Wine Styles: the Ultimate Guide

Wine Style Definitive Guide

All wines are born with their own style: so here is a complete Guide to know them all.
By Wine style we mean the set of features that determines the wine’s structure and organoleptic profile, such as the grapes, the place of origin, the fermentation and aging methods and, of course, the colour, aromas and flavour.
Taking all these variables into account, the list of Wine Styles would be practically endless.
However, only considering the sensorial profile of the various wines, we can create a valid distinction in just 9 categories, in which to group all the wines of the world.
This targeted subdivision helps you immediately to understand the potential taste of a wine, its serving methods (such as the temperature and the wine glass type) and its food-pairing possibilities.

So many Wine Styles: you need a Guide

So many Wine Styles: you need a Guide!

So here are the 9 main Wine Styles:

1. Aromatic White Wines
2. Light-Bodied White Wines
3. Full -Bodied White Wines
4. Rosé Wines
5. Light-Bodied Red Wines
6. Medium-Bodied Red Wines
7. Full-Bodied Red Wines
8. Champagne and sparkling wines
9. Dessert and Fortified Wines

Follow this Guide to discover all the 9 Wine Styles, with some tasty examples.

Wine Styles Guide: White Wines

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Private Bin

A good example of aromatic white wine: Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Private Bin

1. Aromatic White Wines

The aromas jump out of the glass … this is the appetizing presentation of the Aromatic White Wines. Varietal and fragrant scents, enhanced through an accurate processing of the grapes, already rich in aromas thanks to the terpenes. In fact, the protagonists of these wines are aromatic or semi-aromatic grape varieties, used alone or in blends.
The verve of their aromas charges in at every sip, with strength and consistency: an aromatic persistence that you will never forget.

Grape Varieties: Riesling, Gewürtraminer, Torrontés, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Malvasia, Muscat and Zibibbo, Ribolla Gialla.
Wines: Alsace Riesling, Mosel Riesling, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Alto Adige Gewürtraminer, Muscadet Sèvre Et Maine, Pouilly-Fumé, Sancerre.
Food Pairings: fried vegetables and seafood, vegan dishes with pumpkin, mushrooms, asparagus or peppers, asian style seafood and veggie recipes, goat, fresh and creamy cheeses, oysters and raw seafood.
Glass Type: Tulip-like stemmed-glass, with a lean bowl and flared lips
Serving Temperature: 47 °F / 8 °C

Terra Gauda O Rosal 2021

Terra Gauda O Rosal: a very good example of Light-Bodied White Wines

2. Light-Bodied White Wines

Light-Bodied White Wines are the protagonists of the Summer. Just with their aromas they immediately remind you of Summer and tropical fresh fruits, of wild flowers that sprout during the fine weather. Sometimes, fresh notes of aromatic herbs are a delicious extra bonus. Light in alcohol but rich in freshness and, often, also in tastyness, they give you a crunchy, zesty and refreshing sip.

Grape Varieties: Albariño, Verdejo, Vermentino, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Pigato, Sauvignon Blanc, Trebbiano, Müller-Thurgau, Colombard.
Wines: Albariño Rias Baixas, Verdejo Rueda, Vermentino di Sardegna, Pigato Riviera Ligure, Sauvignon Santa Barbara County, Pinot Bianco Alto Adige, Pinot Grigio Alto Adige, Valle de Colchagua Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux Blanc, Vinho Verde.
Food Pairings: vegetarian and fish tapas, sushi and sashimi, poke bowl, fish & chips, fresh salads with feta or mozzarella, grilled vegetables and fish, fried seafood, butter and anchovies appetizer, falafel, hummus and veggie pita, octopus and potato salad.
Glass Type: Stemmed glass with a U-shaped bowl
Serving Temperature: 42–50 ° F / 6-10 ° C

Chablis Albert Bichot

Chablis Albert Bichot: a good example of Full-Bodied White Wine

3. Full-Bodied White Wines

Golden in colour and rich in taste. Full-Bodied White Wines are immediately distinguished by their concentrated color and aromas ranging from ripe fruits to spices, passing through intense floral sensations of chamomile and broom. Silky and persistent wines, often well supplied with tasty flavour and freshness. The acidity allows these wines to further evolve over time because even Full-Bodied White Wines know how to age well, especially those made with Chardonnay grapes.

