GOOD FRUITY WINES FOR BEGINNERS
When examining good fruity wines for beginners, it’s important to highlight that fine wine doesn’t offer the essence of just grapes when it comes to taste. Often, you can detect hints of other fruits that lead to a sweeter, richer flavor.
Fruity wines are ideal for beginners because of their sweet yet mellow flavor. They typically have a lower alcohol content and higher amount of sugar than other dry wines thanks to late harvesting techniques.
Harvesting and production techniques allow grapes for fruity wines to retain more of their natural sugars. Most connoisseurs recognize 35 g/L as the minimum amount of sugar necessary for a fruity wine to be considered sweet. Fruity wines often have high sugar content, but they don’t necessarily have to classify as a sweet wine.
Let’s dive into good fruity wines for beginners, exploring the production of fruity wines, varieties of fruity wines as well as purchasing and tasting tips for fruity wines.
GOOD FRUITY WINES FOR BEGINNERS: MAKING FRUITY WINE
There are many different processes winemakers use to produce a rich, fruity varietal. Although the type of grape and growth conditions play a pivotal role in taste, the winemaking process can also affect factors such as flavor and alcohol content.
In general, winemakers produce fruity wines by allowing grapes to ripen on the vine for longer, often well into the summer months. As the fruit ages, water levels decrease and sugar levels increase, allowing for the production of a much-sweeter wine.
Some vineyards allow their grapes to ripen off the vine instead to gain sweetness. Doing this has a similar effect to letting them sit in the sun, evaporating the water inside to raise the sugar concentration.
Some winemakers use the same grapes intended for dry wines to produce sweeter, fruitier varietals. By interrupting the fermentation process midway through, winemakers are able to remove yeast before it decreases the sugar content and raises the alcohol content, as with dry wines. Several popular types of sweet, fruity wines use this technique, including Muscato wines.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF FRUITY WINES
Fruity wines come in many different flavors and varietals, including reds, whites and rosés. While there’s no single definition of what counts as a good fruity wine, there are several types of wine that are renowned for their rich, fruity flavors.
The Muscato grape is native to Northern Italy and produces a sweet, full dessert wine that often carries notes of peach and apricot. This type of wine usually has a low alcohol content compared with other dry wines, sometimes dropping as low as 5.5 percent. This allows for high sugar content, giving the wine its signature flavor. Although you can find Muscato wines worldwide, those produced in Italy are known to be some of the finest available.
Riesling grapes originate from Germany and are widely known for their sweetness, but you can also find drier options as well. The grapes produce a white wine that pairs well with sweet dishes. The Riesling grape grows well under many conditions, and so you can find top-quality Riesling wines from around the world. Wine drinkers typically reserve Riesling for dessert, although drier bottles go well with savory dishes.
Although the Zinfandel grape might be black-skinned, winemakers use them to create rosy-colored White Zinfandel wines. Unlike with reds, the skin is quickly removed after the grapes are crushed, helping to mellow out the flavor and giving Zinfandel its signature appearance. White Zinfandel was first popularized in California, but in recent years, it’s grown to become a worldwide phenomenon. Thanks to its light, fruity flavor, Zinfandel is a good fruity wine for beginners.
Port wines get their name from Portugal, their country of origin. Most commonly drunk as a dessert wine, ports are known to be rich, sweet, and full-bodied. It’s aged and fortified to give the flavor an extra layer of complexity. Though many people think of port as exclusively a red wine, you can also find whites, rosés and blends known as Tawny Port. Sometimes, winemakers add brandy during the port-making process, producing a sweet wine with higher alcohol content. Many people drink port as a dessert wine or enjoy it by itself.
Beginners who prefer red wine often enjoy Beaujolais, a light, fruity red that comes from the district of Beaujolais in Burgundy, France. It’s made from the Gamay grape, which has a thin skin and is low in tannins, leading to a more mellow flavor than most red grapes lend. Most connoisseurs find Beaujolais wines to typically have berry notes such as cherry, strawberry and raspberry. It makes an excellent dinner wine, especially when paired with French and Italian dishes.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A FRUITY WINE
With so many different varietals to choose from, it can be a challenge to choose good fruity wines for beginners. The best place to start is by considering what you intend to pair a wine with, whether you’re looking for something light to have with appetizers or a sweeter option to enjoy alongside dessert.
Alcohol content is also an important consideration when buying fruity wines. Typically, the higher the alcohol content, the less sweet a wine will be. The best fruity wines usually have high sugar content and low alcohol content. Beginners who are looking for a sweet yet mellow wine should opt for those with a low alcohol volume.
TASTING TIPS FOR FRUITY WINES
Fruity notes tend to come out best when sweet wines are chilled. In general, most wines have the best flavor profile between 55 and 65 degrees Farenheight, though there are exceptions. Many people prefer to have port close to room temperature, but it’s still best enjoyed between 64 and 66 degrees.
You don’t have to reserve fruity wines for after dinner. Although wines such as Muscato and Riesling make an excellent addition to any dessert, those with lower sugar content tend to pair well with savory foods such as meats and cheeses.
Each person has a different palate, and no two of us enjoy wine in quite the same way. Taking tips from experts can help you in getting started exploring fruity wines, but the best way to find your favorite flavors and pairings is through experimentation.
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