White Wine Symbols
The symbols used to describe white wines are placed on a background. For white wines
three shades of blue are used to describe the fullness (body) of a wine.
Light white wine
Medium-bodied white wine
Full-bodied white wine
Most white wines are relatively light. If the wine is light the symbols (fruit acid, sweetness, oak) appear against a light blue background.
Wines perceived as slightly more concentrated have usually been fermented or aged in barrels, e g barrel aged chardonnay. Wines with an oily or waxy texture, like gewurztraminer or viognier also fit into this group. Symbols of these wines appear on a medium blue background.
The highest values of fullness can be found in sweet wine. Symbols appear on a blue background.
All symbols used here describe the perceived sensory experience, they are not declaration of content. This is especially true for symbols of fruit acid and sweetness.
The acidity of white wine is described by the symbol of one up to three lemon slices.
Fresh, high perceived acidity
Medium perceived acidity
Low perceived acidity
Since white wine usually lacks red wine's astringency, the fruit acid in white wine is especially important for the wine's structure. White wine with low acidity may feel flat.
Most white wines have a relatively high content of fruit acid, on this web site symbolized with three lemon slices. Grape varieties which usually give high fruit acid are Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling (three lemon slices).
White wines that are perceived as milder normally contain slightly less acidity, for example wines made of the grapes Gewürztraminer or Viognier (two lemon slices).
White wines vary to a great extent with regard to sweetness. Almost all wines contain some residual sugar because the yeast may not be able to convert all sugar to alcohol. One to two grams of sugar per litre is therefore present also in dry wine, but many contain substantially higher sugar levels. White wines traditionally have been classified as dry, medium-dry, semi-dry and sweet. The symbol used is 1 to 4 lumps of sugar. If the wine is dry (below 3 g/l) it has no symbol.
Dry with a touch of sweetness
Among the really dry wines (no sweetness symbol) you will find for example, barrel aged Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.
Dry white wines with a little residual sweetness (1 lump of sugar) are often made from aromatic grape varieties like Gewurztraminer, Viognier and Pinot Gris.
For some grape varieties , like Riesling and Chenin Blanc, however, you can find wines on the entire sweetness scale - from really dry to honey sweet.
Examples of really sweet white wines are wines from Sauternes and Tokaji.
Taste symbols of white wine
To describe the taste and smell of white wines they have been grouped into four flavour types.
Symbol for crisp and fresh wines is a lemon.
The crisp & fresh white wines are usually dry or semi-dry wines and are often light. Flavours such as apple, citrus, gooseberry and bell peppers are common. Here you will often find wines made from grape varieties Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as wines from Chablis and Vinho Verde.
Symbol for full-flavoured and rich white wines is a pineapple.
These wines are almost always dry wines and often with an oak character. Flavours like vanilla, butter, toast and tropical fruit are typical. In this group you will find most of the oaked Chardonnay.
Symbol for floral and aromatic white wines is a rose.
These wines are usually dry or semi-dry wines with a distinct character of the grape variety.
Floral and spicy flavours with very fruity aromas such as elderberry, mango and roses are typical. Grape varieties like Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris are common in this group.
Symbol for mild and smooth white wines is almonds. These wines are dry or semi-dry and often mild and neutral in taste. Common flavours are ripe apple and almonds.
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