What Are the Major Categories of Wine?
Learning the main categories of wine is an excellent first step to start learning more about the world of wine. Although many people believe that classifying wines into red or white wine can be as simple as looking at their color, the reality is each wine varietal has its own character and identity. Here's an introduction to the world of wine that you should know about the best wine and most popular wine that the world has to offer.
Red wine is called red wine because it is red. We know mind-blowing new information. Many people mistakenly think that red wine is created from red grape varieties, and white wine is created from white grapes. The reality is, the color of red wine comes from their grape skins. White wines are produced from white wine grapes or sometimes even black grapes. When creatine the wine, the grape's juice is separated from the grape's seeds, and skin and only the grape juice is used to make the wine.
In contrast, winemakers produce red wine from both black and red grapes. Additionally, the grape skins and seeds are not removed as they are in white wine. Instead, they are kept inside the stainless steel vats with the juice while they ferment. Therefore, it is the skin and seeds that create the color and richer flavor in red wines.
There are tons of different types of red wines. But these are the eight significant red wines you should be aware of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah or Shiraz, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Chianti, Beaujolais and Nebbiolo. Bring a list the next time you go wine tasting to make sure you try all the greatest hits from wines that are crafted from anywhere from Australia to Argentina and anywhere in between.
Certain foods help bring out the flavor in different types of wine and vice versa. The best food and wine pairings create a balance between the dish's tastes and the wine's characteristics. While you can go in-depth in this arena, the basic 101 for pairing reds with food is red wines paired well with bold flavors, like meats.
Like red wine, aptly named due to its color, white wine is also called white wine because it is white. In comparison to red wine, white wine is much lighter. Instead of the berry flavor in reds, whites have a more defined citrus flavor. Here are the main types of white wine you should know: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Moscato, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, and Riesling. Unlike red wine that pairs deliciously with bold flavors, white wine pairs well with fish and chicken or lighter meals.
Rosé had the glow-up of the century, and for valid reasons: it's beautiful, delicious, light, and fun. Because rosé is made from the same grapes that make red wine, there aren't many varieties. However, you can be sure to find rosé(s) that range from a light pink to a darker, more prominent pink.
Rosé is created similar to red wine: the skins of red wine grapes touch grape juice for a short time. This is sometimes referred to as maceration, which is more specifically defined as the “softening and breaking down of skin resulting from prolonged exposure to moisture.” Rosé wines are only stained with grape skin contact for a few hours under the watchful eye of winemakers. The longer the skins stay in contact with the juice, the more intense the wine’s pink coloring will be. And just to clarify, a White Zinfandel is not the same thing as a rosé— yes, we know they're both pink.
While this is arguably the most popular technique to make rosé, there are other methods. French for 'bleed,' the Saignee method is another method that entails "bleeding" off a portion of red wine juice after being in contact with the skins. After grapes are picked at optimal ripeness for red wine creation, the juice is put into a vat with the grapes' skins and seeds. After the juice has been in the vat for a few hours or a few days, a portion of the juice is bled off and ferments without skins and seeds. This type of rose is typically darker and more robust than rosé that has been created from other methods.
Because rosé and summer are practically synonymous, you can pair your beverage with pretty much any summer invoking meal, from veggie skewers on the barbeque to a trendy charcuterie board. But, be careful, because we've gotten to a place in our office, where we can't even say charcuterie board without our team running for a Bev Rosé and searching for the meats and cheeses. As we noted, rosé is very, very popular.
Unlike red, white, and rosé wines, sparkling wines go through two different fermentation processes. Like the other types of wine, sparkling wine goes through the original fermentation to make the alcohol. The second fermentation is to make the bubbles! The most famous sparkling wine types are Champagne, Prosecco, Cava Brut, Cremant, Sekt, and sparkling rosé. Instead of food pairings, sparkling wine is best paired with a celebration! From ringing in the new year to a wedding, sparkling wines are a delicious celebration treat.
What Are the Lesser-Known Types of Wine?
Blue wine, also known as Vindigo, is a lesser-known but still popular type of wine. More on this below!
Orange wine is a lesser-known but still popular type of wine. More on this below!
If you're into sugar, then you'll enjoy dessert wines and sweet wine. To make this sweet, delicious drink, winemakers stop the fermentation process before yeast converts all of the grape sugars into alcohol. This leaves a rich wine that is sweetened with natural grape sugars.
