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White wine grapes are a quirky bunch. Muscat grapes—found mostly in Piedmont, Italy—create Moscato, a wine as sweet as soda. Riesling grapes prefer colder environments, growing best in lakefront regions such as Traverse City, Michigan, and the Finger Lakes of New York.
Lucky for us, winemakers press all kinds of white grapes to make delicious, refreshing white wines that pair perfectly with a picnic, porch, or pool.
Looking for your next great bottle of white wine? Start with the most popular varietals in the world.
Often described as buttery and creamy, Chardonnay is far and away the most commonly-grown white wine varietal.
Profile: Chardonnay has a heavier body, especially when compared with other white wines. Its rich, medium- to heavy-body allows its creamy texture to sit on your tongue longer, similar to the way ice cream lingers on your tastebuds.
Chardonnay earns its #1 crown with a delicious bouquet of semi-dry sugars reminiscent of cream, butter, vanilla, and exotic fruit.
- Puglia, Italy
- Mendoza, Argentina
- Napa Valley, California
Recommended Food Pairing: Chardonnay combines perfectly with dairy and seafood. Try pairing a glass of Chardonnay with:
- Maine lobster
- New York cheesecake
- Gruyère cheese
Fun Fact: Chardonnay is usually aged either in oak or in stainless steel barrels, resulting in wine that is described as either oaked or unoaked. Oaked Chardonnays taste sweeter, whereas unoaked Chardonnays are a bit crisper.
Although it may play second fiddle to Chardonnay in terms of popularity, Sauvignon Blanc’s crisp, herbal flavor makes it a fan favorite for many wine drinkers.
Profile: Medium-light-bodied and not too sweet, Sauvignon Blanc is prized for its refreshing mouthfeel and taste.
Sauvignon Blanc tastes like a fruit salad made of honeydew, gooseberry, plum, peach, and grapefruit.
- Sonoma, California
- Adelaide Hills, Australia
- León, Spain
Recommended Food Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc plays best with foods that share its love of light, crisp flavors. Look for dishes featuring herbs and vegetables, such as:
- Caesar salad
- Pesto pasta
- Pad thai
Fun Fact: The “Sauvignon” comes from the French word “sauvage,” meaning “wild.” Sauvignon Blanc grapes were not cultivated until the 1800s, meaning the grapes grew wild for most of winemaking history.
Whether you call it Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio, this acidic white wine is a sour candy-lover’s go-to.
Profile: Light, crisp, sour, and refreshing: Pinot Grigio drinks like freshly-squeezed lemonade.
Pinot Grigio tastes like an Italian charcuterie board: lemon zest, white peach, cantaloupe, and the nutty bite of raw almond.
- Alsace, France
- Lombardy, Italy
- San Joaquin, California
Recommended Food Pairing: Pinot Grigio pairs best with white meats, seafood, and shellfish with a fruit or citrus flavor. Consider having a glass with one of these dishes:
- Lobster roll with lemon
- Orange chicken
- Fish and chips
Fun Fact: Pinot Grigio grapes are from a line of mutated Pinot Noir grapes which turned this normally red wine grape into a white varietal.
Hailing from Germany’s Rhine region, Rieslings boast powerful aromatics and complex sugars ranging from toothache sweet to desert dry.
Profile: High acidity and a light body make Rieslings refreshing, drinkable, and tart.
Rieslings are a balance of green fruit and flower, tasting of green apples, melons, jasmine, and (for the sweeter bottles) honey.
- Mosel Valley, Germany
- Traverse City, Michigan
- Finger Lakes, New York
Recommended Food Pairing: Rieslings’ refreshing notes pair well with spicy dishes or fattier cuts of meat, such as:
- Spicy chicken tikka masala
- Szechuan vegetables
- Bacon, sausage, and steak
Fun Fact: The first riesling grapes were cultivated by German winemakers as far back as 1435 A.D.
Affordable, light, and sweet, Moscato makes a great pairing for any dinner party.
Profile: Very light and very sweet, Moscato makes for an incredible sipping or dessert wine.
Peaches, oranges, grapes, and sugar cubes: Moscato is the candy of the white wine world.
- Piedmont, Italy
- Rhône Valley, France
- Alsace, France
Recommended Food Pairing: Moscato works best as a complement to an appetizer or dessert course, such as:
- Pork and veggie egg rolls
- Milk chocolate
Fun Fact: Moscato sales rose noticeably in the United States in the early 2010s, but why? Pop culture fanatics attribute the bump to Canadian rapper Drake, who loved to name-drop Moscato in his verses.
Find Your Personal Favorite
Now that you know the 5 most popular white wines in the world, it’s time to taste test to find your personal favorite.
For an easy way to receive delicious white wines, try a wine club. Wine clubs curate monthly wine collections—tailored to your specific tastes—and ship hard-to-find bottles directly to your door.