Common Types of Wine
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Common Types of Wine

red wine

16 Oct Common Types of Wine

There is an abundance of choice when dealing with wine grapes (actually over a thousand) but only a few of these varieties are known to grow all over the world. It’s common knowledge that wine is made with grapes (latin name: Vitis vinifera) but they’re not the type of fruit you see at the supermarket, they are usually small and sweet, with thick skins and seeds.

Single-Variety Wines and Wine Blends

When wine is made with only one type of grape, it’s known as a single-variety wine or, varietal wine. A wine made with several types of grapes is known as a blend. Some wine blends are named after their place of origin, for example; a Bordeaux Blend is a blending of several grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and comes from Bordeaux, France. Another familiar example is Chianti a Sangiovese-based blend from Tuscany, Italy.

The wines included in this article are a cross section of styles and trying all 8 wines will give you a good example of the potential range of flavours available within different wines. Each wine listed below also includes alternative varieties that taste similar. So, if you find that you prefer a particular wine, you might also like its alternatives.

NOTE: The term “vintage” refers to the year the grapes were grown. Non-Vintage (NV) wines are a blend of several vintages.

Common Types of Wine

#1 Cabernet Sauvignon

Taste: Black Cherry, Cedar, Baking Spices, Black Currant

Style: Full-bodied Red Wine

Description: A full-bodied red wine that originated in France. It’s generally considered the most popular wine variety in the world.

Cabernet Sauvignon Alternatives

  • Merlot: lighter and smoother with more cherry flavours
  • Cabernet Franc: lighter with more red pepper and herb flavours
  • Carménère: (Chile) lighter with more red pepper and cherry flavours
  • Bordeaux Blend: a blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Merlot from Bordeaux, France
  • Sangiovese: (Italy) spicier with more herbal and tart cherry flavours

#2 Syrah (Shiraz)

Taste: Blueberry, Plum, Pepper, Chocolate, Tobacco

Style: Full-bodied Red Wine

Description: Shiraz is a full-bodied red wine that originated in France. Wines are full-bodied with bold fruit flavours and subtle tannin that drops off into a smooth finish.

Syrah Alternatives

  • Malbec: (Argentina) lighter and smoother on the finish with more plum flavours
  • Petit Sirah: (United States) bolder and more tannic with blackberry flavours
  • Monastrell (aka Mourvèdre): (Spain) bolder and smokier
  • Pinotage: (South Africa) bolder and smokier

#3 Zinfandel

Taste: Strawberry, Blackberry, Spice Powder, Sweet Tobacco

Style: Medium-bodied Red Wine

Description: Zinfandel (aka Primitivo) is a medium-bodied red wine that originated in Croatia. These are fruity yet spicy with a medium length finish. Zinfandel is a red grape that may be better known as the rosé wine White Zinfandel.

Zinfandel Alternatives

  • Grenache (aka Garnacha): Lighter and less spicy with more raspberry flavours
  • Tempranillo: (Spain) Less fruity and more tannic with red cherry flavours.
  • Rhône Blend: a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre originally from Rhône Valley of France
  • Carignan: Lighter with more juicy red fruit flavours

#4 Pinot Noir

Taste: Cherry, Cranberry, Clove, Mushroom

Style: Light-bodied Red Wine

Description: Pinot Noir is a light bodied, dry red wine that originated in France. Wines are somewhat tart with a burst of fruit that leads into a soft finish.

Pinot Noir Alternatives

  • Gamay (aka Beaujolais): (France) Lighter, juicier and more bitter on the finish

#5 Chardonnay

Taste: Starfruit, Yellow Apple, Butter, Chalk

Style: Full-bodied White Wine

Description: Chardonnay is a dry full-bodied white wine that originated in France. When oak-aged, Chardonnay will taste creamy and buttery. Chardonnay is the white wine of Burgundy.

Chardonnay Alternatives

  • Sémillon: Lighter with more lemon flavours
  • Viognier: More perfume and vanilla flavours

#6 Sauvignon Blanc

Taste: Gooseberry, Honeydew Melon, Passion Fruit, Grass

Style: Light-bodied White Wine

Description: Sauvignon Blanc is a dry light-bodied white wine that originated in France. Wines are zesty, typically with herbal green fruit flavours. Sauvignon Blanc is an older heritage grape, a parent grape of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Sauvignon Blanc Alternatives

  • Vermentino: from Italy
  • Verdejo: from Spain
  • Grüner Veltliner: from Austria
  • Colombard: from Southern France

#7 Pinot Gris

Taste: Lemon Pith, Honeydew Melon, Nectarine, White Peach

Style: Light-bodied White Wine

Description: Pinot Gris is a dry light-bodied white wine that originated from Northern Italy and France. Wines are zesty, thirst-quenching and often lighter in alcohol making them ideal for outdoor dining.

Pinot Gris Alternatives

  • Albariño: from Spain
  • Soave: The grape is Garganega, and the wine is from Italy
  • Muscadet: The grape is Melon de Bourgogne, and the wine is from France

#8 Riesling

Taste: Lime, Apple, Beeswax, Honey

Style: Aromatic (sweet) White Wine

Description: Riesling is an aromatic white wine (dry styles also exist) that originated from Germany. Wines are mouth-watering and tart with a lemon-honey-like sweetness.

Riesling Alternatives

  • Muscat Blanc (aka Moscato): sweeter with more candied pear flavours
  • Gewürztraminer: richer with more rose flavours
  • Torrontés: less sweet with more peach and flower flavours
  • Chenin Blanc: less sweet with more apple flavours

For more information about unique wine storage solutions, you can call Signature Cellars on 02 9340 7515 or use this contact form to get in touch with us. We’ll be pleased to assist you.

Thanks for reading,
Neil Smallman
Signature Cellars
02 9340 7515

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