Wine 101: Types of Wine and How to Serve Them

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You may be a connoisseur in the wine industry, or you’ve just tasted your very first Champagne. Whichever the case, taking an interest can be worth it.

Friends and families will need your advice, and you can impress some clients during a business dinner in a fancy restaurant. You would also never look awkward about tasting and making comments about merlot.

What You Need to Know About Wine

Many wines are made with grapes. However, these fruits are not the kind that you usually see inside the grocery shops. Those species made for these liquors are called Vitis vinifera, and they contain seeds, have thicker skins, sweeter, and smaller in general. Over 1,300 grapes are used today when it comes to commercial production. However, only about 70% comes from the world’s more popular vineyards.

Some of the most common white grapes that are planted are called Cabernet Sauvignon. There are other styles out there that are commonly stored with self contained wine cellar cooling units to maintain their excellent flavors and quality. There are nine styles available out there, and you can experience flavors like unripe pear, anise, or citrus zest in some of them.

Sparkling White Wine

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You may already be in love with sparkling wines after having a taste of them. It has an exquisite feel to it, and the first ones were found in the region in France called Champagne. You may think that these drinks will be out of fashion soon because they have too many variations in supermarkets and have low appeal for many people. However, know that these varieties are time-intensive and challenging to make, so their value increases.

The prices are too restrictive, but some are often worth it. You can get an American bubbly for $12 to $16. Keep your eyes on sparklers like Prosecco, Cava, and Crémant.

Light Bodied Varieties

The light-bodied bottles are some of the most popular and more often sold wines in the world. They are dry and easy to drink, even if many thinks that the reds get most of the attention. The lighter ones are compared more to the “beer varieties, and because of this, they are perfect blends for savory lovers. You may want to think about Gruner or Sauvignon Blanc, which are primarily similar to bell peppers, gooseberries, and other green herbs.

You may want to go with Pinot Grigio with this and the ever-popular Sauv. Blanc. Know more about Pinot Grigio in this list here. However, many other varieties like Soave, Albarino, and Gruner Veltliner from the cooler climates can be worth a trip. These are the places that often rain during June, and as a result, the grapes produce a zesty and light flavor.

Full-Bodied Whites

The full-bodied bottles are perfect for red wine drinkers. They have a subtle creaminess in them combined with a rich and smooth taste. What makes them apart from the lighter wines is that they were usually involved in intensive techniques and unique winemaking processes like aging with oak. This can be compared to aged whiskeys where wines become smoother as the barrel where it’s stored.

You may want to get a Chardonnay for a smoother and refreshing drink from a warm climate. The tastes are similar to vanilla, burnt caramel, crème Brulee, toffee, and pie crusts. The citrusy distinctions can remind one of the lime peels or lemons with hints of mangoes. Think of the places like Italy, Spain, or California. Another alternative to Chardonnay is Viognier.

Sweet or Aromatic Wine

One of the oldest varieties in the world is aromatic grapes. Even Queen Cleopatra was famous for her liking of Muscat, which is an aromatic wine from Greece. These perfumed and almost explosive aromas can reel the senses. They tickle your nose, and you can see them spring into life when you start to pour them into glasses. They can be sweet or dry, but there’s a tad touch of perfume over their scents that you may not be able to resist.

These bottles are very affordable, and many are surprised with their prices. Of course, there are many bottles to taste like the Gewurztraminer, Moscato d’Asti, Torrontes for drier styles, and Riesling. Riesling can have floral scents of rosemary, jasmine, honeysuckle, cinnamon, and white pepper. You may also get hinds of apricots, guava, mangoes, starfruits, and white cherries. 

Rosé 

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The rosé bottles are indeed the pride of true winemakers because they’re made from dying a wine using the skins of red grapes. These were popularized in the 1700s where England imported some drinks called Claret. This was named because of its pale and almost pinkish color. Nowadays, you can find rosé wines either dry or sweet. They were made from White Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Instead of opting for the sweeter tastes, you may want to get a drier Rosé that can impart elegant but subtle flavors. Some of the more classical bottles may come from the Pays d’Oc region or the Southern Part of France in Provence. Some of the makers may use Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Carignan that are all red wine varieties, to make the pinkish colors. You may want to compare this to a red fruit including cherries, red currants, watermelon, pomegranate, strawberries, with hints of rose petals. 

Light-Bodied Red Wines

If there are full-bodied, the light-bodied ones are worth a try. These various wines are usually precise, and you can see them through their glasses. This is because they have lighter tannins compared to others. 

It’s important to know that tannin acts as an astringent in many wines, and it will dry out the mouth. This is similar to situations when you put tea bags on your tongue and experience the same dryness. This is one reason why light-bodied bottles are some of the most coveted ones anywhere in the world.

