Guide to the Most Common Wines and How to Choose the Right Wine for Any Occasion

Wine refers to an alcoholic beverage manufactured from fermented grapes or any other fruits. Grapes have a natural chemical balance, which allows them to undergo fermentation without the need to add acids, sugar, water, enzymes, or any other nutrients. The yeast used in manufacturing wines consumes the sugar found in grapes. The yeast then converts the consumed sugar into carbon dioxide and ethanol.

Strains of yeasts, as well as different types of grapes, can produce various styles of wine. The most popular varieties result from a manufacturing process that involves complex interactions between biochemical development of fruits, fermentation reactions and subsequent appellation, and human intervention.

Importance of Learning about Wine

There are numerous reasons why you should consider increasing your knowledge about wine. Some of them are the following:

Helps improve your social experiences – Wine is an alcoholic beverage that you can expect to enjoy if you drink it with others. Just a little knowledge about wines is already enough to open opportunities to understanding and experiencing new styles and flavors. Learning more about wine is an adventure wherein you can also engage your family and friends.

Improves your confidence when buying – With the hundreds of choices, there is a great likelihood that you will feel extremely overwhelmed once you visit the wine aisle, and you realize that you know nothing about what is there. Learning more about these beverages will prevent you from getting too overwhelmed with your choices, and ending up picking the wrong one. With your knowledge, you can walk down a wine aisle confidently, pick your favorite, pay for it, and leave the store one hundred percent satisfied.

Enhances your ability to smell and taste – If you want to improve your sense of smell and taste, then increasing your knowledge about wines can help. Note that you only need a brief moment to be fully aware of the beverage you are drinking. The good thing about having a clear idea of what you really like is that it makes it easier for you to locate similar wines.

an offer a hundred percent satisfaction – Note that the wine industry is huge. This means that you have a wide range of options, and lacking knowledge about each one can lead you to tasting bad wine, and not enjoying the experience. If you want to have a hundred percent satisfaction from your wine tasting and drinking experiences, then having an extensive knowledge about them is necessary.

How Wines Are Made: A Brief Guide

Learning about wines will never be complete without understanding the processes and steps involved in creating them. In this specific part of the chapter, you will learn the steps and processes undertaken by wine makers in order to produce the best-tasting beverages:

Picking the Grapes – A lot of vineyards usually begin the process with white grapes. They then move on to using red varieties. The next step is to collect the grapes in lugs or bins. They then transport the collected grapes to a crushing pad. This stage involves turning grapes into juice, then eventually to wine.

Crushing the grapes – Whether the process of picking the grapes is done manually or with the help of a machine, crushing them involves a similar process. It usually takes place with the help of a de-stemmer. This refers to winemaking machinery, which removes stems from the grape clusters and then crushes them lightly.

If you are using white grapes to produce white wine, then you will need to transfer the crushed white grapes into a press. This begins the juice extraction, which takes place by pressing the crushed grapes. Pure juice, without any skin, will be stored in tanks. This step is essential to let the sediment settle at the bottom of the tank. There is a specific settling period, after which the juice will be filtered and stored in another tank. This is to ensure the removal of all sediments prior to fermentation.

Fermenting Grapes – Fermentation refers to the process wherein sugar is converted into alcohol. Since there are various types of grapes, winemakers also use a variety of technologies and techniques during the fermentation process. The following steps usually form part of the fermentation process:

For white and red wines – Fermentation takes place after adding yeast to the vats.

For red wine – Fermentation for red wines involves releasing carbon dioxide, causing the skin of the grapes to rise up the surface. Winemakers need to pump over or punch down the cap to ensure that the skin stays in contact with juice.

For red wine – Once the fermentation process is complete, winemakers will need to press the grapes. This is necessary to make the wine clear. It will then take a few months for the reds to age in barrels.

Aging – Winemakers have numerous choices when it comes to completing the aging process. They just need to make sure that their choice perfectly suits the type of wine they plan to produce. It is also possible to bring out more intense wine flavors through the following aging options:

Aging for a few years versus a few months

Aging in oak versus stainless steel

Aging using used or neutral barrels versus new oak

Aging using different levels of toasted barrels (Ex. charred through fire)

Bottling – Bottling the wine takes place once the winemaker feels that the beverage has already reached its full potential through aging. When the wine is ready for bottling, it indicates that it is also safe for consumption. White wines are usually ready for bottling within just a few months. Dry red wines, on the other hand, require around eighteen to twenty-four months of aging before they will be ready for bottling.

