For many people out there picking a bottle of wine at the supermarket may seem like a daunting task. Most consumers find the wide array of wine types to be overwhelming and difficult to explore, and who can blame them?
There are thousands of reputable brands of wine out there and they all have different flavors, and suggestions for drinking temperatures and food pairings. More than that, they all ask pouring into various types of wine glasses. In the face of so many options, some people simply give up and they with the one they enjoy the most until it goes out of production.
In fact, the most common different types of wine to choose from number less than a dozen. With a bit of basic knowledge and plenty of taste testing, you can master their special characteristics and find the ones that feel best for your taste buds. We have compiled a guide on the most prevalent varieties of wine that you can use to discover and enjoy the delightful world of wine without the need for a viticulture degree.
We will start our presentation of the most popular types of wine that you can find with a trademark for noble, full-bodied red wines: Cabernet Sauvignon.
Also known as “The King of Red Grapes”, Cabernet Sauvignon has a dark fruit flavor and a subtle herbal aftertaste, which result from the aging process that requires it to stay put for as many as 30 months in oak barrels.
Originally from the Bordeaux region in France, Cabernet Sauvignon is able to grow in many parts of the world, including South America, Australia, and California.
When it comes to food pairings, Cabernet Sauvignon goes great with red meats due to its heavy tannins that match perfectly with fat and heavy protein.
Another savory type of wine that emerges from the Bordeaux region in France is Merlot – one of the most popular wines that you can purchase in almost any shop or restaurant around the world.
Merlot grapes thrive in colder climates, which is why wine producers usually grow them in the chillier parts of Europe, North America, and Australia.
Coming in at 13% ABV, Merlot has one of the highest percentages of alcohol. However, it is not its potential for immediate dizziness that recommends its worldwide use. The mild structure of tannins that we encounter in Merlot makes this type of wine easy to blend with other varieties that provide heavy tannins to soften their savor.
Merlot has a soft, velvety taste that is often accompanied by a fruity aftertaste of plums and black cherries. It pairs exceptionally well with strong cheese and roasted meat.
Syrah / Shiraz
If you are looking for a good introductory drink, then you don’t need to look any further than Shiraz. It is easy to drink and serves well as a precursor to stronger-bodied wines.
This type of wine originates from the Rhone valley in France, but nowadays it is Australia that produces the largest quantity, with over 23% of the world production.
Shiraz has a distinctive note and a slight peppery aftertaste that you will remember even if you only drink it once. It is also rich in tannins, which gives it a powerful kick and a deep, fruity flavor. It pairs great with grilled meats and strong cheese assortments.
Another very popular liquor that makes our list of the most common different types of wines is Pinot Noir, which numerous countries in the world grow and produce.
Pinot Noir originally comes from the Burgundy region in France, hence its nickname of “Red Burgundy.” It is a savory wine, very easy on the tongue, which makes it a favorite drink for wine lovers all around the world.
If you are looking for a versatile wine that you can pair with a broad range of foods, you cannot go wrong with Pinot Noir. Its crisp, fruity flavor and sweet, herbal, sometimes spicy aftertaste recommend it as a great drink for poultry, fish or saucy dishes.
If you are more into white wines and less tannin in your glass, we will not torture your expectations any longer and present you with the “Queen of White Grapes” – Chardonnay.
Chardonnay enjoys the same worldwide popularity for white wines that Pinot Noir has for red wine types, and it righteously bears the nickname of “White Burgundy” after its native French region. It is produced in enormous quantities all over the world, from California to South Africa, and from Australia to South America.
Chardonnay is medium bodied and has a medium level of acidity, which is why it is so easy to drink. Its’ buttery savor with strong fruity aftertaste make it ideal for lean meats, , and creamy sauces.
From deep in the Loire Valley of France comes a light bodied, dry, white wine that is known by the name of "The Wild White" or Sauvignon Blanc. This crisp, yet refreshing type of wine has high acidity and a citrus flavor that often tickles the tongue and leaves a dry aftertaste.
Sauvignon Blanc is popular in Europe, and especially in its native France, but nowadays it is New Zealand that provides most of the world production. The chilly weather conditions in the Marlborough region especially support the healthy growth of these chunky, white grapes.
While you can have Sauvignon Blanc as an aperitif, you can also pair it easily with light dishes that contain fish and white meat.
If you want to treat your taste buds to anything else than French wine, you can easily opt for Riesling – a German type of white wine that originates from the Rhine valley.
Riesling grapes mostly grow in their native Germany, although some manufacturers have expanded their vineries in North America as well.
The grapes enjoy cool climates and produce a sweet, light liquor that has high acidity and a floral aftertaste. This type of wine also comes in a dry variety that pairs excellently with anything from appetizers to desserts.