Main menu Open search menu

Which Types of Wine Will You Love?

BY: Peter Hopkins | Jan 10, 2017

Group of people at red and white wine tasting

What’s your favorite wine? If you aren’t sure, you won’t need to devote your life to enology to figure out the answer (though a little tasting know-how never hurts). We recommend a much more fun way to tour the many types of wine out there. Simply buy a sampler pack, pick a bottle (any bottle), pour yourself a glass, and click on its corresponding varietal below:

Red Wine

Cabernet sauvignon style wine glass Malbec style wine glass Merlot style wine glass Pinot noir style wine glass
Port style wine glass Rose style wine glass Syrah shiraz style wine glass  

White Wine

Pinot grigio style wine glass Riesling style wine glass  
Sauvignon blanc style wine glass Champagne sparkling wine style glass    

Next, click on what you think of it. No matter where you begin, our wine guide will transport you to your next recommendation based on your reaction to each varietal. As you explore, do you find yourself coming back to the same varietal over and over again? Congratulations! You’ve found your liquid soulmate! And if you don’t…. well, keep playing.

Shop Wine on Groupon

Rosé

When red-grape skins are removed from juice before fermentation, they can’t infuse wine with their intense hue. The result is rosé, a wine that’s light in color and flavor. In fact, the most notable characteristic of rosés is their easy-drinking flavor profiles, which feature mellow fruit notes.

Rose wine notable regions tasting notes serving temperature varietals food pairings

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Too Light

Love It!

Too Sweet

Merlot

Critters have been munching on crops for centuries, and merlot is proof. The varietal was named after merlau, the Eurasian blackbird that not only shared the grape’s distinctive black-blue color, but also treated the vineyards as their buffet. Around the same time—the late 18th century—merlot was declared some of the best wine in southern France, and it remains a favorite wine for many thanks to its well-rounded character.

Merlot notable regions tasting notes serving temperature varietals food pairings

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Too Sweet

Love It!

Too Rich

Malbec

Despite malbec’s origins in southern France, the varietal’s modern Argentine versions are its most famous. A French agronomist introduced malbec to South America in the mid-19th century. It has thrived there ever since, especially in the high-altitude Mendoza region, which produces highly acclaimed malbecs with velvety textures and powerful red-fruit flavors.

Malbec notable regions tasting notes serving temperature varietals food pairings

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Too Dry

Love It!

Too Tart

Syrah or Shiraz

In Europe or South America, you’d ask for a glass of syrah. In Australia, you’d say shiraz. Elsewhere, it goes by sirac or serine. No matter what the locals call it, however, these versatile, full-bodied types of wine pair dark-berry flavors with earthy undertones.

Syrah shiraz notable regions tasting notes serving temperature varietals food pairings

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Needs More Fruit

Love It!

Needs More Body

Cabernet Sauvignon

Although cabernet sauvignon is consistently bold in flavor, it has slight regional variations. For example, cabernet sauvignon from warmer climates tends to be more fruit-forward with notes of dark fruits and jam, while colder climates such as Northern California and Washington produce a distinctive vegetal flavor.

Cabernet Sauvignon notable regions tasting notes serving temperature varietals food pairings

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Too Fruity

Love It!

Too Full-Bodied

Pinot Noir

Despite its dark fruit—the name pinot noir means “black pine” in French—this varietal is one of the lighter shades on the red-wine spectrum. Strawberry, raspberry, and cherry are common flavors, which can be developed alongside vegetal notes if you let the wine age.

pinot noir notable regions tasting notes serving temperature varietals food pairings

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Needs More Fruit

Love It!

Too Light

Port

Port is a blend of Portuguese red wine and aguardente, a spirit whose name translates to fire water. And with good reason. The spirit not only raises the alcohol content of port, but stops the fermentation process entirely, allowing much of the grape’s sugars to remain. It’s no surprise then that this wine is characterized by its sweetness.

port wine notable regions tasting notes serving temperature varietals food pairings

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Too Sweet

Love It!

Too Heavy

Riesling

Most wines’ flavors come from their grapes. Riesling, however, is “terroir expressive,” which means its characteristics are derived from its growing environment. That’s why the fruit-forward white wine varies in flavor and texture depending on the vineyard’s sun exposure, latitude, and soil. In general, though, riesling from cooler climates exhibits higher acidity and apple and pear notes, while warmer climates produce a sweeter, more citrusy wine.

riesling notable regions tasting notes serving temperature varietals food pairings

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Too Sweet

Love It!

Too Citrusy

Chardonnay

A glance at any chardonnay label will tell you whether or not the wine was aged in oak barrels. This may seem secondary to the grapes themselves, but chardonnay is a neutral varietal that is heavily influenced by the barrels in which it ferments. For example, American oak is known to impart a vanilla flavor, while slightly charred oak barrels makes the wine taste slightly toasted.

chardonnay notable regions tasting notes serving temperature varietals food pairings

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Needs Citrus

Love It!

Needs Bubbles

Sauvignon Blanc 

Sauvignon blanc is best drunk young and doesn’t benefit from aging in the bottle, earning it an unusual distinction as one of the first varietals to popularize screwcap bottles. So, twist off the cap of a chilled sauvignon blanc and treat yourself to the crisp and refreshing fruit-forward wine.

sauvignon blanc notable regions tasting notes serving temperature varietals food pairings

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Too Crisp

Love It!

Too Light

Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio

Nearly genetically identical to pinot noir, these two types of wine are only visually distinguishable from their sibling by the slightly lighter shade of the grapes, the result of a centuries-old genetic mutation. Despite this similarity, pinot gris is used almost exclusively to make white, rather than red, wine. Typically the color of light straw, pinot gris has a wide range of regional styles, from the full-bodied, fruity Alsatian variety to the more acidic and balanced Italian style, known as pinot grigio.

pinot grigio pinot gris notable regions tasting notes serving temperature varietals food pairings

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Too Dry

Love It!

Too Muted

Sparkling Wine

Champagne may be the most famous sparkling wine, but Old World wine-producing countries are full of similar styles. If you’re looking for a sparkling wine that follows the same traditional methods of carbonation and fermentation as champagne, but want to experience different regional flavors, franciacorta from Italy, cava from Spain, and higher-end bottles of Germany’s sekt are all typically produced in the méthode traditionnelle

sparkling wine notable regions tasting notes serving temperature varietals food pairings

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Keep It Light,
Lose the Bubbles

Love It!

Keep It Sweet,
Lose the Bubbles


Related Guides

Wine Tasting 101Welcome to Wine Tasting 101

Your wine-tasting experience won't be intimidating if you follow our advice on swirling, sipping, and spitting.
5 American Wine Regions Beyond Napa Valley5 American Wine Regions Beyond Napa Valley

A bottle of great American wine might be closer than you think.