National White Wine Day
annually on August 4th (since 2014)
"White or red?" Perhaps that question has been posed to you as you've sat down for a meal at a restaurant or for a wedding dinner. You were being asked about wine, of course, but did you think about the basic differences between the two types of wines that were being offered? Or have you ever thought about the characteristics of white wine? On National White Wine Day, let's take a moment to learn a little about white wine, and then drink a glass or two of it.
White wines are usually made with grapes with light yellow-green skins or light red skins, while red wines are made from grapes with purple or black skins. But it is not the color of the grape skins that gives white wine its yellow or golden color. Both white and red wines are made using the clear juice of grapes, but the skins of the grapes used to make red wine are used in that wine as well. It is the tannins in the grape skins that gives red wine its color and some of its taste.
As a general rule, white wine pairs well with meat such as poultry and fish, while red wine goes well with red meat like beef, lamb, and venison. White wine is usually chilled at somewhere between 45 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Sweeter white wines are chilled at a lower temperature, while fuller white wines should be stored at a little bit higher temperature. This contrasts with red wines, which are served at about room temperature. White wines are usually not as collectible as red wines, and the most expensive wines are red. This in part may be because most white wines don't age well.
White wines are often high in acidity, but the acidic level can also be low or moderate. Winemakers try to find a happy medium, which is usually what consumers like. White wines usually have a lighter body than red wine, but some are full-bodied. Full-bodied white wines include French wines such as aged white Burgundies, as well as some Oregon and California Chardonnays. White wines are also often described by their richness.
The flavors of white wines are varied and span different regions. There are three main flavor sets that determine wine flavor. The first flavor set is fruit: white wines may have flavors such as banana, apple, pear, or citrus come through. A second flavor set is mineral, where earthy flavors such as flint, gunpowder, steel, and slate may be sensed. A third flavor set is floral, which is less common than the other two.
Wine can be categorized by the type of grapes that are used to make it. The main type of grapes that are grown internationally and popular for making white wine are Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Muscat—used to make Moscato, Pinot Gris—also known as Pinot Grigio, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc. There are many other types of wines popular in specific regions, but the grapes used to make them are not grown internationally.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by having a glass or two of white wine. You could stop at a winery or pick up a bottle of one of the best white wines being sold today. Or, you could have a wine tasting party where everyone has to bring over a bottle of white wine to pass. There are many quality kinds of white wine that can be found for under $20 that people could bring. You could also just have a glass of wine alone and learn more about the types of white wines while doing so.