Pick Your Grape
I will admit that I'm rather picky. I will only eat certain kinds of food, rarely ingesting dishes entitled with words I can't pronounce or made up of animals I think are cute. And, I will only date certain types of men, limiting myself to those who are good looking, charming, successful, or, at the very least, breathing. But, my pickiness doesn't stop there. Transcending many categories, I tend to be picky when it comes to everything from what kind of clothes I wear to what kind of soap I use. However, oddly enough, when it comes to wine, my pickiness subsides: I've never met a type of wine I didn't like or wouldn't drink.
Despite my willingness to form a loving relationship with any type of wine that seeps into my life, you may not be as much as a booze flooze as myself: some of you may prefer certain types over others. Because of this, it's important to understand the different types of wine that exist: the more aware you are of all the varieties, the more likely you will find a wine you really like.
However, I can't discuss all the types of wine - listing each vintage and flavor and mentioning every grape under the sun. Doing so would take forever and by the time I finished, I, myself, would start to ferment. But, I can provide an overview to help you, the loyal drinker, find something to quench your thirst, a type of wine you'll want to invite over to fill your glass at dinner.
Apéritif: Known as appetizer wines, these are the chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks of the wine world. They are flavored wines typically meant to stimulate the appetite before eating a large meal. They can include sherry, and Madeira.
Barley Wine: Though in possession of the word "wine," Barley Wine isn't really wine, masquerading as such because of a high alcohol content that reaches up to 12 percent by volume. Made from grain instead of fruit, Barley Wine is simply strong beer, like an ale that regularly works out. While it originated in England, Barley Wine is available world wide. However, when sold in the US, Barley Wines are required to be sold with the label, "barely wine-style ales," thus avoiding confusion for the wine-seeking consumer.
Cooking Wines: Wine of extremely poor quality is usually labeled "Cooking Wine," as if being poured into a pan is one step up from being poured down the drain. Typically containing a large amount of salt, Cooking Wine isn't made to be consumed by itself. Instead, it is meant to be used as a way to enhance a dish, bringing out certain flavors and seasonings.
Country Wine: It may seem like Country Wines are wines in possession of a laidback lifestyle and a southern drawl. But, in actuality, they are simply wines that are made from a fruit other than a grape and supplemented with sugar and honey. However, because the word "wine" legally insinuates a drink made from grapes, Country Wines are often fruit-specific in their definitions. They include types such as "plum wine" and "apple wine."
Wines are wines that range between medium sweet to extremely sweet on the spectrum of sugar. They typically include wines such as Port Wine, Tokay, and Sweet Sherry. Aside from baked goods and fruity creations, dessert wines also go very well with many types of cheese.
Red Wine and White Wine: It may seem like Red Wine and White Wine are always in competition with each other, with bottles of each snapping in unison as the other approaches. But, the truth is that Red Wine and White Wine are so different in flavor, and go best with such different dishes, that the two don't need to compete. While Red Wines are typically good at enhancing meals made of red meat or tomato sauce, White Wines are typically good at enhancing meals made of white meat or white sauces. They are also different in taste because Red Wines are made with grape skins during the fermentation process, causing them to carry "tannin," a sensation you get that makes your tongue feel as though liquid is evaporating off of it. White Wines, however, are made without grape skin and never carry "tannin."