Wine is not merely a beverage. It is a culture. If you are just entering the wide world of wine, you're going to find that there's a lot to learn. Wine comes with its own set of nomenclature and jargon, rules of etiquette, and set of skills and knowledge necessary to fully enjoy its immersive tastes and pleasures. Let me explain. In order to become a pro wine taster, you're going to need to learn the technique and the intricate descriptors. So, for example, you'll have to learn how to swirl a glass of red before commenting on the mouthfeel and the bouquet. Or maybe you prefer a glass of chilled white? Beyond that, there's the complex flavor analysis of wine tasting; if you didn't think plum, tomato or pepper (much less freshly-mown grass, pencil shavings, or minerals!) were adjectives for the taste of wine, you've got a tongue to sharpen up! Then comes wine pairing, which is the art of choosing the perfect wine for your meal. This is where your educated tongue comes into play. There are famous wines and hidden gems, spanning the entire globe, from the powerhouses like Napa and the ancient wine valleys of Italy to Spain, Argentina and Australia.
First things first though, wine can be broken down, roughly by color, into five basic categories:
Basic Wine Categories
After deciphering the categories and the grape names, You may want to dig deeper into the world of wine and go on your way to being a true connoisseur. You'll need to know the basic terms used to analyze wine and the art of tasting. Eventually, you will even want to know about the different wine classifications. Once you've got all that down, it's time to entertain and show off your knowledge. But you better brush up on the basics of food and wine pairing and wine storage, since you won't want to serve bad wine. Still want to learn more? Check out all these online resources at the Wine Resources Guide.
Wine is made all around the world, with each country adding its unique flavor. France and Italy produce and export the most wine per year. If you are just starting to get into wine, it would be a good idea to start with a bottle of French or Italian wine. Their wine is usually considered to be among the highest quality. If you aren't ready to commit to a certain wine, wine tastings are a good place to start. Wine cellars and restaurants sometimes will allow you to sample some of their wine as well. Also, restaurants that sell wine usually sell wine by the bottle and by the glass, so spending $7 on a glass of wine you've never tried before is a better idea than buying the whole bottle.
There's an awful lot to say about wine, but when everything is said and done, it all comes down to preference. So, arm yourself with wine knowledge, get the glasses ready, and start sipping. One day, you'll find your perfect wine.