Wines with broad, earthy flavours. Many Rhone Whites, Macons, Vouvrays nad similar wines fit this category. They are generally substantial, dry wines characterised by mineral or soil aromas rather than fruity or floral ones (althrough some at the richer end of the scale have floral or fruity notes).
Dry, crisp, refreshing. These are great thirst quenchers and have a variety of flavours and aromas depending on which grape they are made from. The aromas and flavour intensity is generally subdued and medium at best. At the end end of the spectrum you might find some minerality, fruity or nutty flavours.
Full-bodied, concentrated. These are almost always made in contact with oak either during fermentation and/or during ageing in oak casks. This oak gives dimension to the wine, as well as adds complexity. Expect these to have a creamy mouth-feel with luscious flavours, a full body and a lot of character.
Intensely flavoured, un-oaked white wines from aromatic grapes like Riesling, Gruner Veltliner, Viognier, Albarino, and most new world Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. Often well-perfumed with a balance of fruit and aromatics. Mostly very approachable despite the names being hard to pronounce!
We divide sparkling wine into two styles. Fruity sparkling wines include less expensive wines from France, Italy, NZ and Australia. Complex sparkling wines are then generally more subtle, less fruity and display a greater array of flavours. These include better quality NZ and Australian Methode Champenoise, Cava from Spain and French Champagne.
Generally sweet dessert wines are created when the grapes stop fermenting before all their sugar has turned to alcohol. This "residual" sugar is what makes these wines taste so full in your mouth and sweet. The fermentation either stops naturally or the winemaker stops it by the addition of sulphur dioxide. Best served after a meal as a sweet treat.
Fortified wines include Sherry and Port. Fermentation is halted by the producer adding alcohol to kill off the yeast. Port should be opaque and"thick". Look for fig, marmalade, honey, spice and chocolate aromas and flavours. Sherry is mostly made from two grape varieties either individually or combined. The most common grape is Palomino and it makes delicate, dry Sherry.
In Rosé sweetness is the defining characteristic and that divides Rosé into two styles. Blush rosé's are soft, flavourful and fairly sweet, and range from medium dry to medium sweet. Dry rosé's are more serious and range from very dry to off-dry, and have a firmer structure. Dry rosé's have a strong backbone of acidity or a small amount of tannin to impart firmness to the wine.
Full bodied, intense red wines. These wines have a big structure, full body, powerful tannins, high alcohol and intense aromatics. In New World versions fruit dominates. In Old World versions fruity characteristics combine with herbal, vegetative and spicy notes. The fruit avours can be over-ripe displaying jam or cooked fruit. The oak also leaves a strong tannin marker in these wines.
Uncomplicated, youthful reds. Most Beaujolais, Southern Rhone, some New World Pinot Noir and some USA Merlot. These are usually easier drinking with delicious fruity avours such as cherries, berries or plums, and they are quite soft in texture without mouth-drying tannins. Perfect for new wine drinkers or those who normally drink whites.