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  • Kiara Mandavia

Wine 101: A Guide for the Curious Palate

“In a glass of wine, stories and flavors intertwine”.


paris wine

This blog is for all the Wine lovers out there. Whether you are a beginner when it comes to wine or a professional in the field, we’re here to back you up.


Beginning with the most basic thing, let us first get to know a little about Wine. Grape juice is fermented to create wine, an alcoholic beverage. The taste experience is determined by the type of grape, vintage, and winemaking technique. But devouring wine is more than just consuming alcohol; it's also something to enjoy. With the use of terms that can help you understand various wine styles and how to taste them, our wine guide seeks to enrich your experience.


Diving more into the depth of Wine and how it came into existence, here’s something. Wine has been produced for thousands of years. The earliest evidence of wine is from the Caucasus region in today's Georgia (6000 BCE), Persia (5000 BCE), Italy and Armenia (4000 BCE). New World wine has some connection to alcoholic beverages made by the indigenous peoples of the Americas, but is mainly connected to later Spanish traditions in New Spain. Later, as Old World wine further developed viticulture techniques, Europe would encompass three of the largest wine-producing regions. Today, the five countries with the largest wine-producing regions are in Italy, Spain, France, the United States, and China.


Despite how varied wine is, the majority of bottles may be divided into 9 different types. You'll have a solid grasp of wine as a whole once you've tried a little of each of the 9 styles.


Here are the prime 9 styles of wine.


AROMATIC (SWEET) WHITE WINE


aromatic sweet white wine

Some of the world's oldest wine types come from aromatic grapes. In fact, Cleopatra is most famous for her adoration of the exquisite, rich, aromatic white wine known as Muscat of Alexandria from Greece. These wines have powerful, almost perfume-like scents that rush into your nose from the glass. They can be either dry or sweet, but because of all the perfume-like scents, most will taste slightly sweet.

What can you try - Although this kind of wine is rich in flavor, these aromatic wines are surprisingly affordable. Few of these are Moscato d’Asti, Gewürztraminer, Torrontés ( a more dry style), and Riesling.


LIGHT-BODIED RED WINE


light bodied red wine

Light-bodied red wine often has very light tannin and a pale tint and hence, it is clearly visible through your glass. Tannin in wine has an astringent flavor and dries out your mouth easily. As a result, Light red wines are among the most sought-after wines in the world.


Pinot Noir, Grenache, and Barbera are a few examples.


MEDIUM-BODIED RED WINE


medium bodied red wine

Medium-bodied red wines are more commonly referred to as "food wines." They pair well with a wide range of dishes because they provide a ton of flavor and a balance of sharp acidity. For lovers of red wine, these are the perfect wines for midweek.


There are many varieties that come to mind when we say midweight red wine. To name a few, Mourvèdre, Merlot, Zinfandel, Montepulciano, Cabernet Franc and Barbera.


FULL-BODIED RED WINE


full bodied red wine

Full-bodied red wine refers to a type of wine characterized by a rich, robust, and substantial taste profile. These wines typically have a higher concentration of flavors, tannins, and alcohol content, resulting in a weighty and intense mouthfeel. Full-bodied red wines often exhibit complex layers of aromas and flavors that can range from dark fruits like blackberries and plums to notes of spices, oak, and earthiness. They are known for their ability to stand up to hearty dishes and pair well with bold flavors due to their intense and lingering characteristics.


We are pretty much sure you have experienced these wines if you are a wine lover. These wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Syrah.


SPARKLING WINE


sparkling wine

If you have never had sparkling wine, we beg you to go try it the next time you sit down for a wine. Originated from France, this wine is specifically traced back to the Champagne region. The sparkling quality of these wines comes from its carbon dioxide content and may be the result of natural fermentation, either in a bottle, as with the traditional method, in a large tank designed to withstand the pressures involved (as in the Charmat process),


However, knowing what you’re drinking and which bottles to seek out is key. Vassaltis Pet Nat, Brut-level sparklers (not sweet) like Cava, La Marca Prosecco, Crémant.


LIGHT-BODIED WHITE WINE


light bodied white wine

These light easy-drinking dry white wines are some of the most-sold wines in the world. They pair well with seafood, grilled white meat fishes, sushi, and Mexican food. Light white wines also make refreshing sangrias.Some of these wines (Sauv, Blanc and Gruner), that feature green herbal tastes of gooseberry and bell pepper, are perfect for those who enjoy savory foods.


Albariño (a specialty of Northwest Spain), Friulano (aka Sauvignon Vert), Pinot Grigio (aka Pinot Gris) are some of the most recommended white wines.


