White Wine Varieties


So, I see you have made it to the summer happy hour hm?

Welcome, all! Mclaren Vale Cellars would love to walk you through our selection of premium McLaren Vale wines, nickel knowledge, and how to best impress your friends with your illuminated wine knowledge.


Our crown jewel of white wines. The chardonnay is your gateway into learning more about yourself and the vast variety that is white wine. Chardonnay is light, easy, and a wonderful sip for any occasion. Full-bodied, forward flavored, Chardonnay is influenced deeply by its region.

Expect to find a velvety finish fit with flavors like crisp apple, pear, and stone fruits. Chardonnay does excellent with meals that contain a decent amount of rich fat and umami undertones. This means cheese boards, white wine pasta sauces, and even a tray of Fresh Oysters to compliment the fruity flavor with salty minerals.


The other crown jewel in the regal family of white wines, Pinot Grigio is light to medium-bodied with a dry taste and summer sunlit hue. They are universal, crisp, and punchy. Although a neutral wine, best served chilled. You will find summer flavors of green apple, sweet honeysuckle, and rich zest throughout. The different notes work well with fresh green grapes, a light cheese, and a creamy pasta dish.


The driest of all three, the Reisling is a go-to for light meat dishes from fish, chicken, and even pork. It is much lighter, cloudier, and normally of German descent. Expect a very clear and vivid freshness in each glass. Similar to entering outside on a bright sunny day full of fluffy clouds and endless possibilities. Taste fresh apple, apricot, notes of mint, a high floral fragrance, and a zippy flavor that is empowering and fruitful.


Dry. A Favorite. Balanced. Lightly Fruited. A Tinge Of Acidity. Sexy, just sexy. Sauvignon Blanc is not only fun to say but an incredibly enjoyable wine. It has glorious tones of grapefruit, apple, elderflower, and florals that subtly layer the mineral and tannins. The ultimate go-to for seafood and perhaps a green tomatillo pesto gazpacho.


Crisp, limey, bright acidity, and wild summer heat dreams, Cortese is rarely mentioned, but we will never forget her presence. Heavily musky and fruit-forward, Cortese is more known in regions throughout Italy. It's punchy with almond and lemon undertones. Truly unique, and above all else COVETED. Its tartness pairs well with white fish, light vegetables, olives, and a peach salad. Also can be referred to as Gavi


Sweet southern belles flock to glasses of Moscato. It is the girl next door and sometimes sticky sweet. In France, it is commonly called muscat for short. It pours smoothly and effortlessly. It is very light, bright, and has a subtle softness to it. Pair with a light salad, or with a nice mascarpone french toast at brunch or white chocolate fondue for the ultimate sweet treat.


Peach, please. Viognier is a go-to for Aussies, however, for the rest of the world, it feels undiscovered and underrated. She is naturally rich and luscious in flavor. Melding the floral and acidity with a deeply ravishing aroma. Some would call it the twin sister of the Chardonnay, but she is not bitter about her sibling getting more exposure, she knows her day will come. What we consider, a seafood SAINT! Viognier is perfect for shellfish, citrus chicken, or anything that would appreciate an oaky undertone.


France’s bronze award for the third most planted grape, the Semillon is richly diverse, mysterious, and herbally curated. It holds similar notes to a Sauvignon Blanc but goes boldly into a balanced, plump, density similar to a Chardonnay. If you are lucky enough to taste a glass of Semillon, you may find flavors like fig, papaya, and creamy oak. It is an Australian favorite and wonderful with dishes that include clove, turmeric, saffron, and dill.


Dry and light, clearly a cousin to the Red Zinfandel and invented by the Sutter Vineyard in 1948, it is flavorful with tastes of citrus, red fruits, and can sometimes even range to a deep sweetness. Zins and Rose’s are similar, but not nearly the same drink. Serve with a fire-roasted vegetable, a spiced crab cake, or a creamy custard-based creme brulee. Our personal favorite is to pair it with derby cheese and a nice crispy cracker.


Originating from the home of Piedmont, the Arneis is Italian, Fragrant, and Medium to Full Bodied.

Do you love crisp apple and prickled pear? Good. Order the Arneis. Its elegance is coveted over. Absorbing fall-like tones of stone fruit and hints of walnut and almond nutmeg. Not only this, but in some regions, it can also portray a more peachy persona.

