Types of white wine

Many of you ask us what the different types of white wine that can be found are. So we thought it would be a good idea to write this post as a source of reference when cataloguing the different types of white wine. The first thing we’ll do is look for some cataloguing parameters, and then go on to examine which wines fit into each of them. Ready? Here we go.

Tipos de vino blanco

To catalogue the different types of white wine, the first thing we need to do is to define four major cataloguing groups: arranging them according to ageing, body, climate and sensation of sweetness. There are four parameters that help us define and catalogue any white wine.

Types of white wines according to the type of ageing
Let’s start by looking at the kind of ageing that wine has had: known in Spanish as Crianza. We talk about a young white wine when the wine has spent very little time, or none at all, ageing. They are white wines from a particular year, designed to be consumed in the same year. The character of the wine is marked by its youth, finding mainly fruit and freshness in them, as for example in this magnificent Viña Zorzal Garnacha Blanca.
On the other hand, wines that have spent time in the barrel, whether fermented or fermented and aged, are wines that are somewhat more complex. Wines that change those fresher notes of youth for the tertiary notes arising from their time in wood. A magnificent example of a wine with a noticeable time spent in wood might be Viña Gravonia from Viña Tondonia.
We could separate into a third group those wines aged on their own lees, wines that are aged with the solid material that remains in a tank after fermentation, a material made up of the remains of grapes and dead yeasts. These lees give the wine volume, unctuousness and a certain complexity. An example: Avance Cuvee de O: a tasty Godello produced by Jorge Ordoñez in the D.O. Valdeorras.

Types of white wines according to body
If we look at the body of a white wine, we can distinguish between two major groups: light white wines and white wines with body.
We say that a white wine is light when we’re talking about a wine with an easy mouthfeel. Wines in general with little ageing, which stand out for their refreshing acidity and their fluidity. As an example of a light wine, this magnificent Txacolí: Gorka Izaguirre Txacolí,
In contrast, when we speak of a white wine with body, we’re referring to wines that give us a sensation of volume, density and vigour in the mouth. Normally, in addition to variety and climate, this body is provided by fermentation or by ageing in barrels with their own lees. These are more complex wines with a greater glyceric sensation. If you’d like to try a good white body, we recommend this Remírez de Ganuza Blanco, a huge white aged for 8 months with its own lees.

Types of white wines according to climate
A third parameter that allows us to catalogue a white wine is freshness. We say that a wine is fresh when it presents a balanced acidity that helps to give it a light mouthfeel. They are vibrant, light wines that are easy to drink, since this freshness helps to ensure that you don’t tire of drinking them. A clear example of a fresh wine is Leirana Albariño, rated in its 2012 vintage by the New York Times as the best wine from the D.O. Rías Baixas.
At the other extreme, we speak of warm wines when we’re referring to wines from grapes grown in warm climates. Climates that encourage the grape to ripen more. These are wines with a greater amount of alcohol and with great aromatic potential. We recommend this Llàgrimes de Tardor Blanc, a mature wine with body that is very varietal.

Dry or sweet white wines
A final parameter to take into account when cataloguing a white wine can be whether it’s a dry wine, or on the contrary, a rather sweet wine.
In terms of sweet wines as such, in Spain we have dessert wines. Wines with a residual sugar level of more than 30, 40 or 50 grams per litre.
Yet leaving these wines aside, without getting into the world of sweet wines, we sometimes perceive a certain sweetness in the mouth. A perception that is provided by some fruity or floral aromas in certain varieties. As an example we suggest Gramona Gessamí, a very aromatic wine with lots of ripe fruit on the nose, which will bring you some wonderful sweet memories.
On the opposite extreme we have dry white wines. Direct, profiled wines, where the memories become herbs, spices, minerals or wood. A good example is Zárate Albariño, an elegant Albariño aged on its lees for 3 months.

Now that you know how to catalogue the different types of white wine, we’d like to suggest an exercise for the next time you have a white wine in front of you: is it a young or and aged white? Try to discover that fruit or lightness in young wines, or that complexity in wines that have been aged. Does it have lots of body or is it a rather light wine? Does it come from a cool climate or a warm climate? Look for that freshness or that maturity. Does it have sweet memories or is it more of a dry wine?
Little by little you’ll come to learn how to discover all these nuances, and you’ll see that it’ll be easy to start cataloguing the wines you taste.
Cheers!

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