The variety that we have at our disposal in the market is considerable. It is enough to go to any shopping center and see the large number of types of wine that we have within our reach. Luckily, there is already a classification, in which to know the kinds of wines that you can enjoy today.
White, red, fruity, old, young, sweet, dry wines… the types of flavors and the large number of types of variants existing today is considerable. Something that makes it difficult to recognize these products. Fortunately, today we have within our reach a more or less standardized and duly accepted classification of wines, so that the different types of Spanish wines are properly organized and make it easier to recognize them by their main characteristics.
To make it easier for you to understand the different products that you can find in any wine comparator, we leave you in detail this complete classification, which today serves as a standard in this regard. A list where the different strains of wine used are taken into account, as well as the maturation and processing processes, which result in different flavors, coming from the wine grapes used in the process. Data that helps you better understand both the characteristics of the wine and the pairing and its meaning.
The first segment that we are going to analyze is that of the types of white wine (by clicking on this link you can find some purchase options) that we can find on the market. We can start by talking about the lightest and driest, with little maturation, acid and without body, which do not usually go through barrels or the like. Just the opposite of dry and wide wines, with a greater body and that can be aged in barrel or bottle. Some dry broths, in theory, but they can have a point of sweetness. Finally, we would have dry and concentrated white wines, aged in barrels and bottles and which are equivalent to the hardest whites.
On the other hand, within the whites, we have aromatic wines, noted for their aromas and that can be dry or semi-dry. We are talking about fruity wines that are more pleasant on the palate than older wines, in which much of the sugar has already been converted into alcohol. The last group within the white wines are the sweet and liqueur ones, intensely concentrated in both body and flavours.
Red and rosé wines
The second group, the most numerous, is the one made up of red and rosé wines. Let us remember that both come from the same grapes, although in the case of rosés, different methods are used to give the wine that particular color, either by means of skins, bleeding or by mixing the base wines.
Precisely the rosés are the first products that we find in this section. We are talking about young wines, which are not suitable for aging and which differ from each other by a greater or lesser level of sweetness. Within this section, we can find conventional rosés and clarets. The latter includes a mixture of red grapes and white grapes, unlike the more traditional rosé, whose elaboration we have already commented on before.
When it comes to pure red wine types, we would start by mentioning light or unaged red wines. Although in general red wines tend to be rather hard wines, we also have young alternatives, in the same way as whites with little maturation. They are smooth wines, made with grapes that are not particularly intense in flavor and that have hardly gone through any aging process. The result is light and low-tannin wines, much softer than the most powerful and robust ones.
In the central part of this segment, we have medium-bodied wines, where most of the products found on the market are accumulated. Let’s say that it is the most common proposal when buying red wines, with a wide variety of products and options. Although, in general, they are medium quality wines, it is also possible to find some interesting and superior quality wines in this segment. Harder are the concentrated wines, made with a very intense approach, a high concentration of tannins and a strong and powerful aroma.
The premium range of reds begins with the aged wines. They are the typical wines of the classic regions, recognized for their high quality, as well as the harvests of the secondary regions but that stand out for their careful aging, generally in the bottle. It is important that this wine is at an optimal point of maturation for consumption, because if it is past its date, the wine enters its decline phase, thus ruining the work of many years.
By the way, although it is not usual, lately the market is betting on sweet red wine, with softer and fruitier touches that we will generally enjoy under normal conditions and with the most classic products. Something similar happens with black wine. This presents the traditional shades of red, but with a much darker color. The result is an opaque wine that practically prevents seeing against the light. A good alternative to enjoy even more intense flavors.
These wines are common in all kinds of celebrations and their consumption is not usually so frequent, compared to the more daily use of the whites and reds that we have been commenting on. They also have a simpler classification with respect to existing varieties.
In this classification, we have light and fruity wines, which have a wide variety between quality and style of the final product. Among the most outstanding references of these wines, we have the Spanish cava or the Italian Prosecco. More powerful are usually the wines with an intense cut, where the king is French champagne. A product that can be presented in different intensities and varieties such as dry, semi-dry and other similar proposals, in which the main difference is the level of sugar present in the wine.
