If you’re new to the wonderful world of wines, you may often find yourself wondering, ‘how to differentiate between the types of wines’? One quick run down the alcobev shop is enough to leave any newbie confused especially since there are numerous choices of wines to pick from.
It is important to have your groundwork figured out in order to avoid being in a fix.
And, this article intends to do just that as we bring you a brief overview that helps you to understand the classification of wines.
Read on to find out more…
Wines are commonly classified on the following basis –
Place of Origin or Appellation
‘Appellation’ of wine is defined as the legally marked geographic location where a particular wine originates, or from where the raw materials are sourced as the basis of differentiating characteristics. This system of classification aims at protecting the unique character & quality of the wine.
Commonest examples for wine appellation are ‘champagne’ and ‘Chianti’. The strict European regulations require only the wine made from the grapes produced in the Champagne region of France can be labelled as ‘champagne’. Similarly, Chianti is any wine produced in the Chianti region of central Tuscany in Italy.
Vinification Method & Style
Vinification of wine refers to the winemaking process which includes the selection of grapes, the fermentation process leading to alcohol, and bottling of wine.
Based on the wine-making method, wines are classified into the following categories, namely –
Sparkling Wines & Champagne;
Semi-Sparkling or Still Wines;
Fortified Wines & Dessert Wines.
The process of vinification for still wines differs from that of effervescent sparkling wines which have carbon dioxide naturally produced during fermentation. Table wines or natural wines are consumed with food; sparkling wines & champagne are consumed mostly during celebrations and, fortified wines or dessert wines are consumed after the meal. These are also used for cooking purposes.
The taste defines the character of wine which can range from sweet to dry and bitter. The level of sweetness in wine is attributed to the factors which control sweetness, such as acidity, tannin, alcohol levels, carbon dioxide, etc.
Tannins are found in the grape skins. They are natural polyphenols, which add to the bitterness, astringency and complexity in wines.
An increased level of alcohol can the sweetness in the wine, whereas, high acidity levels can make wine taste dry. Red wines have tannin which makes them less sweet as compared to white wines which have high acidity.
Vintage or Variety
When it comes to the classification of wines, vintage refers to the wines are made from the grapes grown & harvested during a specific single year.
Variety classification refers to the variety of grapes grown and used in the winemaking process such as Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc. Varietal wines are made using a dominant grape variety. For a wine to be labelled so, it must have a minimum of 75% of the dominant grape variety used in vinification.
With the above-mentioned information, we hope that this article has helped you to establish the correct basics.