Types of Wine

While touring Santa Barbara Wineries you will come across a variety of different wines that are both grown and produced in Santa Barbara County. The 2004 hit movie "Sideways" gave the Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir regonition, but there are many other wines produced in the area that should not be overlooked. To give you a basic overview, you will come across both red and white wines, as well as other wines such as Zinfandel which has both red and white varieties. In addition, some wineries also make different types of Champagne. After reading this quick types of wine guide you will be more knowledgeable about the wine you are tasting while on your Santa Barbara wine tasting tour.

For those wine lovers in your life, consider a fine wine gift delivered to their doorstep to surprise them on any occasion.

*All aging recommendations are generalizations for premium wine. Check with the winery you are purchasing your wine from for aging specifications for that particular wine, not all wines age well, and some should NOT be aged. When you look up a winery or restaurant on 118 118 or a similar directory, you can ask the establishment about their wine list. There are several good websites and books available for more information on wine. If you explore our Wine Pairing 101 you will learn more about wine and excellent combinations.

Pinot Noir, one of the oldest and most difficult wines to make, is produced in Santa Barbara County. Pinot Noir generally is a light to medium bodied red wine that has flavors of berries and occasionally oak.

Cabernet Sauvignon generally has bolder flavors and a deeper color than other red wines. Commonly Cabernet Sauvignon is aged in oak barrels. Premium Cabernet Sauvignon ages well, and generally is best between five and ten years, but check with the winery for aging specifications of your wine.

Syrah aka Shiraz depending on what part of the world you are located. Syrah is a lighter red wine, generally full bodied with the aroma of fruit or in some cases chocolate. Syrah grapes are somtimes blended with other red wines such as Cabernet, and Merlot. Premium Syrah can be aged ten to fifteen years in some cases.

Chianti, a red wine that generally has fruity flavors. Chianti is primarily made from the Sangiovese grape.

Merlot is a lighter red wine than Cabernet Sauvignon, and sometimes blended with the later ripening Cabernet grapes to make wine. Merlot generally has hints of berry or currant. Merlot usually is best consumed within 6 years of its vintage date.

Chardonnay is the most popular white wine in the US. Chardonnay can have a variety of flavors from heavier oak to lighter Chardonnay that has hints of a variety of fruits.

Sauvignon Blanc, a light to medium bodied white wine, generally has scents of grapefruit, berries, melon, or occasionally vegetables such as bell peppers. Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with a variety of foods.

Pinot Grigio also known as Pinto Gris, is a light bodied white wine usually with hints of pepper and fruit such as melon. Pinot Grigio has become increasingly popular over the last 10-15 years in the US.

White Zinfandel is a pink colored wine generally sweet with very soft flavors. White Zinfandel usually does not age well and is best consumed soon after the vintage date.

Red Zinfandel is a very dark red colored wine. This wine is often produced throughout Californa and features a spicey flavor generally combined with fruity flavors such as berries.

Champagne is a sparkling wine produced at a few wineries in the Santa Barbara County area. Generally Champagne is produced using a combination of several grapes sometimes including: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or Pinot Blanc.