Main types of wine

Main types of wine Economy Insights

We all know that there are different types of wine, which correspond to real "styles of winemaking", each of which has its own organoleptic characteristics and is paired with food in a different way. Let's see them in detail.
2022-01-12, by Ted Jackman, Independent Financial Adviser

#Wine || #Beverages || #Hedonism ||

Table of contents:

Sparkling wines

The characteristic of sparkling and semi-sparkling wines is carbon dioxide, which, dissolved in the wine closed in the bottle under pressure, is released upon opening, generating froth and bubbles. If the pressure generated by carbon dioxide in the bottle is less than 2.5 atmospheres, we are talking about sparkling wines, if it is greater than 3.5 atmospheres, sparkling wines. In practice, the difference is given by the amount of gas that is released when the bottle is opened, by the number and persistence of bubbles and froth. Semi-sparkling wines and sparkling wines are produced by refermentation of a base wine, suitably added with sugar and yeasts, both in the bottle (ancestral method or classic method) and in tanks (autoclaves), followed by bottling (Charmat method). Fresh and bubbly, they are ideal for aperitifs (fizzy and light sparkling wines), for desserts, especially leavened ones (pandoro and panettone) in the case of sweet wines, but also for the whole meal, especially with fish dishes (sparkling method classic).

Light white wines

The light, fresh and easy-to-drink white wines are suitable for both aperitifs, first courses and fish-based courses. They are produced through white vinification, removing the skins, pomace and pips after blanching and fermented by controlling the temperature to avoid excessive raising. They are then aged for a few months in inert containers (steel, cement, fiberglass) before bottling.

White wines

Structured white wines are more concentrated and full-bodied, have higher alcohol content and greater intensity of aromas. They are suitable for fish dishes that are also complex and structured, but also go well with white meats and medium-aged cheeses. Often, although not necessarily, they are fermented in small wooden barrels (barriques) where they rest on the yeasts and often undergo malolactic fermentation, which reduces acidity and increases moribidity. Sometimes they can stand for a few months in oak barrels before bottling and marketing.

Rose wines

Long forgotten, rose wines have recently been rediscovered by the public and are now very popular in any wine centre thanks to their freshness and vivacity. Characterized by fresh fruity and floral aromas, rosé wines are excellent aperitifs, they go well with salami-based appetizers, they are ideal when paired with young cheeses and in general for all summer dishes, including vegetables. Pasta with tomato fish sauces, which combine the delicacy of fish with the structure of the sauce, goes perfectly with a rosé. Rosé wines are also an ideal pairing with both meat and fish carpaccio, such as tuna and salmon and grills in general. Rosé wines are obtained mainly in two ways: by blending white and red base wines (in the case of sparkling wines) or by means of a short or very short maceration on the skins of black grape musts (the most common case).

Light red wines

The light red wines are obtained with simple vinification styles, which involve not very long times of persistence of the must on the skins, generally short aging periods and no passage or meturization in wooden barrels. The type of grape variety used also plays a fundamental role, not to mention the climate (the warmer climates, characteristic of the southern areas, favor the sugar maturation and consequently the alcohol content of the wines produced). Young red wines produced in areas with a relatively cool climate (central-northern Italy for example) are particularly suitable for grilling, accompanied by cold cuts, broth soups and medium-aged cheeses.

Medium-bodied red wines

Medium-bodied red wines are generally also obtained with simple vinification styles and placed on the market young (the year following the harvest), but the characteristics of the vines with which they are produced and / or the area of ​​origin, they make them more structured, richer in tannins and suitable for accompanying red meat dishes, grilled or roasted. Classic examples are Merlot and Cabernet Friulani, Chianti wines in Tuscany, Montepulciano in Marche and Abruzzo, and countless other examples from Lazio downwards.

Full-bodied red wines

Full-bodied red wines are obtained through more complex vinification styles and after periods of aging in wood, sometimes even very long. To obtain these results, the basic raw material (grapes) must also have the right characteristics. We will therefore use grapes of varieties characterized by high acidity and tannins (essential substances to ensure longevity) and grown in vineyards with rather low yields (to favor the concentration of the extracts in the grapes). The musts obtained, subjected to rather long macerations in contact with the skins and seeds, after fermentation are transferred to large or small wooden barrels (barrique) depending on the type of wine and the traditions of the place of origin. After having carried out the malolactic fermentation, which slightly lowers its acidity and increases its roundness, the wines remain to mature in barrels for a few years (1-4 minimum, in general) before bottling. The wines thus obtained are suitable for accompanying important red meat dishes, such as braised meats, or dishes based on game, both feathered and fur, or long-aged cheeses.

Dessert wines
As dessert wines we actually mean very different types. We have already seen the case of sparkling or sweet sparkling wines and sweet wines. To these are added fortified or fortified wines (when sweet). These, as in the case of Port, Sherry and Marsala, are obtained by blocking fermentation by adding alcohol in the form of brandy and then subjected to long aging which, in the cases mentioned, also entails the permanence of the wine in full barrels. and therefore its partial oxidation. Sweet sparkling wines are more suitable to accompany leavened desserts, since the foam helps to refresh the mouth from the buttery notes of these desserts, while sweet wines and fortified wines are better suited to small pastries and blue cheeses.

Aromatic white wines
Obtained from aromatic vines, i.e. those vine varieties whose berries (berries) have a strong natural fragrance, which we then find in wines, aromatic wines are usually white (with some important exceptions, including Moscato di Scanzo DOCG and Brachetto d'Acqui DOCG) and generally suitable for both sparkling and drying. Moscati and Malvasie are some examples, but also Gewürztraminer and Riesling. The sweet wines obtained in this way are ideal for accompanying leavened desserts if sparkling or sparkling, pastries but also blue cheeses if still or passito. Dry wines are suitable to accompany very tasty and fragrant dishes, such as the dishes of certain oriental cuisines.

Ted Jackman

Ted Jackman contributor to
Independent Financial Adviser