Do you enjoy a good glass of wine to relax after a long day? Do you have a specific go-to wine which you’re loyal to or are you experimenting with different kinds of wines?
Whether you are just into wine for leisure or you want to know how to become a sommelier, it won’t hurt to know a little bit more about wines and appreciate them in a deeper perspective. Even if you are just a beginner, there is absolutely no reason to be intimidated by other experts’ knowledge while you are working on your own wine mastery.
Here are a few wine facts to get you started on your wine knowledge mastery.
They are more than just grapes
Most people know wine to be a drink made from grapes. While it’s true that most wines are made from fermented grapes, more commonly from the grape species Vitis Vinifera; wines can also be made from other fruits.
The Vitis Vinifera are made up of several compounds which go through several changes during the fermentation process. These changes bring up the tasting traits in every sip of wine.
You can develop your palate for wines
As with all skills, wine tasting can be developed and improved. No one is really born a natural sommelier. The wine experts are the people who took the time to develop their palate and improve their wine knowledge.
There are four steps to wine tasting. First is to look at and inspect the wine under neutral lights. After that you breathe through your nose and observe the aroma of the wine. Then it would be time to taste it. Is it bitter, sweet, sour, or what? Lastly, think about your observations and put a profile of it in your memory.
Temperature should be considered in storing wines
Some sommeliers or wine enthusiasts have a wine cellar in their homes where they keep their precious alcoholic beverages. If you don’t have enough space for a wine cellar, storage cabinets should work nicely.
Be careful where you store them, though. Temperature plays a big factor in ideal storage spaces for wines. You may think that the kitchen is a good idea, but the constant changes in temperature in the kitchen makes it an unideal location for the fermented drinks. The refrigerator is also a popular place to keep wines. However, the cool temperature can decrease the flavor of your wine.
The best place to store your wines would be in a cool and dark place and they should be lied to their side.
Oxygen plays a big factor in taste
Wine bottles contain very little amount of dissolved oxygen. But oxygen is a friend to the wine and allows for better taste. This is tricky, though, as the amount of oxygen that gets in the wine has to be just right in order to get the best taste. Too much exposure to oxygen can ruin the wine.
Exposing the wine to oxygen can be done in several ways. Some achieve the right amount of oxygen just with their sipping technique. Others swirl or swish their glasses. You can also use wine decanters or aerators if you want to oxygenate a glass.
There is no single best method in oxygenating wines. Try out the different ways and see for yourself what works best for you.
Not all wines are meant to be kept to age before they should be drunk
You know the old saying that wine tastes better as it ages? Well, surprise, surprise! It’s not true for all wines – actually, it isn’t true for most wines! About 90% of wines are meant to be drank within its year of release. There are only a handful of wines that are meant to be kept in the cellar to age.
Cellar-worthy wines are considered to be premium wines. A bottle of premium wine usually cost at least $30. Not all expensive wines are meant to be aged, though. It’s best to consult the winery where you’re getting the wine from to see if the bottle you’re getting should be kept in the cellar to age or should be served just months after your purchase.
Wine can be tainted through the cork
A corked wine can be a victim of ‘cork taint’. Cork taint happens when an airborne fungi contaminates a cork. This causes the wine to spoil and ruin the beverage. Tainted wines lose their fruit flavor and also taste dull and flat.
Cork taint can’t completely be eradicated but there are some measures you can do to prevent it. One way would be to not use chlorine-based cleaning products for your corks. Stick to percarbonate-based cleaners for better cork cleaning.
Glass size matters
Sommeliers know that the size of the glass matters when pouring out wine. Ideally, the glass should be around 20-22 ounces big. These sizes allow the wine to breathe in the glass and also provides enough space for you to swirl without spilling.
There’s also a reason for the curve on top of wine glasses. It allows you to smell the wine as you sip. The type of wine also requires a specific glass. White wines are generally recommended to be poured in less rounded and taller glasses. Red wines, however, need oxidation and are therefore better poured in wider glasses.
So the next time you attend a social event, don’t be intimidated by those who know their wine. Don’t feel bad if the wine you like isn’t one most people in a gathering are crazy about. Wine preferences are different and each one’s palate is unique.
There’s no such thing as knowing too much about wines, so go ahead and improve your knowledge and develop your palate! Try out a new bottle or brand every time you grab a wine in the store. You can also order wine by glasses instead of per bottle every time you go to a restaurant so you can have a different type each time you finish a glass. Be adventurous and enjoy your wine experience!