Red and White Wine Benefits

Supports better cardiovascular health – Red wine usually provides this specific benefit to your cardiovascular system. The skin from dark-colored grapes used in manufacturing red wine contains resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant. This antioxidant works in scavenging and destroying harmful free radicals inside your body. Note that free radicals are harmful byproducts that tend to damage your tissues, especially those found in vital organs and your arteries.

The high resveratrol content in red wine can protect your blood vessels from clogging, inflammation, and injury that free radicals may cause. This makes it possible for red wine to reduce your risk of facing cardiovascular ailments including heart attacks, stroke, and atherosclerosis. The drink also has flavonoids with mild anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Fights high cholesterol – Red wine is rich in ethanol, which works in making your blood thinner, decreasing the risk of blood clotting, and increasing HDL cholesterol level. HDL cholesterol is beneficial because it helps remove bad cholesterol from your bloodstream, and eliminates it from your body via your liver.

Studies show that there is a positive relationship between moderate daily alcohol consumption and increased HDL. This makes it possible to minimize your risk of dealing with atherosclerosis. The resveratrol in red wine also works in reducing LDL or bad cholesterol.

Improves mental function – Some studies show that moderate alcohol consumption can boost brainpower, especially for older women. Researchers even concluded that those who are between seventy and eighty-one who get a serving of ethanol daily through wine have higher scores on mental function exams than those who do not drink at all. They even estimated that those who drink moderately have a 23% reduced risk of suffering from cognitive decline than non-drinkers.

Helps prevent various diseases – White wine is also rich in antioxidants, making it effective in protecting your body and health against various ailments. In fact, drinking white wine regularly can help you prevent breast cancer and lung disease. In a study conducted in 2002, researchers concluded that moderate consumption of white wine can boost lung health. Infection is not curable and persists for life. The infection has the potential to cause an outbreak at any time, although testing centers vary in terms of the number and severity of outbreaks. Antiviral medications can shorten the severity and duration of an outbreak. The drink also protects your cells against breast cancer.

Minimize hangovers – Congeners refer to chemical byproducts of alcohol fermentation. They trigger hangovers. These chemical byproducts are also responsible for the aroma, color, and taste of alcoholic drinks. White wine has low congener levels. The reason is that the chemical’s concentration is usually higher in darker drinks. With its low congener level, you can expect to enjoy a glass or two of white wine without worrying about headaches, irritability, or nausea caused by a hangover later on.

Could help achieve weight loss – Some studies show that white wine could benefit those who are planning to lose weight. It was discovered from the study that those who want to lose weight and stick to a calorie-restricted diet could greatly benefit from consuming white wine. You can actually include a glass of white wine in your calorie-restricted diet to give you energy. Energy derived from white wine is more effective for those who are looking to lose weight than energy derived from juices with lots of sugar. White wine is also lower in calories than beer and red wine.

Prevents tooth decay – Red wine, including the non-alcoholic varieties, can harden your tooth enamel, which is good for preventing tooth decay. With the hardened enamel, your teeth can effectively resist the bacteria thriving inside that cause the decay. Red wine is also rich in polyphenols, which are helpful in preventing gum diseases and reducing gum inflammation.

Regulates blood sugar – This benefit can be attributed to the skin of red grapes used in producing red wine. The skin is rich in resveratrol, a natural compound that can also help diabetics control their blood sugar levels. Those who get a good supply of resveratrol have lower levels of blood glucose than those who lack it.

The high resveratrol content in red wine can also significantly decrease systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol level. Resveratrol can also activate a kind of protein, which regulates insulin sensitivity and glucose, while also stimulating the secretion of insulin.

Aside from the benefits mentioned in this chapter, drinking a glass of red or white wine after a long day at work can also help you de-stress. It can help produce happy hormones, so you can sleep better at night. Your regular red and white wine habit also comes with other happy health benefits including protecting you against cancer and depression and slimming your waistline.

Just make sure that you do not go beyond the number of servings recommended for you on a regular basis. Note that excessive drinking can also lead to alcoholism. A wise tip is to consume less than 24-ounces of wine daily. It is also advisable to monitor your daily calorie intake and ensure that your body receives adequate nutrition. The following tips can also help you make the most out of drinking wine:

If possible, pick the red wine variety – The purple and red grapes used in making red wine have higher anti-cancer benefits than other types. They also have higher resveratrol content.

