There’s nothing better at the end of the day than enjoying a glass of good wine while watching your favorite series on Netflix, and during quarantine, there’s plenty of time for both. If you’ve got a generous wine supply in your Edgestar wine cooler, then you’re already prepared to bravely self-isolate. However, now you also can take advantage and learn all those fascinating things about wine you’ve always been interested in. We are going to walk you through some wine basics that will help you enjoy this select beverage even more during quarantine and afterward.
What are the most common wine features you should distinguish?
Wine is quite a complex beverage and there are literally hundreds of words to describe it. If you read the label of a wine, you will immediately see that each type is different based on the grapes that were used to make it. This is not the only aspect that influences wine taste. How the beverage was preserved, in what container, and for how long also play an important part in the wine’s flavor.
Not surprisingly, wines are described in so many words, some of which seem totally awkward for beginners. Don’t worry, in time, you will get the hang of it and be able to distinguish between a robust, balanced, cloudy, earthy, or elegant wine.
To give you a helping hand, here is a list of some of the most common words that describe wine and what they actually refer to:
– astringent: wines with a lot of tannins are astringent and they feel rough immediately after you take the first sip
– aromatic: an aromatic wine is one that has a strong scent, in older wines aroma fades away and its place is taken by what is called a “bouquet”
– acid: an acid wine has a sour hint and a scent that resembles vinegar
– balanced: a balanced wine is one that brings together all the wine’s natural characteristics without letting a single one prevail
– baked: a baked wine is a red one that was produced in a warm area from ripe grapes
– breed: a good wine has breed which means it maintains the characteristics of its variety
– body: this refers to how you feel the wine once you take a sip; it is a combination of different factors including the wine’s alcohol level, origin, age, and preparation method
– character: a wine with character is one that is easy to distinguish among others due to its taste
– clean: a clean wine is a delicate one that doesn’t have a striking smell or taste
– dry: this is the wine that doesn’t taste sweet
– earthy: just as you might imagine, this has something to do with earth, more precisely with the earth where the vineyard grew and that left some traces in the wine’s taste
– elegant: an elegant wine is a well-balanced and fine one that has breed
– flowery: connoisseurs say that smelling a wine that has a flowery bouquet resembles the sensation of smelling blossoms
– fruity: if a wine is fruity, it still maintains the flavor of the fresh grapes it was made from; this characteristic fades as the wine ages
– light: if the wine doesn’t have body, a high level of alcohol, or a strong color, but is yet tasty, it is called light
– long: after you drink a long wine, its aroma still lingers in your mouth for long
– hard: a hard wine is very tannic
– noble: a noble wine is one that possesses distinguishable and impressive qualities. This is normally the characteristic of good quality wines.
– ripe: this wine has the taste of ripe grapes
– rounded: a well-balanced wine is also called rounded
– powerful: wine connoisseurs usually use this feature in relationship with a robust red wine or white wine that has an outstanding bouquet
– soft: these wines are normally less acid and they don’t contain a lot of tannins
– smooth: when you drink a smooth wine, it will not leave a rough feeling after you’ve swallowed it
– spicy: yes, some wines are literally spicy based on the grape variety they are made from
– tannic: red wine is tannic, which refers to the phenolic compounds that actually make the wine taste bitter; the typical sensation you get with a tannic wine is a combination between bitterness and dryness, also these wines are often described as astringent
– velvety: such wine has a smooth texture and it is not acid
– vigorous: a vigorous wine has a bold taste; it is anything but insipid
Now that we talked about the most common wine characteristics, it’s worth keeping in mind that there are a few main aspects according to which wine is normally classified or recommended: acidity, alcohol content, tannin, and body.
If you read the label of a wine, you will surely find indications that refer to one of these features as they give a broad definition of that particular wine and enable people to understand what they can expect from that variety.
What to pay attention to when matching wine with food?
Wine connoisseurs have debated this topic for centuries and they will probably not stop now when there is more wine diversity in our supermarkets than ever. There is a widespread rule of etiquette, which most wine lovers stick to that says you should pair white wine with fish or chicken and red wine with red meat.
Others have rushed to contradict this secular unwritten rule and to claim that you can pair any type of wine with any type of meat as long as their characteristics can be matched. In other words, there has to be some sort of complementarity between the two.
The wine should not be very vigorous and strong if it is paired with a delicate dish such as fish. On the other hand, a succulent steak would always go better if you pair it with a full-bodied and robust wine that doesn’t let this dish intimidate it.
The ingredients of your food can enhance or diminish some of the basic characteristics of wine such as its acidity and tannin. Based on what you eat, you will feel the taste of wine differently and you risk missing out on its great flavor if you don’t pair wine with the proper dish.
You can feel the wine tastes less sweet or bitter if you previously gulped down a spicy or strongly flavored food that overwhelms it. If you want to start drinking wine like a pro during quarantine and avoid missing out on its exquisite features; for starters, you should always read the label of each variety to see what food pairs better with it.
In fact, with most wine types, you don’t even have to bother reading the information on the label as they also come with a picture of the basic foods that are most suitable for it: red meat, fish, chicken, or cheese.
How to pour the wine correctly
If you are home alone, enjoying your binge-watching weekend and the only thing you can focus on is what’s about to happen to your favorite character, the type of wine glass you use or how you pour your wine might be topics of little interest.
However, if you want to stick to the plan of learning a thing or two about the art of drinking wine like a connoisseur, both the glass and how you pour the drink are important. When you choose the wine glass, you should always pick a tall one and not those small glasses you often see in casual bars, which the waiter fills up to the top.
With that design, the wine doesn’t get the chance to let its aromatic compounds do their work and provide you a better taste because the shape of the glass affects the vapors’ density. Bottom line is that your wine will have less flavor if you drink it from a cup that isn’t tall enough so that you only fill it about one third/a half.
When it comes to actually pouring the wine, at the beginning it’s difficult to avoid drips, but keep in mind that you should hold the bottle closer to the base and rotate it quickly when you want to stop pouring. This way, you will avoid waste.
There are myriad interesting things you should know about wine, whether you’re a fan or not. With the ongoing quarantine, there’s plenty of time to enjoy a cup of red or white but also to learn more about this fine drink.