Its origin makes it somewhat of an oddball. Growing primarily in red wine regions of northern Italy, the Arneis is not afraid to be a little different.

It considers itself as the black sheep of the family, competing with neighbors like the Nebbiolo, and clearly likes to stand out.

Bone dry, it is hard not to love the Arneis as it makes you feel as though you are centered, balanced, and in love with life. Enjoy while you are sipping in that summer breeze on your Italian veranda.

Pair with a light summer salad, a pea risotto, or even a sauteed vegetable dish. Meat wise? Lighter and leaner meats like a Tarragon Fish or a Herbed Chicken would work best!

Chenin Blanc

Which sounds like something you would find at a French boutique, is actually a quite pleasant dry summer wine. It's oaky like chardonnay but platforms more flavors like Persimmon, Honeydew, Jasmine, and Baked Apple.

It's versatile, sweet, and can range from dry to sparkling. It can also drastically range in color and taste profile.

Early to bloom but late in the ripen, this wine will combine stone fruit with guava for a sensation that will have you talking all year round. Do you want the ultimate Chenin Blanc? Head home to its roots in the Loire Valley of France

Although this wine is clearly French, South Africa is the second-largest producer of the Chenin Blanc. It was also the most popular grape in California until the Chardonnay stole the show in the 1970s. Rumour has it, it is actually a sibling to the Sauvignon Blanc.

Now, what would a white wine be in the summer without a little aperitif?

Think fresh oysters, halibut, light seafood. Maybe even a strawberry cucumber salsa for an early dinner snack. If the wine is sweeter, lean for stinky cheese or light and creamy dessert. I.e. a sexy lemon meringue pie from your local patisserie.

Due to the range in acidity, you can also pair this wine with Asian dishes that incorporate more sweet and sour flavors like orange chicken, Szechuan beef, and more!

If you are plant-based, sway to the side of apples, cauliflower, squash, and baby carrots!


Fiano wine makes us want to dance among the summer breeze with its high faluting and luxurious Italian roots. It is dry, medium-bodied, and categorized for its crisp honeydew and glazed floral profile. Think pops of tropical fruit like pineapple and light spice to round out each swirl.

She is a bit nutty, incorporating flavors like hazelnut and almond. Wine Enthusiast.com has called the Fiano a rising star and we would have to agree. It is fresh, prominent, and contains robust minerals that level the acidity.

The Fiano is classic. Dating back to the early 13th century. Today, it can be found flourishing in the Apennine Mountains. The climate and terroir are what really cultivates the grape and earth-balanced flavor.

Like walking in a glorious and magical orchard, the Fiona is a staple in Southern Italy. Romantic, full of wanderlust, it ages wonderfully due to its pine and orange accents. It is nuanced, exclusively known in Europe, and a lesser-known grape to the Chardonnay or Sauv Blanc.

If your tummy starts to rumble whilst enjoying a nice glass of the Fiona, go for grilled or baked asparagus alongside a shellfish or citrus glazed salmon over a bed of fresh and local greens.

For dessert? A creamy coconut custard or light cocoa pot de creme would do lovely!

FUN FACT: Honey Bees LOVE the Fiano Grape.

Grenache Blanc

The Grenache Blanc is a demure show-off. Featuring exotic flavors like white lychee, floral fruits, and bright tangerines. It has subtle hints of dill, toasted pine nuts, and aged lemon curd that make it light and creamy.

Full-bodied. Underrated. Fine-tuned acidity reaching on the lower side, this summer staple is originally from the north of Spain. Today it is produced in over 8 differing countries. It can be dry or sweet but typically comes with less tang. Its aroma and essence will make you feel suave. Which is French for really cool.

The Grenache Blanc rarely makes a debut appearance and is primarily used for blends. If you are lucky enough to try a solo glass, here is what we suggest snacking on.

Best enjoyed chilled with a nice chunk of brie cheese on a basil dusted cracker.

Dinner time? The Grenache Blanc loves balancing fresh, intricate, and creamy flavors. Think stuffed zucchini filled with goat cheese and herbed spices. Or perhaps an oily baked fish avec a sauteed summer squash. To finish your palate, end the night with a homemade baked apple crumble adorning a scoop of lightly minted ice cream.


The Vermentino is Spanish. FALSE. The Vermentino is now proven to be Italian. Not that that truly matters unless you are Italian or Spanish having a heated debacle over this topic.

