Despite my willingness to form a loving relationship with any type
of wine that seeps into my life, you may not be as much as a booze flooze
as myself: some of you may prefer certain types over others. Because of
this, it's important to understand the different types of wine that exist:
the more aware you are of all the varieties, the more likely you will find
a wine you really like.
However, I can't discuss all the types of
wine - listing each vintage and flavor and mentioning every grape under
the sun. Doing so would take forever and by the time I finished, I,
myself, would start to ferment. But, I can provide an overview to help
you, the loyal drinker, find something to quench your thirst, a type of
wine you'll want to invite over to fill your glass at dinner.
Apéritif: Known as appetizer wines, these are the chicken fingers
and mozzarella sticks of the wine world. They are flavored wines typically
meant to stimulate the appetite before eating a large meal. They can
include sherry, and Madeira.
Barley Wine: Though in possession of
the word "wine," Barley Wine isn't really wine, masquerading as such
because of a high alcohol content that reaches up to 12 percent by volume.
Made from grain instead of fruit, Barley Wine is simply strong beer, like
an ale that regularly works out. While it originated in England, Barley
Wine is available world wide. However, when sold in the US, Barley Wines
are required to be sold with the label, "barely wine-style ales," thus
avoiding confusion for the wine-seeking consumer.
Wine of extremely poor quality is usually labeled "Cooking Wine," as if
being poured into a pan is one step up from being poured down the drain.
Typically containing a large amount of salt, Cooking Wine isn't made to be
consumed by itself. Instead, it is meant to be used as a way to enhance a
dish, bringing out certain flavors and seasonings.
It may seem like Country Wines are wines in possession of a laidback
lifestyle and a southern drawl. But, in actuality, they are simply wines
that are made from a fruit other than a grape and supplemented with sugar
and honey. However, because the word "wine" legally insinuates a drink
made from grapes, Country Wines are often fruit-specific in their
definitions. They include types such as "plum wine" and "apple wine."
Dessert Wines: Known for being served beside a piece of carrot
cake or a slice of apple pie, Dessert Wines are wines that range between
medium sweet to extremely sweet on the spectrum of sugar. They typically
include wines such as Port Wine, Tokay, and Sweet Sherry. Aside from baked
goods and fruity creations, dessert wines also go very well with many
types of cheese.
Red Wine and White Wine: It may seem like Red
Wine and White Wine are always in competition with each other, with
bottles of each snapping in unison as the other approaches. But, the truth
is that Red Wine and White Wine are so different in flavor, and go best
with such different dishes, that the two don't need to compete. While Red
Wines are typically good at enhancing meals made of red meat or tomato
sauce, White Wines are typically good at enhancing meals made of white
meat or white sauces. They are also different in taste because Red Wines
are made with grape skins during the fermentation process, causing them to
carry "tannin," a sensation you get that makes your tongue feel as though
liquid is evaporating off of it. White Wines, however, are made without
grape skin and never carry "tannin."
Rose Wine: Rose Wines are
also called "Pink Wines" and, because they are often refreshing in
mid-summer heat, "Summer Wines." Like a beverage that can't quite make up
its mind, Rose Wines aren't really red and aren't really white. Instead,
they possess attributes of both true red wines and true white wines. They
are often best served with seafood, salad, cold cuts, and pork.
Rice Wine: Just like Barely Wine, Rice Wine is a bit of an
imposter, an ale that wishes it was a wine. Made from rice instead of
grapes, Rice Wine possesses a higher alcohol content than most beer and
wines combined weighing in between 18 and 25 percent. Rice Wine is known
as Sake to the Japanese.
Sparkling Wines: Probably the most famous
member of the Sparkling Wine family is Champagne, a drink that routinely
fills the glasses at wedding receptions and banquet halls. But, Champagne
can't hog all the sparkling spotlight, Sparkling Wines can be any type of
wine infused with Carbon Dioxide. Because Sparkling Wines do not usually
pair well with meals, they are best served alone or with appetizers.
Table Wine: Table Wine is wine that is not fortified and not
sparkling, making it erroneously seem like the most plain of wines. By
technical definition, Table Wines contain at least 7 percent alcohol and
no more than 14 percent. While many people equate Table Wine with poor
tasting, cheap wine, many Table Wines aren't cheap, and certainly don't
taste like it either.
Whether your favorite type of wine is Red or
you, having misplaced your salt lick, actually do like to consume Cooking
Wine, wine has a variety of flavors. This makes it one of the most
versatile alcohols, possessing the ability to adapt to everything from
cocktail hours to State dinners and enabling you, no matter your type or
your level of pickiness, to always find something with which to fill your