Buying fine wine for investment purposes can often be more than a mere financial pursuit. While it pays to take heed of market trends and expert opinions to get the best return on investment, there is also a hobbyist aspect to the process. Fine wine is known as a “passion asset” for a reason; it can be rewarding to immerse oneself in the culture of fine wine. To this end, it helps to have some knowledge of the different types of wine that are available. As well as this guide that will briefly introduce the primary types that are produced and made available for purchase, UKV International have an informative explainer video to watch.
There are three major varieties of sparking wine; Champagne, Cava, and Prosecco which refer to the region in which it is produced. Champagne, the most well-known of the sparkling wines, is French and is produced in accordance with strict regulations. Vintage-quality champagne is aged for three years before it is fit to be disgorged. Prosecco is a lighter, and often sweeter, wine than champagne. It is produced primarily in the Veneto region of Italy and has a softer level of effervescence than its French counterpart. Cava comes from the Catalonia region of Spain and is produced with similar methods to champagne, albeit with different grapes. It typically has a sweeter and more citrus-like flavour than the French wine and is drank after meals. Champagne has historically outperformed the other two sparkling varieties in the past, but the popularity of the other two has soared in the past decade.
Rosé is not, as some believe, simply a made by mixing red and white grapes. It has its own involved production process and comes in a variety of styles, both sweet and dry. The most popular dryer rosé wines are made with syrah, or shiraz, grapes and typically originate from the Mediterranean. If you prefer a sweeter wine, then look to invest in rosé made in the southern French regions.
White wine can usually be separated into two distinct categories. “Lighter” white wines tend to contain fruity flavours and are served with a wide variety of food due to their perceived versatility. Look for French whites such as Sauvignon Blanc or the Italian Pinot Grigio wines if you wish to invest in this type of wine, as they are by far the most popular.
White wines that are produced to give a richer flavour as known as “full-bodied”. These wines are typically aged in oak barrels to give a smoother and fuller taste. They typically have a more overpowering presence than the lighter white wines and as such are not as ubiquitous as dinner wines, although they do still pair well with a large variety of food. The classic full-bodied white is made from chardonnay grapes and wines of this nature from the Burgundy region can be some of the most highly valued of all investment grade wine.
There are three primary types of red wine; in addition to the lighter and fuller designations that white wine is also categorised into there are also “medium-bodied” reds. Lighter reds are just that: lighter in colour, often fairly pale and able to be seen through. These wines tend to be fairly fruity in flavour and pair well with meat and cheese dishes. They are not the most popular of the investment wines but still see a fair showing on the secondary markets.
The medium-bodied reds are the most common dinner wines of the reds and are fairly common as a result. Some of the most popular investment wines fall into this category, make with grapes such as merlot and cabernet franc. There are many different reds in this style however, varying across many of the different appellations in France.
Finally, the full-bodied red wines account for some of the most well-renowned and highly valued of all investment wines. The full-bodied reds have a rich, and occasionally bitter flavour with hints of tobacco and black pepper amongst other ingredients. Many of the famous Bordeaux reds fall into this category, which made with famous Malbec and Carbernet Sauvignon grapes.
Hopefully, this UKVInternational wine guide will help you cater your investment wine choices to your personal tastes, and allow you to build up a portfolio that reflects your own passions and interests to the fullest.