Wine can broadly be classified in 5 styles:
Sparkling Wine, White Wine, Rosé, Red Wine and Dessert Wine.
Yes, this is the one with bubbles in it. The fizz is a result of carbonation that happens during the wine making process. Two types of methods are used to achieve this – The Traditional method and the Charmat (pronounced Sharma) method.
There are many Sparkling wines other than the Champagne from France. Some popular ones are Prosecco from Italy, Cava from Spain and Sparkling Shiraz (Yes! It is a sparkling red!) from Australia.
Did you know white wine can also be made of red wine grapes! While the juice of both the grapes is colourless, it is the contact with the skin and stems that gives colour to the wine. Since white wines have almost no contact with the grape skins during the winemaking process, they do not take on any colour.
The colour of the white wine ranges from almost transparent watery white to golden yellow. The grape variety, age, use of oak and the winemaking process contribute to this.
Some popular White wine varieties are Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Chenin Blanc, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.
As explained in the white wine description, the colour of the wine is due to the skin and stem contact with the juice. In the case of Rosé wine, the grape skins are left in contact with the juice for just a little while, enough to give it that pink tint.
Rosé is produced in almost all wine-producing regions and comes in all shades of Pink.
It is a perfect all weather drink.
When the black-skinned grapes are allowed to macerate with the grape juice, it takes on the reddish hue. Wine making process, grape variety and oak ageing also contribute to the colour intensity of the Red Wines.
Some popular Red wines are made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz or Syrah, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Malbec, Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Nebiollo varieties of grapes.
Dessert Wine/Sweet Wine
One of my favourite wines across all styles is a sweet wine called Madeira that comes from an island by the same name (also famous for being Ronaldo’s hometown!).
Port, Sherry, Sauternes, Tokaji, Eiswein are all various types of sweet wines. Dessert wines are further classified as per their harvest or wine making methods.
Late Harvest: The grapes are harvested later than usual. This allows the fruit to sweeten while still on the vines.
Fortified Wine: Brandy is added during the winemaking process. These wines have higher alcohol content and longer shelf lives too.
Ice Wine: The grapes are harvested and pressed while still frozen. It is a cumbersome process, but the resultant wine is oh so worth it!
Noble Rot: The grapes are literally left to rot on the vines. In moist temperatures, a fungus Botrytis is formed on the skin of the grapes. I know it sounds disgusting, but this very fungus gives the wines a distinct flavour profile of honey and beeswax.