Learn more about the vineyard – Do a little research about the vineyard which manufacturers the wine before making your purchase. If possible, buy wines made from vineyards in moist and cool climates. The reason is that wines from these vineyards usually have higher resveratrol than those manufactured in vineyards located in dry and warm climates.

Do not exceed the recommended serving – For men, the safest amount of wine to drink per day is less than two servings. Women, on the other hand, should only have one serving a day.

Drinking moderately and occasionally while also ensuring that your body receives essential nutrients will surely let you enjoy numerous benefits from the habit of drinking wine.

Common Types of Wines

Wines come in various types. If you are still a beginner, then you may get overwhelmed with your wide range of choices. To make it easier for you, here are the most common types of wines, their distinct qualities and tastes, and the foods that you can pair with them.

Syrah / Shiraz

This wine is most popular in Australia, California, and Rhone Valley, France. It has the flavor and aroma of wild black fruits like blackcurrants. The wine also has hints of roasting mint and black pepper spice. It is rich in fruit flavor that the warm alcohol perfectly complements. It is best to pair this wine with meat particularly steak, stews, wild game, and beef.

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a popular white wine made from white grapes. Its typical taste is voluptuous. Most chardonnay wines are more velvety and have wider bodies than other dry white wine varieties. The wine also features a rich and citrusy flavor, mostly like grapefruit and lemon. It is fermented in new oak barrels, which gives it a buttery tone that can remind you of coconut, toast, vanilla, or toffee.

You can get a 20-dollar bottle of chardonnay manufactured in California if you want a wine that has a citrusier flavor with hints of vanilla and melon. It also features a bit of creaminess and toasty character. It is best to pair this beverage with chicken dishes and fish.

Pinot Grigio

One of the most famous wines in the world, Pinot Grigio, is seen in various occasions. It is also popular for its other names including Pinot Gris. The styles of this wine greatly vary based on the specific location where the grapes are grown and cultivated and the way they are made. Pinot Grigio from Italy usually has a light and fruity character, while the one from France features a mineral flavor.

The most typical Pinot Grigio varieties are incredibly fragrant, plush, and soft on the palate. These wines also offer a hint of sweetness from fruits, making it possible to pair them with various foods.

Moscato

The typical taste of Moscato wine is sweet and fruity. It also provides a grape fruity taste and a musky aroma. Anyone who has already tasted a table grape from Muscat will instantly recognize this wine. It is best to drink it alone, without any food. However, it can be served as a complement to dessert.

Cabernet sauvignon

This wine is widely accepted as one of the best wine varieties in the world. People often blend it with merlot and cabernet franc. It typically has a full-bodied, yet gripping and firm taste at a young age. Its rich currant qualities tend to change to something that may remind you of a pencil box once it ages. Note, that the hints of bell pepper still remain even when the wine ages. It is best to serve this drink with red meat.

Pinot Noir

Pinot noir is a noble red wine grape without roughness. It is quite hard to grow. Red wines made from this grape are popular in France, California, New Zealand, Oregon, and Austria. This type of wine has a fresh and delicate structure. It also has soft tannins, which means that it has low amounts of polyphenols. It has a fruity aroma, which can remind you of plum, strawberry, or cherry. It also features hints of worn leather, damp earth, or tealeaves. It is best for grilled salmon, Japanese dishes, lamb, and chicken.

Malbec

Malbec originated from the Bordeaux region in France. It is currently popular in Argentina, and California, particularly in cooler regions, such as Australia, and Chile. The wine’s characteristics greatly vary based upon the location where it was cultivated and the way it was transformed. In general, it comes out as a well-colored drink with flavors of spice, berries, and plums.

Malbec is versatile enough that you can blend it with other wine varieties including merlot. The good thing about mixing Malbec with other wines is that it can offer a few health benefits. It is best to pair Malbec with all kinds of meals based on meat. It also suits Indian, Cajun, and Mexican dishes.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc varieties usually come from New Zealand, Australia, and France. This wine typically has a lighter taste than that of Chardonnay. It also usually presents an herbal character, reminding those who drink it of freshly mown grass, or bell pepper. Its dominating flavors include sour green fruits like pear, gooseberry, and apple, and tropical fruits like blackcurrant, mango, and melon.

It also delivers smoky qualities, a strong acid finish and bright aroma. It is best to pair this wine with poultry, seafood, and salad.

