There are a million types of wine out there. Well, maybe not a million, but a lot. And there’s no way you’re going to learn all of them. So I decided I’d compile a list of some common types of wine and their characteristics. These wine types can actually be made all over the world, and called the same things (depending on the rules of the country). So a Syrah made in California may taste a little different than a Syrah from Australia, even though they’re called the same thing. Some of this is based on climate, terroir (there’s that word again), process and a million other things. So just keep in mind that if you were to taste 3 wines of the same type but from different countries, they may taste a bit different. These groupings are a good general idea of characteristics. The more you taste, the more you’ll get drunk. Sorry, I mean learn the flavor profiles. Here’s a guide. Taste them and then pinpoint the characteristics I mention by way of acid, flavors and acidity.


Barbera: Dry wine with very fruity notes (cherries, blueberries and blackberries). Low tannins and high acidity. Light wine, super drinkable. From: Italy, Argentina, California

Cabernet Sauvignon: Typically an oaked wine. Blackberry and currant flavors. High acidity. Smooth with a coarse finish. From: France, Italy, Australia, California

Malbec: Dry wine, strong tannins. Cherry, plum, raspberry and chocolate, sometimes oaked. Full bodied. Inky red wine. Medium acid. From: France, Argentina

Merlot: Dry, soft wine. Few tannins. Plums, cherries, blackberries, blueberry flavors. Medium acid. From: France, Italy, California, Washington State, Chile

Syrah: Dry wine, spicy and bold, round flavors. Chocolate and black pepper flavors. High acidity. From: France, Italy, Australia, California, Washington, South Africa

Pinot Noir: Light, dry wine. Smooth, easy to drink. Crisp finish and high acidity. From: France, Oregon, California, New Zealand, Australia


Chardonnay: Dry white wine, smooth with high acidity. From: France, California, Washington, Oregon, New York, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa

Gewurztraminer: Mildly sweet white wine. Smooth taste with low acidity. From: France, Germany, Washington, California, New York

Muscat: Fruity and sweet flavored wine. Full bodied with high acidity. From: France, California, Washington, Oregon, New York, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa

Pinot Grigio: Dry white wine. Light and crisp. High acid. From: Northern Italy, Spain, France, California

Riesling: Can be sweet or dry and less sweet. Soft and fruity. Low acid. From: France, Germany, Italy, Australia, Idaho, Oregon, New York, California, Washington, New Zealand

Sauvignon Blanc: Dry white wine. Crisp with high acidity. From: France, Oregon, Washington, New York, California, New Zealand, Australia

~ Dana