Wine Vocabulary: Red, White, and Rose

Omeron Travel
on 15th September, 2020
6 minutes read

Wine Vocabulary

Being one of the most versatile forms of alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic beverages, wine is the best drink that will fit right in for every occasion. Whether you’re at a party or home sulking, remember, a glass of wine can never go wrong!

There’s a reason why most people prefer to have wine over other alcoholic drinks at parties. For starters, no matter how many glasses of wine you fill upon, you will never feel bloated. Also, unlike liquors like rum, tequila, whiskey, and vodka, wine is not strong or pungent to taste or smell. In fact, it is actually pretty great taste-wise and also smells heavenly, depending on the grapes it’s been made from.  

However, there’s a lot more to wine than you already know. If you are a wine enthusiast or have taken an interest in the world of wine recently, then we’re you will find the information given below very useful for your wine vocabulary.  

Wine Types

To begin with, it is essential that you know about the wine types that are widely available in the market. There are expensive ones that are aged and rich in flavor. You might order them in a fine-dining restaurant. And then there are the cooking wines that we use in our everyday meal preps. In comparison, they are more affordable too. 

However, the most common thing we hear when we say “wine” is red or white? Or something as fancy as “rose”.  Are they named after their color only? Or is there more to it? 

Let’s find out! Here are some of the most popular wine types which you can try out:

1. Red Wine

Even though most people tend to think that red wine is usually only ‘red’ in color, it is actually the other way around. Beginning from different hues and shades of red to pale ruby and opaque purple, you will find it all on the shelves. An interesting fact is that the color darkens over time, or turns to burgundy or brown as it ages. 

The key to making a great bottle of red wine is to use dark-skinned grapes for fermenting. Freshly pressed grape juice soaked with the seeds, stem, and the dark skin of the grapes is what gives the wine its reddish color. Fermenting and macerating all of these ingredients together provide tannin and flavor to it. 

Higher temperatures are used while fermenting red wine to extract the right color as well as the flavor. The duration of the process of fermentation plays a major role in the concentration of the ingredients in the wine. It is the presence of the yeast that transforms the sugar of the grapes to carbon dioxide and ethanol. 

Red wines are also known to give off a drying sensation, which occurs due to the presence of tannins. This is why many people prefer to shelve it overtime before enjoying it. Some of the most popular bottles of red wine include Merlot, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Red Wine Flavours 

Red wine offers a vast range of flavors due to the availability of different types of grapes that are grown in all parts of the world. What’s even more fascinating about red wine flavors is that no extra artificial flavors or flavor enhancers are added to the wine. All the fruity, earthy, and minty taste and smell that you get is from the grape itself. 

All of these flavors come alive during fermentation and maceration of the grapes as the yeast plays a role in breaking down the sugar from the grapes, eventually transforming it into alcohol. While Cabernet Sauvignon shows off strong hints of licorice, cassis, and wet gravel, Pinot Noir, on the other hand, brings out flavors of cherry, raspberry, and forest floor. 

2. White Wine

When you have a bunch of white wines to choose from, it can get a little intimidating for beginners, especially with all the different names on the labels. There’s always a chance that you may end up with a way too fruity, oaky, or dry bottle for your taste. Some of the safer choices of white wine for beginners may be Riesling, Chardonnay, Moscato, Chablis, and Sauvignon Blanc.  

One misconception that most people have is that white wine is only made from light-colored grapes and not the red or darker ones. However, the pressed juice from the grape is what makes up the majority of the white wine. 

Not to mention, the textures of white wine can vary from being fully dry to a soft creamy one. So, it’s safe to say that the texture and taste has a lot to do with the process of fermentation and the age of the wine. 

White Wine Flavours

Popular white wines like Chardonnay has a buttery flavor to it due to the process of winemaking that comes from oak. All the flavors of cinnamon, coconut, and vanilla that you get to taste from a glass of Chardonnay is because of the use of oak. 

Flavors also vary depending upon the type of woods the barrels are made from. Climatic factors also bring about different flavors in the fermentation of the grapes. For example, warm climatic factors will make the wine flavors more citric or fruity to taste. The cultivating process also plays a major role in making flavors more intense in wine. 

Grapes used for Pinot Grigio usually give off floral aromas with hints of pears or apple. 

3. Rose Wine 

With hues of pale red, orange, or pink, there are two different ways of making a great bottle of Rose wine. One of the ways is to just mix up white and red wine together, which will give you the perfect pink rosy color with slightly less tannin, compared to red wines. 

However, winemakers don’t really prefer this way of creating rose wine and instead opt for the traditional process. The traditional way of making rose wine is to ferment black or red grapes for a short period of time, estimated around 12 – 36 hours. 

The wine region of Provence in France is known to make one of the finest rose wines there is in the market. So if you’re unsure of what bottle of rose wine to get, your safest and best bet would be on a wine bottle from Provence.

Popular rose wine types include White Zinfandel, Graci Etna Rosato 2018, Chateau La Rome Bordeaux 2018, Domaine De Cala Coteaux Varois En Provence, Beckmen Vineyards Grenache Rose 2018, and Inman Family Wines Ogv Endless Crush Rose. 

Rose Wine Flavours

Most rose wines have flavors of citrus, flowers, and a slightly crispy green hint of either rhubarb or celery. However, the flavor, like all wines, depends on the type of grape being used to create the wine. 

Italian Aglianico rose, also known as Rosato in Italy, boasts of orange zest notes and cherry flavors. Wines from Provence for example, Grenache rose gives away flavors of lemon, celery, and honeydew melon. 

4. Sparkling Wine

Sparkling wine is one of the best wine types to enjoy at parties. Champagne is one of the most popular kinds of sparkling wine, this type of wine is either infused with levels of carbon dioxide during fermentation which fizzes naturally when poured into a glass. 

One interesting fact about sparkling wine is that they are categorized with the region they belong to. Italian ones are usually called Asti or Prosecco, while Champagne is labeled due to the region in France called Champagne. The ones belonging from Spain, on the other hand, are called Cava. 

Champagne (Taittinger, Bollinger), Cava (Freixenet Sparkling Cordon Negro Brut Cava), Prosecco (Adami garble brut Prosecco), Franciacorta, Moscato d’Asti and Clairette de Die are a few of the most popular sparkling wines to try out. 

Sparkling Wine Flavours

Most Sparkling wines like Champagne smells like spiced apple, applesauce, or ripe pear. The flavor of Champagne can vary depending on the grape. However, the flavors may be similar to strawberry, cream, pear, apple, vanilla, citrus, and also nutty. The creamy and nutty ones usually fall under the Old World Champagne category.

Wrapping Up

The society of wine enthusiasts is a big one. Apart from the sheer pleasure of the drink itself, everyone who drinks wine should know a little bit about its rich culture as well. Learning about wine could improve one’s sense of smell, build a sophisticated palate, enhance social experiences, boost your confidence, especially when buying, or recommending good wine.

So there you have it! These are some of the most prevalent list and wine types of our time and is sure to enhance your wine vocabulary, even if it is only for the basics. Feel free to give them a try the next time you are up for experimenting with a new variety of wine. 

You can also try out dessert wines which are sweeter in terms of taste, and a bottle of Sherry would be a great option in case you want to try it out.