Start Your Personal Wine Challenge
It doesnt matter whether youre a beginner or an expert, we all have more to learn about wine. With that in mind, here is a 3-step personal wine challenge tailor-made for beginners. If you , youll be informed about more advanced wine challenges as theyre released.
Am I a wine beginner?
If you dont know how to describe and in wine, and youre mostly unaware of the range of wine varieties and styles available at your local wine shop, then chances are you are a beginner. So, congratulations for challenging yourself to learn more!
Here are the first steps to take to improve your wine knowledge:
Step 1: Basic Wine Traits
First things first, what is wine? In , wine is described as an alcoholic beverage made with fermented grapes. Technically, wine can be made with any fruit, but most wines are made with a species of grape called Vitis Vinifera. These grapes are made of several different compounds , which go through many different changes during fermentation and produce 4 basic tasting traits that are present in every glass of wine.
Your first order of business is to learn how to taste these 4 traits.
Step 2: Taste the 9 Styles of Wine
Step 3: Essential Wine Etiquette
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
Top White Wine Varietals + Tasting Notes
Tasting Notes: Wide range depending on stye lemon, apple, pear, bright fruits mango, pineapple, peach, tropical fruits vanilla, butter, baked goods, coconut
Notable Growing Regions: France , Italy, California, New York, Australia
Food Pairings: Fish, lightly seasoned chicken, soft cheeses
Tasting Notes: Green fruits, lime, green bell pepper, pear stonefruit, kiwi, peach oaked, vanilla, coconut, butter
Body: Medium to Medium-heavy
Notable Growing Regions: France , Italy , New Zealand , California, Chile
Food Pairings: White meats, chicken, pork white fish, shell fish, lobster, clams soft, sour cheese
*The same grape, called Pinot Grigio in Italy, Pinot Gris in France
Tasting Notes: Italian, lime, pear, sour apple France, lemon, honey, honeysuckle U.S., white nectarine, ripe stonefruits
Body: Medium to Medium-heavy
Notable Growing Regions: Italy, France, U.S.
Food Pairings: Fresh fish, green salads, shell fish
Tasting Notes: Varying styles Light, rose petal, underripe strawberry, limestone Medium, strawberry, summer fruits Heavy, ripe fruits, floral, spice hints
Body: Light to Medium-heavy
Notable Growing Regions: France, Spain, California, Italy
Food Pairings: Dependent on style anything from light salads to barbecued meats
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Ordering Wine At A Restaurant
Tips for Ordering Wine at a Restaurant Ordering wine in a restaurant doesnt have to be intimidating. The first tip is, stay away from places that make you feel like you have to be a big spender to get a good wine experience. Check out my foodie travel videos for great restaurants that do it right. In this video, my husband John was
Assessing Wine Quality Great quality in a wine just like in a house doesnt mean you will love it. You might prefer Victorian architecture over Tuscanthats style, not quality. This video outlines the elements of quality in a wineincluding the concept of balance of the taste components, a defining element in the wines sommeliers refer to as hidden gems.
Best Wine Books: Learn About Wine
Books for beginners, books for experts, books for traveling, books for cooking, wine books everywhere on every subject!
There have been thousands of books published covering nearly every aspect of wine you can think of. It can be difficult to sort through them all to find the gems that are actually worth reading.
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Red Wine Vs White Wine
What are the main differences between red wines and white wines? They differ in color, grape varietal, flavors, and a lot more.
- Color: Red wines are made from grapes with dark skins & skins are left on during the winemaking process. White wines are made from grapes with green skins & skins are removed.
- Age: Red wines tend to age much longer than white wines. The tannins in grape skins act as a preservative red wines keep the skin on, so have more tannins, while whites typically dont.
- Body: Reds are usually more on the rich and bold side, while whites are often on the lighter, more refreshing side .
- Flavors: Reds have darker fruit flavors . They sometimes have flavor notes of chocolate or vanilla. Whites tend to be much lighter in taste, with flavors like apple, citrus, or florals.
- Alcohol: Red wines usually have a higher percentage of alcohol than white wines.
- Temperature: For the best flavor, red wines should be served close to room temperature . White wines are best when served chilled .
