Wine tasting is an experience in and of itself a class of its own. However, with over a hundred different types and various styles of wine, it can be quite confusing and perhaps frustrating for a novice to find his own way around – say, how do you distinguish a good wine from a bad wine, how do you train your palate or your sense of smell to wines, what type of wine goes best with a specific entrée, and the list goes on and on.
If you’re fortunate enough to know, or better yet, to be friends with an oenophile, or a wine connoisseur, who can patiently school you about the rich and flavorful culture, history, and whatnots of wines, good for you. But if not, fret not. This article is for you.
For starters, let’s talk about the five different styles of wine.
1. Sparkling wine
As its name suggests, sparkling wine is fizzy due to a unique style of wine making that goes through a second level of fermentation, aside from the first level that produces alcohol, which produces the bubble effect. Interestingly, sparkling wine can be red, white, or rosé and can go from rich to sweet.
Also it’s important to make it clear: all champagnes are sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine are champagne. Champagne is a type of sparkling wine specifically grown, fermented, and bottled in the province of Champagne in France. By European laws, only those bottled within a 100 mile radius from this region is actually allowed to be labeled “champagne.” Brut refers to the driest range of champagne.
Other must-try sparkling wine varieties include Sekt (Germany), Prosecco (Italy), and Cava (Spain), and Perrier Jouet champagne.
2. White wine
White wine is a still wine made from green or black grapes. It can go from rich and creamy to light and zesty. White wine can also be light-bodied, full-bodied, and aromatic or sweet. You can’t go wrong with Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Riesling.
You got it. As its name implies, rosé wine has that sweet pinkish and rosy look. This is because in the process of making it, winemakers remove the skin of black grapes from which it’s made so it only dyes the wine for a short period, creating a blush color instead of a deep one. It can also be created by mixing red and white wines.
Rosé wines may taste light, fruity, sweet, strawberry-like, or dry with subtle undertones, depending on the part of the world where it’s produced.
4. Red wine
This deep, dark-colored wine is made from black grapes and usually tastes light to dark and bone-dry to sweet. Most red wines, which can be classified from light-bodied, medium-bodied, to full-bodied, pair up excellently with food. On our roster of must-try for red wines are Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon. Louis Martini from Napa Valley is our favorite.
5. Dessert wine
Dessert wines are more on the sweet spectrum. As a matter of fact, some of the most highly regarded dessert wines can be as thick and sweet as maple syrup. However, these days dessert wines have evolved and are now available in dry, citrus, herbal, and aromatic varieties. Sherry, Port, and Madeira are some of the fortified dessert wines you should start with.
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