Grape Varieties: Chardonnay, Trebbiano, Assyrtiko, Carricante, Verdicchio, Greco, Cortese
Wines: Napa Valley Chardonnay, Chablis, Montrachet, Bourgogne Chardonnay, Stellenbosch Chardonnay, Rioja Bianco, Etna Bianco, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Riserva, Greco di Tufo, Santorini Assyrtiko, Gavi di Gavi
Food Pairings: scallops, chicken poultry, fish soup, truffle pasta or risotto, pasta with porcini mushrooms, poached fish with dried fruits, like almonds and pistachio, smoked salmon and trout, Brie, Feta, Taleggio and Camembert, mildly spiced indian-style dishes like chicken tikka, mulligatawny soup, paneer dum biryani.
Glass Type: Tulip glass-style with larger bowl and rim
Serving Temperature:53-57 °F /12-14 °C

Wine Styles Guide: Rosé Wines

4. Rosé Wines

The virtue lies in the middle! Rosé wines are incredibly versatile in food pairings, as they combine the freshness and fragrance of white wines alongside the persistence and softness more typical of red wines.

Grape Varieties: Garnacha (Grenache), Sangiovese, Syrah, Montepulciano, Pinot Noir, Negroamaro, Merlot.
Wines: Provence Rosé, Côte du Rhône Rosé, Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, Bolgheri Rosé, Languedoc Rosé, Castel del Monte Rosato.
Food Pairings: mediterranean dishes with tomatoes, eggplants, soft cheeses, olives, aromatic herbs, sweet-and-sour seafood recipes, tapas, greek salads, sushi fusion, galician style octopus, parmigiana di melanzane, pizza margherita and diavola, cold cuts.
Type of Glass: U shape stemmed glass with a larger bowl.
Serving Temperature: 50-53 ° F / 10-12 ° C

Wine Styles Guide: Red Wines

Louis Latour Brouilly Cru Beaujolais

Louis Latour Brouilly Cru Beaujolais: a good example of light-bodied red wine

5. Light-Bodied Red Wines

This wine style hides some of the most perfect wines for pizza, light ragù and even fish recipes.
The red wines with this style are characterized by vivid, fruity, floral and vinous aromas, with a slight spiciness. Wines that possess a light and fresh taste, without losing flavour and persistence. Those red wines that you can easily enjoy even in Summer because they always express an appetizing, juicy charm.

Grape Varieties: Gamay, Freisa, Schiava, Piedirosso, Lambrusco.
Wines: Beaujolais, Freisa d’Asti, Alto Adige Schiava, Gragnano Penisola Sorrentina, Ischia Piedirosso, Gamay Touraine, Lambrusco di Sorbara.
Food Pairings: charcuterie boards, pizza, bolognese lasagna, mac & cheese, amatriciana spaghetti, tuna and swordfish steak.
Type of Glass: stemmed-glass with a medium-large bowl and a narrower rim.
Serving Temperature: 53-63 ° F / 12-14 ° C

6. Medium-Bodied Red Wines

These wines are the kings of the tables. They are red wines with softness, aromas and intensity, while maintaining a tasty drinkability. Never too hot, too structured or too tannic, they pair well with succulent ragù pasta dishes, appetizers of cured meats and medium-aged cheeses, grilled meats and vegetables recipes. Here, in this wine-style, you can find your perfect BBQ friend.

