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White Wine
Other Varieties
Lesser-known white wines can provide a refreshing change of pace. Grenache Blanc makes a full-bodied white wine, while Chenin Blanc pairs well with Chinese food. Austria’s Grüner Veltliner has a peppery quality and Argentina’s Torrontés is receiving increasing acclaim.

This grape makes aromatic wines in Spain as well as in Portugal, where it is known as Alvarinho. They are dry, medium-bodied and highly acidic, with notes of pear, apple, peach, apricot, minerals and rose. Serve chilled (50–60 degrees) with grilled fish, roasted vegetables or shellfish.

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One of the rising stars of Italian whites, Arneis is actually an ancient grape that almost became extinct. Its name means “rascal” in the local dialect and was so named because of its unpredictable nature. Some admirers refer to this wine as Barolo Bianco, a reference to both the region where the grape is grown and its blending heritage.

More structured and complex than most other Italian whites, Arneis offers a light aroma, fruity flavors and a touch of almond.

Serve chilled (50–60 degrees) with appetizers, fresh fruit or poached fish.

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Chenin Blanc
shey-NAH(n) bla(n)
One of the stars of the Loire Valley in France, it is also successful in South Africa, where it has been known as Steen. These wines can be dry to sweet and are medium-bodied with high acidity. Expect notes of apricot, apple, melon, almonds, grain, plain yogurt and buttermilk. Serve the dry wines chilled to 50–60 degrees and the sweet ones a little colder at 45–50 degrees. Classic pairings include Chinese food, corn, fish with lemon, and salads.

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Garganega is a white variety from Verona in the Tre Venezie region of Italy that is the primary grape of the Soave blend, a dry, light-bodied white wine made from at least 70 percent Garganega.

An up-and-coming pale white wine emerging from northwest Spain, from a district near where Albariño is grown, Godello was recently rescued from the brink of extinction and now stands to be a contender among Spanish whites.

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Grenache Blanc
Gren-ASH bla(n)
Grenache Blanc is a relative of red Grenache, which is planted in Spain and Southern France. It is an important part of Rhône white blends, and even some of the red blends, and produces a full-bodied white wine with crisp acids. It is now produced in California as well.

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Grüner Veltliner
GROO-ner FELT-leen-erh
The signature white grape of Austria, Grüner Veltliner is loved for its aromatic qualities and distinct notes of white pepper.

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Traditionally an important part of Rhône white blends, Marsanne is increasingly well-thought-of as a fuller-bodied, aromatic varietal wine.

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Pinot Blanc (Bianco)
pee-NO bla(n)
Pinot Blanc is a light- to medium-bodied dry white wine from Alsace, France, that also makes an appearance in some of California’s high-quality sparkling wines and in Italy’s fortified wine Vin Santo.

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Along with Marsanne and Viognier, Roussanne is one of the three varieties blended into the white wines of the Northern Rhône area in France. It is also vinified as a stand-alone varietal in California.

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The most famous use of Sémillon is in the dessert wine of Sauternes, but it is also widely used in the rest of Bordeaux as a blending partner to Sauvignon Blanc, and in Australia where it is bottled as a single-varietal wine. It can be dry to sweet, light- to medium-bodied, and has low acidity. Serve the sweet wines a bit colder than the dry ones as with other white varieties. Pair it with grilled fish, pork chops, roasted chicken or zucchini.

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Torrontés is fast becoming the favorite white wine of Argentina. Prized for its aromatic nature, it has a natural affinity for high altitudes.

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Spanish white wine from the Rueda region, Verdejo is fruity with a dry finish and may remind you of Sauvignon Blanc. These grapes are often harvested at night, when temperatures are at their coolest.

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One of the most popular grapes grown on the Portuguese island of Madeira, Verdelho is also used in mainland Portugal for the production of white port.

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Long an important grape in the Rhône Valley of France, its popularity has recently increased in California. Because it adds so many aromatic notes (citrus, orange bloom, iris, white melon, apricot and musk), it is often blended with Syrah. This grape produces a dry, full-bodied wine with low acidity that pairs well with cream sauces, curries, nuts, and roast chicken or pork. It is served chilled at 50–60 degrees.

Shop Wines by Varietal: Viognier

Italians call the Arneis grape “the rascal” because it is so difficult to grow.
Alto Adide
Vineyards blanket the Italian countryside.
Vin Santo
White grapes produce Vin Santo, a sweet accompaniment to an afternoon snack.
A vineyard in the Danube Valley of Austria.
Spain Vineyard
A single glass of chilled white wine.
Spain Vineyard
A vineyard near Barcelona at dusk.
White Grapes
White grapes, ripening in the sunlight.
Two Glasses of White Wine
Two friends enjoy a glass of white wine together.