Wine is something that most enjoy, but really know very little about. You may spend years studying it and still feel that there is a vast world of wine still to be explored. But like anything, starting off with a good solid foundation of information is a great place to start. So let’s begin with the basics:
The 5 Main Types of Wine
If you had to memorize a chart that listed all the different individual types of wine, your head would start to spin. There are literally hundreds of different grape varieties and different winemaking styles, so the sheer number of different types of wines that can be produced as a result is simply astounding. The good news is that wine can be grouped into 5 main categories:
- Red Wine – a still wine made from black grapes.
- White Wine – a still wine made from green and sometimes black grapes.
- Rosé Wine – a still wine made from de-skinned black grapes or by blending red and white wine together.
- Sparkling Wine – a wine that is created by undergoing a secondary fermentation which results in carbonation. Sparkling wine can be red, white or rosé in color.
- Fortified Wine – a style of winemaking which involves fortifying wine with spirits. Most fortified wines are dessert wines, but there are dry fortified wines, such as dry Sherry.
The 3 Types of Sweetness Levels
Within each different type of wine, there is also a sub classification regarding the sweetness. However the perception of sweetness in wine can be deceiving. True sweetness is the result of residual sugar left in the wine after the fermentation process, but just because something might taste dry doesn’t mean that it has less sugar. A high acidity can often mask the high level of sugar in a wine, and intense fruit flavors can be often mistaken for sweetness. On the flip-side, a wine that contains lower levels of acidity can create a stronger impression of sweetness.
- Dry – when all of the grape sugars have fermented into alcohol.
- Semi-Sweet (aka Off Dry) – has a little amount of sugar left in usually to balance acidity and/or aromatics in wine.
- Sweet – contains the highest amount of unfermented sugar. Most sweet wines have a lower alcohol level unless they are fortified.
The Level of Tannins Does NOT Indicate Dryness
Ok, tannins do dry out your mouth. But a wine that is considered a dry wine may not necessarily have a high level of tannins. Confusing, right? Tannins are compounds that add bitterness to a wine and in no way indicate how much sugar is in the wine as the term dryness does. The sensation that we get when drinking a wine that has a high level of tannins is similar to drinking a super strong cup of tea that has been over-steeped. Tannins add balance, complexity, and structure to a wine, and are often credited with aiding in wine preservation.
Why Acid Is Important In Wine
If tannins are what dry your mouth out after drinking, then acids are what make your mouth water after drinking. A wine’s acidity is what allows wine to maintain its freshness and flavor notes. A wine that has a high level of acid will generally be described as tart, whereas a wine with a low level of acid will be labeled as flat. A wine that has a well-balanced acidity also is more versatile in food pairing.
Fruit Notes in Wine
Oftentimes we see wine described in terms of flavors, such as fruit. And no, wine makers do not add in some special ingredients to create them – traditional wine is strictly made ONLY from grapes. So then where do all these fruit smells and tastes come from? The grapes, of course! When grape sugar is fermented by yeast, the fermentation process infuses thousands of complex compounds into the wine.
The end result is that the wine can end up with familiar scents and tastes that our senses translate into flavors, and we recognize as hints of apple, berries, vanilla, even butter!
Further your education
The great thing about wine is that while there’s a lot of agreement between flavors and notes, much of what distinguishes a good bottle of wine from a bad one is your own personal opinion.
But here’s the one thing that all wine experts can agree on: The best way to learn more about wine is to just to get out there and start trying them—and the easiest way to get started is with Epermarket’s wide selection of fine & imported wines from all over the world!
Click here to see what new and exciting wines you can discover next at Epermarket OR shop for at Epermarket’s WINE SALE from Sept. 7-20th—where you can save up to 60% OFF!
Shopping with Epermarket is easy: Simply pick your products, choose where and when you want to receive your delivery, and select whether you want to pay online or on delivery!