White wine is a wine that is fermented without skin contact. The colour can be straw-yellow, yellow-green, or yellow-gold. It is produced by the alcoholic fermentation of the non-coloured pulp of grapes, which may have a skin of any colour. White wine has existed for at least 4000 years.
The wide variety of white wines comes from the large number of varieties, methods of winemaking, and ratios of residual sugar. White wine is mainly from “white” grapes, which are green or yellow in colour, such as the Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, and Riesling. Some white wine is also made from grapes with coloured skin, provided that the obtained wort is not stained. Pinot noir, for example, is commonly used to produce champagne.
Grape maturity depends on the requirement of the final product. For a sweet white wine, whether fortified or natural, sugar is the key criterion. For a dry white wine, technological maturity is calculated and the fruit is harvested just before (usually eight days) the maturity of the sugar. At this point the relationship between sugar and acid is optimal. Further, low acidity will cause future wine to be unbalanced with excess alcohol and lack of liveliness. In addition, the flavour will be less fresh and less vivid.
Types of press
The first step in processing the grapes at the winery is to separate the components of the wort that are needed from the unwanted parts. The process followed at this stage will largely determine the future quality of the wine. For this, the clusters are generally shaken then trampled. The practice of moderate trampling allows the grains to burst, releasing the juice and pulp (it cannot be used for white wine from black grapes as the premature bursting of the berries would cause a coloured must). The practice of shaking or stalking has the advantage of separating the stems from the cluster of grapes and avoids giving the wine a herbaceous taste at pressing. The skin is not macerated and the transparent yellow colour is retained.
WHITE WINE STYLES
- Buttery and Complex White Wines
- Aromatic and Floral White Wines
- Green and Flinty White Wines
- Tropical and Balanced White Wines
- Dry and Nutty Wines
1. Buttery and Complex White Wines
Full-bodied fruit and spice with the ability to age. Ranging from bold Australian Chardonnay to aged Vouvray, this style relies on the interplay of oak and fruit, forming a complex, honeyed character.
- Stewed fruit
2. Aromatic and Floral White Wines
Driven by flowers, spice and fruit.
3. Green and Flinty White Wines
A cool, citrus minerality.
- Lemon and lime
4. Tropical and Balanced White Wines
Fresh, succulent stonefruit with a citrus backbone.
5. Dry and Nutty Wines
Idiosyncratic wines made in an oxidative or yeasty style.
- Dried apricot
- Sea salt