In the past 5 years, I have begun to love wine. I am currently pregnant as I’m writing this article and so I am counting down the days until I can have my first post-baby glass of chilled white burgundy (my favorite). Before I began to research and understand wine, I really only knew there were whites and reds. I did not understand the different blends or types of wine. Below, I’m sharing some tips and tricks on how to sound like a “wino.”
- Know Your Glass. If you aren’t attending a medieval time banquet and if you aren’t part of the Mickey Mouse Club, you should not hold your wine glass by the goblet. Hold your wine glass by the stem. Additionally, there are different glasses for different wines. The bigger wine glasses are traditionally for red wines and the smaller wine glasses (with a smaller goblet) are for white wines.
- Breathe Your Wine. When in doubt, decant it out. Wines need to breathe and decanting them for at least 30 minutes can make a big difference in the taste of the wine.
- Know the Five S’s of Wine Tasting. If you do a couple of these 5 S’s, you’ll be good to go and look like a pro: see, swirl, sniff, sip and savor. To me the most important “S” of the bunch is the savor part. Do not gulp your wine because you won’t experience optimal taste. Let the wine sit in your mouth for a little while before swallowing. This will allow you to taste all the flavors of the wine you’re drinking.
- Learn the Basic Whites. There are countless white wines, but it’s important to know the basics. Let’s start with Chardonnay. Chardonnay is versatile and popular around the world. The flavors include green apple, citrus and pineapple. Pinot Grigio is another popular option, especially when pairing with foods because it is typically light and “zippy” in flavor. Flavors include citrus, pear and melon. Sauvignon Blanc is another delicious white wine with flavors including herb, citrus, grass and pineapple. And lastly, another basic to know is Moscato. It is a sweeter wine that typically new winos start with to wet their palate for wine. I started with Moscato but now I cannot drink it because it’s entirely too sweet for me.
- Learn the Basic Red Wines. Merlot is a great wine to start with because it’s easy to drink and pairs well with basically any food. Flavors of this wine include blackberry, plums and herbal flavors. Next red wine basic: Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet pairs well with red meats because it is full bodied and very rich. Malbec is another tasty red wine that is flavored with plums, berries and spice. There are lots more red wine varieties but these are great ones to start with.
- Ask the Sommelier. The Sommelier is a wine expert typically at nicer restaurants and grocery stores. If you do not know which wine will pair best with your dinner, simply ask them what they would recommend. However, make sure you tell them the price range you are thinking before they make you fall in love with a bottle of wine that is outside your price range! I’ve made that mistake one too many times.
- Some Fun Facts! Did you know that red wine gets its distinct red color because the skins are left to ferment with the grape juice? White wine does not have the same color because the skins are removed. Another fun fact: the Vatican has the highest consumption of wine per capita – even more than Napa Valley and France!