Best White Wine

Updated April 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

28 Models Considered
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best white wine

Last Updated April 2020

Although it often takes a back seat to its more popular cousin, white wine shouldn’t be overlooked. It can be light and sweet or bold and dry, and it encompasses just as much variety and versatility as red wine. White wine is ideal for serving with fish, chicken, Asian cuisines, cheese plates, and fruit.

In general, white wines are known for their zesty, floral, and fruity tastes, though some are aged in oak barrels to add rich, bold notes. There are dozens of varietals and countless unique blends, made all around the world. What’s more, white wine features 10 distinct flavor profiles, including creamy, floral, tropical, and honey, among others.

All that means there is a lot to consider when buying a bottle of white. Our guide will help you navigate the wide world of white wine. For our top picks for the best white wines, see the matrix above.

Moscato is one of the most popular sweet whites, noted for its orange blossom and peach flavors. It’s also one of the oldest grape varieties, enjoyed over 2,000 years ago by Cleopatra.

Key considerations

Varietals

A varietal is a wine made from a single type of grape. There are dozens of white wine varietals to explore and enjoy. Here’s a closer look at the four most popular white wine varietals, which occupy a range of bodies and flavors:

  • Pinot grigio: Light and zesty, pinot grigio (also known as pinot gris) is one of the most beloved and easy-drinking white wines. Peach, lemon, and cantaloupe make up its primary fruit flavors, and as a result it pairs well with white meat or fish dishes that include a fruity element to them.
  • Sauvignon blanc: The most popular of the herbaceous whites, sauvignon blanc is known for its high acidity, herbal flavors, and fruit notes of honeydew and grapefruit. Some bottles feature green aromas of grass or jalapeno. This wine pairs well with meals that include lots of herbs, such as chicken or tofu dishes as well as Thai cuisine.
  • Chardonnay: This full-bodied wine is the most popular white. Aged in oak barrels, chardonnay is bold and intense, often with a rich and creamy finish that may feature notes of vanilla, almond, or butter. Its fruit flavors include apple and pineapple. Chardonnay has a higher alcohol content than most whites and is the most accessible white wine for those who mainly go for red wine.
  • Riesling: In the aromatic category is riesling, the most significant wine export of Germany. This white may be exceptionally dry or exceedingly sweet, and it features notes of lime, green apple, and jasmine. Riesling pairs well with spicy foods, lean meats, and some seafood.

Types

White wine can be divided into three general categories. The wines within these categories vary widely in acidity, flavors, aromas, and notes.

  • Light-bodied: Light-bodied white wines are among the most popular whites because they are the easiest to drink. They pair well with most foods because they aren’t particularly potent and do not overwhelm any flavors or spices. These whites can be enjoyed on their own or with a dish. The best light-bodied white wines come from cooler climates, which produce light and zesty wines. Whites in this category include pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc.
  • Full-bodied: These whites are bold and rich, usually featuring a smooth finish. They may be creamy or buttery and tend to be aged in oak barrels to add earthy, woodsy, and sweet notes. Full-bodied white wines are the best transition for red wine drinkers who are ready to explore whites. Chardonnay is the most popular full-bodied white.
  • Aromatic: These white wines feature strong perfumes and aromas and tend to be sweet, although some may be dry. A glass of aromatic white wine is perfect for sipping. These are often enjoyed before or after a meal. Riesling and moscato are the most popular of these whites.
EXPERT TIP

White wine makes a fantastic addition to sauces. You can create zesty or creamy sauces on the stovetop that feature white wine, garlic, shallots, mushrooms, carrots, and dry herbs.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Profile

Most whites tend toward medium to high acidity but little to no tannins. Full-bodied whites have higher-than-average alcohol contents, though most whites are at or below the average of 11.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) for wine.

Flavors

White wines feature any number of 10 different flavor profiles, which serve to categorize the wine for consumers. A white wine may include flavors of citrus, stone, or tropical fruits. It may be creamy, bitter, or astringent. You’ll also find whites with herbaceous flavors, including grassy or green aromas or floral aromas like lilac or rose. Honey is a common aroma as well.

