Wine Styles…Something for All Tastes and Occasions
There’s something about a colourful picture of grapes hanging on a vine that elicits the best in us as humans. It makes you think of Greek royalty enjoying the fruits and nectars reserved for kings and queens. Of course, wine was also drunk hundreds of years ago because it was a safe drink during the days when the safety of water supplies was questionable.
That picture of grapes you look at today reflects much more than a “safe” drink. There’s a whole world of wine that has been created using numerous grape varieties. The grapes are lovingly grown by vineyards that have learned to blend the old style growing methods with technical knowledge about the impact of growing conditions on grapes.
Today, in this world of wine, the grape rules! There are many varieties of grapes and each one can produce a stunning wine that is unique in flavour, colour, and aroma. The grape used in making wine is so important that the grape variety is on the label of most bottles of wine so you know exactly how the wine began its journey from field to table.
The basics of wine begin with the grapes that produce wine styles. It is within those wine styles that you find the vibrant wines in all price ranges from around the world.
Getting Stylish With Wine
Wines are made in different styles, and those styles were named so you would know right away what kind of grape was used and even how the wine was made. The types of wine styles recognized within the industry are the following:
Champagne or Sparkling
Within each of these categories are the hundreds of wine brands made by vineyards around the world. Some people still don’t understand that many of the best tasting wines today are not just coming out of Italy or France. There is a wealth of wine choices coming from countries like the United States and Australia.
In fact, Australia wine was once considered to be a novelty wine but the country is now the second largest wine producer in the world. Australia wine is drunk more often than Italian wine by people everywhere.
White wine is made from white grapes which seems kind of obvious. But did you know there are wines named after particular kinds of white grapes? For example, the Chardonnay is a grape variety and the name of a particular style of white wine. Chardonnay white grapes are grown around the world and are used to produce white wines with complex flavours.
Other popular grape varieties include the following.
Sauvignon Blanc grapes produce wines which may be sweet, dry or creamy. The grapes were first grown in France and are now grown in other countries including the Australia, Chile, New Zealand and the US.
Riesling grapes produce wines that have a full range of flavours including fruity or earthy. The grapes are grown primarily in Germany but Australian Riesling grapes have become extremely popular because the warmer climate produces a complex exotic wine.
Chenin Blanc grapes are often used to make dry intensely flavoured wines and many sparkling wines. The grapes are grown primarily in France, South Africa, and California in the US.
Gewürztraminer grapes are pink skinned and is used to make all types of wines including dry and sweet. The grapes are grown in Germany, parts of Italy, Austria, sections of Eastern Europe and few other places.
There are many other white grapes including Marsanne, Colombard, Pinots, and others.
In another statement of the obvious, red wine is made from red grapes. But did you know there are different types of red grapes and each one makes a unique red wine loved by wine drinkers around the world?
The most popular red grape varieties include the following.
Cabernet Sauvignon grapes is probably the most well-known grape and wine and it is grown around the world. The grape is most associated with the Bordeaux region in France but new varieties from Australia and New Zealand are creating fascinating new wine variations. The French grape produces a black currant flavour whereas the Australian grape is more vanilla flavoured. That just proves the versatility of this particular grape and the ability of the grower and producer to influence the final qualities of the wine.
Pinot Noir grapes produce some of the most popular wine varieties and they are most famous for their French connections. The grapes are grown primarily in Burgundy, Loire, Champagne, and Alsace in France and also in Germany, Romania, and the United States. The grapes make a fruit flavoured red wine.
Merlot grapes produce a heavy flavoured wine that may taste like black cherries, vanilla, and spices. The grape earned its reputation in Bordeaux, France but is now also produced in other countries including Australia and New Zealand.
Shiraz grapes from Australia are known for making world class and award winning red wines. This is Australia’s most popular and most planted red grape. The grape was originally grown in the Rhone region of France.
Like the white grapes, there are just as many other red grapes adding variety to the wine styles. They include Grenache, Sangiovese, Barbera, and the popular Zinfandel.