Wine comes in just about any kind of container you can imagine now a days. You can get it in a bottle (of course), a box, a bag in a box, an aluminum can, and even in a plastic bottle. Wine is as versatile a drink as it gets and white wine is no exception. Let’s take a look at some of the history of the drink.
A History of White Wine
White wine is from fermented grapes but unlike it’s red counterpart, the skin is removed before the process begins. It can be yellow, yellow-green, or gold. It is produced by the alcoholic fermentation of the non-coloured pulp of grapes. The wide variety of white wines comes from the large number of varieties, methods, and residual sugar. White wine is mainly from “white” grapes, which are green or yellow in color, such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon, and Riesling. Some white wine is also made from grapes with colored skin.
Many white wines are considered aperitifs or dessert wines. They are usually sweet, semi-sweet, or dry. White wines are often considered more refreshing, and lighter in both style and taste than the majority of their red wine counterparts. In addition, due to their acidity, aroma, and ability to soften meat and deglaze cooking juices, white wines are often used in cooking
The first traces of wine can be traced back to present day Iran. This was from 7500 years ago. According to wikipedia: “In Ancient Greece wine had already been developed and used since Hippocrates, a physician born around 460 BC who commonly prescribed it to patients. “Vinous white wine” and “bitter white wine” were used among his remedies – a sign of diversity in production at that time.”
In the middle ages the fall of the Roman Empire threatened to destroy the wine production. Germanic tribes preferred beer and Vikings had cut off the trade lanes in the Atlantic Ocean. Fortunately, knowledge of the culture and grapevines were saved by the Catholic Church, who need wine to celebrate mass.
The first Europeans to explore parts of North America, which they called Vinland because of the profusion of grape vines found there. However, settlers would later discover that the wine made from the various native grapes had flavors which were unfamiliar and which they did not like. This led to repeated efforts to grow familiar Vitis vinifera varieties. The first vines of Vitis vinifera origin were planted in Senecu in 1629, which is near the present day town of San Antonio, New Mexico. However, the discovery in 1802 of the native Catawba grape led to very successful wine-making in Ohio. In California, the first vineyard and winery was established by Spanish Catholic missionaries in 1769.
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Varieties of Grapes used in Whites
Here are the major varieties of grapes used to produce white wine per wikipedia:
“Chardonnay :originating from Burgundy and long sold under that name under the communal AOC or premier and grand crus, it has spread to many new producing countries who sell under the name of the grape. It can be made sparkling or still. It typically has a wider-bodied and rich citrus taste compared to other white wines. A common choice of food pairing for this wine is fish or poultry. It owes its world distribution to its quality in a very wide variety of regions of climate and geology: from France to the United States, Australia, and South Africa
Sauvignon : originating from the centre of France and the Bordeaux vineyards, it then spread to the vineyards of the South-West and the Loire Valley. Noticed by Anglo-Saxon consumers, it spread to growing regions in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. It is remarkable for its typical vegetable/mineral aromas so tends to be flat and lack fruit qualities. The dominating flavours range from sour green fruit such as apples, pears and gooseberry through to tropical fruit such as melon, mango and blackcurrant. A common food pairing for this wine is seafood, poultry, and salad.
Riesling : originates from German vineyards (Germany, Alsace, Switzerland). It is a grape that can be of high quality in a variety of soils provided that yield is limited and climate tends to a continental climate. This type is much lighter in comparison to other white wines and typically has a green apple aroma. Common food dishes that go well with Riesling are fish, chicken, and pork.
Müller-Thurgau : the most widely grown grape in Germany which gives a fruity and well-balanced wine but that cannot be kept very long.
Muscat : a group of varieties (over 150 according to Pierre Galet) which have specific aromas. Typically made from Italian and Austrian grown grapes, it can offer a sweet and fruity taste. Shows best on its own without a food pairing.”
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The World’s Most Expensive White Wine
Domaine Ramonet Montrachet Grand Cru – $1,257
Chardonnay wines are among the most popular in the world. A bottle of Domaine Ramonet Montrachet Grand Cru goes for a price of $1,257. The aroma and taste of fine chardonnay grapes makes this wine top notch.
Coche-Dury Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru – $2,302
A bottle of the exquisite Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru costs $2,302 and is produced by renowned wine house Domaine Coche-Dury.
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Montrachet – $4,810
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Montrachet Grand Cru, ranks as one of the priciest wines but also considered by wine experts and connoisseurs as one of the tastiest white wines in the world. Made from fine chardonnay grapes, this wine has aromas that range from pear, orange peel, honey, graphite, and vanilla.
Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet – $5,923
A bottle of this fine and bubbly drink costs a staggering $5,923 which many wine connoisseurs consider worth the price. It has the taste of high quality grapes and also carries a note of lemon and a hint of hazelnut.
1811 Chateau d’Yquem – $117,000
White wines expire faster compared to red wines. Luckily, with the 1811 Château d’Yguem, the wine contains high amounts of residual sugar, making it last for centuries.
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