When you first turn 21, the liquor store can be a maze. Even the act of buying a bottle of wine can be confusing. Today, I am going to break down all of the different types of wine, so you can celebrate your next wine Wednesday with ease.
Let’s begin with white wines. The four most popular white wines are Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. Each type of white wine is actually a different variety of grape, often grown in very specific locations around the world.
Chardonnay is the most popular variety of white wine grown in America, which means you would definitely be able to find it at a wine tasting. Aged in oak, it is a very smooth wine, with a fruity aroma and a hint of spice. It pairs well with heavier, creamy dishes. Riesling is from Rhine Valley in Germany. It is a sweet, acidic wine that pairs well with richer meals and spicy Asian cuisine. Pinot grigio is an Italian wine that is characteristically light and dry. It pairs well with seafood. And last, but certainly not least, Sauvignon Blanc is light, dry and crisp, pairing especially well with shellfish.
Personally, I often go for a white wine because I know they will taste more mild and make me less sleepy than their red sisters.
Now, let’s talk Rosé and sparkling wine. Rosé is often a very sweet wine, although that is not a given. It is a favorite of girls’ nights everywhere, and pairs well with virtually any meal or snack. Sparkling wine can sometimes confuse people. If you are having a celebration, you’re likely to buy champagne. Champagne comes from the Champagne region of France. It is more expensive than Prosecco because it is made through a far more costly, traditional method. It pairs well with shellfish, pickled vegetables and crispy appetizers. Prosecco is far more affordable due to its creation through the cheap Tank Method. It is much more fruity than champagne, and pairs especially well with Asian cuisine.
The most popular red wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Zinfandel, Malbec and Merlot. Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Merlot are popular wines to grow in America — which you should definitely keep in mind when you go to purchase a bottle, since there’s always something delightful about local wines. For this reason, I will only discuss these three.
Cabernet Sauvignon is fruity with an earthy aroma. It pairs excellently with red meat. Pinot Noir is smooth and fruity, with a lingering finish. It pairs best with wild game or veal. So, it may be better after a big day of hunting rather than a full day of online classes. Zinfandel is believed to be one of the only varieties native to America. It is far more alcoholic than other wines, and packs a punch with its fruity, earthy flavor. It pairs with nearly anything, but is best with grilled meats.
I hope now when you look at a wine menu or enter a liquor store, you can say with confidence, “a Riesling please,” and know for sure what you’re asking for.