Types of Wine
Essential Italian: Types of Wine
Wine has been around for thousands of years, but it’s not something people have ever tired of enjoying. Going through the wine section at your favorite store can make you second-guess that bottle you’ve been eying. Here are some considerations to help you get a basic understanding of the different wine varieties.
Generally, the flavor of a wine is rated between a range of dryness and sweetness. The levels of dryness and sweetness can be perceived by a total lack of sweetness, to a super sugary level of sweetness. Other factors that affect our perception of dryness and sweetness are the physical properties of wine: levels of acidity, sweetness, bitterness and alcohol content.
Types of Wine
While there are hundreds of different individual wines, there are only five basic types. Understanding these wine types can help you navigate all the bottles and labels you may come across in your search for that perfect bottle.
Red wine gets its color from the skins of the grape that were used. Depending how long the skins are left on the grapes, the appearance of the wine will change. Red wines are usually heavier than white wines because of the tannin levels in red wine. Tannin levels in wine affect the feel of the wine in your mouth, as well as the perception of bitterness in the wine. Common-known red wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir.
White wine comes almost exclusively from white grapes. During its creation, the grape skins are separated from the juice early on, leaving a light, delicate color to the wine. Common white wines are Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.
Rose wine (often referred to as rosé wine or blush wine) is a type of wine that is made with limited contact with red grape skins, leaving the wine with a pinkish color. A very well-known rose wine is Zinfandel.
A wine is “fortified” when extra alcohol is added during the fermentation process. Fortified wines usually have alcohol contents above 14%. There are different types of fortified wines, including dessert wines and liqueur wines. Well-known fortified wines are Sherry, Port, Madeira and Marsala.
What makes a wine a sparkling wine is the inclusion of carbon dioxide—bubbles. Sparkling wine is usually white or rose, but there is a growing selection of sparkling red wine. The most famous type of sparkling wine is Champagne.
With this basic information on wine, you can start experimenting. While there are some basic ideas that go with pairing wine and food, deliciousness is in the mouth of the beholder. Don’t be afraid to try wine combinations that may appear to be unconventional. Let YOUR tastes be your overall guide!