A wander through the wine section at your local supermarket can be overwhelming. There’s a lot more to it than just white, red, and rose. You might be adamant that you don’t enjoy red wine, but it’s because you haven’t found the right one! Here are six varieties of wine that you need to know!
Riesling originated in the Rhine region of Germany. It has flavors of citrus and peaches. These are typically the prominent flavors, though you will also experience notes of sweet herbs and floral. You can find both dry and sweet Rieslings. The reason for this is that some producers opt to skip the fermentation process for all of the grape sugar, which produces a dry wine. However, as the aromatics are driven by fruit and floral, sweetness is common. It’s also highly acidic which can lead to the dry wine, though those lower in acidity tend to produce a sweet and sour flavor. Riesling goes well with fondue, white meats, cured meats, and cuisines such as German, Indian, and Moroccan. Wines similar to Riesling include Moscato, Torrontes, and Chenin Blanc.
Chardonnay is one of the most famous and popular wine varieties and features flavors of tropical fruits, citrus, and caramel and vanilla, too. This dry white also originated in France. If the wine is oak-aged, you will enjoy spicy flavors with bourbon notes. Chardonnay that wasn’t aged in age tends to be light and zesty. It’s great with seafood, cream sauces, and soft to medium cheeses. Excellent wines which are similar include Semillon and Viognier.
Pinot Grigio is a light-bodied, dry white that got its start in France’s Burgundy region. It has delicate citrus flavors, and hints of apple. It’s easy to drink, ideal for a hot summer’s day when you’re enjoying salad in the backyard. It also goes well with light and/or mild cheeses. Soave and Albarino are similar if you’re looking for an alternative.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied red that originated in France. It is known for its flavors of black cherries and baking spices. Initially, it was all about the Bordeaux region, however, it’s now planted across the world because it’s one of the most popular varieties today. Cab Savs are driven by their bold tannins and often are higher in alcohol content than other wines. When it comes to food pairings, these reds go well with smoked meats, firm and hard cheeses, lamb, beef, and French cuisine. Similar varieties include Tempranillo and Malbec.
Pinot Noir is a fruity red that features flavors of cranberry, cherry, beets, and rhubarb. It’s a dry, light-bodied red that originated in France. They are lower in tannins and higher in acidity. Pair it with veal, cured meat, soft cheeses, chicken, duck, pork, and cream sauces. Similar wines include Schiava or Gamay.
Zinfandel is a red wine that France can’t claim, we have Croatia to thank for this one. It’s medium-bodied with flavors of stone fruits, as well as black, blue, and red fruits, along with hints of sweet tobacco. The red Zinfandel is comparable to Grenache and Carignan and goes well with a variety of meats, as well as full-flavored cheeses.
Why is it in the rose section? Well, because you are probably more familiar with White Zinfandel which deserves an honorable mention as it makes up 85% of all Zinfandel production. It’s highly acidic with flavors of melon, lemon, strawberry, and cotton candy. Enjoy it with Thai food.