The Types of Wine You Should Be Sipping, According to a Sommelier
Whether you’re in the mood for something new or looking to revisit an old favorite, these are the types of wine that need to be on your radar.
It doesn’t matter if you’re hosting a dinner party or simply relish a glass with dinner—sometimes the occasion calls for wine. We’ve rounded up a list of the types of wine that need to be on your radar. With a combination of familiar favorites to a few varieties that are off the beaten path, there’s a little something for everyone here! Don’t miss these gorgeous wineries on your next vineyard tour.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the classic Bordeaux grape. There’s a reason why this French variety is the most planted red in the world. Full of bold flavors like black cherry, blackcurrant, mint, sweet tobacco, and spice, cabernet makes a fantastic food pairing for your go-to beef dishes, lamb and game meats. Looking for new tricks? Here’s why you should be cooking your pasta in red wine.
Loved for its versatility and ability to express the region in which it’s grown, chardonnay is the preferred white wine of many. This white wine can range from a racy, mineral-driven style full of tart green apples and citrus peel to something much lusher with notes of pineapple, melon and Meyer lemon seasoned with a generous helping of oak-derived vanilla. Basically, great chardonnay offers something for everyone. Enjoy cooler styles with seafood and shellfish and opt for a richer style when tucking into a bit of roast chicken. Investing in a bottle? Here’s the kitchen gadget that will keep your wine fresh practically forever.
Pinot noir hails from Burgundy, though you can find it in virtually every winegrowing country in the world. It’s often sought after for its rich red and black fruit flavors mixed with hints of cola, flowers, and spice. Pinot makes a great gateway wine for those looking to drink more red. (Psst! Drinking this type of red wine is scientifically proven to make you more attractive.) It’s a must for poultry and game birds, duck, mushroom dishes and makes a gorgeous pairing for beef bourguignon.
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Let’s talk about riesling. Riesling is the wine lover’s white wine. Thanks to the fact its produced in every style ranging from dry to sweet, it’s absurdly versatile. Dry riesling is ideal for pork and poultry while you can pour off-dry and even sweet rieslings with spicy Indian food or other Asian dishes. Dessert rieslings are also a winning pairing for fruit-based desserts. Ready to branch out of your comfort zone? Try this two-dollar wine.
With its grassy, herbaceous flavors, sauvignon blanc makes an excellent partner for salads, hard to pair green vegetables (think peppers, artichoke and Brussels sprouts), and light fish dishes. In warmer climates, sauvignon blanc shows more peach and passion fruit aromas. Wherever it’s grown, this grape’s bright acidity makes it a great palate cleanser and a friend to light fare sprayed with citrus. Don’t forget to brush up on these ways to prevent a hangover while drinking.
Peppery, smoky, and full of decadent blueberry and plum, syrah is one wine we could all stand to sip on a bit more often. Originally from France’s Rhone Valley, this fantastic variety has also made a name for itself in Australia (where it’s known as shiraz), the US and Chile. Need something bold to hold up to your best barbecue? Syrah’s got your back.
A frequent blending partner of syrah, grenache is known for its lifted raspberry, strawberry flavors. In its more intense varieties, grenache can take on tantalizing spice notes. Look to Spain, where it’s known as garnacha, the Southern Rhone and South of France, and Australia for the best examples. P.S. Grenache also makes killer rosés.
Sauvignon blanc drinkers looking to branch out should give pecorino a taste. The grape, whose name comes from the pecora, the Italian word for “sheep” (and is also a famous cheese) can be found throughout central Italy. People love pecorino for its expressive floral aromas mingled with peach, citrus, and wonderful minerality. You can’t go wrong with fried seafood and chicken, but because pecorino has a bit of weight to it, you can also serve it up with pork or veal. Be sure to check out these clever ways to open a bottle without a corkscrew.
Lush, plush merlot hits the spot if you’re after a riper wine that’s a little more full-bodied than pinot noir but less bold than its fellow Bordeaux grape cabernet sauvignon. Expect flavors of black cherry, plum, and raspberry with hints of baking spice and vanilla. Like cabernet sauvignon, merlot usually gets the oak treatment. Pop open a bottle of merlot the next time you’re tucking into sausages or hamburgers. You won’t regret it.