Wine by Occasion

Wines are staples for various occasions. Some occasions will never be complete without these beverages. The problem usually comes out during the selection process. With the numerous options available, you may find it confusing to pick the most appropriate bottle for a specific occasion. Note that you cannot just serve any wine. You have to make sure that it matches the special occasion you are hosting.

By picking wines that suit a special occasion, you can expect to put smiles on the faces of your guests. This can lighten up the atmosphere and keep everyone talking all throughout the duration of the event. While you cannot find any hard and fast rules in selecting the perfect wine for every occasion, especially once you take into account the fact that people have different preferences and taste, a few guidelines can still help you make the right choice.

The following can give you a clearer idea about complementing an occasion with the right dishes and wines.

White Wines

Because white wines are drier and lighter in comparison to red wines, it is best to serve them before the main course or earlier in the evening. You can also serve Chardonnay, which most wine connoisseurs find appealing, together with rich-tasting dishes and meal courses, particularly those with creamy sauces. If you are serving shrimp, fish, and salads, then the best white wine to complement them is Sauvignon Blanc, because it has a fruity nature.

It is best to serve white wines at the start of the evening. They are also perfect for special occasions and toasts. Champagne is an indispensable choice at weddings.

Red Wines

Red wine is perfect for main courses. Hosts of certain events also usually serve red wines at the latter part. Red wines boast of their full-bodied nature, making them ideal for hearty meals. Serve Merlot if you want to serve a wine that most guests will find appealing. This drink features a well-balanced mix of lightness and body, making it an excellent companion for most dishes. Merlot also works perfectly with lamb, pork, and poultry.

When hosting special occasions, serving Pinot Noir is also a wise move. This wine has a sparkling aroma of blackberry, vanilla, and plum. It is perfect for dishes that have creamy sauces. If you are serving spicy dishes, then you can complement it with Shiraz. This wine comes with a peppery taste, so you can expect it to bring out the best flavors in spicy or chili dishes, roasts, and barbecues.

Chianti is the best choice if what you are looking for is a wine with a full and hearty taste. It blends well with poultry and tomato dishes. The good thing about Chianti is that it is versatile enough that you can find it in a wide range of quality and price.

Specific Wines for Specific Occasions

To aid you during the selection process, this part will present to you a few wine options that are consistently showstoppers during special moments. Whether you are hosting a party to celebrate a birthday, wedding, or any other special event, you can expect to find one wine that perfectly suits the mood that you are trying to create.

For Thanksgiving

It is best to start planning your menu for dinner and choosing wines to match your feast as early as possible if you want your Thanksgiving feast to be joyous. If possible, buy wines one week before Thanksgiving. The reason is that several wine merchants will run specials and offer discounts on various wines during this time.

The confusion starts when you start to select which among the wines offered to you blends well with the wide range of aroma, tastes and textures that are unique to the event. A good tip is to go for some of the tried and recommended choices for Thanksgiving. These include Shiraz, Zinfandel, and Pinot Noir (if you plan to serve red wines) and Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewurztraminer (if you plan to serve white wines).

If possible, pick wines with light-medium body, less complexity, and low tannin levels. These drinks complement well with the various food choices presented during a Thanksgiving feast.

For Christmas

Are you currently in search of wines that would best suit your holiday dishes? If yes, then rest assured that you have a wide range of options for versatile reds and whites that can boost the occasion. Get the best wine that perfectly suits your Christmas menu; especially if you are planning to celebrate the event with a huge group of people. The following will serve as your guide in selecting the best wines for Christmas:

Ham – Your choices for red wine include Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Beajolais Nouveau. White wines like Gewurztraminer and Riesling also perfectly go with ham.

Turkey – If you have turkey dishes, then the red wines to serve should include Shiraz, Zinfandel, and Pinot Noir. Your choices for white wine include Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier.

Goose – The best red wines for dishes based on goose are Red Burgundy and Zinfandel. For white wines, consider serving Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.

Prime Rib – Prime rib dishes are best paired with red wines, specifically Shiraz, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

For Weddings

Weddings are special occasions, so it is important to pair the joyous event with special wines as well. One of your best choices is the Pink Moscato. Many recommend this drink for weddings because of its light aroma of peach and citrus and its light body. It is also a bit sweet, making it ideal for those who want to celebrate a perfect union.

