When it comes to crafting white wines in Pennsylvania, the region’s unique climate and soil conditions have proven to be good for cultivating a variety of white vitis vinifera grapes that result in high-quality wines. Here’s a glimpse into the top 10 white grape varietals that have taken center stage in Pennsylvania’s wine scene:
- Albariño: Albariño is a rising star in the Pennsylvania wine landscape. Originating from Spain, it has found a comfortable home in the state’s vineyards. Its vibrant acidity and characteristic aromas of stone fruits and floral notes make it a delightful choice for light and zesty wines. Pennsylvania Albarino tends to be more ripe and lush than its Spanish counterparts.
- Grüner Veltliner: Hailing from Austria, Grüner Veltliner is gaining popularity in Pennsylvania for its unique white pepper spiciness and refreshing acidity. With flavors ranging from green apple to white peach, these wines often have a mineral-driven character that showcases the region’s terroir.
- Riesling: Riesling is a classic grape that thrives in Pennsylvania’s cool climate. The state’s Rieslings exhibit a balance between sweetness and acidity, resulting in aromatic wines with flavors of honey, apricot, and sometimes a hint of petrol, particularly in aged expressions.
- Chardonnay: Chardonnay is a globally renowned grape known for its versatility. In Pennsylvania, it produces wines that range from crisp and refreshing to oaky and complex. Its adaptability to different winemaking techniques leads to a spectrum of flavors, often including notes of green apple, citrus, and subtle oak.
- Pinot Gris/Grigio: This grape variety, known as Pinot Gris in France and Pinot Grigio in Italy, produces wines with a range of styles in Pennsylvania. From light and crisp to more textured and complex, these wines offer flavors of pear, apple, and subtle floral notes.
- Sauvignon Blanc: Sauvignon Blanc is celebrated for its grassy and herbaceous characteristics. In Pennsylvania, it can showcase both the grape’s vibrant acidity and the region’s unique terroir, resulting in wines with notes of citrus, grass, and sometimes a touch of green bell pepper.
- Gewürztraminer: Gewürztraminer is known for its intense aromatics, often featuring rose petals, lychee, and exotic spices. The grape thrives in Pennsylvania’s cooler climate, resulting in wines that are aromatic, slightly off-dry, and incredibly flavorful.
- Sémillon: Often used in blending, Sémillon brings a rounded texture and richness to Pennsylvania’s white wines. It exhibits flavors of stone fruits, honey, and sometimes a waxy note. When aged, Sémillon can develop additional complexity and depth.
- Arneis: Hailing from a cooler area of Italy, Arneis is a lesser-known grape that’s just starting to be considered in Pennsylvania. It produces crisp and aromatic wines with flavors of orchard fruits, almonds, and a touch of floral elegance.
- Viognier: Viognier is celebrated for its aromatic intensity, often displaying fragrances of white flowers and ripe stone fruits. In Pennsylvania, it can yield full-bodied wines with a luscious texture and flavors of peach, apricot, and even a hint of tropical fruit.
Each of these white vitis vinifera grapes contributes its own unique character to Pennsylvania’s wine production, showcasing the diversity and potential of the region’s terroir.