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Wine Basics, Tasting and Food Pairings

 

What a great way to enjoy your summer by engaging your friends in a down home wine tasting!  Once you understand the basics of wine you too can enjoy the no longer "snobbish" tasting tradition.  Here are some brief guidelines and links to sites that can help you along your way.  

* Beginning Wine Tasting - 

Color - To appreciate a wine's color, hold your wineglass at an angle against a white surface. Clarity is important. 

Aroma - To distinguish a wine's aroma, fill your wine glass no more than half full and gently swirl your glass to allow your wine to "breath". This releases the fragrance of the wine and allows you to sniff the different aroma's or the "nose" .

 

 

Flavor - Varietal flavors can be generalized as fruity, spicy, creamy, herbal and earthy ( to name just a few).  These characteristic flavors are affected by how and where grapes are grown, as well as wine-making techniques, such as oak barrel aging. 

Body - A wine can be light, medium or full-bodied depending on it weight on the palate. 

Finish - Finish is the lasting sensation a wine leaves after it is swallowed ( better known as the after taste).  

Wine Selection: 

Basics - Two types of wine.  White & Red.  

Is a $ 100 bottle of wine 10 times better than a $10.00 bottle -  probably not.  Is a $20.00 bottle 10 times better than a $5.00 bottle - probably so.  Wine prices are determined by many factors, how and where the wine is made, the weather or even the critics and the ratings that are given for each particular wine.   

Taste the wines in the following order:

Sauvignon Blanc
Chardonnay
Pinot Noir
Merlot
Cabernet Sauvignon

 

WHITE WINES 

Sauvignon Blanc: Tends to be less expensive than Chardonnay Grassy, Herbal, Floral or Creamy. 

 

TextureTasteAroma or Nose

Full Bodied

Dry

Creamy

Tropical Fruit

Pineapple

Vanilla 

Oak

Pineapples

Apricots

Lemons

Apples

Pears

Melons

 

 

Chardonnay - There are variations in flavor by region of grape growth. Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs are best experienced within 2-3 years after their vintage year.

 

TextureTasteAroma or Nose
   

Full Bodied

Dry

Buttery

Tropical Fruit

Pineapple

Vanilla 

Oak

Pineapples

Apricots

Lemons

Apples

Pears

 

 

Food Pairings For : Chardonnay, Chablis, Sauvignon Blanc, White Burgundy
Grilled SeafoodSea ScallopsSmoked Salmon
Chicken With Citrus SaucesSaladsBarbecued Shrimp
Pasta with White SaucesFruit or Green Salads

RED WINES 

These wines are better with age from about 10-15 years of aging.  Wines are delicate to  temperature changes and vibrations.  If you are considering collecting wine do some research on proper care and storage. 

Red Burgundy - Pinot Noir - Hard to grow and is a more costly wine

TextureTasteAroma or Nose

Soft

Medium Body

Cherries

Red Berries

Black cherry

Chocolate

Smoke

 

Food Enhancements:  Red Burgundy Pinot Noir

SalmonTuna SteakBluefish
SwordfishHalibutTurkey
GooseDuckPheasant

 

 

Cabernet Sauvignon Characteristics - Cabernets generally have the taste of the district where the grapes were grown and flavor can range widely.  

 

TasteAroma or Nose 

Mint 

Blackcurrants

Plums

Red Berries

Cedar

Leather

Eucalyptus

and the smell of a Pencil Box

 

 

 

Food Parings - Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Bordeaux & Merlot

BeefLambTurkey
LambGoosePork
Grilled Chicken

Remember your 4 S's

  • Swirl : Swirl the wine to release the aroma's

  • Sniff: Decipher the unique fragrances that you can detect . 

  • Sip: Small  - NO GULPING !

  • Savor: Enjoy the abundance of textures and flavors the wine creates.  This includes the finish, or after taste. 

 


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