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Wine Types

While there are literally hundreds of different wine types available in the consumer market these days in almost every city, there are a few basic wine types that can help the wine novice understand and choose his or her perfect wine type.  The easiest way to understand the different wine types is to separate the basic wine types into two categories: red grapes and white grapes.  Once the novice understands the basic wine types, it will be easier to start choosing wines based on flavors and consistencies that seem the most appealing.

Types of red wine grapes

• Barbera – fruity flavors like plum and black cherry taste that can go with a variety of dishes.  While this wine is originally from Italy, you can also find it locally in California.
• Cabernet sauvignon – assorted tastes including flavors like green pepper, olive, black cherry, and cedar oak.  This wine typically goes well with red meat.  This particular grape can be found in France, Germany, Chile, USA (California), and Australia.
• Merlot – This wine is a very soft wine and probably the most famous among novice wine drinkers.  The smooth taste of this grape originated in a variety of countries including Italy, Romania, California, Washington (USA), Chile, and Australia.
• Pinot Noir – This wine has a variety of fruity flavors including strawberry, cherry, and plum.  This wine can taste horrible if not grown correctly so it is found in fewer places including just France, Austria, California (USA).
• Sangiovese – This wine is found primarily in Italy but recently you can find it being made in California (USA).  This wine typically goes well with Mediterranean dishes but wine types really know no limits when it comes to food.  This wine typically taste like fresh berries and ripe plums.
• Shiraz – This wine is perfect with a variety of meats including steak and beef.  Although this wine like many wines are typically grown in France, Italy, and California, Shiraz in particular has a very unique spicy red taste.  This is typically what makes it go so well with meats.  It is a very dark red wine and one thing to keep in mind is that it is also possible to cook with this wine due to its rich spicy flavors.
• Zinfandel – this wine type is found only in California.  While being very versatile, this wine carries a stimulating flavor mixing berries and peppers.

Types of white wine grapes

• Riesling – This wine goes well with chicken, pork, and fish when meal planning.  This type of wine has flavors including fruity apples.  While primarily grown in Germany, other countries have attempted to produce this great wine, but with little success.
• Gewürztraminer – This type of wine goes well with Asian dishes and is typically grown in Germany and the USA (New York and California).  This wine includes a variety of tastes including peach, allspice, and rose petals.
• Chardonnay – This wine can be made into a sparkling beverage and taste splendid.  Flavors include citrus fruits with a touch of vanilla and coconut.  It goes well with chicken and fish meals and can be found in France.
• Sauvignon blanc – This wine is grown in New Zealand, Australia, and France.  This wine has a unique taste in the sense that it offers flavors like the smell of fresh grass and bell peppers.  This wine goes well with seafood and salads
• Muscat – This wine carries a flavor of grapefruit and is typically grown anywhere that has a warm climate year round.  Although traditionally it is better to avoid eating food with this wine, if you want to experiment, you can try to eat a food that you would eat with a grapefruit.

As you can see, wine types are very diverse and the flavors even more varied.  Understanding where wine is grown, the typically flavors, and the which foods a wine goes well with can help you feel a little less like a novice when going into a wine cellar or store.  You can attempt to choose a wine at first that would go well with a certain meal, but after a while you can start mixing and matching because everyone has their own unique taste buds and what works well for one person, might not work well with another.  The choice is entirely yours.  Also, depending on your budget, you could explore all the wine “subtypes” shall we say in each category.  For example, there are a variety of Chardonnays in existence.  The variance in flavor can be huge so it is well worth exploring all of your options.
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