Wines are classified according to the grape varieties used to produce them. The term “terroir” is used to refer to the grape variety and characteristics of a vineyard or region, including the climate and soil composition. These factors can have a significant impact on the wine’s flavor profile. The dominant wine types are red wines and white wines. Each of these wine types has a number of popular varietals. Red Wines Red wines are fermented with the grape skins intact, which imparts both color and tannins to the wine. These tannins add the astringent, slightly bitter flavor that characterizes many red wines. Common grape varietals for red wines include: Cabernet Sauvignon: Produced all over the world, this wine is typically strong and full-bodied. Malbec: Grown widely in France, Argentina and Chile, Malbec is characterized by fruit and spice notes; however, its flavor profile varies by region. Merlot: Grown in France as well as elsewhere in Europe and North and South America, Merlot is less tannic than Cabernet Sauvignon and often characterized by cherry and plum flavors. Pinot Noir: This grape produces a less tannic, more delicate red wine, and is grown in France, Austria, New Zealand and the American West. Sangiovese: Sangiovese is a medium-bodied Italian wine with fresh fruit notes. Sangiovese grapes are also used in the production of Chianti wine. Syrah (also called Shiraz): Produced in Australia, California and parts of France, this red wine is typically bold and spicy. Zinfandel: Grown in California, Zinfandel grapes are used to make a variety of wines from full-bodied, peppery red zinfandel to blush wine (white zinfandel). White Wines White wine is produced by fermenting grapes without their skins. This generally yields light, fresh, fruity flavors. White wine grape varietals include the following: Chardonnay: Chardonnay originated in Burgundy, France, but is now grown around the world. It is often aged in oak barrels, which lends slightly tannic or vanilla flavor.
When pairing wine with Mediterranean dishes, knowing the basics of wine pairing and the common Mediterranean varieties will help to enhance your meal. The Basics of Wine Pairing The basic theory behind wine pairing is to select flavors that parallel one another. If you are eating strong, flavorful food, you’ll want a strong, flavorful wine to go with it. Alternatively, mild dishes are typically paired with subtle-flavored wines. Rich and savory beef dishes are typically paired with rich, flavorful red wines like cabernets and zinfandels. Creamy pasta dishes like those from Northern Italy benefit from a chardonnay or a sauvignon blanc. Acidic dishes like pasta marinara pair well with wines that are also high in acidity, like a dry riesling or a chianti. Intensely-acidic wines will overpower subtler dishes like fish or alfredo. Always try to match the acidity level of the wine to the acidity in your meal. Red wines contain natural tannins that serve as a palate cleansing astringent. With white wines, the acidity achieves the same effect. Palate cleansing wines are meant to rinse the mouth and prepare it to enjoy the next bite. Mediterranean Wines Italy and Greece produce some of the world’s best wines. Among the best known native Greek-grape varieties are xinomavro (acid black) and agiorgitiko (Saint George). Popular wines derived from these powerful grapes are Katogi-Strofilia Fresco Averoff Red and Harlaftis Nemea Red Wine. Quality Italian Reds are chiantis like Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico, and amarones like Righetti Amarone. Popular whites include Stella Pinot Grigio and Saracco Moscato d’Asti. Wine and Traditional Mediterranean Dishes To pair wine with Mediterranean cuisine, follow the wisdom of matching lighter fare with white wines or light reds, and heavier food with stronger red wines. Light salads like Caprese and Cypriot go well with moscatos, or lighter red wines like sangiovese and gamay. Blush wines like reisling and zinfandel are also appropriate choices as they pair well with popular balsamic and oil-based Mediterranean dressings. Dishes like lamb, beef or veal would go best with a heavy red wine, such as a pinot noir or a merlot. Lighter seafood dishes, such as grilled salmon and lemon over rice, are best accompanied by wine varieties like chardonnay and pinot grigio, which are lighter on the palette. If you prefer white wines over red, there are many Mediterranean seafood dishes that pair well with these.
