Defining Wine Styles

Expert wineMost restaurants, at one time, organized their wine lists by colour, country, and region. Some now list their wines by colour, and next to each brand, indicate country or region.

Now, a few are listing their wines by their attributes i.e full-, medium-, light-bodied, aromatic, flavourful, firm reds, and dessert.

Full-bodied and rich white wines are buttery, biscuitty, spicy, and reflect minerality.

They may originate in Burgundy, Australia, or California, Argentina, South Africa, Canada, or Chile.

Most are barrel aged, some barrel-fermented, and barrel aged.

Chardonnay is a grape variety that supports such treatment i.e barrel fermentation and barrel aging. But of late, a lot of chardonnay is made without barrel aging. These are more fruity, and lighter wines.

Sauvignon blanc is generally not barrel aged, and when it is, Americans call it Fume blanc, a term adopted from a sub-region of Loire in France.

There are several white Cotes du Rhone wines that fir into this category, but are made using marsanne, rousanne, grenache blanc, and other varieties.

Aromatic and flavourful whites are fragrant, my be bone dry to off dry, smell of flowers/exotic fruits i.e Rheingau rieslings, Alsatian gewurztraminers, muscats from Italy and other countries, including New Zealand, or viognier or torrontes from Argentina. They can be good for patio sipping or Oriental dishes from Thailand, Canton, Shanghai but not Szechwan.

Light and crisp whites possess fruitiness of citrus, and a level of acidity that thrills the tongue. Some taste of green apples, white flowers, peach blossoms, grapefruit, or pears.

Think of Chablis, or New Zealand sauvignon blanc from Marlborough, or riesling from the Mosel, pinot gris from Ontario, or Oregon, and northern Italy.

Dessert wines are by definition sweet, and mostly white. A few are red, and some may be red and fortified (Port wines), or sparkling shiraz, or cabernet sauvignon or cabernet franc icewine from Ontario.

They can be late harvest, ice wines, sun-dried muscats, or botrytis affected or artificially dried (appassimento).

Medium bodied red wines smell of cherries, or berries, are supple with good acidity, and are generally food friendly. They are juicy and highly refreshing with medium finish – think of Valpolicella, ordinary pinot noir from Burgundy, or Germany, or Oregon, Beaujolais, cabernet franc from Ontario or pinotage from South Africa.

They go well with sausages, hamburgers, and pork, some even with roast chicken.

Full bodied and smooth red wines are up-front fruity, generous, relatively high in alcohol (14 – 15 per cent ABV), with ripe tannins, and layers of flavours in the mouth. They originate from warm climates in South Africa, Australia’s South Australia or Victoria regions, Argentina, France (cotes du Rhone, Italy ( Apulia, Sicily), Spain( Ribera del Duero, raja), Croatia, Portugal, Chile, and Canada (British Columbia).

Their fruitiness is expressed in stone fruit, and berry aromas. They are intense, almost viscous in mouthful and delectable.

Think of Australian shiraz, south African cabernet sauvignon/merlot blends, Apulia’s primitivo, Sicily’s negro amaro, or nero d’avola, hermitage or crozes- hermitage, british columbia’s blended red wines, California cabernets sauvignon, Chile’s grand reserve carmere, Argentina’s malbec wines.

These wines go well with grilled beef, hearty stews, game roasts or stews, or hard cheeses.

Full bodied and firm reds are noble, balanced, occasionally austre, dry and celalrwotrhyt.

They have a forthright acidity, elegant bouquets, and layers of flavours, high extract, and tannins. They are “muscular” and robust but elegant, and rich at the same time.

All are well structured and can support heavy meat dishes and hard cheeses, which elevate their power to elegance and grace.

Top level Bordeaux reds, Barolos and barbarescos, top level Australian shiraz, or cebernet sauvignon blends, top level Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Portugal, argentine malbec, grand reserva Chilean reds, California cabernet sauvignon, Rhone-style reds from Santa Barbara.

Hrayr Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.

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