almonds and lemon curd aromas.

Verdejo wines improve with several years of bottle-aging, adding rich texture and flavors of toasted almonds. There are somewhat bitter flavors of grass and fennel on the finish and almost make the wine taste edgy.

They are great food wines due to their higher acidity and subtle bitterness acting as a palate cleanser. Pair unoaked versions with fish tacos, trout with lemon, chicken with piccata sauce, saffron spiced Paellas and Sheep’s Milk Cheeses. These wines usually have high-shoulder bottles (aka Bordeaux bottles). Try oaked styles with grilled herbed chicken, grilled halibut and pan-fried flounder. These wines usually are sold in low-shoulder bottles.

Verdelho

Verdelho is a white wine grape grown throughout Portugal, but is most associated with the island of Madeira. It also gives its name to one of the four main types of Madeira wine. It is also grown in abundantly in Australia and the Americas, where it is usually used to make dry white wines. Verdelho wines are crisp, sometimes with leafy or spicy accents. It typically makes richer wine in the Old World, with ripe apricot and stone fruit aromas. While from Australia it is more flavored as citrus and tropical fruits. The wines are typically not intended for aging and are best consumed young.

Verdesse

Verdesse is a white French wine grape variety grown primarily in the Bugey AOC of eastern France (though it is not currently permitted in the AOC wine). It is also permitted under the Vin de Savoie AOC for wines produced in the Isère department up to a maximum allowance of 10%. It has a high tolerance to botrytis but can be very susceptible to powdery and downy mildew. The grape tends to form small to medium, compact clusters that take on a conical shape with often a side-wing cluster. The berries tend to vary from greenish white to a golden yellow when maturing and may even take on an amber shade when fully ripe and sun burnt. The skin of the small to medium size, berries are usually very thick.  Verdesse is permitted in the white Vin de Savoie wines grown in the Isère department around communes such as Chichilianne. The grape has the potential of producing full bodied, highly alcoholic wine with strong aromas.

​Verduzzo

Verduzzo is an Friuli region Italian wine region white grape. There are many Verduzzos in Italy, but the one most commonly seen in Friuli is Verduzzo Giallo. Verduzzo which is typically used to make a sweet wine, but dry ones are also made. The sweet ones are often called Passito or Ramandolo. What makes Verduzzo interesting is its tannic character, quite unusual for a white grape. It is noticeably more astringent than other white wines, particularly when fermented to dry. The wines often have aromas of marzipan, honeyed almonds, and tropical fruit.

Source: International Wine Review

Vidal Blanc

Vidal Blanc, a hybrid cross between Ugni blanc and Rayon d’Or, is a hardy, thick-skinned grape that thrives in even the coldest wine-growing regions (an important issue in Virginia’s varied climate). It creates flavors of honeysuckle and pear complement candied fruit and citrus flavors in its wineswhich can be made in a variety of styles, from dry, crisp wines to late-harvest and ice wines. Vidal Blanc’s fruitiness is a wonderful match for scallops, crab, grilled salmon and tuna, or pair with poultry or a sweet fruit platter.

Vignoles

Vignoles is a complex hybrid white wine grape variety. Originally named “Vignoles” by the Finger Lakes Wine Growers Association in 1970. Viticulturally, Vignoles is described as moderately vigorous with moderate yields, late season bud break, an upright and open growth habit, small very compact bunches that are highly susceptible to Botrytis bunch rot, high sugar with high acid at maturity, average overall disease resistance, and moderate winter hardiness.

Enologically, Vignoles is often prized for its ability to produce balanced and fruity late-harvest style sweet white wines, including ice wine, although Vignoles is also used to produce fruity dry and off-dry white wines as well. In the United States, Vignoles is most commonly grown in New York state’s Finger Lakes region, and in the Midwest including Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, as well as Virginia and Kentucky.

Vin Jaune Wines

Vin jaune (French for “yellow wine“) is a white wine made in the Jura region of Eastern France. It is similar to dry Sherry and gets its unique character from being matured in a barrel under a film of yeast, known as the voile, on the wine’s surface. It shares many similarities with Sherry, including some aromas, but unlike Sherry, it is not a fortified wine. The wine is made from the Savagnin grape. (The Jura has several so-called ‘specialty’ wines and the sweet Vin de Paille, literally‘straw wine’, is another one.)

Vitovska

Vitovska (aka Vitouska, aka Slovene aka Vitovska Grganja aka Garganja), is an obscure Italian and Slovene white wine grape predominantly planted in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region and the Karst Plateau in the Slovenian Littoral. The grape is now mostly found Northeast Italy. The grape produces a pale dry  lower alcohol ​white wine with a wide range of flavors. The flavors range from stonefruit, citrus, apples and cherries, to jasmine flowers and smoke. It is a cross between the Prosecco Tondo grape and Malvasia Bianca Lunga.

Welschriesling

Welschriesling is a white wine grape varietyunrelated to the Rhine Riesling, that is grown throughout Central Europe. Welschriesling probably origionally comes from northern Italy, where it is known as the Riesling Italico. It is also cultivated in Hungary (Olasz Rizling), Slovenia (Laski Riesling) and Croatia (Graševina).

It can cover almost all quality levels: from base wine for neutral, acidity-accented sparking wines to easy-drinking Buschenschank (tavern) wines from Steiermark, to the nobly sweet TBA wines from Burgenland, especially from the Seewinke with wines of higher acidity. Dry Welschriesling wines are often very fresh with aromas of green apples and citrus, but recently some winegrowers have also produced complex wines with potential for ageing by keeping them on the fine lees for a long period of time. Prädikatswein made with this grape variety is one of the world’s great sweet wines. Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese both have exotic aromas on the nose and fine notes of honey on the palate. This is held up by a characteristic level of acidity.