Are you new to the world of wine? It can be complicated, but the reward is fantastic! It is best to begin your wine journey by understanding the wine itself. What are the different kinds of wine? From Merlot to Pinot Gris, we will guide you on the different types of wine, where they come from, and a sneak peek into their flavor profiles.
Before you even head to the store, it is crucial to understand wine regions so that you comprehend the label you are looking at on the wine bottle. Wine is made in nearly every country in the world, but some are newer to the process. That is why there is "Old World" and "New World" wine. "Old World" wine comes from regions that have been making wine for centuries; this includes places like France, Germany, and Italy. "New World" wine is from countries that are newer to the wine game like Chile, Australia, and the USA.
The difference, not only in experience, between “Old World” and “New World” wine is how they label the bottles. “New World” wine producers make it easy by listing both the grape variety and the region. “Old World” producers, however, assume that the consumer is familiar enough with wine to known which area it would come from. After a while, it will get easier, and you would know that a Red Burgundy is a Pinot Noir without a second thought. For now, it is time to start sampling.
Types of Wine
There are so many types of wine that it can be hard to keep track; however, it can be broken down into primary flavor profiles based on the five main categories; red, white, rosé, sparkling, and dessert.
Made from black grapes, red wines tend to range from light to bold in their flavor profile. Red wine is generally broken down into three categories; fruity dry red, herbal dry red, and sweet red.
If you would like to try fruity dry red, it tends to come in different berry profiles like blackberry/blueberry or cherry/cranberry. From there, you can decide if you would like your wine to taste spicy, juicy, soft, or tannic (bitter). Herbal dry red has a more earthy flavor that can be described as clay, truffle, forest, smoke, gravel, and more. Lastly, a sweet red is just that, sweet.
White wine is made from white grapes, and sometimes even black grapes. White wine’s flavor profiles tend to range from light to rich. White wine is thought of as two genres, either dry white or sweet white. Dry white wines can have a wide range of subtle flavors from citrus to grassy to floral to nutty. Whereas sweet white tends to exude fruity or honey-like flavors.
Rosé is made with black grapes; however, they remove the skins before it stains the wine red, leaving it with that pinkish color. It can also be made by mixing red and white wine together. That is why Rosé can come in both dry and off-dry (sweetish) flavors. Those flavors can then take on any of the characteristics of white or red wine.
Sparkling wine is made by sending the wine through a secondary fermentation process that adds those delightful bubbles. Sparkling wine can be red, white, or rosé and can come in nearly any flavor profile. One thing to note, the added carbonation and high acidity of sparkling wine will make it taste less sweet than it really is; therefore, if you are looking for something really sweet, you may want to try a dessert wine.
Dessert wines are the perfect substitute or addition for dessert at the end of a meal. It is made from extra sweet grapes where the fermentation process was stopped before all the grape sugars were transformed into alcohol. They tend to come in five different styles, including sparkling, lightly sweet, richly sweet, sweet red, and fortified. A fortified dessert wine is made with grape brandy that gives it an extra kick, meaning the alcohol content is around 17-20%.
The world of wine is not something that can be conquered in a day, and it may take a while (and quite a few bottles of wine) before you learn which wine is the best for you. The first step that you can take is trying each of these five main categories to determine what you like. From there, you can delve further into the specifics until you are a classy wine connoisseur.