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4 Wine Styles To Rule Them All, Which one fits you?

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4 Wine Styles To Rule Them All

How do wine experts curate the most ideal wines for your taste? Believe it or not, there is a system to what defines the wine styles that most appeal to you. So what’s the secret to finding great wine?

The truth is, wine experts have a large repertoire of tasting experience and are capable of making connections across different varieties and regions in order to find something in a similar wine style. In order to build that repertoire, you’ll need to taste a lot of wines (sounds like a fun challenge, right?). There are, however, some basic techniques and understanding you can apply when reading wine descriptions that can help you find your wine styles.

4 Wine Styles

How do the words:

  • Elegant
  • Bold
  • Savory
  • Fruity

relate to wine?

A lil’ Justification: Breaking down all red wine into just 4 styles is a bit simplified because wine is such a complex and nuanced product. However, these styles help you explore different types of wine without having to blindly trust a sommelier. Anyway, a sommeliers’ job is to help you match your wine with food and to inspire you to try new wines.

4 different wine styles chart (infographic) by Wine Folly


Wine Descriptors

Find out what all the other words are to describe a wine; from austere to zippy.
120+ Wine Descriptions Infographic

Elegant vs. Bold Wines

We like to use the word elegant because ‘light’ sounds wimpy. Basically an elegant wine tastes lighter, leaner and more tart than a bold wine. Bold wines are forceful and fill your mouth with their taste; they are richer, rounder and more creamy than an elegant wine. For example, we picked a couple of outstanding US producers who consistently make wines in their respective style:

Quintessential Elegant Wine

Domaine Serene 2009 Pinot Noir
Fresh cherry and raspberry with clove and moderate acidity. Fruity and finessed.
Domaine Serene Yamhill Cuvée Pinot Noir

Quintessential Bold Wine

Blackberries and blueberries with clove and cigar box exploding from the glass. Opulent.
Joseph Phelps Insignia

Fruity vs. Savory Wines

People talk a lot about the fruit flavors in wine but there are also a lot of savory and herbal flavors. For instance, Syrah from the Northern Rhône is noted for its olive and bacon notes. Whether a wine has savory vs. fruity flavors has a lot to do with the grape variety and where it’s grown. Here are some standout examples of Fruity vs. Savory wines:

Quintessential Fruity Wine

Bold sweet blackberry and raspberry flavors with nuances of peppers. Spicy and juicy.
Seghesio Zinfandel

Quintessential Savory Wine

Pira Barolo
Sweet Tobacco, Wild berries and rustic tannin. Layered and complex.
Pira Barolo Vigna Rionda Nebbiolo

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AboutMadeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly

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