Wine is a timeless drink, and people all over the UK enjoy sitting down with a glass of their favourite red or white after a stressful day. But did you know that there are five main types of wine? On top of that, every kind of wine has several subtypes and hundreds of brands.
If you’re new to the world of wine or want to mix things up a bit, then you should know a bit more about each wine type, what makes it unique and when you should drink it. Without further ado, let’s dive in.
It seems only right to start with the nation’s favourite wine, and white is a consistently high performer. According to Statista, white wine has refined supreme from 2013, with red slowly catching up in recent years. But what is it that makes people turn to white wines so much?
There are many reasons as to why white wine is so popular, but one is its versatility. People used it regularly to bring out the flavours of their food, and it’s also used in dishes such as risotto and chicken to soften the meat.
White wine is primarily made from white grapes, but black grapes can also produce white wine as long as it’s fermented without the skins.
The Types of White Wine
There are two primary types of white wine: dry and sweet. Dry white wine is the healthier option, but it often has a stronger taste. Sweet white wine contains more sugar, but some prefer it due to the lighter flavour.
The defining factor between dry and sweet wine is the fermentation process. Manufacturers halt the fermentation process with sweet wine to enable some residue sugar to remain. With dry wine, it’s a continuous process, which allows the yeast to deplete the sugar.
In the UK, dry white wine reigns supreme because it’s a healthier choice and offers a crispness that sweet white wine lacks due to the sugar content. The most popular dry whites include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay.
According to an article published by Fox News, red wine drinkers are more likely to be introverted and enjoy nights in rather than partying. It’s certainly considered as a cultured drink and with good reason. Red wine is packed with flavour and has a full-bodied appeal that leads many to try new flavours with enthusiasm.
How is Red Wine Made?
Red wine is made from fermented red and black grapes, with their skins left on – which gives it a distinctive colour. Once the fermentation process is complete, producers add sulphur dioxide to stabilise the wine and prepare it for ageing.
Cheaper red wines will age for a few days before being bottled and sent to retailers, but the most expensive brands go through an extensive ageing process, which can take up to 18 months.
The Types of Red Wine
There are so many types of red wine available it would be impossible to mention them in this post. The variety of grapes is central to defining the wine’s taste and strength, so there’s something for everyone.
In the UK, the most popular red wines are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Shiraz and Nero d’Avola are also good choices if you’re getting into wine.
Rose is often regarded as a happy medium between red and white wine. It’s grown in popularity in recent years, and people in France even prefer to purchase it over white wine. Rose is perfect as a summer drink because it has the refreshing appeal of white wine with the full-bodied taste of red.
How is Rose Made?
Rose gets its colour from red and black grapes, so the initial fermentation process is similar to red wine. However, the rose is left to ferment for a maximum of 36 hours, which creates a lighter taste.
Some people even create Rose by mixing red and white wines, but we’d recommend you choose a properly fermented blend for the best experience.
The Types of Rose
Similarly to red and white wines, there are different types of rose. The overall taste depends on the grapes producers use. In general, you’ll find most rose’s to be either dry or fruity, with dry versions offering a crisper flavour.
The most popular varieties include Rose Pinot Grigio and Pink Moscato, which are both affordable wines. Zinfandel is also a common choice, but there’s debate about whether it counts as a pink wine.
Dessert wines are often referred to as sweet wines, and they’re made with extra sweet grapes. Commonly enjoyed at dinner parties with desserts, some people find these wines a little full-on. Port and Sherry are traditional dessert wines, but there are many other varieties to choose from.
The critical thing to remember is dessert wine packs a lot of sugar, leading many people to find alternatives such as apple pie gin, which is an ideal accompaniment to a range of desserts.
Last but not least, sparkling wine is known to many of us as the celebration drink. We pop open a bottle after a big announcement, on special occasions such as New Year, or just because we want to!
Many don’t understand that sparkling wine and Champagne are the same, with one distinct difference.
Champagne is a sparkling wine, but a sparkling wine can only be Champagne if it comes from a region of France called – yep, you guessed it- Champagne.
While many see sparkling wine as Champagne’s inferior cousin, there are some wonderful brands such as Cava, Asti and Prosecco.
Prosecco has elevated sparkling wine from an occasion drink to a staple in the British wine lovers fridge, with many varieties available.
The Bottom Line
Wine is one of the oldest drinks around, and we continue to enjoy it because of the variety and versatility it offers. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and sample some new brands because you might find one that surprises you. Enjoy, and follow our blog for wine news, tips and the latest introductions to our extensive collection.