Practically we all know what wine is…We see it in bars and restaurants; we smell it, taste it and, of course, drink it (What is new…?)!

We usually hear talks about the “fermentation” and “aging” of the wine, the types of it and quite often…“ debates” about the flavor and the texture. Claims such as “Pinot Noir of 1997 is the best variety I have ever tried…”

So…being one of the people who actually did hear about all the above and quite frankly, did not have a clue about what half of it meant, I decided to take some action! Being tired of nodding along through endless conversations, I decided to actually try to learn a little bit more about the topic and…guess what?

It totally paid off!

It seems that most of the above mentioned are not that complicated after all and what is more…? They are easy to learn as well!

So how about I share my newly acquired knowledge with you in simple terms? Are you on?

Well…Let’s get down to it then!

What is wine and how can you make it?

Wine is widely known as the alcoholic drink extracted from different kinds of fruit, herbs flowers but mainly from different kinds of grapes.

The process that is followed from the very start is quite simple actually.

The grapes are collected and they are crushed.

They are put into specific types of containers or barrels and they are “fermented”, they turn into wine that is through a natural process on their own.

The wine is collected after a certain period of time (aging of wine), depending on the type of wine (Red, White, etc.), and then it is bottled and ready to for us to drink.

Quite easy, isn’t it?

What is Aging of Wine and how is it achieved?

The Aging of the Wine is supposed to offer a better quality of color, aroma and taste of the wine.

It can be achieved while the wine remains in the barrel or the container. The longer it stays there without being opened, the more it “ages”.

Some varieties, though, age after they have been bottled. The bottles are then being stored in certain places, usually called “cellars” and remain in certain conditions (temperature, humidity, etc.).

wine basics - 99wines

Ok, so is that all? How about the types of wine?

Are there more types of wine than Red, Rosé and White? Well…Yeah!

Generally, when you think of the main types of wine you are aware of, you think Red, Rosé and White. However, did you know that there are 5 major groups of wine and a few subgroups as well? No? Then by all means, please have a look:

Red Wines:

  • Full Red Wines (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, etc.)
  • Medium Red Wines (Merlot, Barbera, Cabernet Franc, etc.)
  • Light Red Wines (Pinot Noir, Gamay, Schiava, etc.)

Rosé Wines: (Côtes du Rhône Rosé, Provence Rosé, Pinot Noir Rosé, etc.)

White Wines:

  • Rich White Wines (Oaked Chardonnay, Sémillon, Viognier, etc.)
  • Zesty White Wines (Pinot Gris/Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino, etc.)
  • Sweet White Wines (Moscato, Riesling, Torrontés, etc.)

Sparkling Wines: (Champagne, Prosecco, Sparkling Wine, etc.)

Dessert & Fortified Wines: (Port, Sherry, Madeira, etc.)

Let’s elaborate on them a little bit more though…

  1. Red Wines are created from dark colored grape varieties. Their color and flavor have a wide range and, therefore, differentiated accordingly as Full, Medium or Light Red Wines.
  2. Rosé Wines are also created from dark colored grape varieties. However,  the method used  for the wine to be extracted,  does not allow it to be deeply colored. Rosé wine can also be created from mixing Red and White wine varieties. Their flavor may be dry or sweet.
  3. White Wines mainly come from green or yellow grape varieties, sometimes from dark grape varieties as well. Their color and flavor have a wide range and, therefore, differentiated accordingly as Rich, Zesty or Sweet White Wines.
  4. Sparkling Wines can be easily “spotted” as they… guess what! Yes people! They Sparkle! They are fizzy and their flavor ranges from very dry to very sweet. They can be Red, Rosé or White.
  5. Dessert & Fortified Wines are sweet wines that are called Dessert because they are actually served with… dessert! Fortified wines are also Dessert Wines fortified, made stronger that is,  by adding distilled spirits like brandy.

wine basics - 99wines

…and what about the variety types?

Single Variety Wines and Blends…Really…? What is this?

When we talk about a specific wine we usually imagine that it has been made from a specific type of grape and there are just some, “unknown to us commoners,” added ingredients to which we can attribute the certain flavor, aromas and color.

A fact that may actually be true. But then again it may not…

You see, there are wines that are created from a single type=variety of grapes, the so-called varietal wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir are some of the grape varieties used for varietal wines.

However, there are also wines created from a blend of different grape varieties and not just one. Red & White Bordeaux, Meritage, Port and Soave are some famous blends.

So when you see only one variety displayed on the wine label, you may categorize it as a varietal wine whereas when you see more than one varieties displayed on it, you can certainly say it is a blend.

Blends are usually created from winemakers that want to achieve a unique aroma, flavor and color of their own particular taste. I am currently attempting of a blend myself and though I may not be a winemaker…I am definitely a lover!

wine basics - 99wines

So to wrap things up…

You now have a simple perception of what is wine and how it is made. The way we distinct wines into certain groups and what single and blended varieties are!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the post and that you will stay tuned for the next…

Nevertheless, no matter what you’ll eventually do, and that is totally up to you, it would be great to hear your opinion so please feel free to share your comments…or even share the post if you liked it…