What are the four types of wine?
14 May 2020
From rosé to sparkling, different types of wine call for different occasions and different food.
There’s nothing like a crisp white wine on a summer’s day, or a bold red wine to accompany a hearty meal next to a roaring fire in the winter, but how much do you know really about the alcohol you’re drinking? Just like chocolate, wine has complex, varied flavours that can be altered by the way they’re processed, the type of fruit used and the conditions that they are grown in.
We’ve already written blogs about the three main types of chocolate; white, milk and dark, so now we’re going to delve into the world of alcohol by looking at the varied types of wine that you can enjoy.
Did you know that white wine can be made from red and black grapes? Once you peel a grape, the flesh and juice are all the same colour. That means that white wine can be made from any colour grape, as long as the darker grapes have had their skins removed.
The flavour profiles of white wine usually tend to focus on acidity and fresh, clean flavours, often reminiscent of pale-fleshed fruits such as apple, pear and citrus. It is also possible to have spicy, sweet and rich tasting white wines; In fact, a process called malolactic fermentation can be used, which converts the tart malic acid in white wine to softer lactic acid, giving the wine a buttery or creamy taste and aroma.
White wine pairs especially well with light, delicate flavours such as creamy soft cheese, fish, and salads, as it doesn’t overpower the nuanced tastes in the food. If you’re looking to pair a sweet treat with white wine, we think our indulgent white chocolate goes beautifully with this dry alcohol, as the tartness in the wine cuts through the luxurious creaminess of the chocolate.
White wine’s bolder, brasher cousin, red wine uses not only the juice of the grape but also the grape skins and pips during the fermentation process. It is also usually fermented at a higher temperature, resulting in a stronger colour, aroma, flavour and higher tannin levels.
Tannins are a compound found in wine skins, seeds and stems that give wine that “dry” aftertaste, especially in full-bodied wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon. You can also find tannins in over-brewed black tea or pomegranate juice.
Red wine is extremely varied; you can find a light-bodied red wine like a young Beaujolais or a Zinfandel, a dry, fruity red like a Pinot Noir, or a richy and spicy vintage red like our Chateau Chocolat, which is made in a boutique winery in Portugal from four different heirloom grape varieties. We think it partners perfectly with our chocolates, especially those on the darker end of the spectrum; Supermilk to 100% cacao.
We’ve all thought it – is rosé wine just a mixture of red and white wine? In the majority of cases, no. The traditional method of making the pink-hued wine, regulated by the European Commission, is by using black grapes, but only allowing the skins to remain in the juice for a few hours (generally 12-36) until the desired colour is achieved.
In 2009, there was uproar as the European Commission came close to changing alcohol regulations that would allow rosé to be made by mixing red and white wines. Wine makers in Provence rallied against the motion as they feared lower-quality blended rosés would price them out of the market and the classic rosé wine method would be lost. However, the law was not passed, so your European rosé is still traditionally tinged pink by the brief soaking of black grape skins in the grape juice.
Rosés can vary in taste considerably, but they often have bright, red fruit flavours like strawberry, watermelon and peach. We are used to valorising the pale pink rosés popularised by the dry Provençal wine, but a deep pink rosé can be wonderfully aromatic and dry as well. Whichever alcoholic tipple you choose, we think those fruity flavours would be perfectly complemented with our white chocolate and fruit chocolates; a zesty Passion Fruit Chocolate or a summery Eton Mess for example.
The wine of celebrations, sparkling wine has leapt in popularity after Champagne’s cheaper cousins, Prosecco and Cava, came onto the market.
We’ve spoken about the difference between Prosecco, Cava and Champagne in a separate blog, but the simplest distinction is where they are from and the way they’re made; Champagne is from the eponymous region in France, and Cava is from Spain, often Catalonia. Both are made in the same way, adding yeast and sugar to the grape juice and leaving it to ferment into alcohol in the bottle.
Prosecco hails instead from Italy and has a faster process, where the grape juice is left in a pressurised tank to form bubbles. It is usually cheaper as there are no added ingredients and it doesn’t require any ageing. Regardless of the fermentation process, all of these sparkling wines are the perfect accompaniment to finger food and canapés, or mixed with fruit juice to create a brunch-friendly mimosa.
Our house Prosecco is made in the foothills of the stunning Dolomite mountains, and its zesty fruity flavour notes make it a versatile drink, whether for a celebration or simply an indulgent summer’s afternoon. If you’re looking for something with a little blush, why not try our Sparkling Rosé, with a fruity bouquet and aroma of almond? Try them with a white or milk chocolate; the bubbles contrast deliciously with the creamy smooth chocolate – you do deserve a treat after all.
We understand how wine’s flavour is altered by the grape variety, the location of the vineyards and the process of wine making itself, because we take the same elements into account when making our chocolate. We have hand-picked our wines from boutique distilleries across Europe to bring you the best alcohol pairings for our chocolate, or if you’re not hungry, to be enjoyed whenever and wherever you fancy!