Nonetheless, a great bottle of wine.

The Vermentino is not as fruit-forward as a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. Its citrus-based complexion holds a medium body to it and is low in acidity. Although it is more rarely known, it is still a wildly popular Mediterranean wine.

It is bitter, dry, but always a good time. A wonderful and tart granny smith apple would cover all bases of flavor. Throw in a little lime, grapefruit, pear, and hibiscus, and you have yourself a dating profile.

The Vermentino could be considered to have two very distinct options. When allowed to ripen and age, the traditionally light and tangy glass becomes creamy and decadent during fermentation.

FUN FACT. The Vermentino is RESILIENT. This grape can handle just about anything. Drought. Disease. Famine.

The Vermentino is a big meat eater due to its prima donna-like qualities. (It likes to be the star of the show). This means, whatever you are eating, you need to make sure it can compare and uphold the Vermentino standard.

We're talking pork sausage, a grilled tarragon trout, or a rich lobster dish with a side of freshly sprouted arugula. The flavors will balance and bite. Looking to incorporate more veggies in your meal? Think a spiced fennel artichoke for your entree or a feta-based bean and palm of hearts pasta.


An Alpine Wine that makes you feel fine. Floral, Fruity, and Medium to Low Acidity with the drive to ski her way right into your heart and home. (Bad joke we know).

The Gewurz, for short, can be compared to a Reisling or a Muscat. The full picture looks like lychee, cantaloupe, peach, and apricot with an all-spice undertone.

Best served cold, the Gewurz is a German fan-favorite and popular among the Grand Cru grapes of Alsace. This would be a wonderful go-to for a diverse dessert wine!

Medium-bodied, dry, the Gewurz would love to travel with you. To Morrocco, Southeast Asia, or even the American South. Go for a roasted lamb and dried fig meal or a ginger-spiced chicken to enhance the floral profile and palate. Vegetarian? Us too. Our go-to is anything involving carrots, coconut, and tempeh simmered squash.


White Pinot Noir

I bet you didn't know that the classic red Pinot Noir had a SISTER, The white Pinot Noir can be found in most US states like Oregon and California but also in Italy and Germany. It can also be referred to as a Vin Gris.

Rare like a unicorn, the White Pinot Noir is delicate like a baked apple but holds a memorable orange zest to it.

The tannins are low and acidity is even-keeled. A family-friendly wine for anyone above 21+ (depending on where you are in the world)

Oddly enough this wine is made with red wine grapes. The coloring can range all the way from light golden straw to a deep and majestic yellow and is mainly impacted by its contact with light. Additionally, the white Pinot Noir is made without skins.

It is tart, warm on the tongue, and can feature hints of honey and ginger-like memories. Creamy and oaky like a Chardonnay, the surprise bite comes from the tart apple. If this wine was a dessert,it would 10/10 be some sort of custard or creme brulee with a light citrus fusion.

The White Pinot Noir is nonfussy when it comes to food.

A nice shellfish or shrimp dish would be exquisite, or chicken, lightly herbed pork, maybe even a portobello mushroom entree. If you are really hungry, order an abundantly sized white pizza and call it a day.

Clairette Blanche

Not related to Cate Blanchett, but instead, a very popular white grape whose home resides in the south of France. It dates back to the 1500s with a composition that is timeless.

It is commonly used in Rose's, White Wines, and Sparkling Bottles. But on her own... Ahh. C'est Magnifique. Dazzling us all with flavors of white peach, lime, and subtle floral persuasions.

The Clairette Blanche wine is harvested early so that wine drinkers around the world can enjoy its fresh minerality and acidity. If allowed to ferment longer, the wine becomes much more creamy and oaky.

If this wine were a sandwich it would be stationed and stacked high with flavors of key lime, lemongrass, mint, and tropical pineapple. For dining, we suggest leaning towards a light scallop ceviche, mussels, or a mango rice noodle bowl.


Can be sweet or dry, Rose is the perfect kick me off to summer, now even served in adorable pink cans! Rose is a summer staple no matter your wine preference. It is versatile, fun, and universally loved. Expect to find luxury flavors like crisp strawberry, raspberry, and perhaps even a bubbly texture. The cliche of this being a feminine drink is long gone. It is the perfect combination of floral and fruit and pairs excellently with white fish and grilled zucchini. Or perhaps out on a picnic with fresh peaches and light white cheddar cheese.

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