For Picnics

Are you planning to bond with your loved ones by setting up a picnic? If yes, then consider serving wines to make the event more joyous. Your best choice would be the White Merlot. Picnics can make you visualize sunny and warm days, so you need to match the nice weather with a wine that is equally as bright. This is the White Merlot, which features hints of cranberry, blueberry and plum, a perfect addition to your picnic basket.

For Anniversaries

White Zinfandel is great for anniversaries, especially if you want the atmosphere to be as bright and as fun as the time when you and your spouse tied the knot. This drink comes with a light pink hue while also delivering a taste of strawberry and sweet peach. These unique traits make the Wine Zinfandel a perfect choice for those who want to commemorate true love.

Housewarming

Cabernet Sauvignon is a good choice for housewarming parties. This drink has a distinctive taste, which can usually remind you of spice, blackberry, and oak. The fact that it has a full-bodied flavor makes it ideal if you want to relax and settle into your new home without stress.

For Birthdays

Birthday parties often need a real crowd pleaser. In this case, your best choice is the Pinot Grigio. It is crisp and has an apple and citrusy flavor. With these distinctive qualities, a birthday party will surely turn out to be more special and much brighter.

Date Nights

Are you looking forward to a date night sometime this week? If yes, then look for a wine, which is a bit smooth and silky, and nicely blends with a rich dessert. The best choice would be Merlot. This is a lovely pick for date nights and Valentines because of its smooth and relaxing taste with hints of oak, plum, and black cherry.

How to Choose the Right Wine for any Occasion

Picking the right wine for a special occasion does not have to be complicated and overwhelming. In fact, you can easily manage it even if you are not an expert in wines. Note that wine selection for various occasions does not necessarily need to be a comprehensive collection, cost a huge amount of money, or require extensive knowledge about high quality aged wines.

To choose the best wine for an occasion, you have to consider a few important factors such as the setting of the occasion, the personal tastes and preferences of your guests, and the most appropriate wine pairings for the food that will be served. Do a wine tasting to ensure that you make the right choice. In wine tasting, it is best to smell it first, especially if you plan to pair it with the dishes served for an occasion.

The wine’s scent will let you know about subtleties of flavor that usually offer immediate mental connection with the dishes that it will complement well. Pairing the right wine with the right food can enhance both of their flavors, so you can expect to make a special occasion even more enjoyable, while also impressing your guests.

Flavor balance is also crucial to finding an excellent match. This means that heavy and rich foods often require a heavy and rich wine to retain both their flavors. If you are looking for a wine with strong flavor, then go for red wines. Note, however, that some red wines have a sweet taste. With this fact in mind, you can pair red wine with pasta dishes that use acidic, tomato based sauces. Red wines also work well with deep-fried dishes, strong cheeses, and beef. In terms of the mentioned food pairings, your best choices include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir. You can also pick port wine for desserts and for dishes that use a lot of cheese. This specific wine also has extra sweetness and strength that makes it suitable for dark and strong chocolates.

For light dishes, white wines are the best options. You can serve Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay along with salads, seafood, and grilled meats. These wines are light enough that they can blend well with the lightness and delicacy of the served foods, therefore creating a perfect evening and meal that is healthy, full of flavors, and elegant.

If you are serving seafood, Asian dishes, appetizers, desserts, and poultry; then go for sparkling wines and champagnes. These are good pairings because both the wines and the foods will be enhanced. Many people also choose Champagne for New Years. The main reason is that aside from its cultural significance, it also delivers a spectacular flavor when you pair it with desserts and appetizers. This makes it suitable for other holiday traditions.

Wine is a beverage that millions of people have enjoyed for several decades. You have numerous choices, so it is easy to get overwhelmed. To help you in making the right choice and impressing your guests with the perfect pairings of foods and wines, here are some tips to take note of:

Avoid buying large quantities of wines that you like – Note that there is a good chance that your taste and preferences will change as soon as you learn more about new wines. The guests you invite for a specific occasion also have different tastes. Buy small quantities. It is also advisable to pick those with versatile flavors, so they can go along with various dishes.

Store the wines at the right temperature – If you want to impress your guests with your wine choices, make sure to set the right temperature for them. Note that storing the wines at an ideal temperature can help bring out their best flavor. For red wines, it is best to store them in a place with a 60-degree temperature.

White wines, on the other hand, require a temperature of 47 degrees or lower. Avoid storing white wines in areas with a temperature of more than 47 degrees since this might cause their taste to become dull.

