Learn How to Drink Wine like an Expert – How to Drink Wine Properly

You might wonder what all the fuss is about learning how to drink wine like an expert, or how to drink wine properly, but the truth is that there is a way of enjoying wine that rewards you with a good wine’s best characteristics of taste, aroma, and complexity.

Whether you prefer a delicious red wine, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or a buttery white wine, like a Chardonnay, or any wine in between, you’ll get the most out of your bottle of wine by learning some simple steps to “uncorking” a full wine-tasting experience by using your senses of sight, taste, and smell.

Call it learning how to drink wine properly, or call it enjoying the wine properly, there’s a certain way that it’s done.

How to Drink Wine – the Basic Steps

Think of wine tasting as an adventure in, well wine tasting, one that will deepen your appreciation of wines. We’ll start with the basic senses in the order of seeing (looking), smell, and taste, and you easily catch on to expand your wine experience, finding new ways to describe what your senses are identifying. You’ll soon know how to drink wine like an expert, properly, and all that!

How to Drink Wine Step 1 – Look at Color and Clarity (Opaqueness)

For this first step it’s beneficial to hold up behind the wine glass a white piece of paper, a white linen napkin, or something that creates a white neutral background.

Pour a glass of a favorite wine, either red or white, into an appropriate wine glass. Then examine the wine, by tilting the glass away from you so that you can observe the wine’s color starting at the rim of the glance and following the wine to the center of the glass.

Looking at the color, search beyond your basic blush, red, or white to find a closer description of the wine. In a red wine you might see shades of ruby, purple, magenta, garnet, red brick or brown, just to mention a few colors. In a light wine you might find that you’d describe the color as golden, light yellow, clear with no particular color, straw-like with shades of green, or amber.

After looking for color, observe the wine for its opaque characteristics; for example, is the wine heavy, dark, watery, translucent? How else could you describe it? Is it clear or cloudy, or does it have sediment floating in it, like pieces of cork?

Aged red wines tend to have a tinge of orange at the edge of its color in comparison with a younger red of the same varietal; White wines typically don’t age well, but an older white wine is generally darker than a younger wine of the same varietal.

How to Drink Wine Step 2 – Smell

Next, release the aroma of your wine by swishing it around for a good 10 to 12 seconds, and then sniff it to get a first impression of the wine.

After that first impression settles, press your nose down into the wine glass and inhale deeply through your nose. What are your impressions of the aroma now? The smell of berries, oak, flowers, citrus and vanilla are common descriptions. Can you add anything to that list?

Humans can pick up on thousands of unique scents, but our taste perception is confined to sweet, sour salty, and bitter. The combination of taste and smell is what allows us to discern flavor. Our sense of smell is key to properly analyzing a wine.

How to Drink Wine Step 3 – Taste

Finally, sample the wine, beginning with a little sip and rolling it around the inside of your mouth, letting it connect with all of our taste-buds. This will set the stage for the three phases of taste testing: the Attack, the Evolution, and the Finish Phase.

Sipping wine slowly allows your taste-buds and your sense of smell to recognize the finer flavors of the wine that are not detected as easily when its gulped down.

The Attack Phase is the initial impression that the wine makes on your palate and it is comprised of four things that cause the initial sensations: acidity, alcohol content, residual sugar, and tannins. The ideal impression would be if all of these sensations were equally balanced with one not overwhelming any of the others with its prominence.

These sensations don’t actually pronounce a particular flavor, such as fruity or oaky, as much as they combine to give impressions in complexity and intensity, softness or firmness, lightness or heaviness, crispness or creaminess, sweetness or dryness.

Next is the Evolution Phase (aka mid-palate or middle-range phase) and it refers to the actual taste of the wine on your palate. Here you will try to discern the wine’s “flavor profile”. In a red wine you might note flavors of being jammy or fruity – plum, berries or fig; or of pepper and other spices (like cloves or cinnamon); or you might detect a smoky, oaky or other woody flavor. In a white wine you detect the flavor of apples, pears, tropical or citrus fruits, buttery, honey, or tastes of grass, earthiness or floral qualities.