Decisions about wine pairings can be made based on a number of food characteristics. The main protein and sauce can both provide viable comparison points for wine. Based on personal preference and different flavor matches, several wines can pair equally well with the same dish. Special considerations apply for certain wine and food types. Pairing: Main Ingredients Traditionally, pairings are often determined based on the protein in your dish. Classic white wine pairings include chicken and fish, while red wines are often paired with beef. However, these are only guidelines. For example, rich salmon can be successfully paired with a red wine with low tannin concentration, such as Pinot Noir. This type of pairing also accounts for the concept of pairing by weight. The protein in a dish is a significant determining factor in its overall “weight:” rich versus light, strong versus delicate. Pairing: Sauces and Spice Lighter proteins, such as chicken or fish, are apt to take on the flavors of sauces or spices. These accompaniments can create “flavor bridges” that connect the dish with certain wines and provide a harmonious or contrasting flavor profile. For example, a pasta or chicken with cream sauce could be mirrored by a rich Chardonnay, or contrasted by an acidic Sauvignon Blanc. Two wines may prove excellent pairs for the same dish for different reasons. The winning choice can be dictated by your perception of the primary element of a dish, or your personal preferences. Special Courses: Cheese, Appetizers and Dessert Generally, lighter and sparkling wines pair well with appetizer courses. Wine and cheese pairings can follow a basic rule of thumb: red wines pair well with hard cheeses, whereas white wines often pair well with soft. In addition, pungent cheeses like stilton pair well with sweet wines, like port. Dessert, however, can present challenges. Light fruit desserts can be matched with lightly sweet sparkling wines like Prosecco. Very sweet desserts, however, can make wine taste dull or bitter, and are often better paired with coffee than wine. Solo Artists: Stand-Alone Wines Some wines are best enjoyed alone; their flavor profiles are compromised when food pairings are introduced. Some complex, oaky (and very expensive) aged wines can be blunted when paired with food. Simpler wines are often a better match at meals, and display their fruit character more effectively. Similarly, dessert wines often function better as replacements than accompaniments, as sweet desserts can diminish their nuanced flavors.
Celebrities who start their own vineyards and bottle signature wines are part of a growing trend in the world of wines. These celebrity wineries have been quite successful, sometimes because of the quality of the wines themselves and always because of the demand for products that bear the name of a well-loved star. Niebaum-Coppola Winery In 1975, film director, producer and screenwriter Francis Coppola was looking to buy a summer home where he might make a little wine. He came upon the Inglenook Winery in California, founded by Gustave Niebaum. Coppola was taken with the beauty of the estate and felt a connection to Niebaum because of their shared immigrant background, love of wine and success in their respective fields. Coppola decided to rebuild the estate and founded the Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery. Prices of wine from the Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery range from around $7 to $13. Wine selections include: Blancaneaux Cabernet Franc Cask Cabernet Merlot RC Reserve Syrah. For a $25 guest fee, you can visit the estate. Your fee includes a wine tasting, a legacy historical tour and a chance to see the historic Chateau, Estate Wine Library and Centennial Museum. Jerry Garcia Sonoma Winery Musician Jerry Garcia may be gone, but he is certainly not forgotten. He can be remembered not only for the music he made with the Grateful Dead but also for his fine wine. The Jerry Garcia Sonoma Winery was created to celebrate not only his music but also his artistic creations and his love of wine. All bottles of J. Garcia wines have labels that feature his unique and colorful artwork. Prices range from $12.95 to $16.95 per bottle. You can buy many types of J. Garcia wines, including: Cabernet Sauvignon Chardonnay Merlot Zinfandel. Greg Norman Wineries After traveling the world during his golfing career, Greg Norman decided to join forces with renowned winemakers from Beringer Blass and start the Greg Norman Estates Wineries in Australia and California. Prices range from $9 to $13 per bottle. Types of wine available include: red wines sparkling wines white wines. Ernie Els” Stellenbosch Winery Golfing and wine may well be perfect together. Another golfer, Ernie Els, along with longtime friend Jean Engelbrecht, established Engelbrecht Els Vineyards in 1999 and opened the cellar on Helderberg