Types of Wine (6 Top Varieties of Wine)

    Types of Wine Guide

    Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or just partial to a glass on the weekend, knowing about different types of wine can be very helpful.

    With this said, there are so many different types of wine available, that it can be tricky to know where to start! 

    In this guide, we take a look at the 6 wonderful styles of wine on offer:

    We'll also take a look at popular types of wine styles including: .

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    The 6 Types of Wine: Explore Styles, Tastes, Food Pairings

    Here are the most common types of wine:

    types of wine

    1. Red Wine 

    As you can probably tell from its deep colouring, red wine is created from red grapes.

    Style & Taste

    People Tasting Red Wine

    Using fermented red grapes, seeds, and stems, red wine has a rich taste and is high in tannins.

    Tannins are the part of the grape responsible for the bitter taste that will remain in your mouth after taking a sip of the drink. 

    At room temperature, red wine is easy on the palette, however, if you chill red wine you could find the tannins a little too bitter.

    It is also worth noting that the older the wine the fewer tannins it has. You may find that new wines taste more bitter, so if you’re not a fan of this aftertaste, go for an older bottle!

    Red Wine Types

    Below, we’ve provided some guidance as to which red wines to try as a starter: 

    • Cabernet Sauvignon 
    • Zinfandel 
    • Merlot 
    • Chianti 
    • Pinot Noir 
    • Beaujolais

    Food Pairing

    Steak, Stew, Pasta

    Red wine can be a great accompaniment to many different dishes including:

    • Pasta 
    • Pizza 
    • Steak
    • BBQ meat 

    If you’re new to drinking red wine, we recommend drinking the wine at room temperature.

    2. White Wine 

    White Wine Varieties

    Unlike red wine, white wine is quite acidic and less bitter. White wine is made using both white grapes and red grapes.

    Style & Taste

    White wine is not made by fermenting the red grape skins. Rather, the skins are separated and only transparent grape juice is used. 

    With fewer tannins, white wine has more of a crisp and tart flavour and is considered to be a ‘weaker’, more palatable wine. 

    We advise chilling white wine before drinking it in order to bring out its best flavours.

    White wine is always best enjoyed cooled!

    White Wine Types

    Below, we’ve provided some guidance as to which white wines to try as a starter: 

    • Pinot Grigio 
    • Chardonnay 
    • Sauvignon Blanc 
    • Riesling

    Food Pairings

    White wine can be a great accompaniment to many different dishes including:

    • Salad
    • Chicken 
    • Fish 
    • Curries 
    • Cheese  

    3. Rose Wine 

    Rose Wine Being Poured

    Rose wine is a wine that is pink in colour or blushed.

    Style & Taste

    It is created from fermenting red grapes for a shorter period of time.

    This time period can be anywhere between just a few hours to a few days. 

    Similar to white wine, it also has low tannins which means it has a dry taste that can be quite tart.

    Rose is a good happy medium between red and white since it’s very soft on the palette and can be paired with lots of different dishes. 

    While rose wine is an inbetween colour, it is not made by mixing red and white wine together.

    In fact, in the world of wine, such mixing is considered a criminal offence!

    The level of sweetness in a Rosé wine depends on whether the fermentation process was allowed to complete or not.

    Food Pairing

    Perfectly chilled rose wine can be a great accompaniment to many different dishes including:

    • Fruit 
    • Fish
    • Cheese
    • Chicken 

    4. Sparkling Wine

    Champagne Bottle Popping

    Sparkling wine carries the nickname bubbly and is created by using both white and red grapes.

    Style & Taste

    Using carbon dioxide, the fermented grapes become naturally fizzy. 

    We recommend investing in some good, tall glasses if you plan on serving sparkling wine since the glass design helps to retain the wine’s fizz!


    Champagne and prosecco are two classic examples of sparkling wine and unlike regular wines, these wines seem to wow a bit more than usual.

    Food Pairing

    Sparkling wine can be a great accompaniment to many different dishes including:

    • Seafood 
    • Cheese
    • Salad
    • Fruit

    5. Dessert Wine

    Dessert wine, as you can likely imagine, is a type of wine served alongside dessert.

    Style & Taste

    As a sweeter wine, it’s usually an accompaniment intended to leave a sweet taste on the palette. 

