Know your Wine
Wines come in so many different styles and understanding the terms mentioned is very challenging The wines can be classified based on its alcohol level, colour, bubbles and many other attributes So, what is meant by red, white, fortified or sparkling Know the difference
Wines come in so many different styles and understanding the terms mentioned is very challenging. The wines can be classified based on its alcohol level, colour, bubbles and many other attributes. So, what is meant by red, white, fortified or sparkling? Know the difference…
Colours of wine:
Wines generally come in three main colours – white, red and pink. These colours are from the skin of the grapes and deep coloured wines are made from longer contact time of the juice with the skin during fermentation. The colour of the wine shows how the wine has been made and gives clues to the age of the wine too.
White wines may not be completely white and come in various shades from really pale with green hints, straw colour, pale lemon yellow or even deep gold. Younger white wines are usually pale in colour and as they age they show deeper hues such as lemon or gold.
Some sweet white wines or traditional wines can be deeply coloured right from the start. Red wines come in colours ranging from deep inky purple, purple, dark red, scarlet, burgundy, brownish red or even mahogany. The colour shade varies in wines from different varieties with some of them having deeper colours than the others.
Shiraz wines have deeper colours compared to grapes such as Pinot Noir. Unlike white wines, red wines generally become pale as they age; they slowly develop brownish shades. Pink wines or Rose wines are largely produced from red grapes with a short contact and can range from light pink, rose pink, light red, orange, onion skin colour to light brown
Wines are categorised on alcohol levels and presence or absence of bubbles. Still or light wines have 7 to 15 per cent alcohol and usually have no or very little bubbles. Sparkling wines like Champagne or ASAV Brut have large amount of bubbles of carbon dioxide produced during bottle fermentation.
When poured in glasses, there is a continuous stream of bubbles in the glass. Fortified wines have high alcohol due to extra added alcohol from outside and generally range from 15-20 per cent volumes of alcohol. Sherries, Madeira and Port wines are some wines in this category.
Wines may also be classified on the sugar levels. Dry wines have no or very little sugar content with hardly any perceptible sweetness. Off-dry wines like ASAV Chenin Blanc are popular in India because it is made in an off-dry style with just a small amount of sweetness. Sweet wines are made in a style where there is a lot of unutilised sugar from the grape juice. Indian Port wines like Angoo Port belong to this category.
These categories, colours and styles intermingle to give a final style of wine such as a sweet white sparkling wine, an off-dry white still wine or a red sweet fortified wine and many more. Use of other resources such as oak, further alters the tastes and smells of wine. We will go through the process of tasting soon to understand how to taste and enjoy these different styles of wine.
By: Ajoy Shaw
The writer is an Independent Consultant Winemaker and Wine Professional. He is also the consultant for Hyderabad-based Asav Wines.