While Sauvignon Blanc is a well-known and loved white wine, there are plenty of other choices to pick from and explore. Trying new white wines can help you expand your palate and learn more about different wine regions, grape varieties, and winemaking techniques. Wine tasting and expanding your palate also happens to be a rather fun hobby.
Today, Caves Wine Shop goes over five unique white wines you might want to try instead of Sauvignon Blanc.
How to Expand Your White Wine Palate
The best way to expand your white wine palate is simply to just try new white wines. Exposing your palate to new flavors is the key. Here are some other tips on how to expand your white wine palate:
- Smell your wine.
- Swirl your wine.
- Concentrate when you drink a glass.
- Allow the wine to sit on your palate before swallowing it.
- Drink wine with fruit.
Explore new wine varieties and regions by joining a wine club.
Studies have shown that around 80% of what you taste is associated with what you smell. This means you need to use your nose and tongue together when wine tasting. Get in the habit of swirling your wine and smelling it. Half of the enjoyment of drinking wine comes from the smell of it.
Concentrate when you drink your wine, don’t just sip and swallow it. Allow it to sit on your palate and taste it. Think about what it tastes like. This will allow your palate and brain to work together to determine what those flavors are.
Drinking wine with fruit will help teach you about flavor profiles. Try it out if you're always wondering how people can say a wine tastes like lemon, grapefruit, peach, or blackberry. This will help you start picking out these flavors in your wines.
5 New White Wines to Try Out
Found in Vinho Verde, Portugal, but known best from Rias Baixas in Spain where vineyards push up against the Atlantic Ocean allowing the grapes to be dusted with sea mist, Albariño, is lovely. There is a clean minerality to this wine that is so crisp and refreshing, as well as an underlying saline quality and loads of bright citrus fruit.
This is a great alternative to Sauvignon Blanc if you’re looking for a refreshing white wine that is easy to drink. It pairs well with long summer days, seafood, and light pasta dishes.
Wine 2: Muscadet
If Sauvignon Blanc is the white wine of the Upper Loire in France, then Muscadet would surely be the white wine of the Lower Loire. Made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape and hailing from the Pays Nantais region around Nantes, Muscadet is a classic seafood wine. It is also a great choice for those looking for something that is light and makes for easy drinking.
This wine typically has a low alcohol content and is served alongside seafood and other light dishes. Muscadet is a great wine choice for those who like dry, acidic white wines with a little complexity.
Wine 3: Gavi
Also known as Gavi di Gavi, this wine is the staple white wine from Piedmont, Italy made from the Cortese grape variety in the region. Gavi is known for its light and crisp flavor profile, with notes of citrus, green apple, and floral undertones.
Gavi is an excellent alternative for the Sauvignon Blanc lover looking to expand their horizons who enjoy a higher acidic white wine. It is a versatile option that pairs well with a wide range of food including seafood, pasta dishes, and poultry. Overall, this wine is flavorful and refreshing and goes well with any occasion.
Wine 4: Verdicchio
Verdicchio is another easy-drinking Italian white wine known best as Verdicchio di Matelica in Italy’s Marche region. It’s made from the Verdicchio grape variety, known for its crisp acidity and subtle almond flavor. This wine is typically light to medium-bodied with a rich yellow color.
It has a refreshing flavor profile with notes of lemon, green apple, and hints of minerality. Verdicchio wine pairs well with a range of foods, including poultry, seafood, and pasta dishes. It’s a great choice if you prefer white wine with bright acidity and subtle complexity. Look for wines that are dry and delicious, and nicely balanced with fruit and acid.
Wine 5: Assyrtiko
Assyrtiko is without a doubt the most famous wine export of Greece. Assyrtiko comes from the island of Santorini where vines are trained in basket shapes to protect the berries from the wind. These volcanic soils and maritime conditions give Assyrtiko its trademark minerality.
Recent trends have pushed Assyrtiko to the mainland, and this wine is made in different regions around Greece. This wine has a distinctive citrus and mineral profile, with notes of lemon, grapefruit, and sea salt. It pairs well with Mediterranean dishes and seafood, and can also be enjoyed on its own as an aperitif.
Unusual White Wine Varieties to Explore
Did the introduction to those new wines above get you excited? Or are you familiar with most of them and want to get introduced to some more unusual white wine varieties? Check out our list of unusual white wines to try:
A cousin of Sauvignon Blanc and a Loire native, Fié Gris (also known as Sauvignon Gris) has lots of similarities to its cousin. Fié Gris grapes are gray-pink in color, which is where they get their name. It’s known for its complex and layered profile with notes of stone fruit, tropical fruit, and a floral undertone.
This northern Italian staple comes from cool climates and is a refreshing, bright white wine of high quality. Kerner is known for its aromatic and floral
Known best for its use in the Hungarian sweet wine, Tokaji, Furmint is now being increasingly used to make dry styles with a complex flavor profile and a rich, full-bodied texture. These wines often exhibit notes of pear, apricot, and honey, with a hint of minerality. Furmint pairs well with spicy dishes and rich, creamy cheeses alike. Give these crisp, delicious wines a try.
White Wines from Lesser-Known Regions
Here are a few white wines from lesser-known regions to inspire you more:
Clare Valley, Australia
Where bone dry Riesling will certainly change your perception of this often misunderstood grape.
Swartland, South Africa
Chenin Blanc takes on an entirely new style from its Loire Valley counterpart here.
Kumeu, New Zealand
Kumeu River makes some of the most internationally appreciated Chardonnay found outside of Burgundy, France.
If you’re looking to expand your white wine palate, check out the Caves wine club online. Get access to 2 bottles from a new region each month and receive 10% off all wine in our online shop!
What Should You Look for When Choosing a Unique White Wine?
Here’s what you should look for when purchasing a unique white wine:
- Look for words you don’t recognize!
This is the best way to find new information about wine. In the case of Europe, oftentimes your favorite wine is hiding behind a name you don’t recognize. In the case of Sauvignon Blanc, that name could be Sancerre, Pouilly Fume, Menetou-Salon, Reuilly or Quincy - these are all Sauvignon Blanc wines and all from the upper Loire Valley.
- Use geography as your guide.
If you’re looking for a lean, crisp wine, try regions that are known for being cooler. Climate directly influences the wine and cool regions, like Austria, Germany, Northern France, and Hungary, to name a few, produce white wines that tend to fall in this category.
Be sure to visit our wine shop to purchase some of these unique white wines while they’re still in stock! You can also contact us for additional wine information or support if you’re looking for something special.