You may have been handed a glass of wine at a party and were not impressed by the bitter aftertaste or overwhelming alcohol sensation that you experienced. Trust us when we tell you, that’s not how drinking wine should be! When served correctly, drinking wine is an enjoyable experience and should leave you wanting more. This beginner’s guide to wine seeks to improve your experience by teaching you the basics of understanding and enjoying wine.
First, Learn the Five Main Types of Wine
While there are hundreds of different grape varietals and winemaking approaches, you’ll no longer look like a deer caught in headlights when asked what type of wine you’d like. All wines can be divided into five categories:
Red wines are still wines, made from black grapes and their color and taste intensity can range from light to bold. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot, Malbec, Grenache, and Pinot Noir are some of the most popular red wine grape varietals.
White wines are still wines, made from white and occasionally black grapes. Their tastes range from light to robust. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio are some of the most popular white wine grape varietals.
Rosé is a still wine made from black grapes in which the skins are removed before the wine turns a deep crimson color. Rosé in both dry and sweet flavors is popular.
Sparkling wine comes in a variety of colors and styles, ranging from lean and dry to rich and sweet. A secondary fermentation produces bubbles in this winemaking style.
Dessert wines are often sweet, however, there are a variety of dry, fortified wines available, such as dry Sherry. Wine is fortified with spirits in this type of winemaking.
Choose the Right Glass
Wine benefits from a bigger bowl! A true sommelier will offer you wine in a big glass so you’re able to truly experience the wine as intended. A glass with a large bowl and a broad opening tends to make red wines taste smoother. (You know, so you don’t experience the “shiver” following a sip of wine in a small glass.) This is because these big glasses have a bigger surface area for ethanol to evaporate. Learn more about big wine glasses here.
Decanting isn’t Just a TikTok Trend
Decanting is an important element of the wine tasting process since it helps aerate the wine and enhance its flavor. If you enjoy young, robust red wines like Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, and Burgundy, decanting is a crucial step. Although Charlotte makes wine decanters look amazing, fancy equipment to decant your wine isn’t necessary. Big wine glasses provide the necessary room for wine to decant! Before you take a sip of wine, give it a few seconds to aerate in your big glass.
Now that you've chosen your wine, glassware, and decanting is complete, you are ready to start drinking. Let the party begin!