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Knowing the styles of white wines you enjoy makes exploration much easier. Some prefer dry while others demand sweet or racing acidity and others desire rich and creamy. Knowing your preferences can help you identify new wines to explore.


The Sauvignon blanc grape is one the most identifiable white grape varieties. Its chief attribute is its piecing, refreshing aroma. It most likely will have aromas and tastes of green fruit, citrus, green apple, grass and gooseberries. If you prefer the zesty, piercing, aromatic style of this grape, look for bottles from New Zealand and most notably from the Marlborough region. If you prefer less acidity and a fuller-bodied style, check out California Fume Blanc.


  • 2014 Robert Mondavi Fume Blanc, California (about $13 retail)


  • 2014 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand (about $15 retail)


The Chardonnay grape is often called a chameleon as it adapts well to many styles. It can be treated with oak, no oak, undergo malolactic fermentation, stirred on its lees or even blended with other grapes, with each processing revealing a different face. But even with these ever changing disguises, there are many style similarities in this grape. Most tasting notes are of soft, creamy, buttery, melons, tropical fruits, vanilla and even baked bread. If you prefer wines with a crisp taste, consider Chablis; for more acidity, consider Northern Italy or New Zealand. And if rich and buttery best suit your taste, chardonnay from California and Australia will most likely be the best fit.


  • 2014 Hess Collections Chardonnay, California (about $14 retail)


  • 2014 Joseph Drouhin Chablis, France (about $27 retail)


The Riesling grape is made into many styles that can vary from bone dry, a little sweet and finally lusciously sweet. German spatlese is a sweet, medium-bodied wine with exotic flowery aromas while the German auslese is sweet but with more honeyed aromas. Even with the range in styles most are lower alcohol, high acidity and aromas and taste of limes, petrol and fresh flowers. If you prefer medium-bodied sweet wines with flowery aromas, consider a German spatlese, but if the more honeyed and sweet style is your palate, consider a German auslese or California Riesling. For those looking for dry and steely Rieslings, consider Alsace, German dry Rieslings or Australian Riesling.


  • 2014 Rudi Wiest Mosel River Riesling, Germany (about $15 retail)


  • 2014 Gunderloch Diva Riesling, Germany (about $26 retail)