Best Sweet: 2019 Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto
Courtesy of Wine.com
Region: Italy | ABV: 7% | Tasting Notes: Raspberry, Strawberry, Red Cherry, Rose Petal
This northern Italian sparkler is festive, fun, and irresistibly tasty. Made from a red grape called brachetto, it smells and tastes of candied fruit and fragrant flowers. Its similar in style to moscato, but with red berry fruit rather than citrus and tropical notes and is a gorgeous cranberry hue in the glass. Banfis bottling is the gold standard for this attractive, elegant style of wine, with its raspberry, cherry, and strawberry fruit and a perfume of rose. Its perfect on its own or as an accompaniment to dessert, especially when paired with rich, creamy dark chocolate treats like mousse or ganache.
Best Crisp White: 2018 Amisfield Sauvignon Blanc
Courtesy of Wine.com
Region: New Zealand | ABV: 12.6% | Tasting Notes: Passionfruit, Pink Grapefruit, Lemon Peel, Fresh Grass
Fans of crisp, refreshing whites can never get enough of New Zealand sauvignon blanc. Not only is it always a great value for the price, but it also offers unique and complex flavors and aromas not commonly found in other inexpensive wines.
There is so much going on in this beautiful bottle from Amisfieldit shows vibrant tropical notes of passionfruit, mango, lychee, and papaya alongside zesty grapefruit, lemon, and lime, fragrant honeysuckle and elderflower, and freshly cut grass. Expressive but not overwhelming, it makes a great match with freshly shucked oysters, vegetable dishes or anything with plenty of fresh green herbs.
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.
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Deepen Your Wine Knowledge One Sip At A Time
Tanisha is a writer and founder of Girl Meets Glass, a wine lifestyle and education agency. She lives in Paris, France, where she conducts wine and food pairing experiences, hosts a podcast, and teaches wine courses at universities.
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The world is slowly but surely starting to open back up, but were still doing quite a few things at home. Wine tastings are one of those things. At-home virtual wine tastings are a way to bring people together all over the world with a common interest in one thing: wine. So, whether you want to indulge in a private tasting for a birthday celebration or you’re studying for a wine exam, these wine tasting kits are exactly what you need to deepen your knowledge and have a great time while doing it.
Here, the best wine tasting kits for all your at-home tastings.
“Taste. Learn. Enjoy.” That’s the slogan on the Vivant Wine Education website. This cutting-edge, new-to-market experience is just thatan experience! With your membership, you get access to tons of tasting kits and accompanying experiences . There are multiple French regions to choose from, such as Loire Valley and Champagne, or you can choose to learn more about food and wine pairings or organic and biodynamic practices in the vineyard.
Finding Your Sweet Spot
Just because a wine is vintage or well-aged, doesnt mean you have to enjoy it. Ageing aromas are an acquired taste, much like truffles or mature cheeses. For those new to wine tasting, its good to vary your options and get adventurous with your choices. We recommend you start with the following grape varieties to get a sense of what you prefer.
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Getting Started With Wine
There really isn’t one type of wine that every single beginner will love. On the other hand, there are many delicious wines for the budding wine enthusiast to give a try before trying heavier or more serious wines. Many factors affect the pleasure beginners take in wine.
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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Best Budget: Wine Spectator Ultimate Wine Tasting Kit
From the editors of Wine Spectator, comes the Ultimate Wine Tasting Kit. This kit has everything you need to complete over 20 different tastings, and it gives you information on how to buy, store, and serve wine. There is also a book included in the kit to help you host a blind wine tasting to really test your skills. This means you also have tags for the bottles and your glasses, tasting checklists, and Wine Spectator’s Pocket Guide to Wine. All you need to do is buy the wine and invite your friends.
Mix It Up: A Twist On The Traditional
While a Chardonnay or Pinot Noir will please many of your guests, relatives, and friends, sometimes you want to mix it up. More and more turkey is becoming a second choice to more flavorful and easy to cook meats such as duck, chicken, and ham. And who could ever forget that strange Thanksgiving creation, the turducken?
If you are looking to try one of these less traditional proteins, you will need to adjust your wine purchases accordingly. A fat, crispy roasted duck will pair well with the previously mentioned Pinot Noir and Gamay, but would also stand up to a medium- to full-bodied red like Barbera, Sangiovese, or a Bordeaux blend. Chicken usually pairs best with white wine. The aforementioned full-bodied Chardonnay would work, as would a grassy, citrusy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or the lime, pear, and honey of a French Pinot Grigio.
