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What you should know about white wine

When most people think of white wine the first few that come to mind are Chardonnay, Pino Grigio, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. There are literally hundreds of white wines. Have you ever heard of Gewürztraminer, Muscat, Pinot Gris, Pouilly-Fumé, Pouilly-Fuissé, Sémillon, Friulano, Traminette, Grüner Veltliner and Sauternes, to name a few?


Viognier, pronounced “Vee-own-yay,” originated in Southern France. The dominant flavors of this grape are tangerine, peach, mango, honeysuckle and rose. Typically this is a dry or semi-dry wine with flower aromas. This type of wine would pair well with chicken, butternut squash or a pork chop with apricot sauce.

Stag’s Leap Winery in California made a 2013 vintage Viognier that is elegant and complex. It has citrus and rose aromas. You will notice the apricot and nectarine with the first sip. It has a subtle blend of honeysuckle and melon finish and costs $19.99 at the East York and Shrewsbury Fine Wine and Good Spirits.

Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc is similar to Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc. The flavors you might find in this style of wine are passion fruit, apple, pear and peach. There is a lot of variety in this wine as some producers are making it dry and others are making it slightly sweet.

Barton & Guestier Vouvray 2014 is a nice choice for $10.99. It is a medium sweet wine with some peach flavors and bright acidity. Wine Enthusiast gave this wine 85 points and would pair well with Asian food, smoked salmon, veal or trout. This wine comes from the famous Loire Valley in France. If you normally like sweet wines, this would be a great wine to try.


Pouilly-Fuisse includes some of the finest white wines of France and is a southern region of Burgundy. Made with Chardonnay grapes, these wines have a smoky essence and are less oaked.  Henry Fessy – Pouilly-Fuisse Sous La Roche 2014 has an apple and lemon taste with a hint of butter. The finish is vibrant and Wine Spectator gave this wine 88 points. The cost locally is $17.99


Sémillon is France’s third most planted grape. It has flavors similar to Pino Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. It is often used in blending white wines in the Bordeaux region of France. If the grape is less ripe it will have more notes of citrus and if it is riper it tends to taste more like papaya.

Locally, Waltz Estate Winery in Manheim makes a wine called Fusion, and Sémillon is the grape used to make this wine. This wine is available on the website at or at their locations throughout the Susquehanna Valley. The wine is semi-dry and has a fruity taste of pear and citrus. This would be a great wine with sushi, chicken, or your favorite mild whitefish. The 2015 vintage is available for $22.


Traminette is a French and American hybrid grape with floral aromas and tastes of spice, honey, apricot and melons. Allegro winery in Brogue makes several with Traminette blended wines called Sonata and Fanfare. Naylor has a Traminette blend called Grace and Hauser Estate has a Traminette blend called Wheatfield white.

The next time you purchase a bottle of white wine, take a chance and try a different varietal. Tis the season for white wines, sip and enjoy. Try it — you may just love it.