White wines tend to be anything but a true "white" in the glass, instead they put forth a spectrum of color ranging from light straw often with green tints to a deep golden yellow. The color components of white wines are derived from the distinct grape varietals or blends used to make the wine. White wines are made from the grape juice and grape skin of green, gold or yellowish colored grapes. In the case of Champagne and sparkling wine wine, they can be made from white wine grapes or just the juice (not the skin) of select red grapes (often Pinot Noir).
White wines can be light-bodied, medium-bodied and full-bodied depending on the grapes used and the alcohol content of the specific wine. Rieslings are typically lighter bodied, with Sauvignon Blancs being a popular medium-bodied white wine and Chardonnay representing a classic full-bodied white wine. Alcohol levels will range from 8% to around 14% for most white wines with German Rieslings being at the lighter end of the alcohol scale. Consumers often corral white wines to lighter meals like lunch, appetizers or as an apéritif themselves. Yet most fuller-bodied white wines can more than handle their fair share of hefty meals laden with butter and cream sauce and Bordeaux's white Sauternes are the wine of choice to handle the palate heft of ultra-rich foie gras. It's the acidity in white wines that make them particularly food-friendly and they tend to be more refreshing, in both style and taste than the majority of their red wine counterparts, justifying an increase in sales during the spring and summer months. The old guideline of “white wine with white meat” still holds true in many instances, but there are plenty of exceptions and palate preferences that dictate which wines to pair with what foods.