The classic one that many people are familiar with is the Pinot Noir. Another alternative can be the Gamay Noir, which’s in the same category as what was mentioned. Gamay is more prevalent in regions where it came from, and the grapes are grown in a place called Beaujolais. For pinot noir, the floral elements may involve rose hips, hibiscus, iris, and dried herbs. The oak can impart milk chocolate, brown sugar, allspice, clove, and vanilla that will go with you long before you finish a glass.

Medium-Bodied

These medium-bodied varieties are what others are calling “food wines.” They have zesty acidities and are made up of a lot of flavors. They are excellent to match with various foods like cheesy lasagnas and Caesar salads. You’ll never go wrong if you choose them as midweek wines, especially for those lovers of the red varieties.

There are many medium-bodied bottles that you should try. Some are familiar with these categories, while others may be something that you’ve just heard. Check out Merlot, Grenache, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Barbera, and Sangiovese for starters. The flavors are usually similar to lavender, juniper, eucalyptus, and black tea on the floral side for grenache. There are slight hints of dried fruits like prune and figs that make them ideal for dinner.

Full-Bodied Reds

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These are the darkest and deepest reds that you’ll be able to discover. They have the most tannins of all the other varieties. You may think that a tannic bottle would be bitter, or it may sound weird, but this is usually an element that helps in the combination of proteins in one’s saliva. With the right ones, you may also experience some cleansing on your palate.

The bolder tastes can be paired with a sizzling, delectable, and juicy steak on a Friday night. Many people may prefer to relax with red wines and ribeye after a long week of working. These full-bodied dark reds can be pleasing to the senses, and they can become cocktail wines on their own.

For the inexperienced and connoisseurs, the ones that they should never miss are Pinotage, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. They are the epitome of boldness, and they will never miss hitting your senses. A Syrah has various hints of black fruit like blackberries, plum sauce, black currants, boysenberry, black olives, and fruitcakes. There are also secondary hints of black cardamom and cream that make them unforgettable.

Dessert

In the 1800s, people have loved the sweeter varieties more than the dry wines. At many parties, the Sauternes in Bordeaux has become the most exalted drink in the world, followed by Essencia from Hungary. They have thick, maple syrups that enhance their flavors. Today, desserts can trick the brain into thinking that it’s sweeter even if it has the same amount of sugar as the others.

There are the dulce or sweet, semi secco or off-dry, and Amabile or slightly sweet that you can choose from. They have aromatic and intense flavors and one of the best in the world. You should try the Sauternais-styled, which are late harvest white wines, or Port. 

Port has the oak flavors of mocha, butterscotch, caramel, toffee, and espresso. There are also hints of peach, cinnamon, and raspberry sauce in them. You can read more articles about dessert wines here: https://www.britannica.com/topic/dessert-wine

Ideal Serving Temperatures

The temperature when you serve these drinks matter a lot. You may want to think about it this way: lemonade tastes refreshing and delicious when it’s ice-cold rather than drinking it at room temperature.

Serving the red wines means that they should be placed at a 62-68 degrees F room temperature. White wines should be served slightly warmer than the temperature in the fridge. 

If you discover that the wines are burning your nose with just the sheer smell of alcohol, know that it can be too warm. Try to cool it first to have a better experience.

When you don’t taste anything, and there’s no flavor, warming up can get the reds back in action. This is applicable if red wines are stored in the fridge. Generally, the aficionados prefer the reds not to be too hot or the white to be not too cold. 

You must go to the cellar once in a while to check the temperature. Storing your bottles at cellar temperatures will make them more delicious and allow them to last longer.

The low-quality bottles may taste well when you serve them chilled. The temperature can mute up the potential flaws in the flavors and aromas. The cooler a glass of Champagne is, the lesser scent will go to the glass.

Sparkling varieties taste excellent when they are served ice-cold. You need to warm the Champagne slightly before serving to get the best aromas and flavors. It’s best if you experiment on your own and see the factors that can significantly affect the wines’ aroma and flavors. Consider your personal preferences, and if you love to drink it with ice in the summer months, go for it. However, you should never miss on checking out the delicious flavors that you can taste at slightly warmer temps. 

About the Cork Seals

If you’re building a cellar, you need to choose the right bottle and know that the cork is essential as well. You need to keep your food as fresh as possible, and this is the same thing with wines. However, there are some exceptions to this rule as most wines need aging before they can taste their best. 

Many makers know this fact, and they are constantly working to control the overall aging process. They make decisions based on the overall reaction of oxygen to the fruit acids found in alcohol. The corking procedure reduces the sourness, which is vital in many tart wines coming from colder regions.

The oxidation process is one of the aspects that are considered important in aging. When there’s an interaction between wine and oxygen, the yields will be nutty and fragrant aromas. These are common in sherry styles but not with fresh white wines.

Now that you have an idea about the different kinds of wines available, you can decide which ones will be right for a specific occasion. You can collect bottles, build cellars, and ensure that you’re serving in the proper temperatures. Before you know it, you are becoming a connoisseur in this field, and everyone will be happier.