When you first start getting into wine, the number of different varietals can seem overwhelming. That’s why Underground Cellar is here to help! We recently sat down with our buyers and asked them about the most popular varieties on Underground Cellar, as well as which types they personally enjoy drinking. After all, it doesn’t do much good to have a vast wine cellar if you don’t enjoy drinking what you’ve got.
We asked the following questions: What are some common types of wine? Which ones do you drink personally? Do many people ask about them on Underground Cellar? Are there any varieties that you would never buy, due to personal taste or something else?
The following wines were the most commonly requested by our members:
Merlot – This deep red varietal is often described as having “notes of chocolate-covered cherries and currants, with subtle hints of coffee.” It is known for its smoothness and approachability, making it a common favorite among new drinkers.
Cabernet Sauvignon – Cabernet is well known for its powerful tannins and aromas of blackcurrant, green bell pepper, cedar, and tobacco. The best examples can age for years or even decades in the bottle before being opened.
Zinfandel – This dark red variety has very high acidity, but it is balanced by flavors of raspberry, cherry, and pepper. Zin is widely considered to be a favorite among beginning red drinkers because of its fruitiness.
Pinot Noir – Pinot Noir can be difficult to produce due in part to its thin skins and susceptibility to rot. However, when done right, a glassful reveals a bouquet of strawberry, raspberry jam, or other berries, and sometimes even a bit of smokiness.
Meritage – Meritage is simply any blend of Bordeaux grape varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec). It can be compared to the Italian wine Super Tuscan or the Spanish wines created by the Concha y Toro winery. Overall, Meritage is a relatively new category of wine, but it’s quickly becoming popular in its own right.
Sauvignon Blanc – This citrusy white variety has flavors that are reminiscent of grapefruit and gooseberry with hints of tropical fruit. It can have high acidity, but it is balanced by sweetness.
Pinot Grigio – Pinot Grigio wines are light yellow in color with flavors of green apple and lemon zest. For many years it was served with a splash of sweet “vin santo” or “holy wine.” This practice was thought to improve the flavor, but now most wine drinkers enjoy the variety dry.
Riesling – Riesling is a white wine with high acidity that can be produced in a sweet or dry style. A glass of this varietal reveals notes of apricot, peach, green apple, and honeydew melon.
Chardonnay – This French grape varietal is a staple of almost every wine cellar. It can go from “crisp and acidic” on the drier end of the spectrum to “buttery” when fully ripe on the right side. In general, Chardonnay wines have flavors of apple, pear, melon, and citrus with hints of butterscotch.
Cabernet Franc – Cabernet Franc has flavors of raspberries, plums, and black pepper. It is often blended with other Bordeaux varietals to create Meritage wines or full-bodied reds for aging.
Dessert Wine – If you’re looking for a dessert wine on Underground Cellar.