Oh the wild wonderful world of wine! What can’t you do with wine? Drink it straight, turn it into ice cubes, simmer it in a stew or sauce for richness and depth, yes even sneak it into dessert. Now, cocktails! Where does the magic of wine end? We don’t know, and we don’t want to find out. Now because there is just so much in the world of wine it can feel daunting to navigate, and we understand. Don’t worry we’ll cover the basics for you.
First, sweetness. Every type of wine is going to have various ranges of sweetness, and this is a good starting place in figuring out if you might like the wine. The amount of sugar left in a bottle of wine after fermentation determines how sweet it will be, and while there’s no perfect measurement there are good guidelines.
Dry – these wines have very little sugar left in a bottle, something like less than 10 g. This often leaves them a little tart or crisp tasting. However, if they are particularly fruit forward, they can taste sweeter than they are. The extra dry stuff can leave you feeling like you need a drink of water.
Semi-Sweet – as the name suggests this is the middle ground of dry and sweet, and the realm where some of the most popular bottles sit. This is between 11 g to 34 g of sugar and while having notes of sweetness, doesn’t feel heavy. You can get away with pairing these with rich meals containing beef, or heavy umami flavors (mushrooms, roasted veg, tomatoes) and be fine.
Sweet – these wines have more than 35 grams of sugar. You should probably save these for after dinner. If its sweet enough you can probably skip dessert all together and just enjoy sipping the wines super indulgent flavor.
After that there are tons of types, with endless subcategories. But below are the 5 most basic.
Red Wine - a wine made with black grapes, they can range anywhere from light to bold. If you’re worried about paring these are for your super savory or umami dishes.
White Wine – these wines are produced normally from white grapes, or black grapes on occasion. These wines can be crisp and refreshing, or super sweet. Save them for pairing with lighter dishes, chicken, fish, fruit tarts etc.
Rose Wine - can be made directly from black grapes by removing the skin. Also, and somewhat more easily, it can be made by blending white and red wines. The flavors can be hugely varied so know your bottle before pairing it with anything.
Sparkling Wine – this wine involves a secondary fermentation to achieve the super fun bubbles! It can be any color, or flavor, so we recommend drinking it like champagne. In whatever moment moves you to celebrate!
Dessert Wine – this is the “strong stuff”. Made in a process that involves fortifying the wine with spirits. While they are typically sweet, as the name might suggestions, there are dry dessert wines that exist.
Wine Cocktail Recipes
Strawberry Wine Punch
The Jimmie Roosevelt
Wine and Vodka Punch
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