Three Things You Should Know Before You Pop Open A Bottle Of Wine
Try to think of a time that you went out for drinks with the guys and one of the boys turned to the bartender and asked, “Can I see the wine list?” Don’t worry, I couldn’t remember one either.
Some guys can rattle off a laundry list of craft beers; others can walk you through a their favorite whiskeys, but few can spot a quality Merlot. It’s just not one of the things we learn. But it may be time that you expand your palate and learn how to appreciate wine because pounding a pint at a formal dinner date may not be the way to go. In fact, having a few bottles of wine in your liquor cabinet can be considered an investment.
For where to start, I stopped by a wine shop in New York City to talk to Master Sommelier and Ribera y Rueda ambassador Brahm Callahan for a few simple tips.
Step 1: Know What You Like
This doesn’t mean know exactly what kind of wine you like but if you’re walking into a wine shop, you will want to know what kind of taste you’re looking for. The first question Callahan asked me is, “Do you want something fruity or earthy?” My first question back to him was, well, what does earthy even mean? For the record, when talking wines, earthy means the wine lacks sweetness. It might have some dryness to it that reminds you of mushrooms.
Despite the fact that I like to sip my whiskey and bourbon neat, I prefer my wine sweet and light. I chose fruity. Callahan suggested a white wine like Pinot Noir or a Zinfandel or red wines from Spain such as a Camino de Navaherreros Garnacha, which is more like bubble gum, Callahan said, and soft on your palate.
Once you’ve discovered a bottle of wine you like you can branch out to similar wines. But then it’s also important to know what you don’t like. Identify words that can describe the tastes you want and the ones you want to avoid. Big (flavorful), fruit-forward,
Step 2: Know The Buzz Words
The language of wine is similar to the language of the world, Callahan said. You’ll need to find words that anyone listening can identify with. Find a few words that make sense to you. “Angry, loud, soft, round, lush, any words that bring a picture to your mind are words you’re going to want to bring with you,” he said.
Wines have three important characteristics:
Tannins: the textural element that makes wine dry and adds bitterness and complexity. Big or “angry” wines have lot of tannins.
Acidity: refers to tasting fresh, sour or tart. These characteristics are meant to balance sweetness in wine or tannins.
Alcohol: knowing the percentage of alcohol in a wine can make all the difference in how you feel after a few glasses. You might want to pair wines that have a higher alcohol content with a larger meal. Unless you’re looking for a buzz, that is.
If you’re looking for a white wine on a hot day, you might want something that is crisp and refreshing (remember those buzz words). If you want something soft and round, Callahan suggested a red wine from Spain, Ribera del Duero, which he called an entry-level wine. If you’re into a big and angry wines, he recommends hitting an Italian wine such as Barolo. For a crisp and easy wine, he suggests Grüner Veltliner or Verdejo or simply a Rosé.
Step 3 – Know What You’re Willing To Spend
There’s no simple answer here. Callahan said to knowing what you should spend. “Anybody can spend a lot of money on wine. The harder part is finding a great bottle of wine within a budget,” he said. “That’s where the work comes in. If somebody in a wine shop or a restaurant you’re eating at can’t recommend a bottle of wine at a price you’re comfortable with, you probably shouldn’t be in there.”
Post & Image Source : AskMen