Visit a vineyard – Doing so will give you lots of information about the way wines are manufactured and the things that make each type different. Visiting a vineyard can also help you identify the specific factors to look for during the selection process. Vineyards also often offer free samples. Try them to determine which one would perfectly complement the menu for your occasion.

Choose Pinot Noir in case you have doubts – Pinot Noir is one of the most versatile wines out there. It is not too heavy and it perfectly blends with any cuisine. All Pinot Noir varieties come with their individual and unique flavors. However, you will still realize that it is a mild wine known for its versatility, so it is safe to serve it in any social setting.

Keep a box containing various wines in a dark and cool place – This is a good way to prepare for drop-in or unexpected guests. Just avoid putting the box in a place wherein there are constant fluctuations in temperature, since this might cause the bottles to burst or the wine to taste bad. For this reason, it is better to store the wines in a closet than in a basement.

Decide on where you should buy the wines – You have to plan and decide which store you should visit. You may visit a small or large wine store, but make sure that you can talk to knowledgeable staff. Large stores may offer a wide range of choices. However, if you want the staff to be more attentive to your specific needs, while also sharing their excellent advice, then a small shop with knowledgeable staff is worth visiting.

Consider the way foods are cooked when selecting wines – When choosing wines, it is more important to consider the way foods are cooked and how they are seasoned. If a specific dish is meant to be served cold, then lighter wines would be your best pick. Steamed or poached foods require light wines.

If you are serving barbecued or roasted foods, then take note that wines with more intense flavors are essential. Roasted meats also require a more robust wine.

Consider flavor interactions – Your tongue can only detect four distinct flavors namely bitter, salty, sour, and sweet. Your nose, on the other hand, can decipher more than 200 different aromas. The combined sensory uptakes of your mouth and tongue will let you experience a wide range of characteristics and nuances in terms of flavors.

Once you start pairing wines with foods, it is best to remind yourself that food flavors can either compliment or contradict a specific wine. Both scenarios can actually produce good results. For instance, when you serve a sweet Riesling with salty chips, you can expect the chips to taste even better because this will contrast the saltiness while also bringing out its intrinsic sweetness.

Other factors to consider – When searching for the best pairing potentials, you need to consider other vital factors including the acidity of certain foods. Dishes with lemon-based sauce, Greek salads, and other acidic foods blend well with wines that also have acidic undertones. A great example would be Pinot Grigio.

You also need to consider if the dish you are serving is light or heavy in nature. Generally, people prefer to pair heartier dishes with full-bodied red wines, and to complement lighter dishes with delicate white wines. This is a matter of preference.

A wise tip is to begin by experimenting using your own preferred combinations. It is also advisable to consider the preferences of your guests so you can serve wines that are sure to satisfy them.

With all the tips mentioned in this chapter, choosing the right wine for the occasion or party you are planning to host will become a lot easier. Enjoy the adventure of finding the perfect food and wine pairings. Do not pressure yourself too much, and instead of getting too caught up in all the limitations and regulations, start thinking about creative combinations.

Another important thing to do is to take note of the pairings you and your guests enjoyed. This will serve as your reference in the future. Keep trying to mix and match certain dishes with wines so you will know how each of their components influences each other. In time, you will be able to master the art of mixing and matching meals with the right wines.

Tasting, Storing and Serving Wines

Learning the basics of tasting, storing, and serving wines is also crucial in ensuring that a special occasion with food and wine pairings will turn out to be a huge success. The last chapter of this book will walk you through these three important aspects of wines and wine selection.

Wine Tasting

In wine tasting, fine-tuning your sensory abilities can help you better understand and enjoy the details and nuances expressed by great wines. Rest assured that you will find the act of investing your time and effort in palate training as a rewarding experience. When tasting wines, you have to improve your skills in sniffing out and untangling delicate threads weaving into the somewhat complex aromas of wines.

Hold your nose while swallowing a mouthful of the wine. Your nose plays a crucial role in palate training. Giving a wine a good sniff can help you isolate flavors. This basically means recognizing the way the flavors interact and isolate. In time, you will be able to assign each flavor a language that will describe it.

In wine tasting, being methodical and staying focused is also key. If you are still a beginner, it is best to determine your own approach as you go along. Follow the approach that you have learned consistently. You also need to be dedicated and focused. This means that you have to remove all distractions, and stop all conversations once you are holding a glass of wine for tasting. You need to focus so you can take note of the scent, appearance, finish, and flavor of the wine.