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Don Sebastiani & Sons Screw Kappa Napa Merlot
We couldnt create a list of affordable red wines without including one of our favorites: merlot. Priced at $13, this particular brand has a supple flavor that emanates its plum-rich base and leaves one with the impression that they are drinking a much more expensive bottle of wine.
Although it is not as pricey compared to its relatives, a bottle of merlot still exudes the fresh and sweet taste of the grapes in each sip. The secret to this expensive taste? They choose only the freshest and ripest grapes in the vineyard.
The Different Types Of Wine
Cabernet Sauvignons are rich, robust red wines from the Napa Valley. These wines are full-bodied and are made up of dark fruit flavours mixed with spices and earthy aromas. Its one of the worlds most widely recognised red wine grape varieties and is most commonly aged in French oak.
Chardonnay is the most popular wine varietal in North America and is characterised by its medium to full body and its buttery mouthfeel. It combines crisp flavours like apple and pear with citrus aromas and hints of vanilla.
Malbec is known for its plump, dark fruit flavours and inky dark colour. Its grapes grow mostly in Argentina although it was originally produced in France. Malbecs have moderate tannins and are typically made up of ripe flavours like plum, black cherry and blackberry.
Merlots have milder flavours and lower tannin levels than other varieties of red wine. Although still a type of dry red wine, theyre sweeter than Cabernet Sauvignons and are made of dark blue-coloured wine grapes. Merlots are a fruit-forward wine with plenty of flavours, with spicy and sweet notes that come from ageing in oak barrels.
Most Sauvignon Blancs are left as dry white wines, with a few brands preferring to leave a small amount of residual sugar for a richer consistency. Its a crisp and light wine with flavours of citrus like green apple, lime and vanilla.
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Loveblock Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2019
Winemaker Kim Crawford left the eponymous Kim Crawford Wines behind to start this new venture, Loveblock, which specializes in organic and sustainably made wines. This Sauvignon Blanc is widely available and enjoyable, with aromas of freshly cut grass, notes of green bell pepper, and balanced acidity. This wine demonstrates the qualities that have made Marlborough famous for its Sauvignon Blanc.
A crowd-pleasing Austrian BlaufrÃ¤nkisch, this wine has good acidity and medium depth. It is juicy yet spicy, and is best enjoyed chilled. At $16, this wine will please the palate without breaking the bank.
A Basic Introduction Into The World Of Wine
If youre not ordinarily a wine drinker and youd like to find your type of sanity, standing in front of the wine rack at your favorite store can be very daunting. Reading the labels doesnt help much if you dont quite know what to look for.
Well, before you head out to the store, it might be helpful to know the common wine terms as well as the major differences between red and white options.
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Ankida Ridge Vineyards Pinot Noir 2017
Pinot Noir from Virginia? Absolutely. Of all the wines we tasted this year, this one surprised us the most. Produced at a very small family vineyard in Amherst, Va., owned by a husband and wife who make the wine with their son, this Pinot was aged for 10 months in French oak. The palate is beautifully grippy and intense, and the finish is unbelievably bright and refreshing. This wine is the best American Pinot Noir weâve tasted this year, and it may have been ranked No. 1 had it not been such a small production. Although this wine is DTC only, with just 140 cases produced, we strongly recommend you try to find it .
Ramey 2015 Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay Russian River Valley
Ramey 2015 Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay, Russian River Valley Courtesy of Ramey
In 1996, when David Ramey was winemaker at Dominus winery in Napa, as he remembers it, owner Christian Moueix agreed to let him make a little Chardonnay on the side. The rest is history, as they say Ramey was off on a storied path of making ever-more single-vineyard Chardonnays. And working with techniques like the sur lie aging of white wines in barrel, employing malolactic fermentation in Chardonnay and using native yeast, Ramey has very much shaped the character of Chardonnay in California. With his 2015 Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay , Ramey might have found his most beautiful balance yetwalking a tightrope, as the wine does, between richness and delicacy, textured mouthfeel and finesse. On the nose, a sophisticated note of fresh salinity is tucked under hints of honeysuckle and vanilla, with spice, creamy citrus and delicate herbal flavors following through a long finish.
