White Grape Variety

Definition - What does White Grape Variety mean?

In the context of wine classification, white varietal refers to the color of the pulp and skin of white wine grapes and is a simple classification of different characteristics between wine grapes. White varietals are descended from red varietal grapes and can be pale green, yellow or even have a pink or blue hue in color; this is due to a genetic mutation that turns off the production of anthocyanins, which gives grapes their color.

White varietal grapes have less tannins then red grapes, which typically gives white wines a lighter mouthfeel. While there are hundreds of white varietal grapes, well known white varietals include; Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon, Pinot Grigio, Moscato, Riesling and Gewurztraminer.

WineFrog explains White Grape Variety

Understanding differences in white varietal grapes, helps to gain an understanding of the different characteristics in white wine including; color, mouth feel, sweetness, acidity and flavor profiles. When you know that a wine is made using white varietal wine grapes, you can expect a certain mouthfeel as well as specific flavors and aromas. White varietal grapes are also made into wine using different processes that includes fermentation without the skins and seeds, which in part contributes to the lighter more delicate flavors found in white wine.

White varietal grapes typically have lighter fruit flavors such as apple, pear, citrus, pineapple and melon which leads to the perception of brighter aromas and flavors in white wine. The popular white varietal Chardonnay, is well known for its velvety mouthfeel and rich citrus flavors, while Sauvignon Blanc is known for its fresh green flavors of grass, herbs and sour green fruit.

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