Introduction to Wine Selection: Stocking Your Home with Essential Wines
Wine selection can be a daunting task for those who are unfamiliar with the various styles and types of wine. When selecting a wine, it is important to consider the body of the wine, as this can greatly affect the overall taste and drinking experience. Wine comes in many varieties with a match for every meal and taste preference. A dozen bottle wine cellar assures you that you will have a wine on hand to complement almost any meal. To choose a wine for your special meal go to the Food Wine Pairings blog post to match your meal with the appropriate wine.
Light Bodied Wines
Light bodied wines, such as Riesling or Pinot Grigio, have a lower alcohol content and a lighter taste. These wines are typically more refreshing and are well-suited for warmer weather or as an aperitif.
- Riesling: Food friendly dry and sweet Rieslings are infused with tangy fruit flavors, most notably apricot and apple. Austria, Germany, Alsace, California, Washington, New York and Australia produce fine Rieslings.
- Gewurztraminer: Although grown mostly in temperate climes (California, Washington, Alsace, Germany), it evokes tropical spices and is a good match for spicy, tropical foods such as Thai dishes.
- Chenin Blac: Rich and ripe in the Loire’s Sauvennieres and Vouvray regions, these can be dry and finty elsewhere.
Medium Bodied Wines
Medium bodied wines, such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, have a higher alcohol content and a slightly fuller taste. These wines are versatile and can be enjoyed with a wide range of foods.
- Sauvignon Blanc: While this tiny grape finds sublime expression in Loire’s Sancerre and Pouilly Fume regions, splendid offerings also come from California, Washington, Bordeaux and New Zealand. It’s always tangy and often citrusy (lime, grapefruit), with more depth than you might expect from its opening crispness.
- Pinot grigo: Prevalent in Italy and recently (as pinot gris) in Oregon, this tends to be crispy, almond-scented wine.
- Semillon: A foundation for the great dessert wine Sauternes, this grape generally is blended with other whites.
Full Bodied Whites
Full bodied whites, such as Viognier or Marsanne, have a high alcohol content and a rich, full-bodied taste. These wines are best enjoyed with more flavorful foods, such as seafood or creamy pastas.
- Chardonnay: Rich fruit flavors are this grape’s hallmark, wherever it’s grown. Wines from Burgundy (Pouilly Fuisse, Montrachet, Chablis, Meursault) are generally crisper and softer than New World versions, which tend to be buttery and oaky (often to a fault) but still fruit-packed in California and Australia.
- Viognier and Sancerre: From the Rhone and Loire, these floral, opulent offerings are a real mouthful.
- Pinot Blanc: Alsace and California produce fionr renditions of this lush, pear and melon laced wine.
Here is a suggested dozen bottle wine cellar. Select and mix and match a bottle or two from each recommendation. A dozen bottle wine cellar will assure you will have a wine on hand to complement almost any meal or celebration.
Light Bodied Reds
Light bodied reds, such as Pinot Noir or Gamay, have a lower alcohol content and a lighter taste. These wines are versatile and can be enjoyed with a wide range of foods. They are also good for warmer weather or as an aperitif.
- Pinot noir: This cool climate lover finds its greatest expression in Burgundy, but central and northern California and Oregon are making.
- Barbera and Dolcetto: The first of these two Piedmont (northern Italy) staples is starting to move in a more full-bodied direction, but both are primarily friendly, simple wines.
- Pinotage: This berry-laden South African hybrid is often complex.
Medium Bodied Reds
Medium bodied reds, such as Merlot or Zinfandel, have a higher alcohol content and a slightly fuller taste. These wines are versatile and can be enjoyed with a wide range of foods.
- Merlot: Most California renditions are overly juicy and don’t compare to the heights that this plumy red reaches in Bordeaux.
- Sangiovese: This rustic, spicy, acidic grape is the base for virtually all great Tuscan reds (Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino).
- Grenache: The bass for crisp, rich teauneuf-du-Papes and Riojas, this toasty, fruity grape is merely so-so as a varietal.
- Malbec: Argentina is producing hearty versions of what is mostly blending grape in the U.S. and France.
Full Bodied Reds
Full bodied reds, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz, have a high alcohol content and a rich, full-bodied taste. These wines are best enjoyed with more flavorful foods, such as red meats or strong cheeses.
- Cabernet sauvignon: Bordeaux, Napa and recently Washington state have produced the most profound versions, but Sonoma, Chile and Australia are making marks with this rich, intense wine redolent of dark fruits.
- Syrah/Shiraz: Australia, California and the Rhone are nailing smoky, thick wines that are great young and age beautifully.
- Zinfandel: Berries, cherries and black pepper pop out in this northern California staple.
- Nebbiolo: The grape of Italy’s lush, toasty Barbarescos and Barolos hasn’t done well elsewhere.
All The Rest
The other types of wines, such as sparkling wine, fortified wine, and sweet wine, have their own unique characteristics. These wines may have bubbles, higher alcohol content, or a sweet taste. They can be enjoyed as an aperitif, dessert, or paired with specific foods.
Some notable sparkling wines include Champagne from France, Cava from Spain, and Prosecco, Moscato d’Asti, and Asti Spumante from Italy. Only sparkling wines from the Champagne region can be called Champagne. American sparkling wines have different designations, such as demi-sec (semi-dry) and brut (very dry).
An emerging trend in the wine world is the rise of rose wines as a serious offering. These wines combine the delicacy of white wines with the complexity of reds, creating succulent and delicious offerings that are not like the Mateus wines popular in college years.
Fortified wines such as Port, Muscat, and Sherry have higher alcohol levels and more intense flavors from the grapes used in the production process.
In conclusion, it’s important to consider the body of a wine when making a selection. It can greatly affect the overall taste and drinking experience, and it’s good to know what style of wine you prefer before making a purchase.
Now that you have a dozen bottle wine cellar, match your new found wines to your favorite foods Food and Wine Pairings.