    Dessert wine is the wider name given to any sweet-tasting wine, so bear this in mind if you’re looking for a sweet drink to go with your after-dinner treat!


    Muscato Wine Varieties

    Below, we’ve provided some guidance as to which dessert wines to try as a starter: 

    • Moscato
    • Icewine 

    Food Pairing

    Dessert wine can be a great accompaniment to many different dishes including:

    • Soft cheese 
    • Cakes 
    • Chocolate

    6. Fortified Wine 

    During the fermentation period, fortified wines have extra alcoholic ingredients added such as brandy for a richer and sweeter taste. 


    Below, we’ve provided some guidance as to which fortified wines to try as a starter: 

    • Sherry 
    • Port 
    • Marsala
    • Madeira

    Food Pairing

    Fortified wine can be a great accompaniment to many different dishes including:

    • Chocolate
    • Cheese 
    • Nuts 
    • Pastries

    4 Red Wine Varieties: Popular Wines & Their Names

    Red Wine Grapes

    Though wine is made from grapes, the types of grapes used cannot simply be bought from a supermarket.

    Instead, they have thick skins and are grown specifically for wine-making. 

    You will find so many different types of grapes for wine including those listed below.

    1. Shiraz or Syrah

    Shiraz Visual


    “Sear-ah” (aka Shiraz)


    It tastes like blueberries, plums, tobacco, cured meat, black pepper, and violets.


    A full-bodied red wine


    In addition to its intense fruit flavours and medium tannins, Syrah is often blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre to create the red Rhône blend.

    The wine often has a meaty (beef broth, jerky) quality.

    Food Pairing

    Lamb, beef, smoked meats, Mediterranean dishes, and French cuisine pair well with this wine.

    Alternative Wines

    Malbec, Petite Sirah, Monastrell, Pinotage.

    Learn more about Shiraz.

    2. Cabernet Sauvignon

    Cabernet Sauvignon Infographic


    “Cab-er-nay Saw-vin-yawn”


    Spices, baking cherries, and cedar from oak spices, baking cherries, and cedar (from oak).


    Red wine with a full body


    Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied red grape that was heavily planted in the 1960s and 1970s Bordeaux region. It's the world's most popular wine variety today!

    Food Pairing

    The following foods pair well with this wine: lamb, beef, smoked meats, and hard cheeses such as Pecorino and aged cheddar.


    Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Carménère, The Bordeaux Blend.

    Learn more about Cabernet Sauvignon here.

    3. Pinot Noir

    Pinot Noir Infographic


    “Pee-no Nwar”


    Pinot Noir carries a very distinctive fruity taste and floral notes.

    It is very often compared to red berries such as cherries and cranberries. 


    Light-bodied red wine.


    Pinot Noir is more of a dry and light-bodied wine. Grapes were originally planted in France and are known for carrying a higher acidity with low tannin. 

    Food Pairing

    Suitable food pairings include chicken, pork, veal, duck, and cured meat along with nutty-medium cheeses like Gruyere. 


    Gamay, Schiava.

    Learn more about Pinot Noir.

    4. Zinfandel

    Zinfandel Wine Infographic




    Zinfandel uses a wide variety of grapes that are well-loved for their exotic, bold taste.

    From jammy to smoky notes and even sweetness too, Zinfandel is a great wine for just about anybody.


    The style of this red wine is medium-bodied to full-bodied.


    Red wine called Primitivo, or Zinfandel, originates from Croatia. Generally, Zinfandel is a red grape but also has a pink variation known as White Zinfandel.  

    Food Pairing

    Suitable food pairings include chicken, pork, cured meats, lamb, beef, barbecue, and full-flavoured cheese such as Cheddar. 


    Grenache, Tempranillo, GSM / Rhône Blend, Carignan.

    Learn more about Zinfandel here.

    4 White Wine Varieties: Popular Wines & Their Names

    1. Sauvignon Blanc

    Sauvignon Blanc Wine Infographic


    “Saw-vin-yawn Blonk”


    Sauvignon Blanc is a citrus flavoured grape with herby notes.

    It is often compared to the flavours of exotic fruits like kiwi, melon, and passion fruit. 


    A Light to Medium-Bodied White Wine.


