Confused reading wine reviews? Here are a few quick tips on how to enjoy and discuss wine!
PREPARATION - If it's white, chill it in the fridge for at least an hour before serving, but if it's red, serve it at room temperature. If time is short, wine chills quicker with the cork out. Don't over chill it though as this starts to dull the flavour. Uncork red wines an hour before drinking them to allow the wine to breathe. This will develop the flavour. To help red wine breathe, it can be poured rapidly into a clean glass jug and then back into the bottle in order to get air right through the wine (do not do this with a mature wine as it will disturb the sediment).
INSPECT THE CORK FOR ANY MOLD OR DISCOLORATION - If you find any, make sure it doesn't continue down into the bottle--if it appears to stop at the top, simply wipe it off and proceed. Corked wine usually means the wine has been contaminated by the cork rather than the wine having bits of cork floating in it. You will know it is corked by either smelling the cork or tasting the wine. Neither experience is pleasant! If you are in a restaurant, ask the server to open another bottle of wine.
AT DINNER PARTIES - If you're serving two dinner wines remember: White before red - young before old. Wines should be matched by weight with foods. For a quick way to pair food and wine, keep light wines with light food, and heavy wines with heavy food. Common wines listed by body from light to heavy are: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon. Common foods from light to heavy are: White Fish, Steak Fish, Chicken, Pork, Beef.
GO BIG FOR RED - Try and use tulip-shaped glasses. When you swirl the wine, the aromas you set free are better contained within the glass, and the tapered rim makes it harder to splash wine all over yourself--an occupational hazard with wine tasting.
IF YOU WANT TO FIT IN – Here are some flavors and typical comparisons:
NEW WORLD WINES ARE NAMED FOR THE GRAPE. OLD WORLD WINES ARE NAMED FOR THE REGION - The U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Argentina, and Chile put the name of the grape on the label. Europe names it's wines after the region. What California calls Chardonnay, France calls white Burgundy. What's called Syrah in the U.S. is called Rhone in France and Australia calls it Shiraz, but it's all the same grape. Knowing the grapes of the primary regions of Europe makes it much easier to get information from wine labels.
THREE INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT WINE: