​Les Kincaid's



Five Wine Styles

Take These 5 Basic Types Of Wine:
Red, White, Rose, Sparkling, and Fortified, and explains how this indicates a specific style to individual wines.

Red Wines

Red wines are divided principally by weight (in the mouth that is).
This is because middle-range red Bordeaux, say, has more in common with an Oregon Pinot Noir in terms of when and with what you would want to drink it than it has with a top Classed Growth red Bordeaux. That's what these categories are all about:  the practicalities of choosing the right wine for the right occasion. If the perfect wine for tonight would be a light Pinot Noir, slightly chilled, but you can't lay your hands on one, don't go for a heavier Pinot Noir, opt for a Bardolino or another wine of the same style. Both come from the same sort of cool climate and both have similar weight and structure. That's the key to choosing the right red wine. Within different categories of weight (a combination of alcohol, tannin and extract) we have further divided red wines into types of flavor. This way, those reds that taste earthy and spicy are separated from those that are more refined and elegant. Again, it's all to do with when you're going to want to drink them, and with what.  
Light nouveau style reds.
Young, juicy wines with no tannin, made by carbonic maceration and released within a few weeks of the harvest. Beaujolais Nouveau is the prototype, but many other regions and producers use carbonic maceration to get similar results. They're not the easiest of wines to match with food, but they're delicious, slightly chilled, on their own.  
Low tannin young reds.
These are wines full of juicy fruit, which are best-drunk young. They are fresh and light but they have more structure than 'light, nouveau-style reds'. The category includes basic Burgundy, such as Bourgogne Rouge and the lighter Village wines, and other light Pinot Noirs, Alto Adige, Bardolino and quite a lot of Beaujolais the Village wines, the lighter Crus, but not Beaujolais Nouveau.  
Cool climate medium weight reds.
Cool climates produce elegant red wines. Basic Bordeaux, such as the Petit Chateau wines, is the archetype here, and similar wines include red Loire from a good vintage, Village Burgundy, the best German reds and many New Zealand and Washington State reds.  
Warm climate medium weight reds.
Warm climates produce richer, plumier, earthier flavors in red wine, so although these wines may have similar weight to those in 'cool climate, medium-weight reds', they're spicier, and may be more rustic. Cahors, Madiran, Daeo, Bairrada, most Pinotage, medium-weight Zinfandel, southern French vins de pays, and Penedas and Ca´tes du Rha´ne all feature here. 
Spicy and bold.
These are heavyweight wines from warm climates, which are packed with spice and earth, plums and oak. The biggest Shiraz and Rha´ne wines fit in here, and with them go the top Zinfandels, Barolos, Barbera's, California Syrah's and the biggest Mexican reds.
Elegance on the grand scale.
These are the great wines in the classic sense. They are heavyweights with elegance and inevitably here there are implications of quality. Wines with this sort of concentration and refinement don't come cheap. They need bottle age, too. Most Classed Growth red Bordeaux come into this category, as do, for instance, top California and Australian Cabernets, super-Tuscan vini da tavola, top Riojas, Domaine de la Romanae-Conti Burgundies and the bigger wines of the Ca´te d'Or.
Sweet reds.
Germany makes some rather jammy sweet reds, which are included here, but this category mostly houses Italy's startlingly concentrated and bittersweet Recioto della Valpolicella and grapy Aleatico.

White Wines
White wines are divided by sweetness and dryness, and by the flavors of new oak.
These are the factors that matter when deciding what to drink and when to drink it and with what food. Chardonnay is such a versatile grape that its wines can fall into at least four different categories, depending on how and where they are made. Other grapes, like Sauvignon Blanc, can be almost as varied sweet or dry, oaked or unoaked. Unoaked, neutral dry whites.
There are plenty of clean, fresh dry white wines with light fruit flavors, made to be drunk young and without much thought. Most Italian whites made from Trebbiano come into this category; so do a lot of Muscadet and most Sylvaner. Unoaked fruity dry whites.
These wines are light, but they have definite fruit flavor. Unoaked Chardonnay and Semillon come into this category, and so do the more assertively fruity wines of the South of France, Portugal and Spain. But not grassy, aromatic grapes like Sauvignon Blanc: these wines have such a distinct style that they have their own category - Aromatic, grassy dry whites.
Elegant oaky dry whites.
There are two categories for white wines aged in new oak, and this is for the lighter ones.  There's some Grand and Premier Cru Chablis here, as well as some Fume Blanc, some oaked Graves and Chardonnay, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc from all over the world. Rich oaky dry whites. This is where to find the real oaked blockbusters, the rich, fat, buttery Chardonnays of California and Australia. Aromatic flowery or fairly spicy dry whites
There's no oak (or only very little) on these wines. Alsace Pinot Gris is the most typical example, but this category also includes dry Rieslings from Germany, Austria, France and Australia, as well as a few from Burgundy and Italy.
Highly aromatic flowery or spicy dry whites. 
A group of distinctive perfumed wines. Dry, grapy Muscat and spicy Gewurztraminer have this category pretty much to themselves.
Aromatic grassy dry whites.
This category is principally for unoaked Sauvignon Blanc, with a pungency that varies from the asparagus of Bordeaux to the aggressive grass and gooseberries of New Zealand. Modern winemaking means that a few other wines make the grade as well.
Medium sweet whites.
A large category, which covers a wide range of quality, from Liebfraumilch to demi-sec Vouvray and some American and Australian Rieslings. Fine-quality German Kabinett and Spatlese will also appear here, as will much Alsace Vendage Tardive. But in spite of the differences in quality, they will match similar dishes and you'll want to drink them on similar occasions.
Botrytis sweet whites.
These are rich, unctuous and long-lived. Botrytis affects many wines worldwide, including Sauternes, German and Austrian Auslese, Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese, Vouvray, Tokaji and the Noble Late-Harvest wines of the New World.
Non botrytis sweet whites.
A varied group of wines that includes Eiswein and Ice wine, Vin Santo and Recioto di Soave.
White wines not otherwise classified.
There are some wines, like Retsina or Vin Jaune, which fit into none of the other categories and they go in here.

Such as Blush Zinfandel and Anjou Rose make up the bulk of this category, but it also includes most Portuguese rose, which is slightly sweet.
Dry roses.
This category includes dry roses like Tavel and Lirac, and those from Spain and Provence.  
Medium-sweet roses. 
Such as Blush Zinfandel and Anjou Rose make up the bulk of this category, but it also includes most Portuguese rose, which is slightly sweet.

Sparkling Wine
The sparkling wine categories do not differentiate between methods of production; instead they allow for the full diversity of colors, sweetness levels and weights.  
Lightweight dry white sparkling.
This category takes in the lightest, most delicate wines. Most non-vintage Champagnes, Cava's and others are to be found here. Medium weight dry white sparkling most vintage Champagnes are medium-weight and dry, so appear here, as do the bigger sparklers of Australia and the United States. Medium-sweet or sweet white sparkling
Demi-sec or sweet Champagne is to be found here, as are sweet sparkling wines.  
Dry rose sparkling. 
Sparkling roses are divided by sweetness, and dry sparkling roses, including vintage and non-vintage rose Champagnes, are to be found here.  
Medium sweet or sweet rose sparkling. 
A fairly small category of medium-sweet or sweet sparkling rose wines.
Dry red sparkling.
Although dry red sparkling wine is rare, Australia makes some rather good sparkling Shiraz.
Medium sweet or sweet red sparkling.
Germany makes some sweet and medium-sweet red sparkling wines, but probably the best-known wine in this category comes from Italy, in the form of sweet red Lambrusco.

Fortified Wine
Fortified wines have been divided according to sweetness. The sweet wines are sometimes thought of as being dessert wines only, but in France you're quite likely to be offered a glass of mature Banyuls as an aperitif.  
Lightweight dry fortified.
These are the wines to drink chilled, perhaps with a plate of tapas. This category includes fino and Manzanilla sherry, Sercial Madeira and the very lightest and driest of white ports.  
Medium-weight dry fortified. 
These are concentrated, mature, rich but dry amontillado and palo cortado sherries which make good winter aperitifs. 
Dry oloroso sherry 'very old, very concentrated and full of the flavors of nuts and dried fruit' is the main occupant of this category.  
Medium sweet fortified. 
These wines are equally successful before or after a meal. Some southern French vins doux naturals (both red and white) and commercially sweetened sherries appear here. 
Sweet dessert fortified medium weight. 
Most tawny ports can be found here, as can Bual Madeira, late-bottled vintage port and vintage-character port.
Sweet dessert fortified heavyweight.
These are the very richest and stickiest fortified wines:  vintage ports, sweet oloroso and Pedro Ximanez sherry, Malmsey Madeira and Australian Liqueur Muscat.