The Finish Phase is when we detect how long a wine’s flavor impression lingers after we swallow the wine. It is also a key factor in knowing how to drink wine like an expert as it is when we might determine whether or not we want to have another sip of the wine, ever.

In this phase, we note how long a finish lasts – a few seconds, or longer? Does the taste hang with you or is it short-lived? And what did the wine’s weight feel like – light-bodied, medium-bodied, or full-bodied (like water, milk, and cream, respectively? What is your last flavor impression (plumy, buttery, spicy)? Also note whether you can taste a remnant of the wine at the back of your mouth or throat? Do you want another sip or did the wine have too bitter an end?

Some wine connoisseurs keep a wine journal wherein they keep a record of the wine’s name, their impressions of looking, smelling, and tasting, as well as jotting down the wine producer and vintage year for future reference.

You’ve just learned the basics of how to drink wine properly, but there are many books available to help you further explore this fine art and expand your knowledge and pleasure of drinking wine.

Learn About Wine With a Variety of Wonderful Wine Books

I did myself and maybe you a favor by scouring the Internet looking for the best books available to learn about wine –on one of my favorite subjects.

I wanted to find the best books for teaching both wine connoisseurs and beginning wine lovers alike about the many aspects of wine, covering such things as the many grape varieties used in wine, i.e., Shiraz, Gewürztraminer, Moscato, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, to name a few of the wine types; varietal grape growing regions and climates; wine tasting and wine terminology, purchasing wine and reading wine labels; home wine making, and so much more.

I wanted to find books that someone who is truly interested in a quest to learn about wine would find valuable and a treasure to have in their library. I want to build my own library with these kinds of books.

If you are on a quest to learn about wine, as so many of us are, I think that you’ll find that the following books meet my requirements for being the best books available today:
“The Wine Bible” by Karen MacNeil
“Great Wine Made Simple: Straight Talk from a Master Sommelier” by Andrea Immer Robinson
“How to Taste: A Guide to Enjoying Wine” by Jancis Robinson

These books are informative, fun, and wide-sweeping in their coverage of our beloved wine. Happy wine reading!

Learn About WineWith“The Wine Bible”
As director of the Culinary Institute of America’s wine programlocated in Napa Valley, California, Karen MacNeil knows of what she speaks in The Wine Bible. She is a world-wide renowned wine expert and anything we want to learn about wine we can learn from her in this book. The Wine Bible is one of the most complete books on wine ever written. Pro or amateur, any wine lover should have this book in their library. It’s a thorough and informative yet entertaining wine book.

MacNeil will take readers around the world exploring the wines from places like Burgundy, Italy, Australia and Spain. She covers topics such as what makes a great wine as well as the reason behind the bubbles in Champagne; which wines are food-friendly and which foods to pair up with wine; and how a vineyard, climate, and soil profoundly affects wine’s profile.

In The Wine Bible you’ll learn the professional wine taster’s secret as well as the appropriate wine-tasting terminology. You’ll also learn everything there is to know about buying, storing, and serving this enchanting beverage.

Divided by country, The Wine Bible identifies all major wine producers and many minor ones, providing detailed descriptions of each country’s (or region’s) wines.

Bon Appétit magazine’s Wine and Spirits Editor Anthony Dias Blue had this to say about The Wine Bible:
“A dazzling, comprehensive, modern guide to wine makes wine more accessible and user-friendly than it has ever been before.”

Learn About Wine with“Great Wine Made Simple: Straight Talk from a Master Sommelier”

The revised edition of Great Wine Made Simple offers a great introduction to wine as well as it reflects up and coming wine trends. Its first publication in 2000 recognized Andrea Robinson as a favorite wine writer. Her appeal is in the way that she “talks” to her readers. She doesn’t talk down to beginning wine lover nor talk up to the pros, but discusses wine in common-sense terms.

