Where are our white wine lovers? In this edition of Ask Missa, our Director of Sommology is talking about some of the key differences between white wine and red wine, and how to properly serve and pair your beloved white wines. Even if you’re a red drinker, you’ll want to brush up on this white wine wisdom.
How is the winemaking process for white wine different from the winemaking process for red wine?
The main difference in winemaking when it comes to whites vs. reds is that the juice of red wine grapes will macerate on their skins for a period of time during fermentation to extract the color of the skin, as well as phenolic compounds such as tannins. White wines are produced from juice that is separated from the grapes skins, usually immediately. That is not to say all red grapes are fermented on their skins. For instance, the Pinot Noir grape is used to make many Champagnes, but it is fermented in the same way as a white wine would be, as not to impart the red color or tannins from the skins and seeds.
How do I properly store and serve white wine?
If your bottle of wine has a natural cork, you want to store it on its side, or at least enough of an angle for the wine to be in contact with the cork. A cool, damp and dark wine cellar or wine refrigerator that has customizable temperature settings is ideal. White wine, depending on the varietal, is ideal when served between 44-55 degrees F. I suggest serving lighter style white wines between 44-50 degrees, and fuller-bodied whites or those with oak between 50-55 degrees F. This slightly higher temperature for full-bodied whites allows their complexity to shine and their aromatics to open. Read more about chilling wine.
Match the weight of your wine to the weight of your food.
What are your top pairings for white wine?
A very easy tip that will often help when it comes to food pairing is to match the weight of your wine to the weight of your food. For instance, a beautiful crisp, refreshing, lighter-bodied white would pair wonderfully with light, crisp, fresh foods such as green salads, sushi, lighter seafood dishes, dishes with citrus, grilled chicken, etc. A fuller-bodied Chardonnay or Viognier would stand up to heavier dishes with cream or cheese sauces, such as fettucine alfredo, ravioli in cream sauce, mac and cheese, heavy buttery dished such as shrimp scampi, and the like.
Feeling thirsty for a cool glass of white wine now? Shop our favorite white varietals and quench your thirst for the perfectly paired wine. Cheers!