Beginners Guide to Wine – Part 2

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In “The Beginner’s Guide to Wine –  Part 1,” you learned about the five basic types of wine and received some links to lists of some of the best wines in each of the five categories. Hopefully, you had a chance to try a couple of new ones or expand your palate to try something new.

And, now that you know the five main types of wine, it’s time to delve a little deeper into the various varieties that each one offers. This will help you to really narrow down what you may like when it comes to wine – so you’re not spending hours at your local wine store trying to find the perfect bottle.

Types of Red Wine

  • Cabernet Sauvignon – Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are the most planted grape globally, and most drinkers of red wine like this wine. It goes well with most meats – especially those with some fat – and can have a flavor profile that varies from fruity to spicy.
  • Merlot – Merlots are very popular for those wanting to start drinking red wines as they are considered “beginner-friendly.” 
  • Zinfandel – Pork dishes, pizza, and pasta all love a good Zinfandel, which can take on many flavors depending on where it’s made. It is usually high in alcohol content and often described as “juicy.”
  • Syrah/Shiraz – These wines are full of flavor (ranging from peppery to spicy to fruity) and go well with most meats and cheeses.
  • Malbec – This is another “beginner-friendly” wine and has a fruity undertone. Try it with spicy foods!
  • Pinot Noir – Pinot Noir is considered the “lightest” of the reds and often has a berry flavor to it. 
  • Sangiovese – This Italian wine is high in acids and tannins – and a must for pizza or pasta meals.
  • Nebbiolo – This is another Italian wine that is full-flavored and not lacking in acids or tannins. Pair it with your favorite fatty meats.

Types of White Wine

  • Chardonnay – This is the most popular white wine. It goes well with fish and chicken and has a “velvety” taste to it, often with a citrus hint.
  • Sauvignon Blanc – This is a very versatile wine with an “herby” undertone to it. It’s often served with seafood and poultry.
  • Semillon – Semillon can be fruity or dry. Shellfish and pasta are great choices for a Semillon.
  • Moscato – This is a sweet and fruity wine that can stand on its own. It could be served as a dessert wine, although it’s not usually classified specifically as a dessert wine.
  • Pinot Grigio – This is a very versatile white wine with a wide variety of flavors from fruity to crisp and dry. Try it with spicy foods like a Pad Thai that’s been kicked up.
  • Gewurztraminer – This wine often has fruity notes to it, but is considered a sipping wine as it’s not extremely refreshing.
  • Riesling – This is usually a crisp and dry white wine that is great with fatty fishes and pork.

Types of Rosé: There are additional types of rosés, but these are the most popular.

  • Grenache Rosé – This wine is fruity and contains a moderate amount of acid. 
  • Tempranillo Rosé – This rosé is fruity but also often has a floral profile. 
  • Pinot Noir Rosé – This one definitely has some acid to it, but you’ll also taste fruits such as strawberries, watermelon, and raspberries.
  • Syrah Rosé – This is a more savory rosé and has a deeper red color.

Types of Sparkling Wine

  • Champagne – The most well known of sparkling wines, champagnes must come from the Champagne region of France, and it goes with just about everything!
  • Prosecco – This is Italian bubbly and usually runs on the sweeter side.
  • Cava – Cava comes from Catalonia and is not as sweet as Prosecco.
  • Cremant – This is another French sparkling wine that often has a nutty flavor to it.
  • Sekt – This is a fruity and floral sparkling wine from Germany.
  • Rosé – There is a still version of rosé and a sparkling version. The sparkling version often has notable hints of fruit and a beautiful pink color.

Types of Dessert Wine

  • Sparkling Dessert Wine – Depending on the level of sweetness, certain sparkling wines are considered dessert wines.
  • Botrytis-Affected Wines (Noble Rot) – These wines contain a specific spore that adds hints of ginger, saffron, and honey.
  • Ice Wine – Ice wine is made when a vineyard experiences a freeze, and the grapes are harvested and pressed while still frozen.
  • Fortified Wines – Fortified wines usually have the addition of grape brandy and have a higher alcohol content. They can be dry or sweet.
  • Late Harvest Wine – The longer grapes remain on the vine, the sweeter they get; that’s why most late harvest wines are considered dessert wines.

Which of these wines are you a fan of? What have you tried and liked? Which are on your list to pick up the next time you’re out? With so many different varieties of wine available to you, the most important thing is to taste and try – and then narrow down some of your favorites. 

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