Choose Your Top Wine – PART 2
Wine Grapes Characteristics
Most wines are made from one or two grape varieties and, with very few exceptions, red grapes make red wine and white make white. Pink wine can be made by mixing wines made from red and white grapes, or from just red grape varieties.
Most wines name their grape varieties on their front or back labels. Those that don’t are usually traditional wines from Europe labeled with the place they were made, such as Barolo, Chianti, or Bordeaux.
As well as a characteristic flavor, each grape variety shows distinguishing levels of tannin and sourness—known as acidity. These elements influence how a wine tastes and whether it’s to your liking. Nebbiolo, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon make notably tannic wines, for instance, and Sauvignon Blanc, unoaked Chardonnay, and Grüner Veltliner make wines that are lemon-squirt sour. To some degree, these characteristics can be influenced by where the fruit is grown and the winemaking techniques used, but it’s useful to learn your preferred level of tannin and acidity and which grapes produce wines that fit the bill.
So, how can you know if the wine contains too much tannin or is heavy on the alcohol? Normally, you’ll experience a swift hit on the tongue, before the taste fades rapidly. If the taste lingers on your palate, and you experience it all round the mouth, then the wine is perfectly balanced.