The categories are a useful and needed invention, for someones also questionable, to orient yourself in the nearly infinite world of the wine. The products we find on the market are unique compositions of many natural aspects (like grapes, earth, weather, year) and human aspects (like viticulture, winemaking, tradition) so that even the most expert could get disoriented in front of such vastness. Therefore the categories help us, with out a specific didactic value, but in order to gather together the products under common denominators. The important is to take them for what they are, i.e. a guide and a range of comparison, and to remind that, essentially, the wines exist firstly.
The schemes we use to characterise the wine are essentially three: the wine color, the aromatic category and the winemaking process.
The classification based on the colour is the easiest. Depending on how long the grapes are in contact with the must during winemaking, a wine can be defined as white (without maceration), rosé (with a short maceration) or red (with a complete maceration). The maceration heavily affects the final product, as it determines the amount of chromatic and organoleptic compounds that are transferred from grape skins to wine. For this reason, the sensations of hardness will prevail in white and rosé wines, while we will find sensations of softness and astringency in red wines.
One of the most used and most immediate classifications is the aromacity. The wine can be of three types: aromatic, semi-aromatic and non-aromatic (or neutral), depending on the grape variety that is uses. The aromatic grapes and, in smaller quantity, the semi-aromatic ones, keep their olfactory profile unchanged during the winemaking, giving a profound and intrinsic experience of the original perfumes of the nature.
The aromatic grapes are: Brachetto, Malvasia family, Moscato family, Gewürztraminer (Traminer aromatico).
The semi-aromatic grapes are: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Glera, Lagrein, Merlot, Riesling, Sylvaner Kerner, Müller Thurgau.
The non-aromatic grapes are all the others.
There are several ways to transform grapes into wine and each of them finds, broadly speaking, a specific category. For example, depending on the level of carbon dioxide dissolved in the liquid, the wine can be still (without gas), semi-sparkling (with carbon dioxide with a pressure from 1,0 to 2,5 bar), or sparkling (with carbon dioxide with a pressure higher than 3,0 bar).
If the grapes are subjected to carbonic maceration and the wine is bottled before December 31.th, the wine is called novello (i.e. novel or young); at the opposite, in some ways, if the grapes are dried before being transformed, the wine is called passito.
Finally, between the more elaborated products, there are the fortified wine and the aromatized wine, added respectively with alcohol and aromas. Be careful not to confuse this last category with that of the aromatic wine seen above.