If you are a newcomer to the wide world of wine, then, first of all, let me be the first to wish you a great big welcome! This is a fantastic place with lots of things for you to explore. There are thousands upon thousands of wines for you to try. This fact presents a problem – how on earth are we supposed to know what kind of wine is right for us?
In this article, we will be going over the different kinds of wines. Next time you are in the wine aisle, you won’t immediately go into panic mode, and be able to keep a calm and stable head. In this new enlightened state of wine awareness, you will be able to select delicious and thoughtful wines. They’ll heighten your quality of evening chatter as you sip amongst good company.
What is wine?
Basics at the beginning, naturally. What is this crimson or golden elixir which mankind has cultivated for many a century? Simply put, wine is fermented grape juice. A wine grape, however, is different from the grapes you may find at the supermarket – it is small, sweet, thick of skin and contains a great many seeds.
There are two kinds of grapes from which wine is made. The first of these is white grapes – which funnily enough are more of soft green colour and black grapes, which are a deep red. Within these two umbrella categories, you will find hundreds of different kinds of grapes. These are then taken, and from them, many kinds of wines are produced and blended.
There are a great many characteristics that affect the wine’s feel and taste, but let’s start simply – wine region, tannins, sweetness, acidity, body and flavours. To keep things more simple still, let’s just dive into the main kinds of wine. Natural wines refer to a wine that has been made without sulphites and preservatives.
This is made from black grapes which are fermented with the grape skins – this gives rise to the red colour of the wine, along with the seeds and stems. Red wine is so high in tannins that cause the bitter dry taste that we all know and love.
White wine is made from both white grapes and black grapes however, red wines are fermented with grape skins and white wines are not. The skins are separated so that only clear grape juice is used in the fermentation process. White wine has fewer tannins and so it has an acidic nature – this brings out the freshness and crispness of the flavours found within.
Rose is a wine that is known for its blush or pink colour. This lovely rose colour is made when the skins are left in the fermenting juice for a short amount of time. It is lower in tannins than its red cousins but can range depending on how long the skin has been left in and other factors.
White sparkling wine
Also known as ‘bubbly’. Sparkling wines are made from black and white grapes. The CO2 is a byproduct of the fermentation process making the sparkling nature of the wine. This is the likes of Champagne, Cava and Prosecco.