Do you know the different types of wine? You may feel uncomfortable to ask around, especially when you’re about to order a bottle of wine on your date. This simple guide should help you understand the different types of wine and its specialty in no time.
Have you always been fascinated by the different types of wine, the way it looks or by the way it is treated by the connoisseurs of wine?
Do people really know the types of wine?
It might seem stupid to ask someone about wine, but quite frankly, there are just a handful of people who really know about wine.
Wine drinking has always been associated with sophistication and class, and you can seem like a “know-it-all” even if you know just how to pronounce the name right.
First of all, before you set out to find the perfect wine, there are a few things that you have to know about the types of wines, if you want to please your date, and share a great bottle of wine!
Types of Wine
Winemakers throughout the world use hundreds of different grape varieties to make different kinds of wine. The types of grapes used to make a wine are probably the single most important factor in the taste of the wine.
There are a few varieties that you are most likely to come across as you scan through a list of different wines. Knowing these basic varieties can help you order the best kind, and impress your date at the same time!
Cabernet Sauvignon [Cab-er-nay Sau-vin-yon]
This is the world’s most renowned grape variety for the production of red wines. The best Cabernet Sauvignon comes from Bordeaux, France, although it is grown in most of the major wine producing areas.
This has become the world’s most often purchased dry white wine. Chardonnay is grown in nearly every wine producing area of the world. Usually aged in oak barrels, the wine is rich in strong flavors and aromas. The wine contains a fruity character with vanilla and buttery components.
Chenin Blanc [Shen-in Blaank]
It is one of the most widely grown grapes. These days, many vineyards are replacing this grape with Chardonnay and other grapes that can fetch higher prices. It has a very fruity character and blends very well with Chardonnay to add fruit and acidity.
It is the world’s second most widely planted grape variety. Grenache tends to be sweet but doesn’t have a lot of character unless it was well-vinified. This grape is grown in many places that have to deal with drought and extreme heat.
Pinot Gris [Pea-no gree]
This brown colored grape has become very successful these days. It produces a dry and crisp white wine with a heady feel and rich in spice flavors.
Pinot Noir [Pea-no nwaa]
The premier grape of the Burgundy region of France. It is a very difficult grape to grow but if well grown, they can be made into a wine that is rich and complex, tasting of black cherries, raspberries, and mint.
This is one of the world’s great wines. Reisling grapes need cooler climates and thrive in places like Germany. It has a high level of acidity and are very floral and fruity. This wine is noted for being a wine that has great age potential.
Keeping this list of wine in mind, you can practically walk into any restaurant and order the best wine to compliment your dish without sweating a bead. Well, just as long as you do know how to mix your food with the different types of wine!
Wine tasting – the general idea
Wine tasting is an art that takes time to understand and acquire. But most of us casual wine drinkers want to know how to taste wine without really getting into the deeper details. Here’s a no-frills method of wine tasting that can be learnt and used by any amateur in a few minutes.
We’ve all heard the line, “Red wine with meat, white wine with seafood and poultry”.
This saying is very basic, and yet it seems to work very well, literally all the time when it comes to tasting wine.
But another thing that you have to know is that your personal taste is more important than what others say. If you’re not enjoying white wine with your chicken, that’s just fine. Don’t keep drinking something you don’t like simply because someone told you to.
Make your own rules of wine tasting
Decide for yourself what you do like and don’t like. With wines, you don’t always have to follow the rules on how to taste wine. And yeah, that’s the first rule of wine tasting.
The reason red wine with red meat usually works is that you don’t want either wine or food to overpower the other. And since most red wines are heavy and hearty, it makes sense that they should accompany a hearty meal.
But, if you have a more complex white wine, by all means, serve it with steak. A nice contrasting combination would be spicy foods with a sweet, fruity white wine. Spicy foods like Indian, Mexican, Thai, or Chinese also pair wonderfully with a sweet wine such as a Riesling or Pinot Noir.
At the end of it all, it all comes down to your preference. But these tips may just help you understand the reason why a certain wine is chosen over the others.
The art of wine tasting
The art of wine tasting is very sophisticated and something that has to be learnt with time. But for a dinner-date, we could probably brush you up with a few tips!
Tip #1 The color of the wine is a good indicator of the quality of wine. Red wines become lighter as they age, and they taste a lot better when aged, whereas white wines tend to get ruined with age.
Tip #2 Now the part you need to know to impress your date. Always hold your glass at the stem. A wine connoisseur never holds the bulge of the glass, as the warmth of your hands could affect the taste of the drink! So be careful not to forget these finer points of wine tasting and drinking.
Tip #3 Before you take a drink of wine, swish your glass around to release the different flavors in it, and take a smell of it. When you take the time to sniff your wine, you are allowing your taste buds to better pick up subtle hints of flavor in the wine.
Tip #4 You can smell wine in two different ways. You can take a quick sniff and then sit back to contemplate about the first impression the wine gave you, and then take a longer, deeper sniff before allowing the smell to make an impression and taking a swig. Or you can just take the deep smell.
Usually this depends on the person’s preference, so you should try both to see which you prefer. However, you should never attempt to drink any type of wine before you have taken a long sniff and allowed your senses to take it in.
Tip #5 When you take a sip of wine, allow it to linger on your taste buds while swishing it around the entirety of your mouth, allowing it to come in contact with all of your taste buds, including ones found on the underside of your tongue.
Contrary to what some of us learned in school, all taste buds are capable of detecting all types of flavors, including sweet, sour, bitter and salty. Sipping your wine slowly this way will allow your taste buds, as well as your sense of smell to identify the finer points that are not as easily detected in fine wines.
Tip #6 Your first swig will be the initial sense you get from the wine, this will awaken your taste buds and get them going. Now is when you should swish the wine around your mouth, and try to draw in a little air. Try to notice the body of the wine, for example, is it smooth and rich, or light and smooth? Before you take another sip of wine, relax and see how the after taste is. How long did the flavor of the wine stay in your mouth, and was it a pleasant experience?
Now you can turn towards your partner and ask them what they felt. And voila, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. A wine connoisseur!
Always remember that wine tasting is an individual experience, and not based on any fixed rituals or rules, we’ll leave them to the connoisseur-wannabes.
For a quick guide on how to taste wine, and a five minute pointer to impress before a dinner date, these wine tasting tips are all you’ll ever need!
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