Red Wines
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Red wine is made from red grapes; as most red grapes have juice that is clear, the color of a red wine is the result of skin contact during maceration prior to fermentation.
Top Rating: Renteria 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
97 points
 
White Wines
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White wines are those made from so-called "white" grapes, in which the skins have been removed form the juice before fermentation. This results in a white wine, yet the hue of a white wine ranges from straw to golden yellow and everything in between. As some grapes used for white wine have a pink or copper color (such as Gewurztraminer or Pinot Gris, respectively), white wines made form these varieties will tend to have a copper or slight golden or silver color.
Top Rating: Jarvis 2014 Finch Hollow, Chardonnay, Napa Valley
96 points
 
Rosé Wine
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Rosé is wine made from red grapes that has had minimal contact with the grape skins to yield a blush, copper, salmon or pink color. Rose's can be made form any number of red grapes, from lighter-styled, such as Grenache to a more robust style of red, such as Cabernet Sauvignon. While a rosé could be a blend of white and red wines, most of the finest and most famous rosés are made exclusively from red grapes; of course; the color of the wine can only come from red grapes. (note that for a Rosé sparkling wine, white wines are often part of the blend with red wines).
Top Rating: Handley Cellars 2015 Estate Vineyard Rosé, Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley
93 points
 
Sparkling Wines
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Sparkling wine has effervesence - bubbles- that are the result of a secondary fermentation. This fermentation can take place in the bottle itself or in a tank, after which it is then bottled.
Top Rating: Bouché Père et Fils 2004 Champagne
96 points
 
Dessert Wines
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A dessert wine is one that contains enough residual sugar to be considered too sweet for dinner. Some of these wines are naturally sweet, while others are fortified. Examples of the former category include Auslese from Germany or passito from Italy, while fortified dessert wines include port as well as sweet sherries such as oloroso.
Top Rating: Frost Bitten 2015 Ice Wine, Riesling, Yakima Valley
96 points
 
Fortified Wines
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A fortified wine is one in which a neutral alcoholic spirit or grape brandy has been added to increase the alcoholic level. Famous examples include port, sherry and vermouth.
Top Rating: Peachy Canyon NV Port, Zinfandel, Paso Robles
96 points
 
Fruit Wines
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We have extolled the virtues of traditionally made American fruit wines for some years now; the category is full of well made and downright excellent wines. Perhaps most surprising is the fact that some of the best wines are actually made in dry table styles. These are often at their best with food. 'It's really exciting to match these wines with food,' said Maine blueberry winemaker Bob Bartlett, 'because there's no history, no precedent.' He suggests serving blueberry wine with Italian dishes or grilled lamb, and pear wine with smoked fish. A tasty thought indeed.
Top Rating: One Nation NV WHITE, American
93 points
 
Sake
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What is it? That’s the most frequent question asked by those seeking to buy a bottle of saké. Is it rice wine? Is it more similar to beer? The simple answer is that saké is saké. It’s neither wine nor beer, but saké is made using fermentation methods similar to those used in making both wine and beer. To jump to the end, saké is a distinctly unique alcoholic beverage, made from rice, using a fermentation method unlike that used to make any other alcoholic beverage.. Sake has an alcoholic content of 18%-20%, although it is sometimes diluted down to 15% with the addition of water.
Top Rating: Kenbishi Mizuho Junmai
96 points
 
Mead
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Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermentation of a honey & water mixture. Simple enough, but the breadth of mead is expanded with the use of other fermentable ingredients, non-fermentable additives, and various other techniques. Mead is sometimes called “honey wine”. This is technically incorrect, as wine involves the fermentation of fruit; however, the alcoholic strength (and taxation) and flavor profile of mead is not dissimilar from wine. Mead should be considered its own category of fermented beverage, a cousin of the more well-known beer and wine.
Top Rating: Helderberg Meadworks "Feral" Wild Yeast Mead
85 points