What are the Main Styles of Wine?
Although there might only seem to be 2 styles of wine – red and white (and sparkling, we suppose) – there actually a total of nine different styles! Because there is so much choice when it comes to making a new wine, it’s important that the winemaker has a firm idea of what they want to do before they start the entire process. In this article, we take a brief look at each of these wine styles to give you a better idea of how much variety there is out there when it comes to wine.
Sparkling and red varieties
We think the only place to start is with a celebratory beverage – sparkling wine! Some of the more popular varieties this wine style encompasses includes champagne, cava and prosecco, and has remained a celebratory drink for centuries. While Champagne is produced exclusively in its namesake region in France, other sparkling wines have much less fanfare (despite often being equally as delicious). For something a bit more complex, full-bodied red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, are excellent choices. These styles are often higher in alcohol than other styles and boast highly tannic structures and other complexity that occurs as a result of aging. These full-bodied styles aren’t for everybody, however, and these people might instead opt for a medium-bodied red like a merlot or a lighter body like a pinot. The lighter the style, the higher the acidity and the move away from dark plum and leather to brighter fruit like raspberry and cherry. For an even lighter style, arosé, provides an excellent tipple for summer, particularly as it works so well chilled. Although this style is still made from red grapes, it is only left on the skins for a very short amount of time to produce the much lighter colour and body.
Styles of white wine
Full-bodied white wines, such as oaked chardonnay, have undergone aging to create complex, heavy white wines that are most suitable for drinking with poultry, seafoods and cheeses. For those that enjoy more quaffable fair, lighter bodied white wines, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinela and Pinot Gris, very much fit the bill. These wines offer a high degree of acidity and are best drunk when they’re young, plus good examples can be found quite cheaply! Aromatic white wines, such as Moscato, gewürztraminer and Riesling, are considered to have more perfume-like notes and added sugar to balance out the extra acidity of the style. Dessert and fortified wines are sweeter than other wines due to the fermentation process being stopped prematurely, and as such they often have a lower amount of alcohol as well. In the case of fortified wines, these sweet wines are often strengthened by adding spirits to give them both a high degree of sweetness and often even greater alcohol content when compared to other wines.
Which wine is for you?
Determining what wines are according to body, colour and flavour profile is certainly not the simplest task for a lot of people out there, but having knowledge of the different styles can help someone be a lot more prepared when deciding what style to try next. Whether it be a red, white, rosé, sparkling or a dessert wine, there’s definitely a wine for every possible occasion, whether with food or on its own!