White Wine28 de March, 2023
White wine is one of the wine categories I am most passionate about. Maybe because of its lightness or freshness, or simply because I spent a vintage in the Moselle region in Germany. What I do know is that it is a category that continues to gain customers and to balance the consumption between white and red wine.
What is white wine?
White wine is the result of the wort fermentation or white grape juice. White grapes are believed to be a derivation of the original red grapes from the wild European vine. At some point in time, these will have diverged into grapes in which the skin is green or yellow depending on the ripeness of the grapes and varieties. And so white wine was born.
How is white wine made?
White wine is made from white grapes. At least, this is the rule. But as in everything, there are exceptions. There are ways of producing white wine from red grapes, which is common in sparkling wine producing regions.
Continuing on, white wine is then usually made from white grapes and with the fermentation technique called "open spout". The very name of the technique tells us a little about how it is done.
According to the oldest production techniques, the white grapes were placed in presses and, in order to obtain white wine, the spout or tap was left open, so that the must or grape juice would stay as little time as possible in contact with the skins or skins, which is where the color is.
Currently, the white grapes are harvested and, when they arrive at the winery, they are crushed and often destemmed (removed the stalk or stem from the bunch) and placed in the press where they will be pressed or squeezed, in order to obtain the maximum must and with the best possible quality. From here the must goes to a tank where decantation takes place, i.e., the separation of the part responsible for the turbidity. This stage normally takes 24/48 hours, during which the must is cooled for decanting to be efficient, so that fermentation does not start until we separate the clean must from the lees.
Next, we pass the clean must to another tank where fermentation will take place. Normally, the temperature is controlled to obtain a wine with clean aromas. And that, in broad strokes, is how white wine is made.
Characteristics of white wine
The most relevant characteristics of white wine are color, freshness and lightness. But as with any wine, whether white, red, or rosé, the main characteristics can be altered by the way it is produced and - even more relevant! - by the terroir from which the white grapes originate.
For this reason, today we find very diverse characteristics in white wines.
From whites produced from red grapes, where the color is less intense than a normal white, to wines from warmer regions where there is no freshness, to white wine aged in oak barrels, with a more yellow color, even when new. There is so much variety that surely there will always be a style of white wine that meets your tastes.
How to serve white wine?
Serving white wine is easy, as long as you have a way to cool it. The most common white wines taste best at temperatures between 8 and 12 degrees Celsius. Don't chill them too much, as temperatures too low will hide their characteristics.
Regarding the glass in which to serve white wine, I advise tulip, this is, a glass with a more tapered shape at the mouth, in order to concentrate the aromas, which in white wines are plentiful.
Regarding decanting a white wine, I recommend it when the wine is already of some age and needs to aerate, because it has been closed in the bottle for years.
Despite these general tips, how to serve white wine can vary greatly, as it depends on the characteristics that are endless within the different styles of white wine.
Types of white wines
The types of white wines can fall into several families. There are so many forms and styles that, in order not to get lost, I will arrange them in just 4 types of white wines.
Aromatic white wines
Aromatic white wines are perhaps the most common. It is in this family that we fit the dry white wine, that white wine that has no residual sugar. Aromatic white wines are those that usually have a balanced freshness and an expressive nose that draws from the type of grape variety that made it or a winemaking style at lower temperatures, in order to contain and produce more aromas originating from fermentation.
Light white wines
Light white wines are those in which the alcohol content is lower. We have two good examples in Portugal: the white wines from the Vinho Verde region and the white wines from the Lisbon region. Normally, the light ones are not a dry type of white wine, because to compensate the natural acidity the producer leaves some residual sugar.
Full-bodied white wines
Full bodied white wines are, as a rule, more alcoholic wines, because alcohol is one of the responsible for the body of the wine. They are usually wines from grape varieties that produce more alcohol or from slightly warmer regions, which give body to white wines.
Also included in this type are wines that are aged in new oak barrels, in which we can feel the tannins, whether from some tanning of the grapes or from the aging in wood itself.
Good examples are the white wine from the Alentejo or the white wine from the Douro, originating from grapes grown at low altitudes or in the upper Douro.
Liqueur or fortified white wines
Liqueur white wines are, for example, the white port wine, or the Setubal muscat wine or the Douro muscat wine. Madeira white wine is also a good example of this type of wines, which are usually fortified by adding alcohol to the musts.
Casca Wines white wines
Casca Wines white wines are one of our flagships. Since we have been producing wine, they have been the ones which have contributed the most to affirm us as a producer of excellence, because the production of white wine in Portugal has revolutionized more slowly than the production of red wine.
The truth is that we, Casca Wines, because of my experience in Germany in 2001 and my predilection for white wines, took the lead and created a style of white wine that delights those who taste it. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, you can't imagine what you're missing....
My life is the wine
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