Baltimore Style Magazine – What’s Your Wine Style?

Baltimore Style Magazine – What’s Your Wine Style?


While you may have a sense of style in fashion, it’s time to connect with your wine style. Are you bubbly, crisp, mellow, juicy or bold? To categorize wine by “style,” you need to know that they’re grouped by similar characteristics, such as color, body, flavors, acidity, tannins and sweetness. Wine stores and restaurants have begun using this approach, and if you understand the wine style, you can narrow your search without a deep knowledge of geography or grape varieties.

Mark Bachman, of V-No Wine Bar in Fells Point, explains, “By grouping our wines by style instead of country of origin, we remove the stress many people associate with picking the right bottle. Once we hone in on what style a customer prefers, say ‘crisp white,’ they can feel confident whether they choose the Pinot Grigio from Italy or the Sauvignon Blanc from California.” P.F. Chang’s Asian Bistro also has its wine list organized by style, making ordering a less stressful ordeal. Here are some essential styles:

  • Crisp:Light- to medium-bodied whites with high acidity. Think Sauvignon Blanc, Spanish Albari—o and Argentinean Torrontes. Great pairings for lighter foods such as salads, seafood, salty foods and as an aperitif.
  • Mellow: Softer, medium-bodied whites with lower acidity and possibly oak aging. Think white Burgundy, California Chardonnay or Australian Semillon. Great with heartier dishes like white meats, creamy pastas or meaty fish.
  • Lush:Full, rich and big fruit flavors. Think Viognier, Alsatian Gewurztraminer, Oregon Pinot Gris or Chardonnay. These intense and sometimes exotic flavors lend themselves to fuller-flavored or spicy dishes.
  • Juicy:Lighter reds and Rosé are full of juicy fruit flavors and have low or soft tannins. Think dry Rosé from Provence, cool-climate Pinot Noir or Beaujolais. They can be served chilled— best with lighter meats or heartier seafood.
  • Smooth:Medium- to full-bodied reds with soft or velvety tannins. Think Australian Shiraz, softer styles of Merlot and California Pinot Noir. Pair with heartier fare like burgers, red meats and barbecue ribs.
  • Big & Bold:Fullest reds with firm tannins and intense flavors. Think California Cabernet Sauvignon, Italian Barolo and Argentinean Malbec. These bold wines match with the heartiest of red meats, game and stews.

In addition to these categories there are special styles to consider like Bubbly for sparkling and Sweet for dessert wines. While individual wine stores and restaurants may use different names for their wine styles, they generally fit these criteria. So get out there and connect with your wine style— it will make finding the right bottle so much more fun and fashionable.

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