Wine is to alcoholic beverages what art galleries are to Instagram. You can’t enjoy it peacefully without someone explaining why you enjoy it. And most of us have most likely made the fateful mistake of attending a wine tasting and bringing the entire event to a haunting silence with: ‘But they all taste the same, to me.’
Wine is a popular alcoholic beverage made from fermented grape juice but can be made from any fruit juice. This guide will focus on grape wine made from Vitis vinifera species. Wines can be single varietals, made from one type of grape, or blends made from more than one. Wine can further be divided into different styles depending on the grapes used and the vinification process. This article will provide an overview of the five major styles of wine: white, red, rosé, sparkling, and fortified.
1. White Wine
White wine is light, crisp, and refreshing, with various flavours and aromas. Typically classified as light-bodied, full-bodied, or aromatic, light-bodied white wines are usually dry and have herbal aromas. Full-bodied white wines are richer and smoother than their light-bodied counterparts, characterized by a dark yellow or amber colour, with fruity aromas and a smoother flavour. Aromatic white wines are sweet and obtained from very sweet and flavoured grapes like Muscat and Gewürztraminer.
2. Red Wine
Red wine is the more popular wine style, with a red colour and a higher tannin concentration. Typically classified as light-, medium-, or full-bodied, light-bodied red wine has a lower content of tannins and a translucent red colour. In contrast, medium-bodied red wine is ideal to pair with a host of savoury foods and has an impressive balance of all organoleptic properties. Full-bodied red wine is rich in tannins and characterized by strong flavours and aromas, ideal to pair with red meat and game.
3. Rosé Wine
Rosé wine is often seen as a “go-to” wine for those moments when you’re unsure whether to pair the food with a red or white. Rosé wines are obtained through “dying” the wine with red grape skins for a short period of time and are produced as dry and sweet. The grapes involved in vinification are the same used for red wines, with most rosés made from Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah grapes, depending on the wine region.
4. Sparkling Wine
Sparkling wine (also known as ‘bubbles’) is often seen as a noble drink for celebrations, with popular examples being Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava. Sparkling wine can be made from any grape varietal and wine region but is best known as a white wine with bubbles. The bubbles are created through a secondary fermentation process that occurs in the bottle or in a tank. Sparkling wines can range from sweet to dry and come in various colours and aromas.
5. Fortified Wine
Fortified wine has had a distilled spirit, such as brandy, added to it. The addition of spirit increases the alcohol content and sweetness of the wine. The most popular fortified wine is Port, made from grapes grown in the Douro Valley in Portugal. Other types of fortified wine include Sherry, Madeira, and Vermouth.
Written by Tsoku Maela for Getaway.
Feature image: Getty Images