Wine tasting also requires you to figure out your own taste and preferences. You have to know what you like, since this is the key to finding a satisfying wine. However, take note that finding your own likes and preferences in terms of wines is not the only vital component in the tasting process. Avoid making quick judgments regarding wines without spending time evaluating and fully understanding them.

You will know that you are doing the wine tasting process correctly if you can identify the main scent and flavor components in each one. You are doing the process correctly if you can identify the unique characteristics of important varietal grapes, as well as the blended wines produced in various regions. Wine tasting is also a success if you can immediately pinpoint certain flaws in bad wines.

In selecting and tasting wines, you have to take note of certain flaws to prevent you from making a bad choice. Some of these flaws result from bad winemaking, poor storage, and bad corks. See to it that the wine you are buying tastes the way it should. Being an expert in wine tasting can help you in this area because it allows you to sniff out usual flaws and faults including musty and damp smell.

Serving Wines

If you plan to serve wines at a festive occasion, then make sure that you do so in a way that it brings out its absolute best. You can expect to bring out the best of these drinks by paying close attention to three vital aspects of effective wine serving. These are the following:

Glassware – Every wine is capable of offering something unique to your senses. This is the main reason why you can find wine glasses in specific shapes to emphasize the distinct characteristics of the different types. Different glasses also have specific designs and shapes to direct the wine to key areas including the nose and the tongue. This is a good way to enjoy the wine completely.

While you can serve wines in any glass, it is still best to choose a glass specifically designed for a particular wine variety to experience its nuances better. Invest in a good set of wine glasses for serving wines to your guests. You will find the investment rewarding, especially after you receive compliments from your guests.

Temperature – All wines require the same temperature for storage, regardless of their color. However, when the red and white wines are ready for consumption, they need different temperatures. More often than not, most people drink red wines that are too warm and white wines that are too cold. Doing so can only limit the fun and enjoyment that drinking wine is supposed to give.

Note that white wines that are too cold will lose their flavors, while red wines that are too warm are often too alcoholic and flabby. Champagnes, dessert wines, and sparkling wines should be served at 40 degrees Fahrenheit, while Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc should be around 45 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit to make them ideal for serving.

If you are planning to serve Shiraz, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, then make sure that they are around 64 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit. For Pinot Noir, 60 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature. While the mentioned figures will serve as a rough guide, those who do not have a thermometer on hand may find it confusing.

In this case, the rule is to chill white wines before serving. For red wines, it is best to give them enough time to income to room temperature before serving. The ideal refrigerator temperature for white wines is around 40 degrees Fahrenheit while their storage temperature should be 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Red wines, on the other hand, should be between room and storage temperature, usually around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you do not have a wine storage refrigerator yet, then store the red wines in a standard refrigerator for approximately thirty minutes before serving. For white wines, it is best to take them out of your refrigerator and wait for thirty minutes before serving.  Rosés, sparkling, and dessert wines require a cooler temperature.

Preservation – The third important aspect in wine serving is preservation. This is necessary if there is still remaining wine in the bottle. Note that once wines are exposed to air, they are immediately at risk of spoilage. You can actually delay the process of deterioration with the help of a vacuum pump. The pump will suck out any excess air. You can extend the lifespan of wine if there is less air inside the bottle.

Storing Wines

Learning the correct way of storing wines is the key to serving them in the best condition. One effective tip is to store them in a cool, but not too cool place. Note that heat is bad for wines. The ideal temperature for storing wines is around 45 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also store wines in your refrigerator, but make sure that they do not stay there for more than two months. Storing the wines in your refrigerator for more than two months may cause their corks to dry out eventually, thereby allowing air to seep in and spoil them.

The storage place should also be without lights. Lights, particularly sunlight, can be a problem for long-term wine storage. The reason is that it can prematurely age and degrade wine. Light that comes from household bulbs will not cause damage to the beverage itself. However, it may cause the labels to fade eventually. Since incandescent bulbs only emit small amounts of UV light, it is safer in comparison to fluorescent bulbs.

You do not have to create a new room or space in your home to accommodate your wine collection. You can actually repurpose an infrequently used closet or any other vacant space or storage area in your home for storing wines. You can look for a stable, dark space in your home that is not too dry or damp. You may also invest in a cooling unit designed specifically for your wine collection.

Now that you know the basics of tasting, storing and serving wines, you are ready to choose the right beverages for any special occasion.

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