Red wine, white wine or rosé - these varieties are probably the most distinct from each other. But what is the difference between semi-sparkling wine and sparkling wine, and is a Prosecco actually sparkling wine? We shed some light on these questions!
Almost exclusively, light grapes are used to produce white wine. White wine is one of the most popular types of wine worldwide and accounts for almost half of all wines produced around the globe. Mostly, this wine is drunk young and is characterised by fresh, fruity aromas with a relatively high acidity. Well-known grape varieties are Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Blanc, for example.
For red wine, as the name and colour already suggest, only red grapes are processed. The colour of the wine comes from the skins of the fruits, which is why they ferment together with the must (the grape juice before or during fermentation). Colour intensity and tannin content are determined by how long the skin and must are in contact. This period can range from a few days (for light reds) to up to two weeks (for heavy wines). If the wines mature in oak barrels, they develop particularly balsamic notes. Well-known grape varieties for red wine are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir and Sangiovese.
As opposed to the common misconception that white and red grapes are mixed in rosé wine, actually only red grapes are used for its production. The pale red colour arises because the skins are separated very early from the must and therefore give little colour. Only rosé champagne is obtained from a mixture of light and dark grapes. Blending red and white wine to produce rosé is banned in the European Union. Frequently, the grape varieties Pinot Noir, Tempranillo and Pinotage, as well as Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are used for rosé wine.
Pearl wine, or semi-sparkling wine, is usually made with artificially added carbonic acid. This is often the carbonic acid that has escaped during the fermentation process. In Italy, these wines are labeled ‘frizzante’, in France ‘perlant’. Semi-sparkling wines are only slightly tingling with a pressure between 1 and 2.5 bar. Well-known representatives of this type are many simple Prosecco varieties from Italy. The alcohol content is about 7 percent by volume.
Sparkling wines are always produced using the base of a still wine, which has a relatively low alcohol content. As sparkling wine bubbles in the bottle, the typical natural carbon dioxide develops with an alcohol content of at least 10 percent by volume. To withstand the resulting pressure of at least 3 bar, the bottles must be particularly thick-walled. A well-known sparkling wine, champagne, may only be produced in French Champagne. Often, champagne and sparkling wine are also equated. Real German sparkling wine must, however, be made from a German still wine, in order to be allowed to be so called.
Sweet wines are made partially or wholly from grapes that are affected with noble rot and already contain less moisture. Therefore, they give off much less fluid than normal light or dark grapes. Accordingly, more is needed for the production of concentrated sweet wines, which also increases the cost factor. Among the most famous sweet wines include the Hungarian Trokajer and the Château d'Yquem from France.
If a wine has a volume of alcohol of more than 15%, it is usually one of the liqueur wines or fortified wines. The high alcohol content is achieved either by processing overripe grapes or the wine used as a base is fortified, or enriched with alcohol such as a wine spirit or brandy. As a result, the fermentation is stopped and more sugar remains in the grapes. Banyuls, Marsala, Madeira, port and sherry are particularly well-known liqueur wines.
Get £10* off by signing up to our newsletter
Registration also possible after order