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: Crane Family Vineyards 2010 Reserve, 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: Brecon Estate 2014 Albarino, Central Coast
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: Summit Lake 2013 "Blythe Susan", Howell Mountain
95 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: Armand de Brignac NV Blanc de Blancs, 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: Magnotta 2013 Limited Edition, Riesling Icewine, Niagara Peninsula
95 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: Stone Hill NV Cream Sherry, Missouri
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: Westport NV "Boomrunner" Pomegranate Wine, Washington
96 points
 
Sake
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Sake is a type of rice wine produced in Japan. While it is referred to as a wine, it is actually produced more like a beer in its fermentation process. Sake has an alcoholic content of 18%-20%, although it is sometimes diluted down to 15% with the addition of water.
Top Rating: Okunomatsu Daiginjo Shizukuzake
94 points
 
Mead
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Traditional meads should incorporate only honey as a fermentable ingredient, along with water and of course yeast. They can range in character from dry to semi-sweet to sweet, and may be sparkling or still. While not necessarily “traditional”, they may also be fortified and/or barrel-aged. Whether the honey used is a single varietal or a mixture, it is important for a successful traditional mead to evidence the floral nature of the honey; indeed, it should be the defining characteristic. Some acidity is often desired to balance sweetness, but this is not necessary. Lighter versions may be analogous to white wines of corresponding sweetness/dryness, but should present distinctly honeyed emphasis.
Top Rating: Honeywood NV White Clover Honey Mead
95 points