We can distinguish 5 basic classifications to categorize wine:
- general or by its elaboration: this classification will divide between still wines and those that have some special characteristic derived from their elaboration process.
- by its sugar content: depending on the residual sugar content of the wine (remaining from its fermentation) we can distinguish different categories.
- by its colour: here we find white, rosé and red wines.
- because of their age: or rather because of the aging time of the wine.
- for the variety or grape varieties from which it is obtained: we will distinguish if the wine has been made with a single grape variety or, on the contrary, it is a mixture of several.
The previous classification is quite broad and used. However, the latest trends, lead to classify wines according to their style without entering into differentiation by processing method or other characteristics:
- Sparkling wines
- Light whites
- Whites with body
- Aromatic whites
- Light reds
- Reds with body
- Special wines: sweet, liquor wines …
As we said this classification will differentiate the wines between still wines (those that do not have CO2 content and that are usually dry) of those wines that have some special characteristic derived from their elaboration method.
- Still wines
- Special wines
- Generous and Liquor or Sparkling
- Wine derivatives (flavored wines, vermouth …)
CLASSIFICATION FOR SUGAR CONTENT
Derived from the fermentation process we can find remains of sugar that has not been consumed totally in this process (residual sugar)
To classify still wines by their sugar content we will generally use the following levels:
- Very dry <1 g / l of sugar
- Dry 1-5 g / l sugar
- Semi-dried 5-15 g / l of sugar
- Semi-sweet 15-30 g / l of sugar
- Sweets 30-120 g / l of sugar
- Very sweet> 120 g / l of sugar
For sparkling wines, there is another nomenclature depending on the sugar content of the wine and we will see it when we talk about special wines and, specifically, sparkling wines.
CLASSIFICATION BY COLOR
This is the most simple and obvious classification for all.
- White wine
- Rosé wine
- Red wine
CLASSIFICATION BY AGEING
In this case we will distinguish the types of wine depending on their aging or resting times in the cellar.
- Young Wines: these are the wines of the year that have not gone through the barrel, but their production is done in other types of materials (stainless steel, for example). As a rule, they will be wines that will focus their aromas in the primary range, respecting the characteristics varietals These wines are intended to be consumed young so it is recommended to be consumed 12-24 months after its preparation.
- Aged wines: those wines that have spent some time during their production process either in barrels and / or bottles for aging or on lees. These wines will show varietal aromas but also those derived from their aging and entering a range of secondary and tertiary aromas. These wines are made with aging capacity and save so they can be consumed between 3-10 years and even more according to their characteristics.
Each Denomination of Origin in Spain has different regulations in terms of the time required to categorize the wines according to their aging periods. As an example, we will consider the D.O. Rioja as one of the best known and most representative. In this area, we find the following classification:
- Crianza: wines with 2 years of aging, of which at least 1 has been in barrels.
- Reserva: wines with 3 years of aging of which at least 1 has been in barrels and the rest in bottle.
- Gran Reserva: wines with 5 years of aging of which at least 2 are in barrels and the rest in bottle.
This is a particular way of classifying wines according to the grapes that compose them. Fundamentally, two groups can be established:
- Single varietals: they use only one grape to be made.
- Blend of varieties: wines composed of different varieties. We should not confuse ourselves with the French term “coupage” which refers to the making of a wine by mixing several different wines made separately.