Getting trained to understand the taste of wine is the same as if you started to understand classical music or seriously engaged in classical art. The more effort and interest you invest in this activity, the more subtleties you will be able to understand, to enjoy the nuances and details that a really good wine can bring to you. In evaluating wines, there are plenty of nuances that should be considered. This guide for beginners will allow you to become a little more experienced as a wine connoisseur.
How to understand the taste of wine
You can define the process of tasting wine as the ability to sniff out and untangle the subtle threads that are mixed in complex wine aromas. Try to set up your receptors for maximum understanding, this is your key to unlocking the secrets of wine. Try to smell it. Smell is an incredibly important part of wine science and the recognition of fragrances can be improved endlessly. This tool is available for both professional and amateur.
Types of wines
A wine beginner might know the basic differences between red and white, but it is also important to know the main types and varieties of wines. A more severe classification will help to make assessment that is more correct.
Wine is produced in almost every country in the world. These countries in the wine environment are often called “Old world” or “New world” and they are divided into smaller regions with their own long histories of wine production in each of them. “Old world” consists of regions in Europe and parts of the Mediterranean. The most famous wine regions are France, Italy and Germany. In the “New world”, the best wine is made in Chile, Australia and USA.
These regions are located in warmer climates and have large differences in the marking and classification of grape varieties and wines from it. However, each country has a set of classes, which turns out to work best.
The most popular regions and wines
France: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Syrah, Viognier, Chardonnay;
Italy: Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Moscato, Pinot Grigio;
US: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel;
Argentina: Malbec, Bonarda;
Chile: Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc;
Australia: Shiraz, Chardonnay;
Germany: Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Sylvaner;
Spain: Tempranillo, Albariño, Garnacha, Palomino;
New Zealand: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir;
South Africa: Pinotage, Chenin Blanc;
Reading wine labels
Paradoxically but all important information for the identification of wine you can find on the front label. However, what will be written with larger or smaller letters is a matter of design and integrity of the manufacturer. We turn our attention to the most important points.
- The grape variety from which made the product
Wines are varietal, that is made from a single grape variety, and assemblages (blends) — this is when you mix several varieties. Introduction to the world of wine has to start with examining the differences between grape varieties. Every time you buy a wine, you first need to understand what kind it is.
On the labels of European wines, grape variety is not always indicated. The French, Italians, Spaniards do not call their wines “Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot”, “Sangiovese”, and “Tempranillo” and “Bordeaux”, “Chianti” and “Rioja”. They believe that all decent people should understand that Bordeaux is a blend of Cabernet with Merlot; Chianti is made from Sangiovese, and Rioja from Tempranillo. Bordeaux, Chianti and Rioja is a wine for the appellation, i.e. at the place of origin. Varietal composition of wine is listed on American label (on the bottle in the back).
Many varieties of grapes are grown in almost all wine regions around the world. However, among regions there are always those that specialize in a particular variety.
- The name of wine
In addition to grape variety and/or individual appellation, wines sometimes come up with its own name. Something like “Bull Power” or “Secret”. These names do not bear the useful information, it will help you better remember the wine.
- Crop year or vintage.
You need to study the harvests only if you want to buy some wines of the highest categories. Nevertheless, if you are holding the bottle, the label of which does not include the crop year, get it back on the shelf. It is absolutely unacceptable for the dry wines of high quality. The exceptions are sparkling wines and port wine (the real one from Portugal). They are just mostly blended wines from different harvests, and this is their special thing.
Search disadvantages of wine
Rest assured – some really bad wines are just not in that price range, which we would like to see. And this is not only manufacturer’s fault. This may be a result of poor storage, usage of low quality tubes and a host of other unseen circumstances. That is why you need to taste wine first. Here you can already manifest yourself in all its glory.