8 Most Common Basic Wine Types

8 Most Common Basic Wine Types

There are so many different wines that are available, it often will cause the consumer a feeling of overwhelm.  If you are a beginner and you want to educate yourself without over spending, there are 8 basic wines, 4 White Wine Types, and 4 Red Wine Types.  If you learn to navigate these common basic wine types, and become comfortable with your choices, then you can start to branch out in the direction your tastes lead you.



As you may have noticed, I do not have much pretence when it comes to selecting vino.  I always like to have fun with tastings, and not venture into wine “snobdom”. As a sincere sommelier once told me: “Buy what you like, not what will impress others”.  If you are hosting your own tasting, enjoy sharing with friends, and remember there are no rules!  The Independent News Sommelier takes it a step further and discusses buying the cheapest bottle you can find.

Common Basic Wine Types
Common Basic Wine Types Courtesy of Wine Folly


If you attend a tasting lead by a sommelier, you will notice that the white wine is always served first.

White Wines

White Wine

  1. The first white wine is Riesling wine. This vino taste is citrus, floral and sweet and very high in acid.
  2. Next is Pinot Gris. This is a dry light bodied, smooth citrus, easy drinking, and will often leave a bitter flavour on the palette.
  3. The third is Sauvignon Blanc. There is an aggressive citrus taste with an addition of some exotic fruits.  It is light bodied to medium bodied.  It can be tart.
  4. Chardonnay is the last white wine, for this purpose. It has a more lemon citrus flavour and can finish with cinnamon, butterscotch, and toasted caramel.

The Red Wines follow the White Wines




  1. Pinot Noir: This red wine has a dominant red fruited taste, like cherries or cranberry, with a red floral or rose. It is a dry and lighter bodied and high in acid.  A sommelier once told me “You can never go wrong with Pinot Noir”
  2. The next red wine is Zinfandel. This red wine has a broad assortment of fruits like nectarine, plum, blueberry, blackberry, and boysenberry, finishing with sweet tobacco.  It is usually medium bodied.
  3. The Syrah is next. This red wine is full bodied, presenting the taste of blueberry, plum, black pepper, meat, tobacco and violet.
  4. The last red wine is Cabernet Sauvignon. This red wine is full bodied with the taste of black currant, black cherry and cedar. 


I want to be clear that this is not an exhaustive list of wine types that are available in this global market, rather the common basic wine types.  It is a simple list that anyone can be confident in adhering to.  If you are experimenting on your own, or sharing wine in a social setting, this list will guide you in your wine selection.  Most importantly, enjoy yourself!




If you have any questions of comments, I welcome them below.Judy





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  1. Merry

    June 1, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    I love the Okanagan and love that wine is made there. I recently saw an article on B.C. and how you can go from one winery to the other for tasting. That would be so awesome. Thank you for showing us the order wines would be tasted in. I had no idea there was an order and the that the white wines would go first. Makes perfect sense now. Lovely site and so glad I had the opportunity to visit.

    1. Judith

      June 1, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      Thank you for the comment. It is true about the closeness of the wineries in the Okanagan. They have tours where they pick you up and drive you around all day! No worry about driving!

  2. Mark Perkins

    June 1, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Love this post, I have learned a new word today “sommelier” thank you for that.
    I was once at a function and sitting next to me, was one of the first winemakers in the area and he asked me “Do you like that wine”, I said “yes”, he continued “it must be a good one then”.
    How true.
    Zinfandel would that be similar to a Merlot?
    Thank you

    1. Judith

      June 1, 2017 at 5:19 pm

      Thank you for the comment. A Zinfandel would have aa higher alcohol content, have more acidity and be sweet, while a Merlot is softer and richer, with lower acidity and has the taste of cherries. they are quite different actually.

      1. Mark Perkins

        June 1, 2017 at 10:22 pm

        interesting, I shall go look for some, is it known by another name? For instance in NZ we call pinot grigio, pinot gris.

        1. Judith

          June 2, 2017 at 7:47 am

          Thank you for the comment. Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are from the same grape, but Gris is grown in France, and Grigio is in Italy, thus creating slightly different flavour.

  3. Baukje

    June 1, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Thank you for the wine explanations! I love wine (obviously) but am in no way a connoisseur as I am often standing in the store wondering which one is what lol! Now at least I have a guideline headed in to the store for my next wine purchase. Thanks so much!

    1. Judith

      June 1, 2017 at 5:11 pm

      Thank you for the comment. Cheers!

  4. Irma

    June 1, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    Thank you for this list; I will keep it in mind for my next get together. It seems that wine is becoming more popular with the people that I hang with.
    Is there a particular reason that white wines have a citrus taste? I cannot say that I have ever noticed it before, but I will be checking in the future.

    1. Judith

      June 1, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      Thank you for the comment. The citrus taste in these wines are because of the originating grape. This would be subtle

  5. Eric Cantu

    June 1, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    my last girlfriend loved her wine. I found that I’m a cab lover. I really need to learn more about wine, especially what foods to pair with it. Great post! thank you!

    1. Judith

      June 1, 2017 at 6:12 pm

      Thank you for the comment. I am always learning too, and it is great fun.

  6. Bob

    June 1, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    I love the ‘no rules’ advice for tastings. Very practical insight to start the wine journey through education and fun. Thanks

    1. Judith

      June 1, 2017 at 6:19 pm

      Thanks for the comment. the best rules are no rules. For Wine, that is!

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