Classification of Wine and Wine Glasses

Wine is one of the oldest and best know beverages in the history of mankind, from biblical times and the ancient Egyptians to the emperors of Rome and modern aristocrats, wine has always been a symbol of status and culture. Admittedly, most of us are not wine connoisseurs and are taken aback when anyone discusses the classification of wines thinking it is haughtiness or condescension, when in reality there is a very real purpose to why certain wines go with particular foods as well which glasses to drink them out of.

Wines are broken into three main classifications commonly known as table wines, sparkling wines and fortified wines. These classifications can be further divided by color, sweetness and vinification, which is just a fancy word for the process by which the wine is made. Table wines, also known as still wines or natural wines, come in three main varieties of red, white and rose, also known as pink. Red wines are made with the skins and juice of dark grapes, while white wines are made from green grapes and the skins and juice are kept separate. Rose or pink wines use the same process as red until the wine reaches a rose color, and then the skins are separated from the juice.

Table wines are generally served with meals and certain ones go better with certain foods. Red wines tend to compliment meats and vegetables, while white wines are better with seafood, fish and various cheeses. On the other hand, fortified wines are much better suited for desserts and before or after meals. Fortified wines like Sherry and Vermouth are much sweeter and perfectly compliment cakes, chocolates and other desserts. Sparkling wines like champagne are essentially the same, with the major difference of the effervescence. Sparkling wines are more for celebrations like birthdays, weddings and of course New Years.

Wines are also distinguished and named for the geographic area they were made and the type of grapes they were made from. For example, Bordeaux and Chianti for locations and Pinot and Merlot for the type of grape. European wines have traditionally been named for both the location and the type of grape, while most others are just the type of grape.

When is comes to wines, the type of glass you drink out of is very important. Believe it or not, wine glasses are specifically designed for particular types of wine. For red wines the glass has a rounder bowl and a larger opening that allows you to get the full aroma from the wine by letting you actually stick your nose in the glass while drinking. These glasses are also commonly known as burgundy glasses. White wines are best served in a glass with a slimmer bowl that releases aromas like the red wine glass, but the slimmer bowl also assists in keeping the wine at a cooler temperature. Sparkling wines are commonly held in slimmer glasses similar to white wines, but are usually much taller and designed to hold the carbon dioxide (bubbles) longer. Sweet wines are much higher in alcohol and this one main reason they are served in short slim glasses, this is also to direct the wine to the back of the mouth which helps prevent your taste buds from becoming overwhelmed with by the sweetness alone.

With some basic understanding of the types and flavors of wines, as well as the types of glasses they are best served in can be a very handy bit of knowledge. The next time the subject comes up you can amaze your friends with your worldly culture and sophistication, or impress dinner guests with your vast knowledge of why the wine you served goes with the meal. I myself love to twirl my wine glass and take long inhalations like a professional taster until someone asks why, and then I lay it all out at once so I look really smart. How you use your new found knowledge is up to you.