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California White Table Wines

[Vines And Wines]  [Red Table Wines]  [White Table Wines]  [Rose Table Wines]  [Sparkling Wines]  [Aperitif And Dessert Wines]  [Fruit Wines] 

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The less well easily known white table wines, not classifiable in any particular group. Some are more readily available than others; a few varietals of this group have been discontinued altogether or are only very rarely bottled as such.

VARIETALS French Colombard

A vigorous and highly productive vine, originally known in California as West's Prolific, at one time renamed Winkler* and later identified as the French Colombard. The wine should not be confused with the Sauvignon Vert, produced from the grape of that name and also known as Colombard.

French Colombard has a high acid content which makes it useful for blending in California chablis and rhine-wine types. As a varietaJ, it is dry, light, tart, pale golden with a neutral flavor. It is produced in the inland valley region and in the northern coastal counties, notably Solano, Mendocino, and Napa.

Golden Chasselas

Known in the Napa Valley and adjacent districts as the Golden Chasselas and elsewhere in the state under its proper name, the grape is not a variety of Chasselas, but none other than the Palomino, celebrated for the production of Sherry in the Jerez district of Spain and elsewhere.

Palomino is a vigorous producer, unequaled for yielding the best California sherry. It is not usually suitable for obtaining white table wines of quality, but has occasionally been bottled as a varietaJ. Presumably Schramsberger Golden Chasselas, praised by Robert Louis Stevenson in his Silverado Squatters, was made from this grape.

In spite of the similarity in name Golden Chasselas has no connection with the Chasselas dore'.

Green Hungarian.

The vine is said to originate in Hungary, from where it was imported to California by way of Swabia in Germany. It yields a dry white wine which is mostly used for blending purposes, but has been successfully produced as a varietal, especially in Napa and also in Sonoma.


A wine, produced from the Chasselas dore grape, the best known of many Chasselas varieties in California and also known as Sweetwater. It is the leading table grape of France, where it is little used for wine. In Germany the Gutedel wines are made from this variety, as are the Fendant wines of Switzerland. In California it is not usually flavorful enough for wines of quality.

Ugni Blanc (Oon-yee Blon)

Also known as St. Emilion in the Charente region of France, where it is grown for the distillation of cognac, Ugni Blanc is the same as the Trebbiano of Tuscany in Italy, where it is well known especially for producing white Chianti. It has nothing in common, save the name, with the clarets of the St. Emilion district of Bordeaux.

California Ugni Blanc is mostly neutral in character and best suited for blending. It has occasionally been bottled as a varietal type.

Veltliner (Velt'-leener)

The Red Veltliner grape can produce a pleasing white wine, somewhat similar to Traminer. The grapes have a slight pink blush when ripe, which explains their name, although they produce only white juice. The varietal wine, called simply Veltliner, was produced at one time in the Santa Clara Valley.

GENERICS California White Table Wine

A wine so labeled, with no further indication of type, is usually an inexpensive light white wine of no pronounced character. Some producers bottle a standard quality wine under this name. It can vary from dry to sweet, according to brand.

Vino Bianco

The name given in this Guide to the mellow and slightly sweet type of wine, similar to the homemade product. It is the white counterpart of the popular Vino Rosso (see there) and is labeled with varying Italian names.

California White Chianti

This wine is marketed, like its much more popular red type, in raffia covered bottles. In Italy white Chianti is produced from Trebbiano and Malvasia bianca grapes. In California it is derived from various grapes; production is limited.