A Guide To The Five Types of Wine
For many people, choosing the right wine can be daunting, with the variety of options available often leading to confusion. However, understanding the basic types of wine can go a long way in simplifying the selection process and improving your overall wine experience. We look at the five main types of wine and provide insight into their characteristics, flavours, and origins.
Red Types of Wine
Red wine is fermented from black grapes used whole for fermentation, including skin and pips. The skin gives the wine its red colour, and numerous types of grapes are available, each with its unique flavour. The flavour is typically derived from the soil and climate in the region where the grapes are grown, and the winemaker’s art of mixing allows for a diverse range of red wines. From the full-bodied and intensely flavoured Cabernet Sauvignon to the lighter cherry and raspberry taste of the Pinot Noir grape, there is a red wine for every palate.
While red wines are often associated with heavy, meat-based dishes, so you can pair them with various foods, including cheese, seafood, and spicy dishes. For example, a Pinot Noir pairs well with salmon, while a Merlot can complement a mushroom risotto. When choosing a red wine, consider the acidity, tannin level, and flavour profile to ensure it complements your meal and personal taste preferences.
Rosé Types of Wine
The juice obtained from red grapes can also be used to produce rosé wines, but in this case, the liquid is separated halfway through fermentation when it is sufficiently coloured to make pink wine. The grape used for fermentation dramatically impacts the flavour profile, and some of the finest rosé wines are produced from the Grenache grape. This grape is widely planted globally and commonly used as a base for blended wines such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Cotes du Rhône.
Rosé wine has experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years, and its versatility makes it a perfect pairing for light salads, seafood, and grilled vegetables. It can also be served as an aperitif or enjoyed on a warm summer day.
Blush Types of Wine
Blush wine, also known as California’s version of rosé, is produced much the same way as rosé wine, but the grape most often used is the Zinfandel grape. This grape produces a slightly sweet pink wine with a blue hue and is considered indigenous to California, although it originated in Croatia more than 150 years ago.
Blush wine has a fruity flavour that pairs well with spicy and flavourful dishes, making it an excellent choice for pairing with Asian cuisine, barbecue, and Tex-Mex dishes. Its sweetness also makes it a popular choice for desserts.
White Types of Wine
Contrary to popular belief, white wine can be made from either white or black grapes. The juice from both types of grapes is colourless, and only the skin of the black grape gives red wine its colour. The flavour profile of white wine varies widely according to the grape used, the winemaker’s art, and the degree to which different juices are blended.
Dry white wines, such as Muscadet or Sauvignon Blanc, have a crisp and acidic flavour that pairs well with seafood, salads, and light pasta dishes. On the other hand, richer fruit-flavoured wines, such as those based on the Chardonnay grape, are ideal for pairing with creamy sauces and heavier dishes.
Sparkling Types of Wine
Sparkling wines, of which Champagne is the most well-known example, are based upon a dry white wine. The wine is bottled, and a solution of sugar and yeast is added before the bottle is sealed. This process causes
How to Choose a Wine
Choosing a wine can be a daunting task, especially if you need to become more familiar with the different types of wine and the flavours they offer. To select a wine, you should know your preferences and the occasion for which you will use the wine. Here are some tips to help you choose the right wine:
- Consider the occasion: Is the wine for a romantic dinner or a casual get-together with friends? Is it for a special celebration or to enjoy with a meal?
- Choose a wine that complements the food: Wine and food go hand in hand—different types of wine pair well with different kinds of food—for example, red wine pairs well with red meat, and white wine with fish and chicken.
- Consider your preferences: Do you prefer red or white wine? Do you like dry or sweet wine? Are you looking for a full-bodied or light-bodied wine?
- Experiment: Feel free to try different types of wine. Go to wine tastings and try other wines to find out what you like.
- Seek expert advice: If you are still trying to decide which wine to choose, ask an expert. Wine shop employees and sommeliers can offer valuable advice.
Choosing a wine doesn’t have to be intimidating. Knowing the different types of wine and your preferences can help you make the right choice. Wine is a fascinating beverage that many have enjoyed for centuries. Knowing the different types of wine and their flavours can enhance your appreciation and enjoyment of wine. Whether you are a wine connoisseur or a novice, there is always something new to discover in the world of wine. You can find the perfect wine for any occasion with some knowledge and experimentation. So go ahead and raise a glass to the joy of wine.
Main image: Klara Kulikova, Unsplash