Red wines come in many varietals and blends. The different varietals range from Super Heavyweight to Featherweight (as referred to on Delong's Wine Grape Varietal Table.) Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Pinotage and Carmenre' are among those at the fuller bodied end. Pinot Noir, Tempranillo and Sangiovese are on the light to medium weight end.
Each varietal of grape has it's own unique characteristics-including body, flavor, aroma and color. A Cabernet may be described as rich fruit forward with blackcurrent and cherry flavors...full bodied and heavily oaked. A Pinot Noir, on the other hand, may be described as rich, silky and smooth with notes of toast and raspberry...light or medium bodied with a medium oak intensity. Tasting these two wines next to each other...you can certainly tell them apart
There are many wines made from a blend of 2, 3 or more grapes. These blends sometimes bring out "The Best of Both Worlds!" You may not care for a Shiraz by itself, but blend that Shiraz with a Cabernet and you have a harmonious mixture of flavors from both grapes. There are times that one grape or the other will be dominant, but I notice through the aging process they will transform and different charateristics will emerge from the wine.
Aging red wine can certainly be beneficial. The "bigger" a wine is the more it will benefit. By aging, the wines will evolve with more complexity and flavor. The strong fruit flavor of a young wine will mellow into a drier finish. The harshness will soften to a smoothness.
Thank you for listening to my ramblings! I love all types and styles of wine, each one being unique in it's own way. I like to suggest that you venture out of your comfort zone and try some wines that you normally wouldn't drink. So many wines...So little time!
Picking out a wine to make is much easier than it sounds. It can be overwhelming because you are making a 6 gallon batch of wine...30 bottles. (which I like to think of as one bottle a day for a month) But if you take a second to put it all in perspective, it's a piece of cake.
I start with what style of wine am I looking for. Red, White, Blush or Sweet. Let's say I want a red. Do I want a full bodied, heavily oaked red, or do I want an easier drinking lighter bodied wine? White? Am I looking for a light and fruity white or a rich full flavor? These questions will narrow down the field considerably.
Red wines range from light and fruity to big and bold. The lighter end of the red wines are the Pinot Noirs, Bergamais and Coastal Red. The medium bodied reds would include Merlot, Zinfandel and Sangiovese. For the Big and bold wines you can pick from Cabernets, Malbecs, Shiraz and a wide range of blends including Luna Rossa.
White wine characteristics will be light bodied, off-dry or rich, full flavor and aroma. Pigot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc would lean toward the light bodied whites. Off-Dry (slightly sweet) include Gewurztraminer, Riesling and Muller Thurgau to mention a few. The many Chardonnays are certainly at the richer fuller end along with Luna Bianca.
Blush wine is generally an off-dry wine. White Zinfandel is probably the sweetest Rose' wine....while White Merlot is slightly drier with a bit more body to it.
Sweet wines include Moscato and all of the mist wines. Moscato is a light and fruity white wine. The mist wines are a wine based beverage with fruit flavors such as Peach Apricot Chardonnay and Blackberry Cabernet. They are nice easy drinkers and come in a wide range of flavors.
I hope this will help you navigate through the many wines that are available. Remember...it's only 30 bottles and there is always another kit to mix up! Cheers!