You can raise a toast and even ferment your own in the kitchen. Be it red, white, sparkling, dessert or rosé, there are a plethora of wines to choose from.
By Reya Mehrotra
With winters and the Christmas holidays kicking in, the wine season has officially started. You can raise a toast and even ferment your own in the kitchen. Be it red, white, sparkling, dessert or rosé, there are a plethora of wines to choose from. Here are some to end the year with a bang.
Merlot holds the title of being the world’s most popular red wine known for its sensual and soft texture. It is made from red grapes. In French, Merlot means “the little blackbird”. It also stands for the red grape variety which is used to make wines. One of its striking character-istics is that it adapts to a variety of climates and has a range of flavours. Its red colour changes as it ages. Merlots are majorly grown in France, Italy, the US, Australia and Chile.
These are usually dry wines. Sauvignon Blanc is the world’s most widely planted grape and has its origins in the south of France. Its primary fruit flavours are green apple, passion fruit, lime and white peach. These wines are best had with sushi, shell fish, grilled chicken, fish and grilled vegetables. It is light and has a grassy, herbal or bellpepper flavour because of the presence of a chemical compound called pyrazine.
The popular red wine is also called Syrah. It originally meant the wine produced around Shiraz in Iran. The city of Shiraz has been producing wine since before the ninth century and has gained a prominent position as the wine capital of Iran. Though both Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape variety, the difference lies in the regions they are grown in. The former comes from cooler climates and tastes of smoke, white and black pepper, and herbs, while the latter comes from warmer climates and has blueberry and blackberry flavours.
The dry, red-bodied light wine comes from the grape variety Vitis vinifera and is more acidic than other red wines. They are mostly grown in cooler climates in regions like Oregon, the Sonoma Coast, Tasmania, Adelaide Hills, etc. However, Germany is the third-largest producer of Pinot Noir after France and the US. The wine is also lighter in colour than other red wines. To get the perfect aroma, a large, round, bell-shaped glass is recommended.
This dry wine is Spanish in origin with a light peach colour and flavours of pomegranate, cherry, plum with a balance of pinch of sweet anise. It can be paired with a number of cuisines, including Asian and Mexican food. Though the name Mourvedre is used in France, it has other names in other regions, like Mataro in Portugal, Monastrell in Spain, etc. The thick-skinned Mourvedre berries have a potential to produce deep-coloured tannic wines with significant alcohol levels if harvested at high sugar levels.
The winemaker’s grape, Chardonnay is the easiest to work with in a cellar and can grow in many climates. It can either be full-bodied and buttery or elegant and light. Its taste varies depending on where it’s grown and how it is made. Some of the most expensive Chardonnays in the world come from the historical region of Burgundy in France. For a crisp Chardonnay, winemakers use stainless steel to ferment and store it before it gets bottled.
Tavel is a fine rosé wine that comes from the Tavel region in the south of France. Tavel wines are unique to the rosé variety. It is best had with starters, a variety of cheese and herb sausages. It is deep pink in colour with hues of orange. It has mixed aromas of fresh nuts, red currants, rose and minerality and good acidity. The wine pairs well with pastas, barbecued dishes, salmon, salad or simply had on its own.
With a rich palate of strawberry, watermelon and lemon flavours, this is a rosé wine. Rosé wines are made from grape skins and so do not have as much colour as to qualify them as red wines. It is best had with mixed salads, seafood, grilled meat, etc. It is a pale, salmon-coloured wine that has an intense aroma and a light floral hint. It has a sweet flavour and is high in acidity.
The white wine grape variety comes from the Rhine river region that passes through parts of Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria. High in acidity, Riesling is one of the most popular varieties in white wines. It has a light body and an aroma, which is a blend of citrus, petrol, white fruit. The older the Riesling wine, the more it tastes like burnt rubber, kerosene or gasoline. One way to find the quality of wine is to check its aroma—the more the smell of petrol, the better the quality.