While the layman will tell you that there are two different types of wines – primarily red and white – there’s another classification: varietals and blends. A variety is the type of grape. Varietals are wines in which a single variety dominates the flavor, while blends are combinations of different varieties.
Before you think that varietal wine names like Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are just, well, fancy names for wines, they’re actually the names of the grapes that they’re made of. To the uninitiated, the names on the bottles can be confusing to read and doesn’t tell you much about what you’re getting. We chart them based on broad flavours and intensity.
3 Steps to help you pick the right notes
#1 Choose wines to complement the dominant flavours of a dish. Red wines with their high tannin content need fat for balance – the full bodied Misha Pinot Noir goes well with Osia’s signature milk-fed braised lamb shank.
#2 Sometimes, contradictions are good. Spicy food goes well with sweet wines like Gewurztraminer; combining very spicy food with wines of a high alcohol content is a no as that will intensify the heat. In addition, mixing contrasting flavours can transform the flavours of both elements – sweet Riesling with salty chips can make the chips bring out the savoury in the snack.
#3 Experiment! The best pairing is what your palate agrees with. Keep mixing and matching to find that right personal combination.