How To Spot A Sweet White Wine
Have you ever tasted a certain style of wine just to understand that the wine you bought does not have the same taste you expected? Maybe you have a dinner planned that goes perfectly with the sweet Riesling, or you just want a crispy Sauvignon Blanc. You are in the wine department and have no idea how to tell if the wine will be sweet or dry, because all the labels are confusing the AF. Dont be afraid. Here are some tips and tricks to understand how sweet the wine will be before you buy it:
Check the ABV and RS
Sweetness is measured by calculating the residual sugar left in the wine after fermentation. If all the sugar in the wine has been transformed into alcohol, then the alcohol by volume tends to be high and the RS will be low . This wine will be at the driest end of the spectrum. On the other hand, if after fermentation the wine still has some sugar, then the ABV tends to be lower and the SR is higher, resulting in a sweeter wine. If you want a sweet wine, look for bottles with 11% GLA or lower, and for dry wines usually 14% or more. This is a good rule of thumb, but like any wine, there are exceptions.
Check out the common styles of sweet wine
Dry white: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris,
Dry red: Pinot Noir, Sira, Malbec, Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Fran.
Slightly sweet:Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Moscato.
Strongly sweet: dessert wines sherry, port, sauterne, cold wine.
But No One Understands The World Of Wine Better Than Sommeliers So We Asked A Bunch Of Them For Their Best Tips And Tricks For Picking Out A Good Bottle Every Time
Our pros were Bianca Bosker, sommelier and author of “Cork Dork” Kimberly Prokoshyn, sommelier at Scampi Dustin Wilson, master sommelier and co-founder of Verve Wine Brahm Callahan, master sommelier at Grill23 and Laura Maniec, master sommelier and co-founder of CorkBuzz. Here are seven of their most useful pieces of advice.
Sip The Rest Of Your Glass Slowly
It seems obvious, but chugging your glass doesnt help you taste the subtle flavors any better.
A really good wine will change its characteristics as it sits in the glass. The longer it is exposed to air, the more flavors emerge.
I find this especially true of white wines, which often develop a more tropical, fruity flavor the longer they are left out to warm up and settle.
This is a great area to experiment and see if different temperatures and different breathing times affect your appreciation of the wine.
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Tips For Picking A Good Bottle Of Wine
Since good wine is so subjective, knowing how to choose the right wine means considering several factors including occasion, flavor preferences, labels and price points. While the combination of these factors is different for each person, the tips below will help anyone in search of that perfect bottle of wine.
1. If you are new to wine, start with a white or rose.
Just as your food preferences evolve as you mature, the wines you enjoy are also likely to change over time. However, a study of consumer palates by Sonoma State University found most people first enjoy a sweet white or rose wine, then later fall in love with dry reds or wines with more distinctive flavors. Fifty-four percent of respondents in the Sonoma State University study said they preferred semi-sweet or sweet white or rose wines when they started drinking wine. While each persons experience is different, an early distaste for drier wines or wines with high tannins may be due to their unique flavor and sharp bitterness.
If the thought of drinking a sweet wine makes you cringe, that doesnt necessarily mean you should jump to reds. Instead, opt for a dry white or rose. Beginning with a lighter-bodied wine can be a step to learning to enjoy a variety of wines.
2. Reflect on other flavors you enjoy.
3. Consider the occasion.
4. Be sure to read the label and learn what youre reading.
5. Look for second-label wines.
6. Dont stress over the age of the wine.
7. Dont let price dictate your choice.
Understanding Wine Is A Process
Take the next month to buy one new bottle of wine a week . Uncork and take a few moments to taste and describe it using the descriptors above. Make sure you try a different type of wine each week and repeat the same process. At the end of the month you’ll start to feel more comfortable with the vocabulary of wine, which can have a profound effect on your enjoyment.
At the end of the day, you really cant make a wrong choice. As long as you pay attention to what it is that you dont like about a wine, each bottle will get you closer to what you do like. Take it one glass at a time and dont be afraid to admit it if you cant quite put your finger on something. Focus on enjoying your winethats the entire point.
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What Is Dessert Wine And Sparkling Wine
A glass of Port dessert wine
Red, white and rosé wines that have an alcohol by volume content of 14% or less are considered table wine in the U.S. . That excludes anything that is sparkling or fortified .
Dessert wine gets its name because it tends to be a sweet wine and comes after a meal. Alcohol is added to a dessert wine so that it can retain more of its natural sugars, which are typically used up during the fermentation process.
