You’ve been staring at the wine selection for close to ten minutes now. A friend recently told you about a fantastic Chardonnay she got for her birthday. You know you like Moscato, and you’re sure it’s white wine – or is it? Think of sweet Sauternes wine, light Pinot Blanc, or an earthy Sauvignon. The versatility of white wine makes it the ultimate dinner companion in the pot or the bottle.
White Wine and Food
Red, white, sparkling, or fortified, each type of wine has a unique occasion where it can truly shine. White wine rises above its peers at a dinner party. Its tartness and body complement food in simply poetic ways. The distinct qualities of acidity, great aromas, and range of flavors offer a wide selection of classic wine-food pairings. To break it down, let’s have a look at some of the best white wines and the best way to pair them at a dinner party:
Chardonnay is perhaps the world’s best-known white wine. It is made from various green grapes that are highly adaptable to different climates in many parts of the world. It is described as a light and dry wine with a mild acidity to it.
The most popular flavors of Chardonnay are fruity; citrus, apple, pineapple, spicy nutmeg, and tropical tones like papaya. Dry Chardonnay works exceptionally well with fish sauces and chicken dishes and is best served slightly chilled. Oaked Chardonnay, preserved in oak barrels, has a sweet aroma that complements rich, savory dishes like mushroom sauces.
Moscato is a sweet white wine from Italy that lends itself to a wide array of styles, including still, bubbly and fortified. Moscato is a low acidity wine, which brings out the sweetness of its flavor; it is fragrant with fruity signatures of peach, apricot, and floral scents.
Pairing food with Moscato comes down to balance. The wine is sweet, so the food should ideally be spicy or sour. Salted meats, hot wings, salty nuts, and soft cheeses are best served with Moscato. Moscato is also a great dessert wine that goes well on its own. Other Moscato wines, such as Moscato d’Asti, have been found to work magic on sweet desserts like vanilla cake.
From Paris with love, Sauvignon Blanc is Bordeaux’s gift to the world’s wine lovers. Sauvignon Blanc is an earthy dry wine with a light aroma and spicy notes in oaked varieties. It is famed for its distinct deep yellow color and fresh, natural aromas.
Sauvignon Blanc is served with pork, turkey, salmon, and oysters. It also complements vegetable salads and soft cheese varieties like feta and mozzarella-inspired cuisines. Sauvignon Blanc is a chef’s secret ingredient as it underscores spices and herbs like thyme, rosemary, and chives, a fantastic base for chicken menus.
Pinot Grigio is an Italian white wine unique for its deep gold to light pink hues. Pinot grapes are harvested early to control the sweetness and maintain the acidity of the wine, which creates a more balanced flavor. This wine is often intended to be consumed right after production, although it also ages quite well as the flavors intensify.
Light seafood dishes and creamy pasta sauces pair with Pinot Grigio particularly well. Pinot Grigio is produced in many parts of the world, so each region has different characteristics, which opens up even more food options such as shrimp in garlic sauce, buttery risotto, and grilled halibut.
Riesling hails from great Germany, a country synonymous with some of the best wines in the world. Today, Reisling is a legend among wine collectors due to its grand heritage dating back to the 15th century. When you think of Riesling, think of a sweet, dry wine with a sort of ‘oily’ feel to it.
Spicy cuisines such as Asian dishes pack a punch tango with Riesling like no other wine. It’s also a dessert wine which means you can have it with a fruity cobbler or any meringue of your choice.
Classic White Wine-Food Pairings
- Sauternes and Foie Gras
- Caviar and Champagne
- Caesar Salad and Pinot Noir
- Petit Chablis and Shrimp Sauce
Getting the most out of white wine starts by identifying the characteristics of your preferred wine and how they contrast or compare with the dominant flavor profiles of your food. White wines pair very well with different foods and are a must-have for any dinner party.