When it comes to wine, there is a vast array of options to choose from. From rich reds to crisp whites and sparkling delights, each type of wine presents its own unique characteristics and flavours. In this article, we will explore some of the most common types of wine and what makes them distinct.
1. Cabernet Sauvignon:
Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied red wine that originated in the Bordeaux region of France. It is often referred to as the "king of red wines" due to its deep colour, intense flavours of black currant, black cherries, spices, cedar and firm tannins. This wine is usually oaked and ages well. It is best paired with grilled meats, strong cheeses, and hearty dishes. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular wine variety in the world!
Some alternatives to try: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Carménère, Bordeaux Blend.
Chardonnay is a popular white wine known for its versatility, ability to grow in different climates and wide range of styles. It can be oaked or unoaked, resulting in different flavours and textures. Oaked chardonnays have a creamy texture with flavours of vanilla, butter, and toasted oak, while unoaked versions are crisper with notes of green apple, citrus, and tropical fruits. Chardonnay produced in a warmer climate can display notes of stone fruit such as peach and tropical fruit such as bananna and pineapple. Chardonnays pair well with seafood, poultry, and creamy pasta dishes.
Some alternatives to try: Sémillon, Viognier.
3. Pinot Noir:
Pinot Noir is a delicate red wine with light to medium body and flavours of red berries, cherries, and earthy undertones. It is grown in various regions worldwide, including Burgundy in France and Oregon in the United States. Pinot Noir pairs well with salmon, roasted chicken, and mushroom dishes.
Some alternatives to try: Gamay, Schiava.
4. Sauvignon Blanc:
Sauvignon Blanc is an aromatic white wine that is crisp and refreshing with vibrant acidity and flavours of citrus, green apple, asparagus, goosberry and passion fruit. It can range from bone dry to slightly sweet, depending on the region and winemaking techniques. Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent choice for seafood, salads, and goat cheese.
Some alternatives to try: Vermentino, Verdejo, Grüner Veltliner.
Merlot is a medium-bodied red wine that is softer and less tannic compared to Cabernet Sauvignon. It offers flavours of blackberry, black cherry, plum, and chocolate, with a smooth finish. Merlot is a versatile wine that pairs well with a variety of dishes, including roasted meats, tomato-based pasta, and mild cheeses.
Some alternatives to try: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Malbec, Valpolicella.
Riesling is a white wine that is highly versatile and comes in a range of styles, from bone dry to lusciously sweet. It is primarily grown in Germany, but also in Austria, Australia, and the United States. Rieslings showcase flavors of green apple, peach, and floral undertones, with a bright acidity. Some styles can have an oily texture and notes of petrol. They are often paired with spicy Asian cuisine, seafood, and salads.
Some alternatives to try: Moscato, Gewürztraminer, Torrontés, Chenin Blanc.
Syrah (also known as Shiraz) is a bold and full-bodied red wine that originated in the Rhône region of France. It can be produced in a range of styles, from medium-bodied with pepper and fresh black fruit aromas to smooth and full bodied with intense, very ripe black fruit flavours and hints of liquorice. Syrah/Shiraz pairs well with grilled meats, game, and aged cheeses.
Some alternatives to try: Malbec, Petit Sirah, Monastrell, Pinotage.
Zinfandel is a red wine primarily grown in California, known for its bold flavours and high alcohol content. It exhibits flavours of blackberry, raspberry, and spice, with a velvety texture. Zinfandel is a great choice for barbecue, spicy foods, and chocolate desserts.
Some alternatives to try: Grenache, Tempranillo, Rhône Blend, Carignan.
Prosecco is a popular Italian sparkling wine from the Glera grape variety that is typically light, crisp, and affordable. It offers flavours of green apple, pear, and citrus, with gentle bubbles. Prosecco is perfect for celebrations, brunch, or as an aperitif.
Rosé is a pink wine that comes in various shades, ranging from pale salmon to vibrant pink. It can be made from different grape varieties and offers a wide range of flavours, from dry and refreshing to slightly sweet. Rosé is a versatile wine that pairs well with a variety of foods, such as salads, grilled seafood, and light pasta dishes.
In conclusion, the world of wine is vast and multifaceted. The common types of wine mentioned above merely scratch the surface of the many options available. Whether you prefer a rich red, a crisp white, or a sparkling delight, there is a wine out there to suit every palate and occasion.