I did not know much about wine when I was young. This was because I grew up in a family where the best wine was considered to be the one that was done by grandparents, in remote areas, in an “old school way”. The truth was that the wine that was “the best” was actually horrible so it was completely normal for me to start drinking other alcohols.
Fortunately, I did grow up and I got a chance to taste really good wine. I quickly fell in love with it. You could actually taste the fruit flavor of the wine, which was never the case with that “best” wine drank in my family.
Although my alcohol of choice is whiskey (I am in the Irish camp), I will never say no to a glass of great red wine. But, what type of red wine?
Learning about wine takes a lot of time. There are so many things that can be said. Whenever I get a chance, I go out and try a new bottle of great wine, learning along the way. Everything starts with the main types of wine we should all know. Obviously, others can be mentioned but these truly are the basics.
Sparkling wine appeared in France and is practically synonymous with the Champagne region. Most of those that you find in grocery stores are not that great. What you should know is that sparkling wines are actually highly challenging from a technical point of view. They also take a lot of time to make.
Great champagne is hard to beat but it is expensive. However, you can surely afford some Prosecco or Cava, which are pretty good.
Light-Bodied White Wines
These are easy-drinking white wines. They are dry and are really well-sold, all around the world. You can combine these with many foods and some are actually really good for savory dishes, like Gruner or Sauvignon Blanc.
Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris are light-bodied white wines. If you want a really good one, try one that comes from a region with a cooler climate.
Full-Bodied White Wines
If you like red wine, there is a pretty good possibility you will also like full-bodied white wines. They are known for subtle creaminess and smooth rich taste. They are different than the light-bodied white wines because of the technique used during winemaking. This almost always involves oak-aging use, similarly to aged whiskeys. The barrel ages and the wine gets smoother.
The obvious choice in this category is Chardonnay, especially if coming from an area with a warm climate. This is why full-bodied white wines from Italy, Spain and California are so popular.
Aromatic White Wine
One of the oldest wine options is offered by aromatic grapes. There are actually documents showing Cleopatra’s love for Alexandria’s Muscat wine, which is aromatic and rich. Aromatic white wines have aromas that are perfumed and explosive, they are sweet or dry, although they will always have at least a sweet taste because of the aromas of the grapes.
If you love aromatic white wine, you should know that many of the best are actually affordable. Consider Riesling, Torrontes and Moscato d’Asti.
This wine is actually difficult to make and the result always relies on the skill of the winemaker. It is made by taking white wine and dying it with red wine grape skins. These wines became popular during the 1700s as some French wines reached England. They were then known as Claret because of the pale red color they had. Nowadays, there are rose wines that are dry or sweet and made out of various different grapes.
While most people prefer the sweeter rose wines, I prefer the ones that are drier. When the wine is dry it is easier to taste the flavors. Check out wines coming from Provence.
Light-Bodied Red Wine
These have a pale color and usually include some tannin, which tastes dry in your mouth and astringent in the wine. This is what makes these wines coveted. Pinot Noir is the most popular light-bodied red wine, a classic. You should also try Gamay Noir.
Medium-Bodied Red Wine
Many love these wines since they work great with many foods. Their flavor is plentiful but there is also some acidity that is actually perfect in a combination with foods, ranging from cheesy lasagna to some salads. If you love red wine, you will most likely love medium-bodied red wines during the middle of the week, usually combined with a savory dish.
The most popular medium-bodied red wine is most likely Merlot. You should also try Zinfandel, Sangiovese and Grenache.
Full-Bodied Red Wine
The deep dark red wine that looks stunning and tastes incredible. It actually has a cleansing of the palate effect and pairs so nicely with a fat, juicy steak. These wines instantly stand out and can stand alone as wonderful cocktail wines.
I am sure you already drank some full-bodied red wines, like the popular Cabernet Sauvignon. However, you should also try Pinotage and Syrah.
Sweet wines were highly popular during the 1800s. Many of these are really thick, thus the name. They nowadays do range from sweet to dry and are really bold, with an intense flavor. You can always try Sauternais or Port. I do not like these but maybe you will.
For most people, there are only 3 types of wine: red, white and rose. This is definitely not the case. Please try at least one from every wine type mentioned above. You never know where your favorite is. Just stay away from the cheap wine in the supermarket. It is always better to buy your wine from specialty wine stores. Their selection is wider. Although you will spend more, the truth is that one bottle of a good wine will be worth dozens of cheap wine in terms of satisfaction.
What is your favorite wine? Want to make a recommendation? I love wine so let me know and there is a pretty good chance I will give it a try.