Robert Louis Stevenson said that, “Wine is bottled poetry.”
The color is its structure, aroma is the hidden meaning, and flavor is its rhythm. Wine is more than just a beverage. It is a classy drink, enjoyed all over the world. It can improve your mood, won’t make you fat, and can even make your skin glow. The deeper you dive into it, the more you’ll fall in love with it.
Many things have been said about wine, but…
Did You Know?
- Red wines have more alcohol and calories than white wines.
- Wine doesn’t just come in red and white. There are pink, orange, and golden wines too.
- A wine’s flavor depends on several factors, including the type of grapes, and the process used to make it.
- Specifics about the region where the grapes were grown – like the temperature, the amount of moisture in the air, the nutrients in the soil, and the amount of sunshine – also affect a wine’s flavor.
- Most of the wines in Europe are named after the regions they come from, like Rioja, Burgundy, and Bordeaux.
- In the U.S., wines are named after the variety of grapes they are made from, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Zinfandel.
- The fourth largest producer of wine in the world after Spain, France, and Italy, is California.
- Before opening a bottle of red wine, it should be stored in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. White wine should be taken out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before it is served.
- White wines should be served before reds.
- In general, white wines complement veggies, fish, and poultry. Red wines are good with red meat like beef, lamb, and venison. Veal can be paired with lighter reds, rosé, and some white wines.
- $31.9 billion was the estimated sales of wine in California for the year 2015
- Since 2010, the United States has been the world’s biggest wine market
- California wine sales to domestic and International markets accounted for 276 million cases in 2015
- California shipped 229 million cases of wine to the United States in 2015
Types of Wine
Because there are thousands of different types of wine, trying to learn about them all can be overwhelming. So let’s start with the basics. The main categories of wine are red, white, rosé, sparkling, and fortified. Within each category, there are many different types of wine, but here are some of the most common and popular:
Types of White Wine
- Riesling – Originated in Germany. Has strong floral aroma. Goes well with pork or fish, and can also be paired with bold and spicy Chinese or Thai dishes.
- Gewürztraminer – Aromatic and sweet wine. Originated in the Alsace region of France. Can be paired with fatty meats like duck, goose, and salmon, as well as spicy Thai, Indian, and Chinese food.
- Chardonnay – Most popular wine from Burgundy, France. Rich citrus flavor with a hint of vanilla. More velvety than other dry white wines. Good with fish and chicken.
- Sauvignon Blanc – France’s famous wine known for its herbal “grassy” taste and is described as a crisp, fresh, and elegant wine. Goes well with seafood, poultry, and certain cheeses.
- Chenin Blanc – Comes from the Loire valley of France. Sometimes sweet, sometimes dry. It can pair well with veal, turkey, salmon, and even sushi, or spicy Southeast Asian dishes.
- Grüner Veltliner – Exotic dry wine, grown primarily in Austria. Citrus and peach flavors with herbal and peppery notes. Pairs well with a wide variety of food including salads, vegetables, fish, and poultry.
- Moscato – Sweet and fruity wine, with “grapey” and floral aromas. Great on its own, but can also be paired with chicken, fish, and desserts. Three main styles are Moscato d’Asti, Muscat Blanc (or Moscatel), and Dessert Moscato.
- Pinot Grigio – Italy’s famous wine, known for its zesty and refreshing citrus flavor, goes well with chicken and light seafood.
Types of Red Wine
- Shiraz or Syrah – Deepest red wine with high level of tannins and antioxidants. Goes well with beef, lamb, venison, and wild game birds.
- Merlot – Smooth and easy to drink wine having a plummy taste with chocolate notes. Pairs well with almost all types of food.
- Cabernet Sauvignon – Full-bodied wine with medium level of acidity. Best with red meat dishes.
- Pinot Noir – Pinot Noir grapes are hard to grow. Its fruity, earthy flavor pairs well with salmon, chicken, lamb, duck, and pasta.
- Barbera – Red Italian wine with high acidity level and low tannins. Deep in color, with notes of cherries and plums, it goes well with hard cheeses, and pasta dishes that have tomato or meat sauces.
- Blaufränkisch – Refreshing, juicy red wine from Austria. Tastes tangy and spicy.
- Bordeaux – Red wine ranging in medium to full-bodied color with strong aromas of plum and black currant and earthy aroma of wet soil. Taste ranges from tart to sweet.
- Cabernet Franc – Savory and medium-bodied wine. Aroma of berries and violets, with notes of earth and coffee. Due to its acidic nature, it pairs well with smoked barbeque dishes, tomato-based dishes, and veggies.
- Carménère – Medium-bodied wine known for its supple berry flavors, and low amount of tannins.
- Chianti – A red blend from Tuscany having a floral aroma and fruity flavor. Goes well with beef, lamb, mushrooms, and dishes with tomato-based sauces.
- Gamay – Light-bodied wine with high natural acidity. Fruity flavors of raspberries, strawberries, and cherries, with notes of violets and lilacs.
- Grenache – Spicy yet soft to the palate. Goes well with herbs and spiced foods.
- Nebbiolo – Smells of roses, with earthy flavors. Has a high amount of acidity and tannins.
- Malbec – Most popular red grape variety in Argentina, it has fruity and spicy flavors.
- Zinfandel – A wine with a fruity taste, spicy notes, and a smoky finish. Light in color, and sweet in taste. Best paired with barbecued meats, and dishes with tomato sauce.
- Rioja – Wine with a strong cherry flavor. Comes in four styles – Rioja, Rioja Crianza, Rioja Reserva, and Rioja Gran Reserva.
- Petite Sirah – Deep colored wine with full-bodied flavors of chocolate, plum, blueberry, and black pepper. Has high levels of antioxidants.
Other Types of Wine
- Rosé wine – Neither red nor white, a rosé gets its pink color from the addition of grape skins, (but not enough to make it red). The aroma and flavor of a rosé depend on the varieties of grapes, and the process used to make the wine. They are typically light, and fruity, and pair well with a large variety of foods.
- Sparkling wine – Sparkling wines are fizzy, and appear to “sparkle” because of the carbon dioxide in them. Sparkling wines can be white, rosé, or red. They are divided into four groups, based on how sweet they are. Extra-Brut are the driest, Brut are dry and slightly sweet, Extra Dry are slightly sweeter, and Demi-sec are the sweetest sparkling wines.
- Fortified wine – Made by adding a distilled spirit, like brandy, to wine. There are many different types of fortified wine, including Sherry, Port, Marsala, Madeira, Vermouth, and Commandaria. They are usually sweet, dessert wines, but there are dry fortified wines as well, like Sherry.
Health Benefits of Wine
All wine offers certain health benefits. White wine is good for the heart and lungs. Red wine is great for your blood vessels, to control blood pressure and cholesterol, and boost immunity because of the presence of resveratrol and polyphenol, two powerful antioxidants.
Although wine is believed to have positive effects on your health, it is recommended that you consume it in moderate quantities. Wine isn’t a cure for disease, but it can help you de-stress so that you’re able to focus on how to overcome a health condition.
Now that you’ve learned some wine basics, it’s time to pull out those fancy wine glasses, and enjoy a glass of your favorite wine.
If you want to learn more about this fantastic beverage, you could join a wine tasting group. You could also plan a wine tasting tour to learn more about the wine making process, and sample different types of wine. Sound good? Let us help you arrange a luxurious Napa Valley wine tour for your next vacation.