Finally, we have to talk about the lighter and more aromatic wines. Products with a pleasant fruit flavor and a high level of sweetness, accompanied by a not very high alcohol content. An approach where Lambrusco has become one of the references in this category.
Sweet and special wines
The last group is made up of a series of wines that, by default, do not quite fit into those that we have previously proposed. So there is no special uniformity within the origin and characteristics of each product.
To begin with, we can talk about wines that have undergone partial fermentation, among which the most common reference is Port. This is made with the Port strain through an incomplete fermentation process. The final product is completed with the addition of alcohol from other sources, in order to give the product the corresponding alcoholic strength. They are not one of the best known options beyond this specific variant.
More famous in Spain are the fortified wines, which already have a strong and dense level, but also have an addition of alcohol, with which to increase the degree. Among the examples of these wines, we have Manzanilla or Fino de Jerez, recognized for their intensity and pleasant sensations in the mouth.
Different from all the wines that we have mentioned are the mistelas. A product that, although it is usually linked to this world, the truth is that they are mixtures of must with alcohol. The preparation is similar to that of some liqueurs and has the advantage of maintaining the flavor of the fruit with which the must is prepared, while generating a suitable alcoholic strength for the corresponding type of wine. Among these products is the Moscatel which, thanks to this approach, can be presented in different alcoholic strengths and with variable flavors, depending on the origin of the grape and its flavors.
Nor are raisined or toasted wines very traditional. These products are not made with conventional grapes, but rather raisins are used for their preparation. They are obtained through a process of dehydration of the grape, which generates an increase in the concentration of sugar and a loss of the amount of water present in the fruit. Obviously, this treatment prevents fermentation, so the production process is carried out by adding wine alcohols, macerating these raisins in the corresponding alcohol.
With everything we have discussed, we would have enough data to classify the wines with respect to their origin and method of preparation. However, there is a second criterion with which to classify wines: the maturation time of the wine. A reference that, in many cases, runs parallel to the products that we have been commenting on but that also serves as a reference to classify the different types of wine that we can find on the market.
Although the times are variable, the truth is that there are four main groups of products regarding this parameter. Starting with the wines that do not go through this maturation process, we would have the young wines. Some wines that do not usually develop very intense flavors and that do not lose the fruity touch of the grape, when it comes to enjoying its flavor.
The next group is made up of aging wines, which have an aging period of at least 24 months for reds and 18 months for whites and rosés. Of this period, at least 6 of those months must pass in barrels, with a maximum capacity of 330 litres. A process that develops part of the flavors of the grape and also provides nuances of the wood in which the barrel is made.
As for reserve wines, the times are extended considerably. In the case of reds, they must spend at least 36 months aging with at least 12 months in barrels. As for white and rosé wines, the total aging period extends over 24 months, six of which must be spent in barrels.
Finally, it is time to talk about the Gran Reserva wines, the ones that have to wait the longest before ending up in a bottle. For these wines, the established maturation period is 60 months for red wines and 48 months for rosé and white wines. Of this period, it is necessary that they spend at least 18 months in the barrel for the reds and 6 months for the rosés and whites. A prolonged period that serves for a full development of all the flavors of the wine.
according to the origin
As a last aspect with which to classify wine, it is necessary to talk about its origin and approach. A qualification in which we find terms that are already known to us and that also mark the quality of the product.
The worst quality and simplest wines are called table wines. It is the typical cardboard wine with an adjusted price and for daily use. Its legislation is very lax, although there are some regulations regarding its degree and characteristics.
More demanding are the regional quality wines, which have their own regulations and establish their technical characteristics. Within this section, we find three main groups: wines with a protected geographical indication or GP, those with a designation of origin and those with a certified designation of origin. Some broths that already have a series of parameters determined in their preparation and elaboration.
The culmination of this category would be the so-called pago wines. These products have specific edaphic properties, marked both by the microclimate of the area and by the composition of the land. Since it is these parameters that establish the characteristics of the wine, it is key that they are met from the planting of the plant to the aging process itself.