Popular dessert wines/fortified wines:Port, Madeira, Vermouth, Sherry, Marsala
Sparkling wine is wine that has significant carbonation, which can occur as a natural part of the fermentation process or via carbon dioxide injection after fermentation. When reading sparkling wine labels, youll also encounter terms that indicate its sweetness/dryness.
Popular sparkling wines: Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, sparkling rosé, Moscato, Lambrusco
How To Find Wines You Actually Like
A beginners guide to finding and appreciating wine you love with easy to follow tips and guidelines on how to start buying and drinking wine!
For years after I turned 21, I only drank Pinot Grigio. It was a safe bet I knew I liked it. And that was enough.
Most new wine drinkers do the same thing: play it safe and only pick one or two wines they know they love.
But think about it like food. You dont only pick two foods you like, do you? There are thousands upon thousands of delicious dishes out there. Why cut yourself short! Be curious.
The same extends to wine. There are thousands upon thousands of styles and vineyards and varietals. You arent guaranteed to like them all. But youll probably like more than just one.
You just need to find which styles, vineyards, and varietals you like best. And thats what Im going to help you do.
Things like smell, flavor, texture, and body can all affect your appreciation of wine. The trick is really finding which specific characteristics of wine you love most.
Check out the BEST Summer Wines that are perfect for beginners!
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Find A Wine Shop You Love Then Trust Them To Point You In The Right Direction
If you have access to local wine shops, start there. Unlike supermarkets or mass retailers that carry wine plus everything else wine shops can put their focus on one thing. Wine is their speciality, and buyers pay super close attention to their selections. The best shops will curate a selection of wines they’re passionate about. “The first thing you need to do to drink well is to buy your wine from someone who gives a damn,” says Bosker. “Go to the wine shops that are the indie book stores of booze, where someone has hand selected everything on the shelf and knows it well.”
Why Provence Ros Is Special
If you are lucky enough to get your hands on an authentic Provence rosé, you are in for a treat. The breadth of aromas and flavors contained within the nine Provence AOC regions is staggering, because these wines span different altitudes, soils and climates. One estate might yield a rosé that is imbued with herby flourishes of rosemary and oregano, while those around Cavaillon carry a hint of the local melon grown here since 1495. Whatever the region, however, two features give Provence rosé away every time: a hint of wild strawberry and a distinct minerality from the persistent mistral winds.
Whereas some rosé wines outside Provence are made from blending white and red, those made within the region are produced from red grapes with the skins removed after just a few hours into fermentation. This process produces a wine that is strong on summer fruit, herb and citrus aromas, without the chocolate, toffee and smoke aromas found elsewhere in aged red wines. The result is a light, extremely drinkable wine that loses nothing in character when served chilled.
Written by Nick Marshall
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Straight To The Winery
Youd think the simplest way to get your hands on a domestic wine would be to call the winery and have them ship you a bottle. Well, maybe.
Direct-to-consumer shipping laws vary widely by state: Some are free and easy, some have complex permitting systems and some make wine shipments a felony. Wineries that sell over the phone or online usually start by asking for your ZIP code, to filter out impossible requests. If the winery cannot ship you the wine you want, ask them to give you the name and contact information for a distributor in your area. Some wineries are making it easier to figure this out yourself. Terlato Wines International, for example, which owns or distributes more than 50 domestic and international wine brands, has a WineFinder on its Web site that lets you locate nearby retail and restaurant outlets for any of its wines. At New Mexicos Gruet Winery, producers of a broad range of highly regarded sparkling wines, Shannyn Harrison says they get calls regularly, especially from older folks who dont use the Internet, and are happy to provide local contact information in all 50 states. Please dont ask your favorite winery to risk felony charges by shipping wine outside the law.
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What’s The Difference Between Red And White Wine
Okay, you probably dont need any help recognizing a white wine versus a red wine. They look different and they certainly taste different as well. But its worth your while to understand why these types of wine look and taste so different. The culprit in both cases: the skins, and a little something they bring to the party called tannins. Remember the word tannin and what it means, because wine people talk about tannins a lot.
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What You Should Do:
Go to the liquor store and buy some bottles of wine. Any wine. Make it 3 red, 3 white.
How do you pick which wines to buy?
Start simple. Go for wines youve heard mentioned over and over: Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, etc.
Why cant I just ask the shop attendant to help me?
You can. By all means, ask your local liquor store owner to help you pick 3 radically different reds, and 3 different whites.
But there is a chance they will ask what do you like. And since the whole point is that you dont know what you like and want to find that out, this will lead to confusion. And both of you will come away feeling very silly.
