Beyond red and white
By Asiaeuro Wines & Spirits Oct. 28, 2020

Rosé, dessert and sparkling wines.

Besides red and white wines, the other three main categories of wine are rosé or blush wine, dessert or sweet wine, and sparkling wine.

Rosé wine

This wine is pink in hue because it stays in contact with the red grape skins for a relatively short time compared to red wine. Between red and white, rosé is much closer to the light side, with relatively low tannin.

Popular rosé wine varietals include Grenache, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, and Zinfandel.

Domaine Haut Gleon Vallee Paradis Rose features Grenache, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon varietals.

Rosé wine ranges from dry to sweet. It always goes well with light flavour dishes like fish, poultry, or fruit.

Red, white and rosé wines that have an ABV content of 14% or less are considered “table wine” in the US and “light wine” in Europe.

Dessert wine

Dessert wine tends to be sweeter and by its name you know it comes after a meal. It is usually served in a small shot glass.

Alcohol (usually brandy) is added to dessert wine during fermentation so that it can retain more of its natural sugars. Many are quite sweet, depending on when the alcohol is added, since that ends the fermentation process.

Along with the dessert, the wine can also be paired perfectly with smoked meat.

Popular dessert wines, which are also known as fortified wines, include Port, Madeira, Vermouth, Sherry, and Marsala.

As its name suggests, Dow’s Fine Ruby Port is a fine dessert wine from Portugal.

Sparkling wines

Sparkling wine has significant carbonation, which can occur as a natural part of the fermentation process or via carbon dioxide infusion after fermentation.

The label on a sparkling wine will indicate its sweetness or dryness - Brut Nature, Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry/Extra Sec/Extra Seco, Dry/Sec/Seco, Demi-Sec/Semi-seco and Doux/Sweet/Dulce.

From Australia’s Yarra Valley, Dominique Portet Brut Rose is a sparkling wine of light salmon pink in colour.

Sparkling wine is made from a wide range of red and white grapes while champagne proper is made from Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and/or Pinot Noir.

More and more wine producers and drinkers are using the term “sparkling wine” and “champagne” interchangeably, in the same way we might call any facial tissue a Kleenex.

Nicolas Feuillatte Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs is true-blue champagne.

Technically, all champagnes are sparkling wines, but not all sparkling wines are champagnes. Champagne can only be called champagne if it comes from the Champagne region in northern France.

So, if you think you’re getting a steal on an imported ‘champagne’ for below RM100, you should take a second look at the label.

Other types of sparkling wine are Prosecco, Asti and Cava.

Bacio della Luna Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry from Veneto, Italy is made from the glera grape.

Prosecco is a dry Italian sparkling wine made from the prosecco, also known as glera grape, while Asti is a sweet Italian sparkling wine.

Banfi Piemonte Asti Spumante DOCG from Piedmont, Italy is made from Moscato bianco.

Cava is a sparkling Spanish wine, usually made from a blend of macabeo, parellada, and xarel-lo grapes.

Marques de Caceres Cava Brut from Spain is made from macabeo, parellada, and xarel-lo grapes.

If you are holding a party, try pairing the bubbly with salad, cheese, fish, or bread.

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