Grape Varieties: Syrah, Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Zinfandel, Primitivo, Corvina, Pinot Noir, Pinotage.
Wines: Chianti, Barbera d’Alba, Nobile di Montepulciano, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Marlborough Pinot Noir, Rosso di Montalcino, California Zinfandel , Burgundy Pinot Noir, Primitivo Salento, Valpolicella, Côte du Rhône Rouge, South Africa Pinotage.
Food Pairings: savory and spicy vegetable and legume soups, meats, cheeses and grilled vegetables, roast beef, fettuccine with bolognese meat sauce.
Type of Glass: stemmed-glass with generous bowl and slightly flared lips (burgundy style glass)
Serving Temperature: 57-60 ° F / 14-16 ° C

7. Full-Bodied Red Wines

Full-Bodied Red Wines show an important, tannic structure with a high alcohol content.
These wines have intense and wide aromas, with a warm mouthfeel and a long persistence.
An early opening is highly recommended for these wines, so that they can release all their scents and flavours.

Grape Varieties: Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Cannonau, Lagrein, Corvina, Malbec.
Wines: Bordeaux Supérieur, Saint-Émilion, Pomerol, Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino, Bolgheri, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge, Rioja, Swartland Red Wines, Hermitage Shiraz, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec Mendoza, Lagrein Riserva Alto Adige, Cannonau di Sardegna, Amarone della Valpolicella.
Food Pairings: game and red meats recipes with truffles, mushrooms and aromatic herbs, roasted and stuffed white meats with dried fruit, braised red meats, aged and blue cheeses.
Type of Glass: Balloon
Serving Temperature: 60-64 ° F / 16-18 °C

Wine Styles Guide: Sparkling and Fortified Wines

8. Sparkling wine

Sparkling wines are synonymous with celebration, true explosions of aromas and joy.
Complex wines to make, which require time and special care. They can be light, crispy and fragrant as well as intense, creamy and persistent: a wide world with different shades of taste and excellence.
Made in pas dosé styles (without sugar content) or even in demi-sec versions, they can be the undisputed stars of a whole party.

Grape Varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Glera, Parellada, Macabeo, Xarel-lo.
Wines: Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, Franciacorta, Cremant.
Food Pairings: tempura, fried seafood, traditional and fusion sushi and sashimi, pizza, ham sandwiches, mushrooms and pumpkin risotto, grilled fish and prawns, omelette, parmesan chips … so many things but it’s better avoiding roasted red meats.
Type of Glass: flûte, tulip-style glasses for mature champagne and sparkling wines.
Serving Temperature: 39-46 °F / 4-8 °C

9. Dessert Wines and Fortified Wines

Very popular during the 1800s, dessert wines were of two main types: light, fragrant and bubbly or almost sweet syrups, dense and sumptuous. Today even straw dessert wines and fortified wines capture the senses with greater lightness and with an unparalleled aromatic strength and taste persistence. In the world of dessert wines and fortified wines, you can find both the right companions for mousses and parfaits, as well as the most suitable nectars for rich chocolate desserts.

Grape varieties: Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Sémillon, Corvina, Sangiovese, Trebbiano Toscano, Malvasia, Zibibbo, Moscato, Touriga Nacional, Nebbiolo, Brachetto, Grillo, Palomino, Pedro Jiménez.
Wines: Moscato d’Asti, Brachetto d’Acqui, Passito di Pantelleria, Sauternes, Riesling Eiswein, Recioto di Soave, Recioto di Valpolicella, Vin Santo del Chianti Classico, Barolo Chinato, Porto, Jerez, Madeira, Marsala.

Cloitre des Capucins St Emillion Grand Cru

Cloitre des Capucins St Emillion Grand Cru: what would be its style?

Food pairings

  • Sparkling sweet wines: blancmange, lemon or strawberry cheesecake, yogurt mousse, peach parfait
  • Straw dessert wines: tiramisù, shortbreads, english soup, crème brûlée, eclairs, Victoria sponge cake, scones
  • Fortified wines: chocholate and dried fruits cakes and biscuits, like bûche de Noël, Sachertorte.

Type of Glass

  • Small tulyp-style stemmed glass, with a wider rim
  • Saucer for sweet sparkling wines

Serving Temperature

  • Sparkling dessert wine: 41-42 °F / 5-6 °C
  • Straw wines: 50-63 °F / 10-12 °C
  • Fortified wine: 64-68 °F / 18-20 °C

If you have enjoyed this Wine Styles Guide, tell me … what is your favorite Wine Style?