What Are The Best White Wines For Beginners?
Jumping into the world of wine can sometimes be a little confusing and overwhelming. As wine is an acquired taste it can often take months, if not years to begin to truly appreciate the array of flavours. Not everyone starts their wine journey understanding the complexities that a simple glass of wine offers.
If you are looking to dip your toes into the wonderful world of wine, starting off with a lighter variety, white wine is a great stepping stone to kickstart a lifelong appreciation of this wonderful beverage. Not entirely sure where to start? We’ve got you covered. Here are 7 of the best white wines for the beginner sommelier.
- Sauvignon Blanc
If it’s your first time dipping your toes into the extensive and exciting pool of wine, then a crisp and fruity glass of Sauvignon Blanc should offer a great introduction into a wide family of white vinos. Crisp and dry, Sauvignon Blanc is famous for its distinctive grassy notes and biting acidity. Often described as dry with a hint of citrus and kiwi, this beginner-friendly wine is a beloved Summertime treat that is both produced and enjoyed all around the world.
Pairs perfectly with: Herby Sauces such as Chimichurri or Salsa Verde, Goats Cheese and Passionfruit.
- Moscato D’Asti
If dry or acidic wines aren’t quite your thing and you’d prefer a sweeter introduction into the world of wine, you absolutely must add a bottle of Moscato D’Asti to your next grocery shopping list. This slightly effervescent, honey-sweet wine from Italy is an absolute delight and is often served after meals as a dessert wine. Made with less ripe greener grapes (also known as muscat rouge à petits grains), Moscato is by far one of the most popular white wines for beginners and wine connoisseurs alike. Rich in caramel, almond and apricot flavours (plus a touch of floral notes), Moscato will quickly become a fan favourite in your household.
Pairs perfectly with: Spicy curries, Brie, Poultry and White Fish
Depending on the year and producer, a bottle of Riesling can range from dry to very sweet, making it a fantastic all-rounded option for beginner wine lovers. Offering the perfect balance of sweetness, acidity and fruitiness, Riesling is arguably one of the most versatile food wines out there. For a sweeter hit, look for bottles produced in Germany or California (excluding bottles labelled as ‘dry’). For a dryer glass, opt for bottles from Alsace, Austria, Australia or Washington D.C.
Pairs perfectly with: Raw Fish, Gorgonzola, Aged Gouda and Parmesan
Chardonnay is arguably one of the world’s most popular white wines and with good reason too. This full-bodied white wine can vary in taste greatly depending on where it is produced, offering a range of options from the citrusy wine produced in France to the buttery and creamy elixir created in California. Winemakers love chardonnay because it is easy to grow and wine drinkers love it because, well, it’s awesome.
Pairs perfectly with: Crab, Lobster, Shrimp, Scallops, Crème Brûlée and Cheesecake
One of the lesser known varieties on this list, Viognier is a southern France original that is deeply full-bodied and aromatic. A crisp glass of Viogner on a hot Summer’s day is heaven on Earth and also happens to be the perfect alternative to Chardonnay if you prefer a white wine that is less acidic. Bursting with floral notes, Viognier also ranges in taste from the lighter flavours of mango and tangerine to the creamier aromas of nutmeg, clove and vanilla.
Pairs perfectly with: Creamy Cheeses, Mild White Fish, Scallops, Cashews and Macadamias
- Chenin Blanc
Chenin Blanc is a South African favourite, with a colourful history that goes back all the way to the 17th century when it travelled from France all the way to South Africa. Mostly planted in Mzansi in modern times, Chenin Blanc is a versatile grape that comes in many styles. Typically aged for anywhere between 1-5 years, drier varieties of this wine tend to be tart with flavours of ginger and pear, while sweeter varieties offer notes of dried persimmon, toasted almond and mango.
Pairs perfectly with: Triple Cream Brie, Gruyere, Yoghurt, Creamy Pastas and Roast Pork
Last on our list of beginner-friendly white wines is the wonderful Gewürztraminer. This often underrated white wine is made from a particular grape variety with pink skins that infuses the final product with a gorgeous rose gold tinge. Most importantly, you can buy a quality bottle of Gewürz for under $20 at your local bottle shop. Don’t let the price fool you, though. This ethereal nectar comes with a big punch, accompanied by hints of honey, ginger, marmalade, lychee and rose petals. It can sometimes be an acquired taste, but we’ve generally only ever met people who love this intense, aromatic white wine.
Pairs perfectly with: Red Snapper, Halibut, Salmon, German Apple Strudel and Pumpkin Pie
And there you have it – 7 of our top picks for anyone who is looking to start out in the wonderful world of wine. What are some of your beginner-friendly white wine picks? Be sure to share your thoughts and recommendations in the comment section.