Mountain in Stellenbosch, South Africa, in 2004. Prices of wine from Engelbrecht Els Vineyards range from $28 per bottle to approximately $700 per case. Wines available include: Cabernet Franc Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec Merlot signature blends created by Ernie Els. Fleming Jenkins Vineyards and Winery Olympic ice skater Peggy Fleming knows her way around grapes as well as she knows her tricks on ice. Along with husband Greg Jenkins, she planted a small vineyard in California in 1999 and decided to start a winery. The winery offers a variety of wines, including: Cabernet Chardonnay Rose Syrah. Prices range from $20 to $50 per bottle. Because Peggy Fleming is a breast cancer survivor, a very special wine named Victories Rose was created at this winery […]
People have been enjoying wine for thousands of years. In the past, wine has been used for ceremonial purposes and as medicine. Today, as in the past, wines are used for religious purposes. Many of us also like to enjoy a nice glass of wine with a good meal or just for the delicious taste. Why Wine is Red The color of the wine is not determined by the color of the grapes. The color of wine is actually a result of whether the grape skins are included in the fermentation process. Red wine colors would be clear if skins were not added during fermentation. Types of Red Wines: Varietals Varietals are wines that are made primarily from one type of grape. In the United States, Australia, South America and New Zealand, a wine is classified as a varietal if the wine consists of at least 75 percent of one given grape and if the wine can be labeled with the grape”s name. So, for example, if you purchase a bottle that is labeled Cabernet Sauvignon that was produced in the United States, you will know that Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were used to produce at least 75 percent of the wine. In most of Europe, however, varietals must include at least 85 percent of one kind of grape. Below is a table of red wine varietals: Type of Wine Grape Used Flavor Region Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Sauvignon Black cherry, bell pepper, ginger Bordeaux region, France; California; Argentina; Chile; Italy; New Zealand Grenache Grenache Blackberry, smoke, fleshy California; Southern France; Spain; Australia Pinot Noir Pinot Noir Raspberry, rosemary, oregano, cinnamon Burgundy, France; Australia; Austria; Brazil; Canada; California; New Zealand Merlot Merlot Plum, rose, bay leaf, bell pepper California; Argentina; New Zealand; Bordeaux, France Nebbiolo Nebbiolo Smoke, truffle, cherry, tar Italy; California; South Africa; Australia; New Zealand Sangiovese Sangiovese Berry, plum, cinnamon, thyme Tuscany, Italy; California Syrah* Syrah Black currant, clove, black pepper, cedar France; California; South Africa; Australia Zinfandel Zinfandel Blackberry, cranberry, licorice, black pepper California *Syrah is also referred to as Shiraz. Other Types of Red Wines A wine does not have to be a varietal to be an interesting drink. Take Meritage, for instance. A red Meritage is a blend of at least two of the following grape varietals: Cabernet Franc Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenere Gros Verdot Malbec Merlot Petit Verdot St. Macaire. In order to be a Meritage, a single varietal cannot make up more than 90 percent of the mix of the wine. The attributes of the wine will vary according to the varietals used. Types of Wines: Bordeaux and Burgundy In the past, Burgundy was used as a generic name for a blend of varietals. Burgundy, or Bourgogne in French, specifically refers to the famous wine region in France. The primary grape grown in Burgundy is Pinot Noir, although some Gamay grapes as well as other varietals are grown there as well. Like Burgundy, Bordeaux refers to another famous wine region in France. Grapes grown in Bordeaux […]
Many wine connoisseurs feel that French wines are among the best in the world. The wine regions in France offer a wide array of excellent wines. Each of the wine regions has distinct characteristics in the type of grapes grown, with the soil and climate contributing to the characteristics of individual wines. French vineyards offer some of the most famous wines, which are enjoyed by wine lovers around the world. Alsace Alsace is located in the northeast part of France, between the Rhine and Vosges Rivers. Alsace is the smallest wine region in France, and the grapes that grow in Alsace are grown nowhere else. The wines produced in this French wine region are dry and sweet white wines. The wines from Alsace include: Cremant d”Alsace Gewurtztraminer Pinot Blanc Riesling Sylvaner Tokay Pinot Gris. The soil in Alsace ranges from sand to clay. The climate in the region consists of hot summers and cold winters, which gives these wines their distinctive characteristics. Bordeaux The Bordeaux wine region is located in