A cousin of white wine is orange wine, which is made by leaving the skin and seeds of the grapes in the mix with the juice. These wines tend to be big, bold, dry, and sour.

Accessories

Wine chillers: Wine Enthusiast Double-Walled Iceless Wine Bottle Chiller
As most white wine should be served and enjoyed chilled, a wine chiller is a must for any white wine lover. We like this simple and convenient iceless option by Wine Enthusiast that keeps bottles cold for up to three hours.

Wine coolers: Whynter 24-Bottle Thermoelectric Wine Cooler
To properly store white wines, a wine cooler is a smart investment. This cooler from Whynter will keep up to 24 bottles at the proper serving temperature so they can be enjoyed whenever you like.

Wine preservers: OXO Steel Vacuum Wine Preserver
Perhaps you only want a glass of white from the bottle. Keep the rest preserved for longer with a wine saver like this one from OXO. This is especially useful when you’re enjoying sweeter whites where you may only want one glass after dinner.

Insulated wine growlers: Corkcicle Canteen Classic Collection Stainless Steel Thermos
White wines, particularly herbaceous, light, and zesty options, are terrific options on warm spring and summer days. Fill up this Corkcicle thermos with your favorite white when you’re leaving the house and want to keep your drink properly chilled.

White wine prices

White wines range in price due to vintage (the year in which the grapes were harvested), region, and rarity. Generally, varietals don’t much influence the price until you get into the high-end range, which includes those few whites that age well. In general, white wines are cheaper than reds.

Inexpensive: A decent bottle of white wine can be had for under $15. This will likely be from a recent year and may have a lower alcohol content, but it will still be enjoyable alone or with a meal.

Mid-range: Between $15 and $45 you’ll find a quality bottle of white of any varietal and from any region. In this range, you should find exactly the type of wine you desire.

High-end: For $45 and up, you’ll find older bottles of high-end white wine. These will likely be full-bodied whites that age well. Bottles in this range are best for aficionados who are sure of what they are getting.

EXPERT TIP

A standard bottle of wine contains 750 milliliters, which comes out to about five glasses. You can also find white wine in a carton (usually a liter) or a box (around four liters) that comes with its own preserver.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Serve correctly. White wine should be served chilled (some colder than others) and in a stemmed, narrow wine glass to highlight the floral and fruity notes.
  • Hold your glass by the stem. Because wine white is best enjoyed cool, avoid placing your hands around the wine glass lest you warm up the wine with your body heat.
  • Behold the wine. Whites tend to be more aromatic and colorful than reds. Observe the shades of yellow, green, and gold in your glass, and sniff the floral and fruity notes as you drink.
  • Modify the sweetness. White wine can be sweetened or dampened easily and works well as a drink base. Add fruit, soda, sugar, or even sparkling wine to make cocktails, spritzes, or sangria.
  • Enjoy sooner rather than later. Unlike reds, most white wines reach their peak in a few years. Full-bodied whites can be enjoyed for up to 10 years.
In general, white wines are easier and more efficient to make than reds and don’t need to be aged. You’ll find more options that are often cheaper when shopping for white wine.

FAQ

Q. How long does white wine last after it’s opened?
A.
Light-bodied whites last from five to seven days after they are first opened, provided the cork is put back in or the screw cap is sealed. Full-bodied whites, such as chardonnay, only last three to five days after being opened. A quality wine preserver may extend this expiration date by a week or two. Open bottles of white wine should be kept in the refrigerator.
 

Q. How should I store white wine?
A.
White wine, like red, should be stored in a cool, dry, and dark place. Keep bottles on their side in storage. For added convenience, store white wine in a wine fridge, where the temperature can be regulated to allow for immediate enjoyment when you’re ready.
 

Q. What’s the biggest difference in taste between white and red wines?
A.
You can find both white and red wines that are light and sharp or bold and smooth, with any number of floral, fruity, or sweet notes. The biggest taste difference is that white wine has little to no tannins, while red wine may have a lot. Tannins give red wine a bitter taste and dry your mouth when you drink. Tannins also contribute to aging, allowing reds to be enjoyed over a longer period of time.

The team that worked on this review
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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