Journey Around The World Through Your Glass
Wine gives you the ability to travel around the world from the comfort of your own home. Each wine expresses itself differently depending on its terroirthe climate, soil, terrain and tradition where its made. Where a grape is grown is just as important as the person growing the grapes and making the final product. If you discover more about what it takes to go from grape to glass, you can also learn the history, legacy and traditions of people you may never meet.
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The 9 Primary Styles Of Wine
Get ready to take the wine challenge. Tasting through the 9 styles of wine and offers the most profound knowledge of wine. Youll never see wine the same way again.
The 9 Styles of Wine
A little back story
I can recall the single moment when wine became a fascination. Believe me, it wasnt classy.
I was slouching in this $5 Goodwill velveteen swivel chair while clinching a glass of wine.
I was a 22-year-old-art-school-grad living in Los Angeles with a low-paying day job. My dad bought me a wine subscription and for someone like me, it was precious!
The disarming flavor quickly turned into an obsession
Buy the book, pick your course.
Get a Wine Folly Course FREE with the purchase of Wine Folly: Magnum Edition. Ends May 8th.
In fact, the wine subscription became the highlight of my month: dinner with my best friend Justin and a bottle of wine. That particular night, I tasted my first-ever Côtes du Rhône and it smelled like black olives.
This was the first time I can remember really tasting more than fruit in a wine. The disarming flavor quickly turned into an obsession, the only problem was: I had no idea what to explore next.
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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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.
Basic Wine Taste Descriptors To Know
In the above descriptors, we used a good number of references to actual items like strawberry, lime, red cherry, cedar, etc. to underscore what types of flavors a drinker can expect in their wine.
As you become more comfortable with wines, you will be able to pick these flavors our for yourself and then use them when selling wine to guests, but to start here are 5 basic wine descriptors to know.
These terms are generally what customers are looking for when describing a wine:
Dry: This is pretty self explanatory. A dry wine will leave your tongue tingling, with the feeling of cotton mouth. Dryness, and the sensation of a tingling tongue, often comes from an organic substance in wine called tannins.
Sweet: This term is more useful for dessert wines or cheap wines. It’s a bit broad, more often than sweet, you will want to use the following term.
Fruity: Red wines will can be generally categorized as having red fruits or dark fruits. White wines will generally have green, or tart fruits, or tropical and stone fruits if they are sweeter and more rounded wines
Buttery: Used to describe Chardonnays that are aged in oak barrels, a style generally associated with California-style Chardonnay wines
Earthy: Generally reserved for red wines. Earth implies a certain mustiness. Think of damp, musky flavors.
Mineral: Slate, stoney flavors, often in Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris.
Body: This refers to the weight of the wine. Also used in conjunction with mouthfeel.
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Wine Folly: Magnum Edition: The Master Guide
When Wine Folly was first published in 2017, it became an overnight sensation. This visual masterpiece conveys an expert-level knowledge of wine using simple infographics. Now back as an even larger wine omnibus, the Magnum edition is the best overall book for beginners and experts alike. More than 100 wines and grapes are color-coded by style to make it even easier to determine the best wines for your tastes and pairing options, including the best wine to pair with turkey. Food and wine pairings are listed and it even explains the role of acid in wine and the importance of tannins in wine. You can’t read Wine Folly and not learn something new. You may even find some new gluten free wine brands.
The New Wine Rules: A Genuinely Helpful Guide To Everything You Need To Know
Critically acclaimed wine writer Jon BonnÃ© demystifies the world of wine and tackles many misconceptions about wine in this easy-to-read book. Far-removed from the idea of “wine-snobbery,”The New Wine Rules is a wine book written for the common person. Rather than explain the minute differences between wines, this book aims to answer questions that can actually help a beginner. If you want to learn about the proper wine storage temperature or how to age wine, this book makes it easy. Jon BonnÃ© eliminates the feeling of being judged by wine aficionados and gives you the answers you want most while making it fun.
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What Are The Top Ten Free Online Wine Education Options
One of the most fascinating aspects of wine, according to many wine aficionados, is that there is always something new to learn. Indeed, with more than 1000 grape varieties in the world and 70 wine producing countries, each with multiple wine regions, there is plenty to keep knowledge-seeking wine lovers engaged.
