Wine Culture

A Guide to Rose, Dessert and Sparkling Wines

When you start trying more wines, you also begin to learn that there are other types besides red and white wines. Although there aren’t any significant differences in the varieties of grapes used, these other types were harvested and processed differently.

Rose wines are generally pink in color, thus the name. Sometimes called blush or pink wines, they are made from red grapes, not pink (because there’s no such thing). The color comes from the removal of the grape skins a few moments after it comes into contact (in a process called maceration) with the grape juice. Some types however are made from mixing red and white wines.

1. Off-Dry or Bone-Dry Rose. Examples of this are Blush Wine and White Zinfandel.
2. Dry Rose. Dry Rose can either be Herbal Savory or Fruity Floral. Examples are Loire Rose, Bandol Rose, Tavel, and Rosado.

Sparkling Wine is made from any grape variety but it has trapped carbon dioxide bubbles. It’s like having carbonated drinks. The most famous sparkling wine is Champagne. True Champagne is made by fermenting the grape juice into alcohol then placing it in a bottle to trap the carbon dioxide gas. Sometimes yeast, sugar and yeast nutrients are added for carbonation.

1. White Sparkling Wine. This comes in four types, namely; dry/creamy/rich, dry/light/citrus, off-dry/floral, and sweet/apricots/rich. Examples are Vintage Champagne, Sec, Valdobbiadene, and Doux.
2. Red Sparkling Wine. This wine comes in three varieties. These are dry/raspberry/blueberry, sweet/blueberry/cherry and off-dry/raspberry/cherry. Examples are Sparkling Shiraz, Brachetto d’Acqui, and Lambrusco Amabile.
3. Rose Sparkling Wine. There are two type of rose sparkling wines. These are dry/strawberry/floral and off-dry/strawberry/orange. Examples of these two types are Cava Rose Brut and Moscato Rose, respectively.

As the name implies, a dessert wine is the perfect pair for a sweet dessert. It has a higher sugar content than most types of wines, a result of different harvesting and processing techniques. They were originally made to last long during trips in the Age of Exploration.
1. Red Fortified. Fortified wines have other distilled spirits mixed in them while the grapes are fermenting. Examples of the red fortified are Banylus, Maury and Rasteau.
2. White Fortified. Examples of white fortified are Muscat de Rivesaltes and White Port.
3. Nutty Oxidized Fortified. There are two types of nutty oxidized fortified wines. These are off-dry/almond like the Sherry and Madeira; and the sweet/hazelnut like the Tawny Port and Montilla-Moriles.

You might hear names like noble rot, ice wine, dried grape and late harvest wines. They are also dessert wines, but the names refer to the time the grapes were harvested. Noble rot wines are made from rotten grapes covered with a type of fungus. Ice wine is from frozen grapes or grapes left long enough on the vines until the temperature in the area becomes lower. Dried grape wine comes from grapes that were dried while still on the vine to preserve the sweetness. Late harvest wines are from very mature grapes that are sweet.