the southwest area of France, near the Atlantic Ocean. Bordeaux is considered to be the most important French wine region and actually accounts for one third of French wine production. The Bordeaux area produces both sweet and dry white wines and full-body and medium-body red wines. The grapes grown in Bordeaux include: Cabernet-Franc Cabernet-Sauvignon Sauvignon Semillion. The Bordeaux region features mild, short winters, hot summers and a high degree of humidity due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Burgundy The Burgundy wine region begins just south of Paris and continues down to Lyon. The wines produced in this region include both red and white wines. The red are known for being subtle and velvety, while the white are characterized by being sensual. The grapes in this region include: Chardonnay Pinot Noir. Burgundy has a wide range of soils, so the area is divided into districts. These districts are: Beaujolais Chablis Cote Chalonnaise Cote d”Or Maconnais. The weather consists of cold winters and hot summers, which produce excellent wines. Champagne Champagne is one of the most well-known wines in the world, both sparkling and festive. The Champagne region is in the northeast region of France, which is east of Paris and west of Alsace. The types of grapes grown in the Champagne region include: Chardonnay Pinot Meunier Pinot Noir. The weather in the Champagne region is unique. It offers cool winters and sunny summers. The soil is chalky, which produces high-quality sparkling wines. Cotes du Rhone This wine region is known for being incredibly diverse. The Cotes du Rhone is in the Rhone Valley, which is south of Lyon and stretches to the Mediterranean Sea. The wines from Cotes du Rhone range from full-body red wines to fruity red wines to full-body dry white wines. The grapes grown here include: Clairette Grenache. The weather in the Cotes du Rhone region consists of cold winters and warm summers in the northern part of the region and mild winters and hot summers […]
The variety of wines available to enjoy is practically endless. Some of the major wine types available include: blush fruit/country non-alcoholic red sparkling white. A description of different types of wine begins with classification. Wines of all types can be classified by either the primary grape variety or the region where the grapes were grown. Wines classified by the type of grape they contain are called varietals and wines classified by the growing region are named for the region itself. Even within types of wine there is a great variety of flavor and texture, due to the climate of growing regions. A warm, wet year will produce grapes with a different flavor than a cooler, dryer growing season. This is why some labels and years are more valuable than others. Types of Red Wine Red wine comes from black grapes. The grapes are fermented whole, with the skin and pips intact. These wines can be light or sweet, refreshing or mellow. Here are some of the major types of red wine: Barbera: This grape is similar to Merlot, but not as well known. Barbera wines go well with many dishes, including those prepared with tomato sauce. Their taste is similar to black cherry and plum fruit, with a silky texture. Cabernet Sauvignon: Considered one of the world”s best varieties of grape, Cabernet Sauvignon is often paired with Cabernet Franc and Merlot. It is often served with red meat and has a full-bodied flavor. Merlot: Merlot wines are considered “easy to drink” and are a good introduction to red wines. They can be served with any type of food and have a rough, tannic flavor. Pinot Noir: These grapes are difficult to grow and are rarely blended with other varieties. They are often served with chicken, lamb and salmon. The taste of Pinot Noir wines is delicate and fresh, with a fruity aroma and earthy notes. Syrah or Shiraz: Syrah and Shiraz are both names for the same variety of grape. These red wines go well with beef, steak, stew and wild game. The taste is fruity with black pepper/roast meat overtones and gripping tannins. Zinfandel: Considered the world”s most versatile grape, Zinfandel is used to make wines from blushes to rich, heavy reds. Depending of the heaviness of a particular Zinfandel wine, it may be served with pasta in tomato sauce, pizza or meat. Zinfandel has a zesty berry and pepper flavor. Types of White Wine Since all grape juice starts out colorless, white wines can be made from white or black grapes. Flavors of white wines can range from very dry to sweet and golden. The five main types of white wine are: Chardonnay: This popular grape can be made into sparkling or still wine. It goes well with fish and chicken dishes. Chardonnay has a wide-bodied, velvety citrus flavor. When fermented in a new oak barrel, it has a buttery tone that can resemble coconut, toast, toffee or vanilla. Gewurztraminer: Wine made from this aromatic grape is often […]