Be Brave And Adventurous
I have started the professional wine courses just because I wanted to be able to select for me, my friends and family, high quality wine and to strip out all the BS that there is out there. I think it is a little bit extreme to dedicate a couple of years of your life to study about wine if you only want to enjoy a bottle from time to time.
But, because I had to learn about wine, I had to taste and learn about a lot of grape varieties and wine styles which I have never dreamt of drinking or which I was dismissing completely out of pure ignorance. Being forced to be adventurous, I discovered new things that I adore and I also learned what I dont like.
My advice is to go out of your comfort zone and try new regions and new wines every month. Taste them with food or without food. If you follow the budget rule, it is unlikely that you will be disappointed. You might discover something about yourselves and you will embark on a journey of new experiences.
Theres A Shade Of Red For Everyone
Once you find the best red wine for your tastes, drinking it is all about fun and enjoyment. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your favorite red wine is always as tasty as possible.
Serving your red wine at the right temperature ensures youll relish every sip as the winemaker intended. Full-bodied reds should be served between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Light and fruity reds should be served a little cooler, typically between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Red wine benefits from decanting, so open a few bottles and allow them to aerate for the best flavors.
While you can drink red wine for any glass your heart desires, some types of wine glasses help to make the flavor even better. Thats because the shape of a glass impacts the finish and nose of the wine. The slightly curved edges of a wine glass prevent your senses from being overwhelmed by ethanol vapors. Use wide-brimmed wine glasses to get the best out of your reds.
Paint the town red with your newfound love of red wines. From velvety Cabernets to punchy Sangiovese wines, youre sure to adore the tastes of this brilliant beverage. Pour yourself a glass and enjoy the company of friends or curl up in your own world with a good book and a cozy blanket.
Understanding Wine Makes It Taste Better
Studies have shown that more complex descriptions of red and white wine actually make those wines taste better. Intuitively, this makes sense. If you have more vocabulary to describe what you’re imbibing, your brain is better able to discern subtler flavors.
So we’ve put together a beginner’s guide to different wine types that will break down the basics of what makes different wines, well, different, and the key descriptors you need to know to get the most out of whatever wine you’re drinking.
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Best Red: 2018 True Myth Cabernet Sauvignon
Courtesy of Wine.com
Region: California | ABV: 14.2%| Tasting Notes: Blackberry, Blueberry, Cedar, Cola
For beginners who know they love a full-bodied red, its impossible to go wrong with California cabernet sauvignon. This plush, rich bottling comes from the Central Coasts Paso Robles region, known for a warm, dry, and sunny climate thats ideal for producing ripe, user-friendly wines.
The True Myth Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the best values youll find there, with powerful dark fruit flavors of blackberry, blueberry, and plum accented by vanilla, spice, cola, and toasty oak notes. The tannins here add structure but are not too drying, and a splash of acidity keeps this big wine from feeling heavy or overpowering.
Check Out The Backside
First appearance isnt everything. Front labels can be enticing, but check out the full package before you purchase. Read back labels for more information about a wine. Sometimes there are some clues about the wine like fruits, flavors, the aging process, importers and region. Keep an eye out for any stamps of approval like awards or reviewsall signs of a good wine. Go ahead and ask for recommendations. Dont be shy! Ask the wine steward or a friend for a recommendation to help make your selection, says Peter Click, president and founder of The Click Wine Group . If youre on a date, chances are the woman across the table will appreciate your humility, vulnerability and security to ask for help from a trusted expert.
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How Long Do I Have To Wait For A Wine To Age
This is different for each individual wine. If youre buying wine on the aftermarket, 20 years is a good benchmark. For wines youre aging yourself, a shorter period 10 years, maybe, or even five can be long enough to result in a profound change. Some wine thinkers refer to this as resting a wine, giving it a few years to develop, as opposed to decades. Not surprisingly, the winemakers themselves have strong opinions on this topic. , whose namesake wine label is based in Northern California, released her first vintage in 2014. When I open a bottle of 2014 Venturi Vineyard Carignan every other year or so, Im floored by what I taste, she tells me. So far this light-bodied, naturally fermented, low-sulfite wine only has gotten better with time. Joe Reynoso of Crescere Wines in Sonoma/Alexander Valley reports something similar hes been growing grapes in for the better part of 30 years, but began bottling his own wines in 2016. Its my job to check in on these wines, Reynoso says, and our 2016 cabernet sauvignon has not yet begun to plateau. Different wines have different shapes and curves, if you can picture it. Our wines taste good now, but that 2016 will be better in three years, and even better in five. It tastes better every time we drink it.
