Wine can make a regular meal an extraordinary one and can transform an ordinary hangout into a memorable outing. But other than white, red, and sparkling, there is a wide variety of wines that every wine lover should know. Go through this post and learn its types, so that you don’t get overwhelmed when you see the menu of a restaurant or walk through a wine aisle next time!
Wine shopping is undeniably overwhelming. This is because every wine store has n number of options to choose from. You just cannot grab the most pretty-looking bottle (which we are guilty of doing every time) because it might not suit your taste. If you are just starting with your first bottle of wine then you probably will get perplexed because there are thousands of best-tasting wines for beginners out there.
Knowing different kinds of wine is very useful. It not only heightens the social experience, and maximizes drinking pleasure but also allows you to appreciate the flavor of the wine in your glass. Having knowledge of all wine types also gives you the confidence to choose the best according to your preference. Let’s get going!
7 popular types of wine that every wine lover should know!
There are many types of wine made with different components. Wines are classified on the basis of their characteristics such as region, grape variety, acidity, the quantity of alcohol and tannin (acidic in nature that define its tart, crisp, and fresh flavor), aroma, and sweetness. Here are some of the popular types of wine that every wine lover should know to enhance their drinking experience.
1. White Wine
White wine is among the most popular types of wine loved by people around the world. However, there is a common misconception about this type of wine that it is prepared from white grapes. Rather, it can be made with any type of grape. It is not fermented with the skin of grapes as it is removed to make the juice clear.
No matter whether grapes are white, black, red, or white, they can be used to prepare white wine. The key process of making white wine is using the juice extracted from grapes and separating pigments away from them.
Popular picks: Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, Moscato.
Food pair: White wine tastes best with light dishes like tacos, fish, poultry, popcorn, cheese, salad, chips, and other seafood.
Serving tips: Have it chilled to bring out the best flavor. The recommended temperature varies from 49° to 55° Fahrenheit. Drinking white wine chilled (not freezing) highlights its acidity and makes it taste light and fresh.
2. Red Wine
Preparing red wine is dissimilar to white wine as the grape skin, seed, and pip are used in the fermentation. This entire process gives a crimson color to the red wine. The flavor of red wine is earthy and comparatively more fruity than white wine.
Red wine is made from black grapes. The ratio of tannin in red wine is more making it bitter and dryer after taking the sip. New or darker wines contain more tannin. Always pick old wines, as it is less bitter and dry in taste.
Popular picks: Beaujolais, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Shiraz, Bordeaux.
Food pair: Red wine is best paired with dishes comprising red meat like burgers, pasta, steak, barbeque ribs, and pizza.
Serving tips: Red wine tastes good when served at room temperature or below that. Recommended temperature ranges from 62° to 68° Fahrenheit. The reason behind maintaining this temperature is the tannins that tend to become bitter when you chill more than needed.
3. Rose Wine
As its name tells, rose wine is pink-colored and is made with juice extracted from black grapes. It is fermented for a shorter duration, around or less than 36 hours. To prepare rose wine, black grapes are fermented along with their skin for short period, until the color is gained.
The quantity of tannin is low in rose wine similar to white wine. Rose wines are best for summer parties. It is best for beginners as the taste is sweet and light. Many people make rose wine at home by simply mixing white and red wine together. Once blended, the taste comes out to be fruity and can be paired with any cuisine. However, this practice is not ideal in the wine world, so it’s a big no-no.
Popular picks: Rosato, Rosado.
Food pair: Rose wine tastes best when paired with light snacks and dishes like chips and salsa, fruit, poultry, cheese, and fish.
Serving tips: Rose wine flavors get enhanced when it is served chilled just like white wine.
4. Sparkling Wine
Sparkling wine is quite famous for celebrations and parties. This type of wine has sparkles and fizz due to the presence of carbon dioxide. Sparkling wine comes in red, rose, and white options. It is bubbly as they are carbonated wines. It is prepared from white and black grapes. The carbon dioxide is the effect of fermenting both black and white grapes together.
The most renowned sparkling wine is champagne which is widely used in weddings and new year celebrations. Sparkling wines are named after the region they are produced—Champagne in France.
Popular picks: Prosecco, Champagne, Cava, Sparkling rose, Lambrusco.
Types: Brut (slightly sweet and dry taste), Demi-sec (sweetest of all, mostly served with desert), Extra-brut (driest sparkling wine), and Extra dry (less dry than brut and slightly sweeter).
Food pair: Sparkling wines taste very good with light dishes like seafood, soft cheese, smoked salmon and shrimp, fresh fruit, salad, and popcorn.
Serving tips: Sparkling wine should be served chilled as it enhances the carbon dioxide present in it. Opening a warm bottle of sparkling wine is going to explode for sure. Therefore, serving it cold not only brings out the best flavor but is also the safest thing to do.
5. Fortified Wine
Fortified wine is an outcome of the attempt to preserve other wines. It is usually created by combining distilled spirits (generally brandy) with wine. Such types of wine have comparatively higher alcohol content than other wines. The taste of fortified wine is more to the sweeter side.
Yes, there are some dryer varieties of it as well. It tastes sweet when the spirit is blended with it during fermentation. The dry fortified wines are made when the spirit is blended after the fermentation. Wines with less alcohol content are counted as dessert wines and are usually consumed with dessert.
Popular picks: Marsala, Sherry, Port, Madeira.
Food pair: Fortified wines taste best with baked food such as chocolate, nuts, cheese, tarts, and other desserts.
Serving tips: Some fortified wines should be served a little cold and some are best at room temperature. It often depends on its color whether it is white or red.
6. Dessert Wine
Dessert wine is comparatively sweeter in taste than other wines and is usually enjoyed after the meal. To maintain its natural sweet taste, it is blended with alcoholic beverages during fermentation. Generally, brandy is added to this type of wine to make it sweeter. People who have a sweet tooth should try this wine with their favorite dessert. Dessert wine has higher alcohol content and is sweeter so it is best to consume with pudding.
Popular picks: Moscato, Ice wine, Tokaji, Sauternes.
Food pair: As the name says, dessert wine tastes best with sweet dishes and other desserts. However, it is best paired with food like crème Brulee, cake, soft cheese, biscotti, chocolate, and vanilla pudding.
Serving tips: Since dessert wine is very sweet and contains high alcohol percentage, it is best to serve it chilled.
7. Orange Wine
Orange wine doesn’t look orange and it has nothing to do with citrus fruit, so its name is quite a misnomer. Its color ranges from light straw color to deep gold. Orange wine is made exactly like red wine or rose wine but the grapes used in this process are white. The white grape juice is fermented along with its skin for a short duration, where tannins are imparted like red wine but the dry and crisp taste of white wine is retained.
Orange and rose wine depends on the type of grapes used in their preparation. It can taste sour, dry, and tannic with a hint of honey, sourdough bread, and bruised apple.
Food pair: Since the taste of orange wine is more tannic, bolder, and nuttier, it is well-paired with foods like beef, pork, poultry, and other light dishes.
Serving tips: Orange wine tastes best when served a little warmer than white and slightly cold than red wine. Recommended temperature is around 12°C.
By now you are thorough with all the major types of wine. However, the finest way to gain knowledge about wines is by drinking.
No matter what you choose, the most important point is to enjoy your drink. So, pick what you liked the most on the list and do a sweet, dryer, or sweet wine addition to your house bar!