The US wine market experiences huge growth year upon year, with consumers buying 328.9 million cases per annum. For many people, it is a refreshing alternative to beers and spirits. But do you know how to drink wine correctly?
There are a lot of myths surrounding the correct etiquette and much of it is incorrect. Read on as we discuss everything you need to know about wine drinking.
The taste and body of wine all come down to tannins. These are naturally occurring substances, yellow or brown in coloration that tend to have a bitter taste. Tea, fruits, barks, and other plants all produce them.
Tannins give the wine its color and to some extent, its taste. When a wine ferments for longer more tannins will come from the skins increasing their taste. Generally, the darker the wine the more tannins it contains.
Types of Wine
When you begin drinking wine the choice can be overwhelming. However, after a while, you will begin to develop your preferences and tastes. Below are the most popular ones you may encounter.
Red wine does not need an introduction. It is made from darker grape varieties that ferment with the skins on. Traditionally, it serves as an accompaniment to dark meats and wintery foods, though many people enjoy it all year around.
Like white wine, red can be purchased in dry or sweet versions. Sweet wines have a sugary taste while a dry one will be more bitter on the palate.
White wine can be made from the grapes of both dark and light-colored grapes. It is made with the skins taken off, which is where the color of red wine comes from. This leaves a crisp, clean flavor that can also be dry or sweet.
Rose is a popular third and has a lustrous pink hue. It is made using dark grapes with the skin on, but the mixture is separated a short time after fermentation. This results in a lighter wine with floral tones.
There is also a type of rose that involves mixing red and white wine. However, it does not always produce the best results.
Describing the Taste of Wine
Knowing how to drink wine does not involve the use of big words or require a sizable vocabulary. You should also remember that all taste is subjective. What one person may consider a good wine to drink, another may find unpalatable.
When tasting wine there are four areas you should concentrate on. By describing each one of these areas, you should be able to conjure up the essence of wine in words.
Sweetness is the first one. The more sugar it has the sweeter it is and the more bitter it becomes, the dryer it is.
Acidity is the next and is what gives a wine crispness. Citrus fruits are acidic, so anything that produces the same sharp response on your tastebuds will be acidic. A good wine will balance this perfectly, adding the right amount.
The body is one that many people hear but seldom understand. This refers to the weight and thickness of the wine. Light wines will be almost water-like, while full-bodied ones will be thick and cling to the glass.
Tannins are the final ones on the list. The more tannins are present, the more bitter the wine will be. It may make you suck your cheeks inward when you sip it.
Can You Drink Cooking Wine?
Cooking wine is not a brand or type of wine. It is used to describe a low-quality wine that you would not typically serve but may be good for placing in meals. People use it to power up stocks, soups, and sauces.
Therefore drinking cooking wine will not harm you, unless you drink large amounts. It just might not taste very good. You should also consider the chef’s adage that states you should not cook with any wine you would not drink yourself.
Can You Drink Red Wine Cold?
This is all a matter of preference. Once again it comes back to the tannins in the wine. When they get cold, they tend to have a bitter taste and people do not believe it gives a true approximation of the flavor.
However, lots of people enjoy a cold glass of red wine on a hot summer evening. Certain areas of the world will also serve red wine cold, such as in Mediterranean countries.
Should You Decant When Drinking Wine?
Decanting is the process of pouring wine from the bottle into another vessel. This is done slowly and carefully, so the sediment at the bottom is not disturbed. These secondary containers are named carafes and can come in a wide range of shapes and sizes.
Different trains of thought exist about if decanting makes a difference to the taste. Most aficionados would say it does, but the only way to know is to try it yourself.
What Wine Glasses Should I Use?
The right glasses are the most essential wine accessories. They should have a large stem for gripping the glass and a wide-open bowl. This will let the wine breathe.
How expensive or cheap the glass is will not matter. Buy ones you like purely for their aesthetics. Most crucial is that everyone tasting wine gets the same shape glass.
Starting Your Wine Drinking Journey
Now you know all about wine drinking, you can begin your journey. Invest in some glasses and a carafe, then start collecting some wines. You will soon develop your tastes and preferences.
This article is one of many about the world of food and drink. From cooking to cocktails, we can keep your taste buds tingling in the coming year.