Great Wine Made Simple, now thoroughly revised, lives up to Robinson’s reputation and the book’s title by making enjoying and selectingwine a truly simple process. Robinson will guide you through purchasing bottles of wine that deliver on taste and aroma, explain what seems like foreign wine terminology, and help you maneuver your way around a restaurant’s wine list.

Great Wine Made Simple also covers the “Big Six”wine styles that comprise about 80 percent of the top-selling wines today, how to taste wine, and how to read a wine label. Ten updated flavor maps identify the wine tastes that you can expect to find in grapes grown in different climates round the world. Wine lovers will learn to easily master choosing a wine that fits their taste as well as their budget.

Great Wine Made Simple is a great resource for those who want to learn about wine but don’t know where to start. Start here.

Learn About Wine With “How to Taste: A Guide to Enjoying Wine”
There isn’t a better way to learn about wine than by tasting it. There isn’t a better way to learn about tasting it than from Wine Master Jancis Robinson whose initial book “How to Taste” became a classic wine tasting book for wine connoisseurs at all levels.

This fully-revised version encompasses wine tasting with much more additional information about wine. First Robinson enlightens us on how to get the most flavorsout of your wine and then goes on to describe specific grapes and the wines themselves. Readers will learn to identify popular grape varietals from Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio to Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. They’ll also discover how to assesstannins, acidity, sweetness, dryness, and fruitiness as well as the aroma and the body of a wine. Robinson gives practical advice for real world dealings in wine, such as choosing wine from a restaurant wine list, organizing your wine tastings, and pairing wine with food.

Robinson identifies reasonably priced wines that are easily found in local wine shops. With this Wine Master’s expert guidance, wine tasters will both taste and gain wine expertise.

Any one of these books would be a great addition to the library of anyone wishing to learn about wine, pick one up and you’ll soon find yourself on the road to becoming a wine expert.

Ice Wine Production Regions

Germany and Canada are the world’s largest producers of Ice Wines, with Canada being the largest producer. Around 75 percent of Ice Wine made in Canada is from Ontario.In much smaller quantities it is also made in made in the United States, Sweden, Slovenia, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Italy, Israel, Hungary, Chine, France, Czech Republic, Croatia, Austria and Australia.Germany’s Eiswein vintages have become rarer than what was produced there in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Wine makers cite climate change as the reason for the decrease in production. But Canadian Icewines are booming stronger than ever.

Canada, most particularly on Niagara Peninsula, steadilyexperiences freezingwinters,making it the largest world-wide producer of Icewines.Canadian Icewines are currently manufactured in all its grape growing provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and British Columbia. The VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) regulates Canada’s Icewines, and an Icewine’s grape sugar level must measures35 percent or more or they cannot be used on a wine labeled “Icewine”, a considerably higher sugar levelthan that allowed in Germany’s Eiswein.

Having begun producing Ice Wine in 1983, the Inniskillin Winery is deemed the most well-known Canadian producer of Icewines and was the Canadian winery first to nab a significant international award for its entry into the 1991 Vinexpo of France: the Grand Prix d’Honneur. The wineries entry was a Vidal Icewine of 1989 vintage.Pillitteri Estates has emerged as the world-wide largest producer of estate Icewines, while in November of 2006 Canada’s Royal DeMaria issued 5 cases of a Chardonnay Icewine that went for the half-bottle priceof $30,000 (C), the highest priced Icewine in the world.

Ice Wine is a Dessert Wine Made from Grapes Frozen on Vine

Ice wine is a dessert wine – a sweet wine, as the majority of dessert wines are – made from grapes frozen on their vine in their natural environment.

Ice wines are difficult to make as the grapes require precise cooperation from the weather immediately following the harvesting season for other wine grapes. Therefore, most successfully made Ice Wines will be made in regions of such places like Germany and Canada where temperatures are more likely to cooperate when wine makers need them to do so.