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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.
Moss Roxx Ancient Vine Zinfandel
The Moss Roxx Reserve Zinfandel comes from the grapes grown in Lodi, California. This region is especially known for its great wines due to the quality of grapes.
Goes well with portions of lamb, you can sense the notes of blackberry, pepper, and tobacco in the Moss Roxx red wine. Produced by Oak Ridge Winery, it contains around 14% alcohol and is well-rated at 4 out of 5 on major wine review sites.
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Best Wine Tasting Order Of Common Wine Types
Wine tasting order is a vital aspect of the wine tasting experience. If you havent noticed yet, wine tasting can seem very complex but I promise, once youve done it a couple of times, it will come as second nature. I enjoy educating you guys so that when you go to a wine tasting event, you can get the most of your time, money, and most of all, enjoy the wine!
Experts around the world have analyzed wine and what makes for the most effective wine tasting order. Even if youre a novice, following this order will help you better taste all that the wine has to offer.
Best For Red Wine Fanatics: Black Box Red Blend
Taste of Home
Crowd-pleasing picks aside, the red wine-lovers in our tasting group preferred this blend from Black Box. Pouring ourselves a small sample, we picked up on an assertive aroma. A wine with a bold bouquet certainly had to have an impactful taste, right?
Absolutely right! Taking a sip of Black Boxs red blend, we found it to be pleasantly powerful. Considering the spectrum of sweet to dry, this wine was right in the middle, making it a joy to sip on its own. While sampling, we all commented on how this wine was a bit more complex than the others we tried. It took us some time to parse out the individual flavors, but in the end, we picked up notes of plum, berries, vanilla and a little spice . The finish of this wine was long allowing us to savor those subtle flavors.
- Price of a 3L box : $15.99
- Cost per glass: $0.80
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The Best Boxed Ros: Provisions Ros Wine
My favorite in this category was Provisions Rosé Wine . The packaging doesnt denote the specific part of the U.S. that this wine is produced, just the fact that its American. Because of that lack of specificity, I didnt have high hopes. But compared to other rosés I tasted, most with an artificially sweet finish, Provisions tasted much cleaner and more refreshing. There is a hint more sweetness in this box than youd find in, say, a traditional rosé from Provence, but it wasnt cloying. The overall aroma and flavor reminded me of strawberry lemonade. I did the math and the price works out to $4.25 per 750 milliliters . Thats pretty hard to beat!
Best White: Frontera Sauvignon Blanc
courtesy of Marketview Liquors
Region: Chile | ABV: 12.5% | Tasting Notes: Lemon peel, Tropical fruit, Green apple
Bright, young, and fresh, this summery Sav Blanc has its zippy roots in Chiles Central Valley, where the grapes have a mineral exuberance. Its a crisp sip with citrusy, snappy appeal, hints of tropical fruit, and a clean finish that makes it a match for all sorts of light picnic foods. This ones a refreshing bargain.
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Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Aged
As it’s famously said, wine and cheese age beautifully with time. Produced by Oak ridge winery, the Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon is an aging red wine that is both rich and intense.
Also comes from the Lodi region in California, you can pair this red wine with lamb. This is one of the best cheap red wines on the list and has around 14% alcoholic content.
The Top Five Best Wine Brands
Based in sunny Tuscany, in the Bolgheri region of Italy, Masseto is a cult winery with an iconic vineyard thats known for producing top quality vintages. The brand has received multiple 100-point scores from critics and is notorious for being difficult to get hold of. Production totals around just 30,000 bottles a year and the average bottle costs around $790. The vineyard, which was first founded by Lodovico Antinori in 1981, converted entirely to organic farming in 2012 and keeps climate change at the forefront of its production methods. The brand was a hit from its first release in 1986 and is one of the most well-known and best-performing wineries.
Screaming Eagle Winery and Vineyards is a Californian wine estate and another cult winery. The brand produces the most expensive wines in North America and its Sauvignon Blanc occupies the top spot, with an average sales price of $5,974. In order to buy its wine directly from the brand, buyers must sign up for a waiting list. The average time to wait on this list before being able to buy a bottle is around 12 years. Due to a surge in high-profile counterfeit wine cases, each bottle of Screaming Eagle comes with a bubble-coded security seal. It keeps its doors firmly shut to the public.
Bodega Catena Zapata
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