Wine Tips – Top 3 things to know
1. Know some varieties.
Pick some familiar wine varieties and explore them. Taste and learn about their history, and then use these wine tips and knowledge as a base from which to continue the drinking adventure!
The wines could be made from grapes such as chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, riesling or pinot noir, and you should learn a few facts about them, such as how cabernet sauvignon is ideal for aging, its homeland is Bordeaux (Fra), and that it grows well in warm, coastal climates like Margaret River (Aus) and the Napa Valley (USA). Cabernets also range from medium-bodied to full-bodied and are characterised by their high tannins and mixed spice or currant flavours alongside the richness of ripe berry, tobacco and sometimes green pepper aromatics. As a food pairing, a Cabernet Sauvignon matches with red meats, hearty pastas, lamb, strong-flavoured cheeses and dark chocolate.
Once you’ve investigated three or four styles, introduce them to you friends. Your insight will enable you to understand other varietals better, and your friends will instantly assume you have the knowledge!
2. Wine is subjective
Everyone’s palate is different, and while we all sniff, sip and slurp in the same way, what follows is a personal interpretation. Someone might taste lemon and another may taste orange. One person might like young Hunter Shiraz, as it’s bright and fresh, and another may enjoy Hunter Shiraz that’s medium-bodied, plummy and at least 10 years of age.
Even words are subjective, as some people think a young wine is anywhere between one and three years old, and another person might consider anything under ten years to be young. There is no right or wrong.
Here’s another of my top Wine Tips: If you like it, it’s a good wine. Let nobody tell you any different.
3. Not all wine styles benefit from aging
It is a misconception that you must age wine. The fact is that 90% of wines made today are meant to be consumed young, and most wines are consumed relatively soon after production, perhaps 12 to 18 months. As an example, Cabernet Sauvignons will age for longer periods than most Merlots, however Beaujolais is a ‘drink now’ style that doesn’t benefit from aging.
In general, red wines are better candidates for aging because of their tannin, acid, alcohol and fruit. Some whites like sémillon, riesling and white Chateuuneuf du Pape also benefit from cellaring, though in actual fact there is no precise way to determine the aging capacity of a wine. As a guide the palate length can be a good indicator, though usually it is a best guess scenario with one’s ability to analyse the acids, tannins and fruit utilised. Unfortunately wine labels offer no indication of cellaring potential, not even back labels
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