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    What Does White Wine Taste Like?

    What Does White Wine Taste Like

    There’s nothing better than a cold, crisp glass of white wine on a hot summer's day.

    But when all white wine is served chilled, does that mean all white wine tastes the same?

    What, actually, does white wine taste like?

    What Does White Wine Taste Like?

    White Wine Tasting Notes

    Wine is very subjective and the taste of wine can vary from person to person, depending on how they perceive and respond to each characteristic in their glass. 

    The taste of white wine varies from variety to variety but the general tastes and flavours of white wines include:

    • Apples - Red, Yellow and Green Apples
    • Pears
    • Stone Fruits - Peaches, Apricots, Nectarines and Plums
    • Citrus Fruits - Lemons, Limes, Grapefruits and Oranges
    • Tropical Fruits - Pineapples, Guava, Melons, Lychees

    There are, however, a lot of characteristics that most white wines have in common.

    Their colour, for example, is much lighter than red and pink wines. 

    White wines tend to be lighter in flavour and body, with lower alcohol levels and lots of zingy, fresh acidity, making them a really refreshing glass of wine.

    So how can you taste white wine like a pro?

    How to Taste White Wine? (3 Step Method)

    How To Taste White WineIt may seem daunting at first, but the trick to tasting white wine is in learning how to break down the sugar, acidity and tannins in your glass.

    Step 1. Finding Out The Sweetness?

    White wines can range from dry to super sweet, depending on how much residual sugar is present in your glass. 

    Why not pinch your nose when next taking a sip of white wine.

    If you can’t taste any sugar then, chances are you definitely have a dry wine on your hands, but if you can taste some sweet flavours then you have an off-dry to sweet wine in your glass.

    Step 2. How Acidic Is The Wine?

    Next on our list is acidity.

    Acidity literally makes your mouth water so a great way to determine how acidic your white wine is is by paying attention to how much saliva your mouth produces in response!

    If you’re practically drooling over your glass of white wine then you have an acidic wine and if your mouth isn’t responding with any saliva then it's likely you have a white wine with lower acidity levels.

    Step 3. Tasting Tannins?

    Tannins are present in lots of wines but white wines aren’t one of them.

    You see tannins are found in the skins of grapes and all white wines are made with zero skin contact, so no tannins will enter your wine through the winemaking process.

    So how do these factors of sweet, acid and tannin affect the taste of your white wine?

    What Affects The Taste of White Wine?

    A white wine’s flavour is determined by how much acidity and sugar is present in your glass.

    • Sweet white wines may have lots of flavours of ripe peach and honeydew melon, for example.
    • And very acidic white wines will sing with the citrus zing of lemon, lime and even crisp apples and pears.
    • Learning to notice each element is vital when it comes to describing a glass of white wine and not only that they can help you ask for recommendations based on the wines you like. 

    So what characteristics are associated with white wine? 

    What Are White Wine Characteristics

    White WineHere are some of the characteristics associated with a typical glass of white wine:

    • Body - Most white wines tend to have a lower body in comparison to red wines and this is partly down to the lack of tannins to be found in white wines.
    • Tannins - There should be zero tannins present in your glass of white wine, any drying sensation will be down to a lack of sugar in the glass.
    • Sweetness - This will vary across wines, and white wines can come in all ranges of sweetness so pay attention to what sugary sensations you are getting from your glass.
    • Dryness - Not all white wines are dry! So look out for any sugary characteristics in the glass and if you can’t spot them chances are you have a dry white wine.
    • ABV - White wines vary in alcohol percentage, but will be slightly lower than red wines, Expect an ABV between 7-12% for your average bottle of white wine.

    But do different types of white wine have different characteristics?

    What do the different types of white wine taste like?

    5 Types of White Wine Taste

    Bottles of White WineHere are some of the most common styles of white wine you may come across and the tastes and characteristics associated with them:

    1. Chardonnay

    Chardonnay is a very versatile grape, with a rich, almost creamy smooth body.

    Expect lots of aromas of stone and citrus fruit with a crisp acidity to match.

    Full Guide: What Does Chardonnay Taste Like?

    2. Pinot Grigio

    A classic dry white wine when grown in Italy, Pinot Grigio has lots of mouth watering acidity with tasting notes of green apple, crisp pear and meyer lemons.

    Full Guide: What Does Pinot Grigio Taste Like?

    3. Sauvignon Blanc

    A fan favourite for a reason, Sauvignon Blanc sings with tropicality, tasting of passion fruit, gooseberries and freshly zested limes.

    4. Moscato

    A softly sweet white wine that can be fizzy or still, Moscato tastes like punnets of ripe apricots and aromatic white peach blossom.

    5. Riesling

    Sommeliers all over the world love Riesling and for good reason.

    A wine with beautiful amounts of acidity that can come in all ranges of sweetness, there’s a Riesling for every wine palate.

    So as you can see, not all white wine tastes the same! And there’s lots of fun to be had exploring the different tastes and different styles of white wines.

    The only way to truly become an expert is vai your taste buds after all.

    Before You Go...

    White Wine BarrelsWe hope this article answers all your questions on what wine tastes like.

    If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, or email us at

    You can browse more posts on Wine Tasting here

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    philip thompson Author: Philip Thompson
    Philip is the General Manager at Expert Wine Storage, and is very knowledgable about all things relating to wine and wine storage, including wine fridges. He is regularly featured in media outlets sharing his knowledge on wine. Connect on Linkedin