Generally, it is good to know what you are talking about when you are talking about it—or at least sound like it. However, we have found ourselves completely out of our depths when it comes to wine. If even a half-full wine glass is too deep, we’ve got you covered. Keeping in mind that it is always best to start with the basics, we decided to break it down word by word. We have list of terms for you that everybody should know from the sommelier-like expert to the boxed wine drinker.
The Big Anticipation: What you should say before you sip
- Tannins: chemicals naturally found in grape seeds, skins, and stems that help with the flavoring and preservation of wine. They are more abundant in red wines because the wine is soaked in grape skin and seeds. If a wine is particularly bitter or harsh, it is safe for you to say that it is tannic.
- On the wine list, you will have a choice of varietals and blends: A varietal is a wine that comes from one particular type of grape. Everything else is a blend. The most common varietals are Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
- With all of this vocabulary floating around don’t forget to breathe!
A wine breathes when it interacts with air and starts the oxidation process. This process takes away some sharpness and allows for a smoother taste and is usually specific to red wines.
- You can use a decanter to help your wine breathe. Any watertight container can be used as a decanter or you can be fancy and purchase one. Either way, decanting your wine to help it breathe is sure to make you look like a pro.
Getting Down to Business: What you should say while tasting
- Describe the body of the wine. This term describes the fullness and weight of the wine in the mouth. A wine can be heavy, medium, or light.
- A closed wine is immature without fully developed aroma or taste.
- A balanced wine is what you’re looking for. This simply means that all of the elements of wine come together harmoniously. This is easy to remember because who isn’t looking for balance in their lives?
- The bouquet refers to the aromas associated with aged wines. Smell affects taste so you want to have a nice bouquet. You can go ahead and forget anything that smells like vinegar, instead you want rich, flavorful smells.
- Finally the finish of a wine is the lingering impression and taste left after you have imbibed. Here’s hoping it’s a good one!
So there you go! You have mastered the basics on how to know what you’re talking about when it comes to wine. Go ahead, uncork a bottle and show off your new skills. We bet they get better the more you practice.