FULL-BODIED WHITE WINE


full bodied white wine

White wines with quite a bit of tannin are ideal for red wine fans as they have a rich, smooth flavor with a delicate creaminess. Special winemaking methods, such as oak aging (much as aged whiskeys, wine becomes smoother with barrel aging), are generally used to distinguish them from light white wines.


The first choice for someone going for full bodied white wines is Chardonnay. Marsanne (a rare find from France and the US), Viognier, Semillon are a few others you can go for.


ROSE WINE


rose wine

Rosé happens when the skins of red grapes touch wine for only a short time. Where some red wines ferment for weeks at a time on red grape skins, rosé wines are stained red for just a few hours.The winemaker has complete control over the color of the wine, and removes the red grape skins (the source of the red pigment) when the wine reaches the perfect color.As you can imagine, nearly any red wine grape (from Cabernet Sauvignon to Syrah) can be used to make rosé wine, however there are several common styles and grapes that are preferred for rosé.


Try a more dry-style Rosé to enjoy its delicate, exquisite flavors rather than the sweet variety. Côté Mas Rosé Aurore, Grenache, Syrah, are to name a few.


DESSERT WINE


dessert wine

Last but not the least in the variety of wines, today's dessert wines are some of the boldest, strongest flavored (and aromatic) wines in the world, ranging from dry to sweet.


There are numerous varieties of dessert wines to try, but if you can start with a Port or a late harvest white wine made in the Sauternais style, you'll get a better taste of what dessert wines may be.


We do not say adios here. To give you extra something, we have a guide on how to choose the right wine glasses. That’s right! Because we do not like to leave you halfway.


Specific wine glasses serve better than others (scientific proof confirms this). That being said, which wine glasses are ideal for you?


A Japanese medical group adopted a special camera to capture photos of ethanol vapors in various glasses in 2015. The researchers demonstrated how varying glass shapes altered the density and position of vapors at the apertures of different glasses in their research.


SIZE DOES MATTER WHEN IT COMES TO DRINKS!


The scent of a wine, whether red, white, rosé, sparkling, or fortified, adds to its entire character. The smaller the cup, the more difficult it is to gather all of those scents. In other words, pouring a rich wine into a small cup kills its potential. Larger glasses allow the wine to breathe more freely. They also make whirling easier, which not only looks great but, when done correctly, aerates the wine and helps it open up and reach its full potential.


THE CUPS MAKE IT BETTER!


Cup shapes are classified into three types: balloon, tulip, and flute. Everything else is simply different sizes and shapes of these three shapes.


The right type of wine glass depends on the type of wine you are serving. Different types of wine glasses are designed to enhance the aromas, flavors, and overall experience of specific types of wines. Here are some common types of wine glasses and the wines they are typically used for


RED WINE GLASS


red wine glass

Red wine glasses have a rounder, larger bowl that allows for better aeration of the wine, helping to release its aromas and flavors. They are generally divided into two categories:


Bordeaux Glass- This glass has a taller bowl with a larger opening. It's suitable for bold red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.


Burgundy Glass- This glass has a larger, wider bowl to accommodate the delicate aromas of wines like Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo.


WHITE WINE GLASSES


white wine glass

White wine glasses have a more U-shaped bowl that helps preserve the delicate aromas and maintain a cooler temperature. They also come in various sizes and shapes:


Chardonnay Glass- This glass has a larger bowl to enhance the buttery and oaky characteristics of Chardonnay and other fuller-bodied white wines.


Sauvignon Blanc Glass- This glass has a slightly smaller bowl to concentrate the aromas of wines like Sauvignon Blanc and other lighter whites.


SPARKLING WINE GLASSES


sparkling wine glasses

Flute- The most common glass for serving champagne and other sparkling wines, the flute's elongated shape helps preserve the bubbles and directs them toward the nose.


Tulip or Coupe- While not as commonly used nowadays, these glasses have broader bowls and are suitable for richer sparkling wines and cocktails.


DESSERT WINE GLASSES


dessert wine glass

Dessert Wine Glass or Cordial Glass- These smaller glasses are used for serving sweet and fortified wines, such as port, sherry, and late-harvest wines.


Remember that while using the right glass can enhance the wine-drinking experience,

it's not a strict rule. If you don't have specific wine glasses, using a basic wine glass with a tulip-shaped bowl can work well for a wide range of wines. The goal is to provide enough space for the wine to breathe and for the aromas to be captured.


Ultimately, the best wine glass is the one that allows you to enjoy the wine to its fullest, so feel free to experiment and choose what suits your preferences.


Enjoy your next glass of wine. Remember, underage drinking is prohibited and make sure to drink within limits!


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