Reason 2 for going it alone at this early stage? Finding your own words to describe the wine. A wine seller will tell you what you should taste in a bottle. And when it comes time to taste test, you want to be focused on what you actually taste. Not the words some guy in a shop used to sell it to you.
Instead, select 4 to 6 different types. Bring them home. And taste them.
What should you do with the wines you dont like?
Cook with them! You wont really be able to taste the wine once its been all mixed up in a flavorful broth or fancy dish.
- Red wines go excellently with pasta sauces, beef marinades, and this simple stove top beef stew.
- And white wines go very well in white sauces, seafood dishes, or this one-pan chicken, potatoes, and artichoke casserole!
How To Prepare For Wine Tasting
The best way to prime your palate for wine tasting is to neutralize your taste buds with a sip or two of still water at room temperature. Cold water will numb the flavor receptors. If youre tackling a series of wines, you can reset your taste buds between wines with a plain cracker, bread, or even a slice of watermelon or apple. Ultimately, though, 50 percent of your taste is through the nose. Let your wine breathe and gather aroma by giving it plenty of room in a white wine glass with a standard bowl size.
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When You Find A Wine You Love Flip Over The Bottle And Memorize The Importer
Think of your favorite importers like your favorite restaurant: you consistently love the food and you know the quality is always good, so you keep going back to it. “Most importers have a ‘house style,’ and they pick wines that fit that style,” says Callahan. So if you like a wine from a certain importer, chances are, you’ll like others. If you’re not sure where to start, Maniec recommends a few of her favorites: “I love Kermit Lynch, Becky Wasserman, and Louis Dressner, to name a few.”
The Basics Of Good Wine
Choosing a good wine is completely subjective. How each person defines a good wine is unique to them and their taste buds. Whether you prefer delicate, bold, sweet, tart or even spicy flavors, it is possible to find a wine you adore. These essential characteristics that define each variety of wine can be helpful to keep in mind as you navigate picking a bottle.
Everyone will have different preferences for each of these characteristics of wine, but with the right care, you can find a bottle that fulfills your taste preferences.
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How To Select A Bottle Of Wine
This article was co-authored by Samuel Bogue. Samuel Bogue is a sommelier based in San Francisco, California. He is the Wine Director of the renouned Ne Timeas Restaurant Group and a wine consultant for other top restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area. He gained his Sommelier certification in 2013, and since then has been recognized as a Zagat “30 Under 30” award winner and a Star Chefs Rising Star.There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 177,156 times.
Selecting a bottle of wine can seem nearly impossible when you’re at the liquor store, in the grocery store, or at a restaurant. There are so many choices, like picking red or white, choosing the type of wine, selecting the year, and pairing the wine with food. Luckily, there are some basic rules that can help you select a bottle of wine for any occasion, for any purpose, and to go with any food.
The Key Elements Of Wine
The experts can identify and describe a wine by smell alone, but the real fun starts with tasting. Hidden in every wine are a signature aroma and complex bouquet. These two terms are close but not synonymous. The aroma is guided by the grape variety. In the case of French Provence rosé, that typically means grenache, so expect a hint of summer fruits, melon and even celery. The bouquet, on the other hand, comes from the fermenting and aging process particular to each estate. Wine absorbs aroma and flavor from the barrel, and each wine estate will pride itself on the flavor profile that its process delivers. When you start picking up wood smoke, vanilla, spice and nutty flavors, you know youre through to the bouquet.
Test Yourself on Our Out East RoséYou should find these hidden in our signature Provence rosé:
Aroma: Hints of cavaillon melon, white peach, wild berriesBouquet: Baking spices, violets
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What’s The Bulleit Of Wine A Few Picks
Picking an actual wine and feeling confident you’re getting a decent bottle is, of course, a major barrier for anyone. We’ve been wondering: What wines are similar to Bulleit Rye, as in: affordable, widely available, and generally regarded as good?
It’s a difficult question to answer, since annual variations in climate, grape quality, and a dozen other factors make the year-to-year quality of a wine vary more than a grain-based alcohol. That said, our research indicates these picks are worth consideration as safe, reliable value for your dollar:
- Chardonnay: Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve California Chardonnay
- Chenin Blanc: Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier
- Sauvignon blanc: Brancott Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
- Riesling/Pinot Gris/Moscato blend: Hugel et Fils Gentil Alsace
- Cabernet sauvignon: Beringer Founders Estate California Cabernet Sauvignon
- Merlot: Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Merlot
- Zinfandel: Bogle Old Vine California Zinfandel