Learn to Love Wine!
Learn to love wine
Wine has too often been considered a luxury item. In the past, sommeliers and cork-sniffing customers, with their seemingly foreign language and ways, have been portrayed as pretentious, classist, and (dare we say it…?) snooty.
A quick trip through social media shows that’s no longer the case. Wine has gone mainstream, showing up everywhere from Facebook memes to Pinterest projects, from ballrooms to backyard barbeques. Still, some find wine a little intimidating.
It doesn’t have to be. As sommelier and restaurateur Maxwell Leer says, “Drinking alcohol should never make you feel dumb or belittled… It’s just alcohol in a glass, after all.” You can teach an old (or not so old) drinker new tricks. So bear with us while we dust off the chalkboard and pass along a few useful lessons.
Sweet versus dry
A lot of people get hung up on this, when in reality most wine is dry. Sweetness only occurs when there is residual sugar from the fermenting process (think ice wines and other dessert wine). Instead of sweet to dry, try thinking of wine on a spectrum from fruit-forward to acidic or tannic.
White wines taste better when they’re not icy cold, and reds are improved by a little chill. If you don’t have temperature controlled storage, put your bottle in the fridge until it’s cool to the touch (15-20 minutes). And pay attention to changes in flavor. Wine director Jessica Pinzon says, “Wine shows more acidity and minerality at a cooler temperature, and more fruit and alcohol at a warmer temperature. Experiencing the transition of (wine) warming up in the glass will enhance your understanding and enjoyment of the wine”.
Glass is not about class
Do you need fancy stemware? Well, technically it’s not required. You can drink wine from a juice glass, Styrofoam, a red solo cup, or even the new rubber wine glasses we’re seeing around the internet. But you should probably bear in mind that the stem exists to prevent your hands from overly changing the temperature of the wine. You can get by with one simple set for all wines, but don’t cut the stem.
And our favorite bit of advice would be, “There’s no hacking a really bad wine.” As we’ve pointed out, it’s not even good for recipes, because bad wine also makes bad food. Your best bet in a quality wine store, with folks who are happy to help you discover what you love. And we’ve got all the wines we need to win you over.
Any tips you’d like to share? Drop ‘em in the comments!