Different types of wine are defined primarily by the grapes they are made from, and in some cases by the process used to produce it. Adjectives used to describe wine are dry, sweet, full-bodied, fruity, light, heavy and spicy, to name a few. For the purpose of simplification, the three broad classifications of red, white and sparkling wine offer a good starting point for discussion.
Red wine has earned some good press lately as both a wonderful complement to any meal, and a healthy addition to a health conscious person’s diet. The most popular brands sold in stores these days are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Pinot Noir. With further scrutiny though, consumers realize that there are many wine blends and other types of red wine that are not as readily available.
Produced and grown in the Bordeaux region of France, Cabernet Sauvignon has been acclaimed by some wine experts as the “king of grapes.” The finest Bordeaux wines with some of the highest price tags are included in this category. Cabernet Sauvignon ages well and is considered better over time. Described as a dry and full-bodied choice, this red wine is often recommended for meals featuring red meat.
Merlot is definitely one of the most popular of the red wines. Often touted as the wine of choice for new red wine drinkers, Merlot is described as easy to drink and can be paired with most foods. Experts often describe this type of wine as having a softness. There is also often a distinct taste of plum, cherry and blackberry.
Pinot Noir is another popular choice for red wine lovers. This grape is grown in France, Oregon and California. A very fruity wine, Pinot Noir is often paired with chicken, salmon and lamb. Japanese food also mixes well with this wine. Described as a delicate wine, this wine has a loyal following.
Other red wines include Shiraz, Zinfandel, Rose, Brunello, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Gamay, Dolcetto and Grenache. Barbera, Cabernet Franc and Mourvedre are red wines that are often used to blend with other wines. Some red grapes such as pinot noir are also used to produce certain sparkling wines.
Chardonnay is one of the most popular choices for white wine lovers. The grapes are grown in Europe, North America, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, South America and other regions all over the world. Highly-recommended as a complement to fish and chicken dishes, chardonnay is described as full-bodied with medium to high acidity levels. Other tastes associated with chardonnays are nut, butter, vanilla and oak.
Chenin Blanc is produced in France and in California. Typically applauded for its light and fruity taste, this wine is used to make many of the inexpensive table wines solf by the jug. Chenin Blanc has a high acidity level.
Riesling is known as a white wine originating from Germany in most cases. This grape is also grown in California, New York, France and Washington on a lesser scale. Its light-bodied and fruity taste is recommended to be paired with pork, chicken and fish dishes.
Sauvignon Blanc is produced in France, California, New Zealand and South Africa. The words light and crisp are used to describe this popular wine. There is also a fruity component to the taste, according to some experts.
Sparkling wine is often associated with celebration in many cultures. We toast to success and newlyweds good luck with sparkling wine, or champagne in many cases. Sparkling wine has bubbles generated during fermentation. Many countries have their own version of sparkling wine. By far, the most popular of sparkling wines come from grapes grown in Champagne, France.