"Good wine is a necessity of life for me." -- Thomas Jefferson
Wine is an alcoholic beverage typically made from fermented fruit, usually grapes (hence the word "wine" from Latin vin, grape). However, so-called country wines or fruit wines are made from anything that can be fermented, from flowers like dandelion (with added sugar), to berries, apples, stone fruits, vegetables, and even root crops like potatoes. Wine not made from grapes is generally qualified by the name of its major ingredient, for example, elderberry wine. Mead is sometimes called honey wine. Brandy is a distilled wine. The remainder of this article discusses grape wine.
There are many types, kinds, and classifications of wine. Here's a hopelessly incomplete start on a random listing of kinds of wine. This should be organized systematically, but isn't yet. A rough classification is: sparkling or still (with or without dissolved carbon dioxide), red or white, sweet or dry (not sweet-tasting), fortified or not.
Varietal wines are made primarily from a single variety of grape. Vintage wines are generally made from grapes of a single year's harvest of a single variety, and so are dated. Many wines improve in flavor as they age and so wine enthusiasts often save bottles of a favorite vintage wine to enjoy in a few years' time.
An "appellation" is an indicator of where the grapes were grown. These are legally defined areas; some appellations additionally allow only certain grape varieties to be used and only certain types of wine to be made in order to bear the name of the appellation. America and Canada confuse this system by using some European appellations as generic wine names, as champagne, port, burgundy. In the rest of the world Champagne, for example, can only have been grown and fermented in the Champagne region of France.
Some varietal wine examples :
- Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc
- Cabernet Franc
- Merlot and White Merlot
- Zinfandel and White Zinfandel
- Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio
- San Giovese
- Sirah (Syrah or Shiraz)
Port wine (more properly Porto) is a sweet, fortified wine from the Douro Valley of Portugal. It is created by a complex serial fermentation/aging process where wines of various ages are mixed in varied proportion:
- Port (Ruby, Tawny, Vintage, ...)
For a blended wine, typically from a specific region a regional name only is sometimes used. Examples:
Some other miscellanous wine-related terms that need to be covered at some point:
- Puilly Fuisse
- Puilly Fume
- Fume Blanc
- Cold Duck
- Napa Valley
- Sonoma Valley
- Dessert Wine (Sauterne, ice wine...)