Fortunately, there are many options for wine education globally, from general to specialized tracks, and range from targeting everyday hobbyists to dedicated professionals. These include rigorous wine certifications, such as WSET, Master of Wine, Certified Sommelier, Master of Sommelier, Certified Wine Educator, and many others. Universities also offer degrees in viticulture, enology and wine business, and of course, there are many interesting books, blogs and websites to keep wine devotees busy reading to enhance their wine knowledge.
Wine: Everything You Want To Know Taught By A Winemaker
This course simply tells you all you want to know about wine the history of wine, how the wine is prepared, what do the vineyard workers do, how we taste a wine, how we talk wine, how to pair wine and food, and where and how to buy wine. This course is delivered by an expert wine-maker who will guide you through the journey of becoming a wine geek from a wine novice. This course can be taken up by anyone who is eager to understand all the aspects of wine and improve his/her wine experience. By the end of the course, you will be confident about your knowledge of wine, and be able to enhance your wine drinking experience.
-The course covers every aspect of wine and wine tasting
-The course can be taken up by anyone interested in wine
-Get lifetime access to video lectures, FAQs, slides from lectures, and articles
Get a list of recommended resources that can deepen your learning
This course can be accessed via mobile or TV
You will get a certificate after completion of the course
Review: Yes I have learned new things in this first section love the visuals. Did not know vines would, in their natural habitat climb trees. Never thought about it. Always just imagined that they would turn out to be bush vines but the are climbers so there you go! Janine van der Linde
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Explore Wine Through The Ages
If you don’t know your Sauvignon blanc from your Zinfandel and wonder what the point of sparkling wine versus champagne is, this is your chance. You can develop an appreciation for what goes into the development of each variety. The rules have changed over the years with unexpected places like Oregon and New Zealand standing next to wine giants like France, but you can learn to appreciate the world of wine. Now’s your chance to decide – pinot grigio or pinot noir – with confidence through quality courses from edX.
Keep A Record Of What Youre Drinking
There are plenty of mobile applications where you can easily scan the label or barcode of your wine bottle and get an incredible amount of information the grape varieties, the winemaker, the country, the region, the tasting profile and reviews from other, normal people like you, that have tried the same wine.
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Learn A Little About Wine
While there is an endless amount to learn about wine, it only takes a small amount of knowledge to greatly increase your confidence. What the all the different types of wines mean, the tricks to buying wine, and what to do with it once you have it. Armed with these basic facts you will be able to navigate the muddy waters of stores, wine lists and the conversations of wine snobs.
What Are Others Saying
This had broad appeal to our Zoom family. It was something mutual to discuss when we could get together online!
It was informative in that it was explained in an easy, demonstrative format for individuals seeking to enjoy the pleasures of wine.
I like knowing what tannins are and the names of different flavors of wine, like the difference between Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
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How To Describe The Taste Of Wine
So, to recap: red wine is red because it was fermented with the skins, making it more tannic. White wine has less tannin, and is more acidic. Dessert wines have higher alcohol content and are usually sweeter, and sparkling wine has bubbles.
Easy, right? Of course not. Stopping at red vs. white wines would be like ending a discussion on vehicles at cars vs. trucks. If were going to peg the kind of wine that you enjoy drinking, were going to have to get a bit more specific. Yes, that means were going to have to talk about how a wine tastes.
This is where wine drinkers lose most of us. There is perhaps nothing more subjective about humanity than taste, and trying to find common ground when talking about wine seems ill-fated from the start. But in spite of the glut of snobby descriptors for wine that youll stumble across, there are a few terms that mean pretty much the same thing to everyone.
Taste As Much As Possible
Most sommeliers agree that tasting as much as possible is the best way to learn about wine. Ronald Buyukliev, lead sommelier at Estiatorio Milos at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, uses a two-step approach. First, you have to read. Once you have down, you have a solid theoretical background and can go to step two, which is taste. Buyukliev suggests familiarizing yourself with the classic style of the region first to best understand the typicity of a classic regional bottle. For instance, if you’re curious about Tuscan wine, start by trying a Chianti Classico rather than a red from a more obscure part of the region.”Katherine Dandridge, sommelier at Quill, recommends following tasting up with doing something related to the region. Reading about the history or eating regional food helps to enhance my overall enjoyment of the wine by setting the scene, she says.
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