Have you ever ordered white wine at a restaurant or chosen a white to bring to a gathering only to find it undrinkable? Have you been searching for the perfect blend of flavours but found all your selections to be misses? It might be time for you to discover which flavours of grape you actually enjoy and to keep a wine’s level of sweetness in mind when making purchases. For those who are sensitive to tannins, some wine profiles will be dry enough to take the moisture right out of your mouth while others will surprise you with how syrup-like they taste.

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It’s important to figure out whether you prefer your white to be fresh and crisp, smooth and silky, or aromatic – especially if you’re new to wine as each grape has its own distinct flavour. How long a wine is aged for will also make a difference, as well what food it is paired with. Typically, a wine’s sweetness is given away by how easily it sticks to the sides of the glass; this is something to keep an eye on when someone asks you if you’d prefer red or white at a party.

An off-dry 90-point white available through retailers like Wine Online is the Gewürztraminer Estate VQA by Cave Spring Cellars, vintage 2014. The fruit for this bottle was picked later in the season by the winemaker to ensure its ripeness, and its low acidity gives this selection that classic oily texture – yet it is well balanced with the fruit, adding freshness. On the nose, it offers scents of ginger, lychee, rosewater, orange blossom and a hint of honey; on the palate, it has spicy and marmalade flavours that carry into a lingering finish of orange peel, clove and ginger – great for someone who enjoys a hint of sweetness. You can visit Wineonline.ca/wine-cellar/white-wine.html to see full profiles of your favourite white wines along with food pairing recommendations — and even top reviews from Decanter, Wine Spectator, and other publications.

 

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For something slightly more tart, a dry Riesling or Chardonnay is often a safe bet. The Chardonnay St. David’s Bench Vineyard VQA by Château Des Charmes, vintage 2014, is a Niagara classic; it is barrel fermented and aged for up to 12 months in French Allier oak barrels. The resulting wine is full-bodied with flavours of tropical fruit and melon with a hint of butter. The oak ageing gives it a smoky softness and its warm spice suits a change of season. You may also save it and allow it to develop in the bottle for a few years.

If you’ve found the dryer the wine the better, choose a Sauvignon Blanc or Italian Pinot Grigio that have lemon and grassy notes with a good minerality. The Sauvignon Blanc Reserva by Viñedos Terranoble, vintage 2015, from the Casablanca valley in Chile has a mature citrus profile and hints of tropical fruits. On the palate, it is very fresh and dry, with a natural pleasant acidity and long finish. The sooner you discover which combination of grapes suits your tastes, the sooner you’ll find a white you’ll be satisfied with every time you order a bottle.