What Are The Most Popular Types Of Wine
Want to find out what wine you like best? Check out just 18 different grape varieties, commonly referred to as international varieties. They include light sweet white wines like Moscato and Riesling to deep dark red wines like Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Once youve tried all 18, youll actually have a pretty good handle on the entire range of wine. Youll also know more about your personal preferences.
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Most Important Things To Know About Wine
Wine is a complex topic that is intermingled with history, culture, agriculture, geology and genetics. So how can you learn more about wine without getting bogged down by details?
For the longest time, wine has been learned by region and in the past this worked well. However today, since wine is made everywhere, the regional lines are blurred. So its time to develop new ways to learn about wine. As it happens, there are 10 fundamental things about wine that are pretty easy to grasp.
Below are the 10 most important things to know about wine.
How To Buy Wine: Five Questions To Ask
You dont have to be an expert to drink well. But it helps to be honest with yourself about goals, taste and budget, and to know how to ask for help.
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The act of buying wine can rank high among lifes unpleasant tasks.
Its not a physical or mental issue so much as a psychological one. Were just talking about a bottle of wine, after all, first among first-world problems. But often the act of selecting that bottle is fraught with the fear of making a mistake, of wasting money and of appearing foolish in front of other people.
The dread conjured up by a restaurants impenetrable wine list or a shops vast rows of bottles is entirely unnecessary. With the barest effort, you can simplify the entire procedure of selecting a wine while feeling better about it. Its simply a matter of confidence.
I dont mean the sort of assertive behavior expressed through bluster and belligerence, which is really more a statement of insecurity. I mean the confidence that permits you to do whats necessary without having to master everything about wine.
Its an assurance that allows you, without fear, to put trust in the people whose job it is to help you, and a faith that wine is not a measure of character, but a vehicle for pleasure. Developing that confidence is simply a matter of taking the measure of your aims and desires, and then communicating them to the people who matter.
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Best Overall: 2019 Willamette Valley Vineyards Whole Cluster Pinot Noir
Courtesy of Wine.com
Region: Oregon | ABV: 13.5%| Tasting Notes: Cherry, Raspberry, Dark Chocolate, Caramel
With bright, flavorful fruit and a soft, inviting texture, this Oregon pinot noir is the ultimate beginners wine. Not too light or too heavy, nor too sweet or too dry, its fruit-forward with some pleasant savory accents that add subtle complexity. A winemaking technique called whole-cluster fermentation, in which grapes are fermented whole rather than crushed makes the red and purple berry fruit juicy, lively, and fun.
When youre new to wine, its best to start with something thats very well-balanced, like this easygoing pinot, so you can get a clear sense of what you like. Everything is moderate here, from the body to the acidity to the tannic structure. So if youre craving something bolder, you might want to try a more tannic cab or zin if youd rather go lighter, you can turn to whites and rosés. But for many people, this delicious, approachable wine will be just right.
What Are Sulfites And Why Are They In Wine
You may have noticed that most wine bottle labels include the legend contains sulfites. Sulfites are innate to wine from the moment of grape fermentation, but a large part of the sulfites present in wine are added during its production. Even so, their presence is quite low and they are considered a safe additive by the World Health Organization and the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition .
Thanks to the great ecological awareness that is being taken in recent years, by society, authorities and wine companies, many wines contain minimal amounts of sulphites. On the one hand, we find countries that have become strict in this regard in legislative matters, hence in the main wine-producing countries it is prohibited to add large amounts of these substances to the drink, so they do not pose a risk to health. .
On the other hand, the wineries also make their contribution by producing organic and much healthier wines. Some wineries add trace amounts while others remove sulfites directly from their products. So now it is the responsibility of consumers to choose organic wines.
It is also important to note that the amounts that occur naturally and those that are added during the process are negligible. This does not represent a harm to health.
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This Story Is Part Of A Group Of Stories Called
If youve ever surveyed the walls upon walls of options in a wine store and simply grabbed the nearest $15 bottle of rosé, youre not alone. Many people still find wine cryptic and intimidating. Humans have been fermenting grapes for thousands of years, but it hasnt gotten any easier to understand. While some startups have tried to disrupt the industry and make wine more accessible, no one company has broken through.
Shouldnt wine be easier to understand by now? Why havent we hacked this into something easier so that consumers dont feel daunted by wine lists and sommeliers at restaurants or overwhelmed when walking into a cavernous wine shop?
According to wine experts, there are a number of factors at work. Thanks to the wealth of options, shoppers experience a kind of consumer paralysis. Government regulations on wine complicate things further, due to a lack of consistency from country to country in how wines are named and classified. Plus, importing and distribution impact what types of wines you see in your local wine store and your favorite restaurants and explain why you dont often see the same wine brands from store to store. And wine labels? Theyre not for you theyre written purely to satisfy government requirements and dont include details that would help consumers decide on a wine at all.
