Types of Red Wine
Red wine is considered to be the most classic in the kingdom of wines, mixing the delicious red grapes with a wide range of aromas, from oak to eucalypti, chocolate or even mint hints.
- Merlot– If you are not sure whether you like red wine, let aside what type of red wine, Merlot is a safe bet! This type of wine is very soft, with a mild mix of plum and blackberry flavors. All you need to do is add a box of delicious chocolates, and you got yourself the perfect mix! In terms of food, Merlot pairs well with just about any dish, especially with deserts.
- Shiraz– Shiraz, also known as Syrah, is a delicious red wine, with spicy flavors of blackcurrant and black pepper. A glass of Shiraz is a great accompaniment for meat dishes.
- Cabernet Sauvignon– This sophisticated French wine is a mix of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, with a full-bodied taste of currant and bell pepper. It is one of the most famous types of wines in the world, especially among the French, Australians, Californians, and Chileans. Cabernet Sauvignon pairs perfectly with meat dishes.
Types of White Wine
White wine is made from white gapes, produced in Europe, and numerous other places such as Australia, California, New Zealand, South Africa and so on.
The great varieties of white grapes are deliciously combined with citrus and spicy flavors, and make a great pair for seafood and Italian dishes.
- Sauvignon Blanc– Sauvignon Blanc stands out with its light yet acidic taste, with aromas of grapefruit, bell pepper, and grass. It is a classic choice for wine lovers, and comes as a great pair to salads and poultry dishes. Some wine drinkers enjoy Sauvignon served as spritz, with sparkling water.
- Chardonnay– Chardonnay is an exquisite white wine, produced mostly in Burgundy in France, but also on the coast of California. A glass of Chardonnay comes with a refreshing taste of oak and citrus fruit and hints of apple, pear, and melon. The delicious wine is a great accompaniment to seafood dishes, poultry, and pork.
- Pinot Gris– Pinot Gris, also known as Pinot Grigio by its Italian name, is one of the most delicious types of wine, rich in flavor and slightly spicy. It is mostly produced in France and New Zealand. Pinot Grigio, the Italian version, is a little bit more fresh and crispy, perfectly made to accompany seafood and pasta dishes.
- Riesling– Riesling wine comes with appetizing flavors of lime, apple, and pear, combined in a crisp blend. The grapes are famously grown in Germany, but there are also some producers in France and New York. This wine goes nicely with poultry and pork dishes, especially ones with a spicy twist.
Types of Rosé Wine
Rosé wines are a soft version of the red wine, most of them actually produced from red grapes. Just as white and red wines, the rose palette is very diverse, from crisp to light aromas, to spicy and full-bodied. California is one of the biggest producers of rose wines.
- Zinfandel Blush
- Pinot Noir
Types of Sparkling Wine
Sparkling wine adds a hint of luxury to every good wine, through a fizzy/bubbly texture.
- Champagne– By far the most luxurious drink of all is Champagne, a well-known produce of France. Champagne is savored in moments of celebration, and the prices reach the levels of its worldwide fame.
- Cava– The Spanish have their delicious version of Sparkling wine, known as Cava, mostly coming as Brut and Semi-Sec, and as white and rosé.
Types of Fortified Wine
Fortified wine is a wine that has been blended with a liquor. The liquor most often used for this is Brandy which is essentially just distilled wine. This gives fortified wines a distinct flavor and a higher alcohol content than normal wine – usually at least %15 ABV.
- Bum Wine
Types of Dessert Wine
These are sweet wines and as the name suggests, they are generally served with dessert. A rule of thumb for choosing a wine is that it must be sweeter than the dessert being eaten.
- Ice Wine
- Raisin Wine
- Noble Rot Wine
- Some Fortified Wines
This a beverage usually made with red wine along with various spices and raisins. It is served hot or warm and may be alcoholic or non-alcoholic. It is a traditional drink during winter, especially around Christmas and Halloween.
- Portand claret are traditional choices for mulled wine.
- Light dry white wines, rosés, sparkling wines: Serve at 4°-10° C or 40°-50° F to preserve their freshness and fruitiness. Think crisp Pinot Grigio and Champagne. For sparklers, chilling keeps bubbles fine rather than frothy. This is also a good range for white dessert wines; sweetness is accentuated at warmer temperatures, so chilling them preserves their balance without quashing their vibrant aromas.
- Full-bodied white wines and light, fruity reds: Serve at 10°-15.5° C or 50° to 60° F to pick up more of the complexity and aromatics of a rich Chardonnay or to make a fruity Beaujolais more refreshing.
- Full-bodied red wines and Ports: Serve at 15.5°-18.5° C or 60° to 65° F cooler than most room temperatures and warmer than ideal cellaring temperatures—to make the tannins in powerful Cabernet or Syrah feel more supple and de-emphasize bitter components.
Fundamentally, decanting serves two purposes: to separate a wine from any sediment that may have formed and to aerate a wine in the hope that its aromas and flavors will be more vibrant upon serving.
Older red wines and Vintage Ports naturally produce sediment as they age (white wines rarely do); the color pigments and tannins bond together and fall out of solution. Stirring up the sediment when pouring will cloud a wine’s appearance and can impart bitter flavors and a gritty texture. It’s not harmful, but definitely less enjoyable.
Decanting is simply the process of separating this sediment from the clear wine. It’s fairly safe to assume that a red will have accumulated sediment after five to 10 years in the bottle, even if this can’t be verified visually, and should be decanted. Here’s how to do it well:
- Set the bottle upright for 24 hours or more before drinking, so the sediment can slide to the bottom of the bottle, making it easier to separate.
- Locate a decanter or other clean, clear vessel from which the wine can easily be poured into glasses.
- Remove the capsule and cork; wipe the bottle neck clean.
- Hold a light under the neck of the bottle; a candle or flashlight works well.
- Pour the wine into the decanter slowly and steadily, without stopping; when you get to the bottom half of the bottle, pour even more slowly.
- Stop as soon as you see the sediment reach the neck of the bottle. Sediment isn’t always chunky and obvious; stop if the wine’s color becomes cloudy or if you see what looks like specks of dust in the neck.
- The wine is now ready to serve. Discard the remaining ounce or two of sediment-filled liquid in the bottle.
Air on the Side of Caution
The question of whether – or how long – to aerate a wine can generate extensive debate among wine professionals. Some feel that an extra boost of oxygen can open up a wine and give it extra life. If you’ve opened a wine and it seems unexpressive upon first taste, it can’t hurt to try moderate aeration in a decanter to see if that transforms it.
Others feel that decanting makes a wine fade faster, and that a wine is exposed to plenty of oxygen when you swirl it in your glass. Plus, it can be fun to experience the full evolution of wine as it opens up in your glass; you might miss an interesting phase if you decant too soon.
A particularly fragile or old wine (especially one 15 or more years old) should only be decanted 30 minutes or so before drinking. A younger, more vigorous, full-bodied red wine and yes, even whites can be decanted an hour or more before serving. At some tastings, wines are decanted for hours beforehand and may show beautifully, but these experiments can be risky (the wine could end up oxidised) and are best done by people very familiar with how those wines age and evolve.
If you’re curious, experiment for yourself with multiple bottles of the same wine – one decanted and one not, or bottles decanted for different lengths of time – and see which you prefer.