What Kind of Wines Are There? Learn All About the Different Types of Wine!
Wine has a way of making everyone feel like they’re at a luxury event, whether alone or with friends and family, but how do you know what kind of wines are best for the occasion? For those who are new to wine, looking at all of those fancy names can be a little bit intimidating! That’s where this guide comes in. Lets’ break down the most common types of wine, what they actually mean and help you narrow down your palette!
Most Common Kind of Wines
Wine is really a luxury item that makes you feel like a movie star, but there are so many types of wine out there that it can be difficult to know where to start. There are reds, whites, and rose wines, sparkling wines, and even dessert wines. Goodness!
Let’s start small. The three main types of wine are rosés, reds, and whites. These three categories are broad enough to cover a huge range of different wines from all over the world. However, each kind also has subcategories that refer to both the type of grapes used in making the wine. Let’s dive in:
Red wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Tempranillo. These wines have a deep flavor and color because they are aged with the skins of red grapes (which is what gives them their color). They’re known for being a bitter wine with a thick and smooth texture.
White wines include Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Grigio/Gris, and Sauvignon Blanc. These wines have a lighter color, almost clear sometimes, and flavor because they are made using only the juice of white grapes. They are typically fermented at colder temperatures than reds to keep their flavor light and fresh. Many people report that this wine has a crisp and refreshing taste in comparison to red wines.
Rosé wine is made from red grapes. However, the skin of the wine grapes is removed shortly after fermentation begins. This process creates a pale pink or salmon-colored wine. The longer the skins are left in contact with the juice, the darker the color of the final product.
Rosé wines tend to be fruit-forward and delicate. They have a light body with low tannins and often have moderate to high acidity. Popular styles include Provençal rosé, White Zinfandel, and rosé Champagne.
Fortified Wine Options
Wines come in all different colors, tastes, and levels of sweetness. That’s because tons of varieties of grapes can be turned into wine. The main categories are red, white, and rosé, but there are several alternative wine options. Orange wines have become increasingly popular, and so have sparkling wines especially during the holiday season. Let’s not forget dessert wines, which might make your sweet tooth tingle with delight. These fall into the category of fortified wines.
Orange wine is made in the same way as white wine but is left in contact with its grape skins for longer. This gives the resulting drink a more copper-colored hue—which is how it got its name! Orange wines tend to be darker and richer than whites and have a distinctive flavor profile.
Sparkling wines are made by adding carbon dioxide to the final product and include drinks like champagne and prosecco. These drinks tend to be sweeter than others and have a light, fizzy texture that makes them perfect for parties or special occasions.
Dessert wines are very sweet wines that are often served after dinner with dessert. They have an intensely concentrated fruit flavor and can be incredibly rich. They can be of any color.
Fortified wines are made by adding extra alcohol to the finished product. This makes them higher alcohol content than other wines (some fortified wines can contain up to 20% ABV!) and gives them a unique flavor profile that’s sometimes described as “nutty” or “dried fruit-like.
Wines that are made from one type of grape are called varietals, while blends are wines made with more than one type of grape. The most common varietals include Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Blends include Bordeaux and champagne.
Cabernet Sauvignon is what’s known as a “thick” red. It’s very full-bodied and goes well with many different types of food pairings such as roast chicken, barbecued ribs… you name it. This type of wine is perfect for dinner parties or nights in with your significant other. It’s easy to sip and enjoy!
Rieslings are typically sweet, and they’re great with desserts. They’ve got a nice balance of acidity, so they pair well with fruits like peaches and apples.
Pinot Gris is the same grape as Pinot Noir, just grown in a different way. It has a dry taste that pairs well with food like chicken or fish. This is one of our favorite kind of wines!
Sauvignon Blanc is delicious—it’s light and crisp, with flavors like gooseberry and lime. It pairs well with dishes like salads.
Zinfandel (known as Primitivo) is a medium-bodied red wine that began in Croatia. Wines are natural products forward and zesty with a medium-length finish. Zinfandel is a red grape that might be better known for its pink variety.
Syrah is a full-bodied red wine that is planted throughout the Rhône valley in France, as well as Australia. The wines have distinctive fruit flavors and medium-weight tannins.
Chardonnay is not only delicious, but it’s also a common ingredient in French-style vinaigrettes! It’s got a unique flavor profile consisting of notes of sweet cream and pear.
If you want something more complex than your typical red wine, try Pinot Noir! This full-bodied red is the perfect companion to strong cheeses or steaks.
Final Thoughts on Kind of Wines
Another way to understand what a wine might be like is by looking at wine region of origin. You’ll learn more about where your wine came from, and this will give you a chance to see if certain regions or climates consistently produce wines that suit your tastes.
When you visit a winery, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Find out what kind of grapes were used and where they’re from, then spend some time tasting different wines made from similar grapes, and you’ll be able to find the one which suits you the best.