Wine Types and Terms

Wine Types - Riesling to Zinfandel

RIESLING:  White wine made from the Riesling grape, which is considered to be the finest wine grape grown in Germany. Serve with meals. Some California Riesling wines rival those of Germany.

RHINE WINES:  Wines vary from grapes grown in the Rhine River Valley of Germany. (The wines range from dry and light to rich and sweet.) Serve depending upon the characteristics of the wine. The best Rhine wines are those made from Riesling grapes.

ROSÉ WINES:  Rose-colored wines produced by fermenting dark-colored grapes without the skins present, or from lighter grapes in the presence of their skins. Serve with cold foods and light meals, or when either a red or white wine might be used.

SAUTERNES:  Wines made in the Sauternes district of Bordeaux, France from grapes withered somewhat by a Botrytis mold that is also call “noble rot”. Should be served cold at the end of a meal. Serve in small, narrow glasses. California Sauterne is quite different from French Sauternes.

SHERRY:  A fortified wine made by a process similar to the one developed in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. Sherries range from pale-colored dry wines to rich, sweet ones. Use depends upon the characteristics of the particular wine.

SPARKLING WINES:  Wines that are bubbly with carbon dioxide gas by virtue of having undergone a second fermentation initiated by the addition of a small amount of sugar. Accompaniments to any parts of the meal. The consumption of these wines has risen considerably in the United States during the past few decades.

SWEET WINES:  Fortified wines that contain considerable amount of unfermented sugars. (The addition of extra alcohol prevents the fermentation of the sugars which are present.) Serve with desserts. Should be served in small, narrow glass and consumed cautiously. (Some people become intoxicated more readily on sweet wines than on dry wines.)

TABLE WINES:  Unfortified wines of low to moderate alcohol content. They usually contain 14% or less of alcohol. Serve with meals. A 4 oz. glass of table wine contains about ½ oz. of pure alcohol, which is about the amount that the body of a medium size man can metabolize in an hour.

VERMOUTH:  A fortified wine that is flavored with a variety of aromatic herbs and come in dry and sweet varieties. Used in the preparation of Martinis or other cocktails. Sweet Italian vermouth is often served on ice as an aperitif. Vermouth mixes well with soda water and/or small amounts of sweet liqueurs.

WHITE WINES:  Made by fermenting grapes separated from their skins in order to keep the content of colored pigments low. Served at meals featuring fish, pork, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or other flavored items. If two or more different types of wine are to be served, the white wine should be served before the red wine.

ZINFANDEL:  A red wine made from Zinfandel grapes grown in California. Serve at meals featuring beef or lamb dishes.


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