Knowing the Basic Types of Wine
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Published by TOP4 Team
No party, special dinner, or even a solo movie night at home after a long week at work would be complete without a bottle of good wine to celebrate the occasion (or non-occasion). It's a no-fail gift for your friend's housewarming party, a thoughtful token for a new business partner or long-time mentor, and a constant companion for you and your close circle of friends when you’re all happy to let loose and unwind over good food and sinful desserts during the weekend.
With so many different kinds of wine available, however, it can be challenging to identify which ones would be a good choice for a present or which ones would pair well with a specific dish. Provided below is a brief guide to the most common types of wine produced by wineries across the globe.
Merlot is perhaps the most popular kind of red wine that you'll find in stores and restaurants. It is described as a soft and supple wine with pleasing flavours of fruits like blackberries and plums, and sometimes even flavours and aromas of eucalyptus, chocolate and mint. It is abundantly produced in Europe, Chile, California, and Washington State.
Cabernet Sauvignon is takes a longer time to be ready than Merlot; it is known to have more tannin and a greater ageing potential. You'll find hints of plums, blackberries, black currants, and cassis. This wine can also take on the flavours of chocolate, cedar, coffee and vanilla. Napa, California, Washington State, Australia and Chile are excellent makers of this red.
Pinot Noir was first made in Burgundy, France and is produced from a grape that has a reputation for being difficult to grow. It is a more delicate wine that contains flavours of cherries, strawberries and raspberries. It can age well and take on more complex and earthy aromas and flavours reminiscent of decaying leaves and even mushrooms. This creation from New Zealand, Oregon, and cooler parts of California is a great pairing for salmon, poultry, vegetable and meat dishes.
Shiraz is a big, bold and spicy wine with the aromas of black fruits and leather. It hails from Australia, although when made in France's Rhone region of France, the Syrah grape is marketed in Australia as Shiraz. Syrah can also be found and processed in California and Washington State.
Chardonnay is perhaps the most common kind of white wine. Its flavour is influenced by the location where the grape is grown and processed. In cooler climates, it takes on flavours of limes and apples while it contains notes of tropical fruits when made in warmer places. Age this wine in oak barrels and it will come out with rich butter and honey flavours. On the other hand, age it in stainless steel and you'll get a wine that's fresher on the palate. Burgundy, France and cool coastal areas in California are excellent producers of Chardonnay.
Riesling is a clean-tasting, crisp white wine with flavours of pear, green apple and lime. It can also have minerally qualities, as well as oily aromas and honey flavours. Germany, France's Alsace region, New York's Finger Lakes region and some parts of Washington State and Australia make this wine.
Pinot Gris is interesting as the grapes used produce different kinds of wine, depending on where they were grown and how they are handled in the cellar. Fresh and marked with a bit of spice, Pinot Gris hails from the Alsace region of France, Oregon, and New Zealand. Its Italian counterpart, Pinot Grigio, is decidedly refreshing and crisp.
Sauvignon Blanc is an aromatic and crisp white wine known for grassy and grapefruit flavours. It is best produced in France's Loire and Bordeaux regions, as well as New Zealand.