Guide to wine: What everyone pretends to know

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Whether you’re choosing it for a dinner party, ordering it for your table at a restaurant, or simply going to a tasting, you want to look like you know what you’re doing when it comes to wine. After all, everyone around you seems to know what they’re talking about, so now it’s your turn to be in the know.

Without getting too technical and fancy with sommelier wine jargon, here are a few essentials you need to know about wine, so that, unlike so many people, you don’t need to pretend.

1. Vineyard to glass: How wine is made

No hidden knowledge here, wine is made from grapes, nature’s gift to mankind. The grapes are grown, havested and are crushed, and then left to ferment. This is when the yeast, which occurs naturally outdoors in the vineyard and is found on the skin of the grapes, reacts with the sugars from the grape juice, to produce alcohol.

The colour of the wine depends on the pigments in the grape skin. As the pulp of the grape has no colour, the colour of the wine will be decided by whether dark or white grapes are used, and how long the skins are left in contact with the juice.

For instance, a red wine is usually made by using dark grapes and leaving the skins of the grape in, during the fermentation process. However with white wines, white grapes are usually used as there is very little colour pigmentation in the skin. This doesn’t mean that dark grapes cannot produce white wine, as this can be achieved by not letting the skins come into contact with the juice.

Rose wines are usually made with dark grapes, by only leaving the skins in for a few hours, so the colour is pink.

After the wine making process is complete the wine is bottled and ready for market

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2. Wine when you dine

Choosing a wine at a restaurant can be a time when all eyes are on you. Depending on the meal, time of day, or even the season, you will need to choose a wine that will pair well. Your waiter or server can assist you or you can find our wine pairing guide here if you are unfamiliar or want to refresh your memory.

Once the choice has been made, you will be shown the bottle, handed the cork, and given a small amount to taste. But why and what are these steps for?

Firstly, you are shown the bottle to check that it’s the wine you ordered. You should pay attention to the name and the vineyard, the type of wine, and then the year. If all is as it should be, gesture to your waiter or server to continue.

Next the cork will be removed and handed to you. For some this is a strange notion and a great tell if someone know something about wine. First you need to check that the cork is half wet and half dry. This will allow you to decipher how the wine has been stored.If it’s been stored upright, the cork will be completely dry, if there is a hole in the cork, the cork will be completely wet. Neither of these are correct for the wine to be adequate. If the cork looks good, gesture again to the waiter or server to continue.

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You will be served a small amount in your glass and you will need to taste the wine; this is to check that the wine hasn’t been corked and doesn’t smell or taste bad, like vinegar. If all is well, you would let your server or waiter know that they can then serve it to all who are wanting it at the table.

3. Dinner party wine

Image source: Midjourney V6

When hosting a dinner party, choosing the right wine to accompany the right foods can seem to be a very tricky task at first. However there are a few basics that once learnt, can leave you feeling confident about your choices. Once again, our wine pairing guide is an excellent guide to finding the perfect wine for any meal or occasion.

In addition to selecting the right wine or wines (having both a red and a white wine is always recommended) when entertaining at home, you also need to have a decent cork screw, the correct wine glass, a decanter or aerator, and glass identifier tags, to really signal that you know a little more about wine than the average wine drinker.

It is also important to serve wine to your guests at the correct temperature. Every wine will taste the best when served at the temperature that best enhances its flavours  and aromas. Have a large ice bucket is great, but a wine fridge is unmatched when it comes to both storing and serving wine at the correct temperature.

When entertaining at home there is often left over wine. Instead of sacrificing it to the sink or letting it turn into vinegar,  invest in quality bottle stoppers that will help to preserve the wine for a few days.

4. Expanding your palette

What actually are you looking for when wine tasting? Basically, you are looking to decipher flavours and textures of different types of wine, to help you distinguish and expand your palette. You want to learn what wines you prefer along with their characteristics, so you can then use this information when ordering your next glass as a restaurant, or buying wine for a dinner party. By tasting the wine, swirling it and then smelling it to enhance the scent, you will learn what types and ages of wine suit your palette best.

By learning just a few basics you can have a better understanding of wine, to help you make the right choices, accompaniments and simply so you can increase your enjoyment of drinking it.

BGI

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Best Guide Inc. Staff Writer

The staff writers at Best Guide Inc. are passionate about sharing their experiences, knowledge, and research. You can visit their website www.bestguideinc.net or follow them on their socials.

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