White wines are, like red wines, defined by color. White wine may be nearly clear to golden yellow, and anywhere on the dry to sweet spectrum. Flavor notes often include crisp, fruity and acidic, although fuller-bodied white wines may have buttery or oaky tastes. White wines lack the rich red color imparted by grape skins, and are made from grapes that are green or yellow skinned or from grapes which have the skins removed. Like red wine, white wine may be aged in the bottle or in barrels before being sold.
Many popular white wines come from France, home of the Chardonnay grape. Chardonnay grapes can be found in Champagnes, white Burgundies and of course Chardonnays. White wines are also produced in the United States, New Zealand, Germany and all over the world from many different grape varieties. Chenin blanc, Gewurtztraminer, Pinot Gris and Riesling grapes are among the varieties used to produce white wines.
While most people think of white wines for eating with chicken or fish and red wines for red meat, it is more important to the pairing to marry flavors well. Dry whites like Chardonnay go well with cream sauces, for example. Sweet whites like Gewurtztraminer pair well with fruity dishes and some spicy meals. White wine also includes many dessert wine varieties, and of course most sparkling wines like Champagne are pale in color.
Red wine is generally collected and cellared more than white wine, and it is true that most whites should not age as long as many reds can. However, some white wines benefit from several years of aging and may have a completely different flavor profile after a few years in the cellar.