Welcome to Mark O’Neill’s Wine Blog

What makes a good summer white wine ?  Something light, fresh with floral or citrus aromas, good fruit flavours and crisp acidity.   Today I am going to tell you about four white grape varieties that you should bear in mind to broaden you tasting horizons.

White wines divide wines drinkers, some love them others don’t only want to drink reds.  Readers of this column will know that to overlook white wine you are missing out on some of the finest wines of the world.  Also, and this may surprise you, many white wines go really well with a wide range of foods, not just seafood and fish.

Here are the three classic white grapes varieties that I would recommend you try from  different countries to find the style for you.

Chardonnay is the most popular white wine in the world so it’s a good variety with which to start on your white wine journey. Generally speaking there are two styles of Chardonnay, the oaked version and the unoaked version. Burgundy in France is where the finest Chardonnay are made.  However, they come at a high price. Australia, California and also Chile have become synonymous with Chardonnay that has spent time in oak barrels extracting some of the flavours and aromas from the wood.  A good example of an oaked Chardonnay is Fowles ‘Are You Game’ Chardonnay, from Victoria in Australia.

Sauvignon Blanc, originally from France but found worldwide recognition in its adopted home of New Zealand where with its crisp and refreshing acidity, aromas of freshly cut grass and tropical fruits make it popular with ‘wine lovers’ all over the world. A good example of is Yealand’s Sauvignon Blanc, from Marlborough. If you wish to try a French version of Sauvignon blanc look out for a wine from the Sancerre in the Loire Valley.  If you like these styles of Sauvignon Blanc you will also like those from Chile and South Africa where this grape also ripens to perfection.

Riesling, one of my favourite white grape varieties, is often thought of as being a sweet wine.  However,  many of the top Rieslings from Germany, Austria and Alsace from the ‘old world’ and from New Zealand and Australia in the ‘New World’ are dry with citrus, tropical and white stone fruit flavours.  German wine labels are often difficult to decipher look for the word ‘trocken’ which means dry.  Meanwhile Alsace is the home of some of the mother famous producers of Riesling in the world, like Trimbach and Hugel. Today I would like to recommend a wine from western Australia, Madfish Riesling, which is great to pair with a a myriad of foods.

So next time you are in a restaurant, wine store or shopping online for summer white wine try these grapes varieties and let me know what you think.

Written by

I am a Northern Irishman based in Valencia. My career in wine began more than three decades ago, in London. I am the founder of TheWinePlace.es, an online store, where wine enthusiasts can enjoy a selection of international wines and Verde Marte, a company dedicated to exporting Spanish wines. Also, Thewineplace.courses, an "approved program provider" of the courses of the prestigious WSET. I share my passion for wines through my media work writing weekly columns for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo and 5 Barricas, an online wine magazine.

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