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No doubt, if you’re new to the world of wines, the assortment of wine types and bottles in a restaurant list or store rack may overwhelm you. This is because farmers can produce wine from a myriad of grape varieties, and there are a plethora of wine types to choose from.
Learning about the main types of wines and their flavors can help you choose the fitting drink for your mood or meal. If you want to explore more about different types of wine, then continue reading this article.
What Is Wine?
Farmers produce wine from fermented grape juice. The wine grapes used are sweet, small, and thick-skinned, which are entirely distinct from the ones sold in grocery stores. Winemakers create wine using white or black grapes. Remember that white grapes are actually green, while the black ones are a bit reddish.
There are hundreds of grape varieties that farmers can produce various wine types from. Moreover, one should not confuse traditional grape wine with fruit wine, since for the latter, farmers typically source it from fermented fruit juice.
There are plenty of factors that shape a wine’s character, such as sweetness, flavor, tannins, and acidity. Here are some popular types of wine you must try in your next cookout or gathering.
Different Types of Wine
1. Red Wine
Winemakers source red wine from black-skinned grapes with colorless juice. When they press them, the grape skins combine with the liquid to produce a rich reddish-purple drink.
Additionally, grape skins carry tannins. They are the elements that contribute to the red wine’s biting and mouth-drying characteristics. Tannins likewise serve as a preservative. This is why red wines with more excellent tannins age longer compared to ones with lesser amounts.
In the process of aging red wines, winemakers place the beverage in new oak barrels to incorporate aromas and flavors of various spices, vanilla, cocoa, and chocolate into the drink. The oak barrel aging method also eases the tannin composition of red wine, allowing the taste to become smoother. Some of the famous red wines are:
- Chianti: Italy’s Chianti, while primarily identified with Sangiovese grapes, also blends small amounts of other grape varieties depending on the flavor to be achieved. The ideal food pairing for this wine is pizza, cured meat, cheese, and pasta.
- Bordeaux: One of the most popular red blends is the French wine, Bordeaux. This particular wine can be sourced from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. Some of the perfect food pairings for this wine are turkey, filet mignon, roast pork, steak, swiss cheese, Manchego, white cheddar, and roast potatoes.
- Syrah: Syrah is also known as Shiraz. It’s famous for being a wine with an earthy, deep, and dark fruit taste. Moreover, it’s a full-bodied wine grown in Australia and France. It features medium amounts of tannins and is often blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre varieties to produce the Rhode Valley blend. You can pair Syrah with smoked meat, lamb, American, Mediterranean, and French firm cheeses or hard cheeses such as Spanish Manchego.
2. White Wine
On the other hand, white wines come from green-skinned grapes that are likewise colorless. However, the difference in the processing of white wine from red is that for the former, the farmers remove the grape skin before fermenting the fruit. And since white wine lacks tannins, aroma and acid structure are essential for this drink.
Furthermore, winemakers typically age white wines in stainless steel barrels to retain their crisp aromatics. The scent and flavor of white wine depending on the climate and the kind of grape they came from.
For instance, cool areas mainly produce fruity flavors and aromas such as grapefruit, orange, lime, and lemon. In contrast, warmer climate regions create tropical fruit fragrances like melon, guava, pineapple, and passionfruit. Some of the famous white wines are:
- Pinot Grigio: People in differing countries call Pinot Grigio by various names. The Italians call it Pinot Grigio, but the French know it as Pinot Gris. This wine is the second most famous white wine in the United States after Chardonnay. Most often than not, Pinot Grigio is a dry, medium to light-bodied, tart wine.
- Sauvignon Blanc: On the one hand, Sauvignon Blanc is famous for its distinct citrusy and refreshing tartness. This wine’s taste may vary based on its region of origin. The flavor may either be similar to jalapeño or tropical fruit coming from New Zealand or grassy from Italy and France. Also, excellent food pairings for this wine are pork, fish, herb-crusted cheese, chicken, French, Mexican, and Vietnamese food.
- Chardonnay: Unlike other varieties, the Chardonnay grape is relatively neutral and can readily adapt various characteristics depending on its location. As a result, the concocted drink is a light and simple wine that has low acidity levels. Some of the ideal food pairings for this wine are crab, chicken, shrimp, cream sauces, mushrooms, pork, and soft cheeses.
3. Sparkling Wine
Finally, sparkling wines can either be red, rosé, or white. Winemakers can produce this type from any grape variety based on their location. You’ll find sparkling wines available in a single variety or blend of grapes. They also contain sugar that ranges from sweet to dry to offset the wine’s high acidity.
Prosecco and champagne are the two of the most popular sparkling wines. Farmers usually source Prosecco from the Glera grape. Single-variety champagnes include Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. You will likewise find blended champagnes made from different grapes.
A few of the perfect food pairings for sparkling wine are shrimp, smoked salmon, fresh fruit, salad, and soft cheeses.
For the most part, it will be a challenge for beginners to familiarize themselves with the taste of wines based on their types and categories. Hence, when you find yourself overwhelmed in a wine shop, don’t hesitate to ask for help. You can also directly ask the store if they have the type of wine you’d like to try.
Remember, in the end, there’s no wrong decision. As long as you purchase the wine that suits your palate, you’re making a perfect choice.