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:
1. Red Wine
As you can probably tell from its deep colouring, red wine is created from red grapes.
Style & Taste
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
- Pinot Noir
Red wine can be a great accompaniment to many different dishes including:
- BBQ meat
If you’re new to drinking red wine, we recommend drinking the wine at room temperature.
2. White Wine
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
- Sauvignon Blanc
White wine can be a great accompaniment to many different dishes including:
3. Rose Wine
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.
Perfectly chilled rose wine can be a great accompaniment to many different dishes including:
4. Sparkling Wine
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.
Sparkling wine can be a great accompaniment to many different dishes including:
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!
Below, we’ve provided some guidance as to which dessert wines to try as a starter:
Dessert wine can be a great accompaniment to many different dishes including:
- Soft cheese
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:
Fortified wine can be a great accompaniment to many different dishes including:
4 Red Wine Varieties: Popular Wines & Their Names
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
“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.
Lamb, beef, smoked meats, Mediterranean dishes, and French cuisine pair well with this wine.
Malbec, Petite Sirah, Monastrell, Pinotage.
Learn more about Shiraz.
2. Cabernet Sauvignon
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!
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 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.
Suitable food pairings include chicken, pork, veal, duck, and cured meat along with nutty-medium cheeses like Gruyere.
Learn more about Pinot Noir.
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.
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 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)
This wine pairs very well with pork, chicken, fish, veal, nutty cheese, and french cuisine.
Grüner Veltliner, Verdejo, Vermentino.
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
Pairings include lobster, crab, shrimp, chicken, pork, mushrooms, and cheese.
3. Pinot Gris
“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?
You can pair Pinot Gris with all sorts of dishes including salads, seafood, and light cheese.
Albariño, Soave, Melon.
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.
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
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...
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