There are hundreds of dessert wine variations, but the main ones are sparkling dessert wine, lightly-sweet dessert wine, richly sweet dessert wine, sweet red wine, and fortified wine.
While some wines pair better with certain foods than others, in general, dessert wines pair well with…well, dessert.
What Are the Most Popular Red Wines?
1. Cabernet Sauvignon
The most planted grape in the world, Cabernet Sauvignon, is a reliable and sophisticated red to order at any meal. Cabernet is full-bodied and filled with dark fruit flavors like black currant, black cherry and savory tastes like bell pepper and black pepper. It generally comes from France, and Bordeaux in particular. If you have heard Cabernet before you probably know other types such as Cabernet Franc with its burgundy look.
Another French wine, coming in second to Cabernet Sauvignon, is the second most planted grape. It's fruity, yummy, and doesn't make your mouth pucker up with tannins.
Tempranillo is an easy-to-find and wildly diverse food-pairing wine that also happens to have a great flavor profile. Spanish Tempranillo produces contradictory flavors of leather and cherries. The more expensive and finer the wine, the more balance there is between earth and fruit. The finish is smooth and stays with the taste of tannin on both sides of your mouth.
What Are the Most Popular White Wines?
Spain’s most widely planted grape, Arien, is typically utilized for brandy. However, some producers have revitalized the drought-resistant bush vines for winemaking. Because of its more striking style and more moderate acidity, Airén is often blended with other grapes, including Viura, Verdejo, or Sauvignon Blanc, to produce a more balanced wine.
Since the 1990s, this wine has been the most popular type of wine. The bold and dry wine, Chardonnay has an intense flavor that is intensified further when aged with oak. While it originated in France, well-known varieties are grown in Napa Valley.
6. Sauvignon Blanc
A herbaceous wine, Sauvignon Blanc is light-bodied with herbal aromas like grass and bell pepper. Chenin Blanc tends to be
What Are the Most Popular Sparkling Wines?
While Champagne is the most famous and popular sparkling wine, it comes from the Champagne region in France. Here are a bunch of different versions, like wines from Blanc de Blancs and Blanc de Noirs. It's often made with Pinot Meunier grapes. Great for life’s celebrations, Champagne is known for its tiny bubbles that create a fruity taste that’s not always sweet. The critical thing to remember, all Champagne is sparkling wine. Still, not all sparkling wine is Champagne because Champagne can only be Champagne if it comes from the Champagne wine region of France.
Like Champagne, Prosecco got its name from the village it originated in Prosecco. Unlike Champagne, Prosecco is from Italy instead of France. Italian Prosecco tends to be sweeter than other sparkling wines and is known for its more giant bubbles.
9. Sparkling Rosé
A fan favorite, Rose, is the popular pink drink in a bubbly form. Sparkling rose comes from a variety of places, from Italy to California. A brut rose has just a hint of sugar.
10. Riesling Sekt
Riesling Sekt, a word used in Germany for sparkling wine, are known for their full-bodied flavor. They have tasting notes of strawberry, black currant, and raspberry flavor with pronounced acidity and minerality.
What Are the Most Popular Unconventional Wines?
Invented by a Frenchman and produced in Spain, Vindigo is a sweet, tropical fruit tasting and a delicate hue closer to turquoise than to royal blue — so naturally, everyone is obsessed with it. To create blue wine, red and white grapes are fermented together with pigments and sweeteners. Researchers have discovered that some blue wines color comes from food coloring. Typically, blue wine is mild, sweet, and therefore, best served as an aperitif or cocktail.
12. Orange Pinot Grigio
Orange wine is created from white grapes put in a large vessel and then fermented in grapes alone for four days while the skins and seeds are still attached. A natural process that uses little to no additives, including occasionally not even yeast, orange wines taste very different from white wines and have a sour taste and nuttiness from oxidation. Described as bold and robust, these wines are big, dry, and have tannins like red wine with a sourness similar to fruit beer. Orange wines are so intense; we suggest you sit down when you give it a try.
13. Tawny Port
A Portuguese fortified wine produced in the Douro Valley of northern Portugal, Tawny Port is a sweet red wine, often served as a dessert wine. However, it comes in dry, semi-dry, and white varieties.