Varietal descriptions and pronunciations of white wines

Here is how to pronounce the names of white varietals. And what they taste like.

Chardonnay (SHAR-doe-nay): The world’s most popular dry white; it’s medium-to full-bodied, with rich apple and citrus flavors and sometimes a buttery tone from fermentation and aging in oak barrels; a good choice for simply prepared seafood and poultry dishes.

Sauvignon Blanc (SO-vin-yawn BLONK): Generally lighter than Chardonnay, with bright melon and citrus aromas and a herbal character suggesting bell pepper or freshly mown grass; a versatile food wine for shellfish, lighter fish and chicken dishes, pasta with pesto and Caesar salad.

Riesling (REES-ling): A light-bodied wine of German origin with flowery aromas of honeysuckle, apples, and peaches; Rieslings range from slightly to very sweet and can be either table or dessert wines. Drier versions go well with chicken and pork dishes, as well as spicy foods.

Gew├╝rztraminer (Guh-VERTZ-tra-meener): Another aromatic variety of German origin with aromas of rose petals, peaches, grapefruit, lychees, and allspice, and full, fruity, spicy flavors ideal with Asian food, ham, pork and grilled sausages.

Chenin Blanc (SHEN-in Blonk): A relatively light, fruity variety with melon, apple, and peach/apricot aromas and flavors; used to be more popular than it is today; a nice wine by itself or with casual meals (salads, sandwiches, etc.)

Muscat (MUSS-cat): A very flowery dessert-style wine, with floral and peach/apricot aromas and flavors; great with desserts of fresh fruit or fruit/nut tarts.

Other white varieties of note include Semillon (SEM-e-on), Viognier (V- OWN-yay), and Pinot Grigio (PEE-no GREEG-e-o).

This article is based on the reference guide to types of white wine.

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