Heres why wine still remains so complicated and hard to understand, and why its not your fault you dont get wine.
Best Rich White: 2018 Bernardus Chardonnay
Courtesy of Vivino
Region: California| ABV: 14.4% | Tasting Notes: Yellow Apple, Peach, Lychee, Butterscotch
California chardonnay needs little introduction, but its wildly popular for a reason! The rich, creamy wines often made in this style are a favorite of both new and seasoned wine drinkers because of their textural interest and intense flavors. While chardonnay itself is a relatively neutral variety, winemaking techniques like oak aging and malolactic fermentation can add toasty and buttery flavors, respectively. Naturally, the chardonnay grape can express a wide range of fruit flavors depending on where its grown notes of tropical and stone fruit tend to come out in warmer climates, while chards from cooler regions are more focused on crisp citrus and orchard fruit.
This powerhouse from Monterey, California displays the best of both worlds, with warm days and cool nights producing a balanced beauty with notes of ripe, juicy peach, apple, melon, lychee, pineapple, and lemon curd. Moderate oak influence and full malolactic fermentation add a complex character of butterscotch, caramel, warm baking spice, vanilla, and toasty wood to this full-flavored crowd favorite.
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How Much Do I Want To Spend
This is the bottom line, a crucial determination that can only be made individually, depending on your bank account and where wine figures in your lifes priorities. The only shame comes in not facing this question squarely, and later regretting it.
Its important to understand that no direct correlation exists between the price of a bottle and the quality of a wine. Spending more may buy status and scarcity, but that may not translate into quality. Yet, its equally wrong to think that expensive bottles are never worth it. Its again a question of pairing bottle to occasion.
Generally speaking, for ordinary drinking, I believe the best ratio of price and quality at wine shops is in the range of $15 to $25. For many reasons, this price range does not translate easily to restaurant wine lists.
While responsible restaurants will generally charge two to two-and-a-half times the retail price with the markup going toward service, storage, glassware and, yes, profits cheaper bottles tend to be marked up more than expensive bottles.
Whats more, restaurant wine lists are proportionate to their aims and intentions. A Michelin-starred restaurant competing among the worlds best will naturally charge far more than a neighborhood spot with a casual clientele.
The important thing, however, is to plan, pick a reasonable budget and stick to the spirit of it.
How To Buy Wine For A Gift
This article was co-authored by Samuel Bogue. Samuel Bogue is the Wine Director of the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group in San Francisco, California. He gained his Sommelier certification in 2013, is a Zagat “30 Under 30” award winner, and is a wine consultant for the San Francisco Bay Area’s top restaurants.There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 139,208 times.
Wine can make a good gift for a newly married couple as a housewarming gift, the hostess of a dinner party, or your boss. However, if you don’t know much about wine, picking one out can be pretty daunting. It’s important to think about the person and the occasion, as well as how you’ll present the wine.
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Best Ros: 2020 Pratsch Ros
Courtesy of Wine.com
Region: Austria | ABV: 11.5% | Tasting Notes: Strawberry, Watermelon, Peach, Raspberry
Rosé has been having a moment for a while now, so there are many great options to choose from in a wide range of styles. For beginners, we recommend a light, dry style with lots of fresh, vibrant fruit, like this high-value gem from Austria.
Its made from the zweigelt grape, a locally popular variety that is known for bright berry flavors accented with a hint of black pepper, reminding us a lot of pinot noir. Succulent strawberry, watermelon, raspberry, peach, and pear notes are lifted by vibrant acidity and a hint of hibiscus perfume in this refreshing pink wine that makes a perfect companion to parks, picnics, and pools.
What Do I Like
This is perhaps the hardest question of all, and one that can be answered only with experience. Even then, it can be hard to put into words.
One hint: Try to be as general as possible. I love rich, fruity reds, allows far more leeway than, I love wines that taste like crème de cassis, with a core of plum essence and hints of shiso.
Developing a vocabulary for describing wine is not easy. Tastes and smells can vary widely. One persons strawberry is anothers cherry. But the term red fruit, or just fruity, conveys a message that a more specific reference may not.
Perhaps other elements, beyond the flavors, are important. Weve already referred to emotions. You may also care how grapes are farmed and how wine is made. All of these factors are important to keep in mind.
Using modern tools might be a better solution than relying on a personal vocabulary. Take photos of the labels of wines you like, as well as those you dont. Store them separately in your phone so you dont confuse the two. It may perhaps be easier to convey your taste by displaying these photos than by trying to verbalize it. Or you can use an app like Vivino as an organizational tool.
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