Love a good wine but don’t know where to begin? Well, the world of wines can be really overwhelming, so we did a little sipping around and broke down the endless wines, wine varietals, and blends into a simple guide. All your favourite types of wine come under three main varieties — red, white, and sparkling. So, read on to know what to pick from the menu and sound like a wine connoisseur!
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Red wine comes from the black grapes that give the red colour when the skin gets mixed in the winery. It is a still wine that ranges from light to bold. These are usually aged in oak barrels that give the wine its distinctive taste and makes them smoother. The flavour and taste depend on the type of fruits infused in the wine and the regions in which they grow. Red wines have a bitter aftertaste and a mouth-drying quality that comes from the tannins present in the skin of the grapes. These help them age better than white wine and act as a preservative. Therefore, it is best to drink red wine at just above room temperature so the tannins don’t taste extremely bitter.
Most popular types of red wine
Different wines use different varietals based on the region in which they are made. When looking for red wine, you should go for an old wine if you want a subtle and less bitter taste. The darker and newer the wine is, the more tannins it has. Here are the most popular types of red wines:
1. Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most popular types of red wine that is made in different regions across the world. It is a full-bodied wine that has strong tannins with subtle acidity and has woody flavours like oak and cedar. These wines go well with meats, especially fatty meats like lamb.
Merlot, pronounced mer-low, has a fruity taste and round tannins that make it less bitter and dry. It has a cherry flavour with a slight chocolatey finish that makes it a wine lover’s favourite. It typically comes from France, California, and Romanian regions. These go best with poultry foods like chicken and duck.
Another one of the most popular red wines is Zinfandel which is a light wine. But the medium tannins and high acidity make the taste of this wine strong and bold. It has a candy flavour with notes of spices and a little smoke and has higher alcohol levels. A glass of Zinfandel goes amazingly with some pizza, pasta, lasagne, or other Italian delicacies.
4. Shiraz and Syrah
Shiraz and Syrah are two wines that come from the same grape but differ in taste depending on the region. In France, California, and Chile, it is called Syrah, while in warmer regions like India and parts of Australia, the wine is called Shiraz. It is a full-bodied, bold wine with notes of vanilla, fruits like dark berries, and a little spice. A Shiraz goes well with all kinds of cheese, crackers, and cold cut meats.
5. Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir has a refreshing and fruity taste like cherry, raspberry, and cranberry. It is a light wine with subtle tannins and low acidity which makes it smooth to drink. This is a great pick to pair with almost any type of cuisine.
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White wines are clear wines that come from both green and black grapes. But unlike red wines, the skin of red grapes is not used to make white wine, so they produce a colourless juice. That is why white wines don’t have tannins and are less bitter and drying. These are aged in stainless steel barrels that keep the wine crisp and fresh. White wines usually have fruity and floral notes that can range from peach, apricots, vanilla, citrus, grapefruit, and more.
Most popular types of white wine
Unlike red wine, white wine is best enjoyed when it is chilled as that helps in bringing out its flavours. And it has a lot of varieties depending on the region, climate, and even the type of soil in which the grape is grown. Here are the most popular and common types of white wine:
Chardonnay is one of the most popular and common types of white wine. It is a medium to full-bodied dry wine that is low on acidity. The taste of a Chardonnay depends on the region in which it is made because the grape is pretty neutral and picks up flavours quickly. It can range from flavours like lemon to pineapple and apple. This wine tastes best with seafood like fish, crab, and prawns.
2. Sauvignon Blanc
Another popular and delicious white wine that is famous for its citrusy and fruity flavours is Sauvignon Blanc. It ranges from a light and refreshing flavour to a bold, tropical flavour depending on the area in which it grows. A Sauvignon Blanc is a great pick for when you want something subtle and light. It goes well with grilled chicken, salads, and seafood.
3. Pinot Grigio
Pinot Grigio is one of the most famous Italian wines with bursting fruity and floral aromas. It is a light-bodied wine with flavours ranging from fruity to saline depending on the region in which it is made. A glass of Pinot goes best with your favourite pasta dishes and vegetarian food.
Riesling is a light-bodied and highly acidic wine that is pretty intense and has a strong aroma. The fruity and floral wine often has notes of citrus and white flowers and has a nice sweet taste to it. A Riesling is perfect to pair with spicy curries, Asian dishes, and delicate fish.
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Sparkling wines are mainly a varietal blend of red and white wines and have a red, white, or rose colour. These are made from a single grape or a blend of different grapes. Sparkling wines are also called bubbly due to the fizziness that comes from the fermentation of sugar and yeast in them. Since they are usually low on tannins, their acidity levels are low and they lean more towards the sweeter side. Sparkling wines can have refreshing but subtle floral and fruity notes.
Most popular types of sparkling wine
A glass of chilled sparkling wine is a great way to end a busy day or kickstart a romantic dinner date. And sparkling wines use a variety and blend of different grapes and techniques so they are pretty different from each other. Here are some of the most common types to know about:
Champagne is one of the most popular types of sparkling wine that comes from France. All champagnes are sparkling wines but all sparkling wines are not champagne and come in different varieties. It has a fruity aroma but it is not necessarily very sweet. Champagne is made using the traditional method which is why the bubbles in it are smaller. This is best paired with fried and fast food or lighter dishes.
Prosecco comes from Italy and is made using Glera grapes. These grapes give Prosecco the sweet flavour that differentiates it from other sparkling wines like champagne. Prosecco is made using the Tank or Charmat method which makes the bubbles in it larger and the drink fizzier. That’s why prosecco is a common wine to be added to cocktails. It is best paired with shellfish like lobster, shrimp, oysters, and more.
Crémant is a popular type of sparkling wine that is similar to champagne as it is made using the traditional method. It isn’t as sweet as prosecco but has a refreshing fruity and floral note. Crémant has a nutty and creamy taste that is perfect if you are not looking for a sweet sparkling wine. It goes best with crackers, bread, and fresh fruits.
Rosé is a gorgeous pink sparkling wine that has fruity flavours and aromas. It is a crowd-pleaser as it has a light body, is low on acidity, and has fresh notes of fruits. Some of the most common flavours of a Rosé include strawberries, citrus, rhubarb, and rose petals. So, you can pair a glass of Rosé with delicate fish, salads, poultry dishes, and soft cheeses because it is that versatile!
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