    Sauvignon Blanc is a dry white grape that was originally planted in France. With tart flavouring and fruity notes, it is known to be herbal and uplifting.  

    In some New World countries such as Chile and South Africa, you can find sweeter Sauvignon Blanc used to make some luscious dessert wines.

    The best temperature to serve Sauvignon Blanc is chilled between 6-8°C (42-47°F)

    Food Pairing

    This wine pairs very well with pork, chicken, fish, veal, nutty cheese, and french cuisine. 


    Grüner Veltliner, Verdejo, Vermentino. 

    2. Chardonnay

     Chardonnay Wine Visual




    Chardonnay tastes very much like citrus fruits with a refreshing and acidic finish at times.

    It also carried caramel notes from oak for a bold end flavour.


    A medium to full-bodied white wine.


    Originally planted in large quantities, Chardonnay is a dry, full-bodied white wine from France. When this type of wine is oak-aged, it carried a spiced and bourbon-like flavour. If the wine is unoaked its zesty and citrus flavours remain. 

    The best temperature to serve Chardonnay is chilled between 45–55°F or 7-13°C

    Food Pairing

    Pairings include lobster, crab, shrimp, chicken, pork, mushrooms, and cheese. 


    Sémillon, Viognier. 

    3. Pinot Gris

    Pinot Gris Visual


    “Pee-no Gree” (aka Pinot Grigio)


    Pinot Gris emanates citrus notes such as lime water and orange zest.

    It also is compared to pomaceous fruits like that of apple and pear with floral notes to finish. 


    A light-Bodied White Wine.


    Pinot Gris is a drier white grape that is found in Italy. However, it is also grown in Germany and France and is renowned for being the grape used to produce the lighter wine. Pinot Grigio should be chilled to 6-8°C (42-47°F).

    Typically Pinot Grigio makes a dry white wine, although some styles of Pinot Grigio can be off-dry with some deliciously sweet characteristics.

    Read more: Is Pinot Grigio Sweet?

    Food Pairing

    You can pair Pinot Gris with all sorts of dishes including salads, seafood, and light cheese. 


    Albariño, Soave, Melon.

    4. Riesling

    Riesling Visual




    With citrus notes, this white grape is also floral and sweet. Many people comment on the herbal flavour of Riesling and favour it because of this. 

    With a floral taste and variable sweetness, Riesling is a wine that many producers approach with a careful tactic.


    In fact, not all of the grapes are fermented for the production of Riesling in order to make the wine carry an off-dry taste.

    The ideal serving temperature is to chill Riesling to between 45 and 49°F, or 6 and 9°C.

    Food Pairing

    Riesling pairs very well with pork, duck, turkey, chicken, and cured meat as well as washed-rind cheeses and warm fondue.


    Moscato, Gewürztraminer, Torrontés, Chenin Blanc

    Learn more about red wine grapes here

    4 Wine Descriptors & Lingo

    You don’t need to be a sommelier to have a handle on wine descriptors.

    In fact, knowing the 4 main wine descriptors will help you judge whether a wine is to your liking: 

    • Acidity: acidity is important when it comes to wine. How acidic a wine is will determine its freshness or bitterness
    • Tannin: tannins are important to bring about that heady, infamous red wine flavour. Red wines can be bitter due to the amount of tannin present
    • Sweetness: wines can vary in sweetness depending on the type of grapes used. If you’re looking for a sweet wine, avoid dry types
    • Body: a wine’s body refers to its viscosity. Fuller bodied wines feel thicker on the palette and will coat the side of the wine glass. Lighter wines can appear almost as transparent as water! 

    Before You Go...


    We hope you enjoyed our article on the common types of wine.

    Do you need to know about other popular wine types to add something extra to your next dinner party?

    Read our next article about popular red wines (and why) here...

    Popular Red Wine Types (Full Guide)

    If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, or email us at

    You can browse more posts on Wine Types here.

    Expert Wine Storage can help you find a luxury wine fridge to store your precious wine collection.

    philip thompson Author: Philip Thompson
    Philip is the General Manager at Expert Wine Storage, and is very knowledgable about all things relating to wine and wine storage, including wine fridges. He is regularly featured in media outlets sharing his knowledge on wine. Connect on Linkedin

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