Learn the basics
Learn the basics

The Different Types of Wines and Their Tastes

For some people, it's enough to know that wine comes in two varieties – white and red. Of course, that isn't very useful when you're trying to choose the perfect wines to pair with different dishes, and it only takes a little knowledge to get it just right.

White wines

White (technically colourless) wines run the gamut from dry to sweet, and even within each variety, the flavours can vary significantly depending on where the wine originates and how it's prepared. The most popular varieties are:
  • Chardonnay – one of the most versatile wines, Chardonnay goes well with chicken, fish and seafood, while mineral-rich varieties from France are excellent with oysters.
  • Pinot Gris – rich and spicy, Pinot Gris is typically paired with vegetables, poultry and seafood. Crisp Italian varieties (Pinot Grigio) are the ideal accompaniment to pasta dishes.
  • Riesling – reminiscent of apple and pear, Riesling is generally considered to improve with age, when it takes on more of a honey taste. Perfect with Thai food, this refreshing wine pairs with spicy food generally, as well as with chicken, fish and pork.
  • Sauvignon Blanc – this aromatic wine can be herbal or fruity in flavour and is one of the most flexible when it comes to food, from salads to seafood.

Red wines

Unlike white wines, reds use all parts of the grape – skin, pips and all. This is what gives the wine its rich colour, which can be as varied as its taste. The major types are:
  • Cabernet Sauvignon – this full-bodied wine has hints of plums and berries when young, which transforms into vanilla, chocolate and coffee flavours when aged in oak barrels. Best served with red meat.
  • Merlot – a popular alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot is also paired with red meat and requires fewer years to bring out the flavour.
  • Pinot Noir – difficult to grow, but well worth it for the fresh taste and fruity aromas that get more earthy with age. Pinot Noir basically goes with anything.
  • Shiraz/Syrah – Australian Shiraz is spicier and more aromatic than the French, making it the perfect partner for grilled beef and game.

The wine odyssey doesn't end at red and white. From sparkling Champagne to fortified Port and Sherry, food-friendly rose wines to sticky sweet dessert wines, who knew grape juice could be so diverse?

Find your favourite wines in Coolangatta

Cooly Liquor at The Strand Coolangatta is your one-stop bottle shop for beer, spirits and wines of all varieties, as well as party and catering supplies for every occasion.