Three White Wines That Provide An Alternative To Classic Chardonnay

If you're like many people, you probably already know that white wine pairs best with seafood, light vegetarian dishes, and poultry. You can't really go wrong with serving a nicely chilled Chardonnay with a pan-fried catfish, pasta primavera, an herb-crusted roast chicken, or a holiday turkey. However, Chardonnay too often becomes the go-to wine choice when the occasion calls for white wine, and although its silky texture and buttery finish certainly bring a lot to the table, you're missing out on if you limit your white wine consumption to Chardonnay. Following are three alternatives to Chardonnay and what you should serve them with. 

Pinot Gris

Pinot gris is a light, crisp white wine with fruity accents. It's a very good choice for simple pasta dishes featuring white sauces, such as chicken alfredo or spaghetti carbonara. Its uncomplicated flavor profile also makes it ideal for enjoying with an after-dinner bowl of fruit on a warm summer evening. You can also serve it as with a pre-dinner cheese course with light, white cheese such as mozzarella. It also complements seafood dishes with delicate flavors, such as poached sole or trout almondine, though it's not a good choice for tuna, steaks, or salmon because it can't stand up to the strong flavors of these fish. 


Muscato typically has a sweet tang that makes it ideal for serving with Thai, Mexican, and Indian cuisine because it helps temper the added heat these foods bring to the table. It also makes a good dessert wine if you're serving something made with vanilla or buttercream, but stay away from pairing it with chocolate desserts because it simply doesn't have the required depth. Because Muscato grapes are typically cultivated near the sea, it also goes well with any type of seafood, but it's particularly good with crab, lobster, shrimp, mussels, and other shellfish.

White Bordeaux 

White Bordeaux is an excellent choice for serving with vegetarian entrees, especially when fresh basil, spring asparagus, garlic, or avocado is a part of the picture. For an easy-yet-elegant dinner, serve it with angel hair pasta with a basic pesto sauce. It's also a good pairing choice for light, white fish, such as halibut or cod. Although White Bordeaux normally isn't a good choice as a dessert wine, it does pair well with simple New York-style cheesecake and most desserts created with lemon or lime, such as Key lime or lemon meringue pie.

Make sure to sample other types of Bordeaux, including Bordeaux blends, to expand your tastes in wine.