Wine is arguably THE most important beverage on this planet; whether it is Jay Z’s Ace of Spade Champagne; Miles’ absolute disdain for Merlot in the movie Sideways, the ground-breaking and historic sale of Napa Valley’s 1992 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon at USD$500,000 per bottle; or the consistent and repeated biblical significance of red wine resembling the blood of Christ; This simple drink of fermented grapes has deeply embedded itself into all aspects of our culture, media, economy, history and religion. In saying that; being a sophisticated, modern gentleman, it would be almost inexcusable to claim ignorance towards this fascinating topic.
In order to further enhance your journey into the world of Dappertude, we will be releasing a series of articles focused on wine, to not only educate and inspire you to share our passion, but to dive down into the rabbit hole of confusion, misconception and pretension that is the world of wine.
The Basics – Types of Wine
What is wine – Wine is the product of fermented grape juice, that was easy; well… there is much more to wine than simply fermented grapes. With the oldest recorded grape wine dating back 8000 years in 6000 – 6800 BCE, in Tbilisi, Georgia, there have been thousands of years’ worth of viticultural (the study of grape cultivation), and oenological (the study of wine) research and developments into the sciences, techniques and methods of winemaking, to create the wines that we see before us today. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Differing from the “style” of wine, which describes the general flavours of the wine, whether it is sweet or dry; or the “Variety” which defines what grapes are used to make a given bottle of wine; modern wines can be separated into five categories; Red wine, White wine, Rosé Wine, Sparkling wine and fortified wine.
Red and white wines are pretty self-explanatory; common Red varieties include; Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir. While, common white varieties include; Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris/ Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.
Rosé wines appear pink in colour, Rosé wines are made with a range red grape varieties, commonly Grenache, Tempranillo and Pinot Noir. A common misconception is that Rosé wines are made through a blend of red and white wines to create the pink colour; this is untrue, the pink colour is actually the result of limited skin contact during the winemaking process, as opposed to extended skin contact to extract more colour, when making a traditional red wine.
Sparkling wine is the generic term for all “bubbly” wine, including Champagne, Cava and Prosecco. The term “Sparkling Wine” is often used interchangeably with “Champagne”, this is technically incorrect, as Champagne refers to a specific type of Sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France. The flavour profiles of sparkling wine can range from dry and zesty to sweet, depending on your preference
Lastly, Fortified wines, sometimes called dessert wines. These are often overlooked in an average consumer’s everyday wine choices, but these beauties are absolutely essential to the wine family, and a good understanding of fortified wines could completely change your perception of appreciating wines. Fortifieds are made with the use of spirits, therefore the alcohol contents are higher than normal table wines. At the same time, while dry variations exist, fortified wines are often sweet and sticky, packed with flavour and drank at the end of meals. The most popular of the fortified wines is the Tawny, or Port as they are called in Portugal.