Grapes used to make Ice Wine are those grapes left on their vine after the harvest and allowed to continue to ripen. During that post-harvest time wine makers are hoping and praying for a freeze, after which, the grapes are quickly harvested and manufactured into wine like any other wine. As the grape freezes on a vine, its water freezes but the sugars don’t freeze, allowing a more concentrated grape “must” to be pressed from the frozen grapes, resulting in a smaller amount of more concentrated, very sweet wine. When the grape’s water freezes, the “meat” of the grape dehydrates, causing the sugars to concentrate and the fruit flavors to become stronger. The complex structure of Ice Wine grapes give this wine a refreshing sweet flavor that is balanced or offsetby high acidity.

Naturally madeIce wines need a thorough freeze (for Canada by lawat least ?8°C (or 17 °F)and for Germany at least ?7 °C (or 19 °F), to occur after the wine grapes ripen, which means the grapes could remain on their vine several months after the normal harvesting season. If the freeze doesn’t come quickly, the grapes coulddevelop noble rot and a winemaker will lose the crop. If a freezing is too harsh, juice cannot be extracted from the grape. (In fact, it is said that the Vineland Winery of Ontario broke a pneumatic press while pressing frozen grapes that were frozen too hard at a temperature that was about ?20 °C).And the longerripened grapes stay on their vine, the more is lost to dropped fruit and wild animals. Because the grape has to be pressed when still frozen, grape pickers work at the dark of night or early morning, harvesting grapes in a few short hours, while other cellar workers work within unheated and icy areas to produce the Ice Wine.

Ice wines were first made in Germany (called Eiswein in German) in the late 1700’s. Since that time there have been many innovations made in the Ice Wine industry, such as artificially freezing the grapes, but authentic Ice Wine is made from naturally frozenvine grapes. Because of the unpredictability of Ice Wine crops due to the weather and the real possibility that the grapes could rot before they freeze causing lower yields of healthy grapes, along with the labor-intensiveproduction process, Ice Wineswill beconsiderably more steeply priced than your average table wine.

As a result, Ice Winewillbe most often found in a half-bottle (375-ml) anda smaller 200-ml bottle. Wineries sometimes package 200 ml or 50 ml-bottles in gift packages.

How to Taste a Wine’s Flavors – Swish and Slurp

The act of conscientiously tasting a wine is what distinguishes a wine tasting from a simple wine quaffing. Fully tasting a wine allows us to capture, experience, and interpret a full array of aromatic molecules present in the wine.

Wine connoisseurs savor a wine by taking a sip and allowing it to saturate their taste buds. Take a large sip of wine and allow it to linger a while inside your mouth. Swish the wine round your mouth, touching every part of your tongue with the wine. By swishing the wine, you are allowing the aromatic compounds to do their job, freeing up more tastes than you’d experience if you just swallowed the wine after sipping it. For example, quickly sipping an herbal, tart Sauvignon Blanc will most likely leave you with only a tart taste, but expanding the aromatic components of the wine by swishing it around in your mouth will bring out more levels of flavor.

Swishing wine is easy enough to do without fear of embarrassing yourself by having the wine escape your mouth and run down your shirt. Mastering slurping is a little trickier. But, the reward of slurping is further enhancement of a wine’s taste. Slurping a wine intensely aerates it, allowing for an easier passage of the compounds to the olfactory bulb where your brain is able make sense of the aromas you are experiencing. So let’s give it a try.

To slurp wine, set your lips into a tiny “o” and draw in air over the wine in your mouth. Passing oxygen over the wine allows for the release of even more aromatics and gives the wine taster the fullest profile of flavor that is available to our human palate.

As you taste a wine, deeply inhale and exhale through your nose, paying attention to flavor and the way it changes while inside the mouth. First impressions of a wine are referred to as fore palate, which is followed by mid palate, then end palate, then finish.

As you hold the wine in your mouth, think about flavor and aroma descriptions. The sensation that you experience while the wine is held in the mouth is called mid-palate. Is the wine balanced in flavor, or does one flavor or characteristic stand out to you more than the others? Is there too much of any one flavor that causes an imbalance in the total taste?

In wine tasting, the term balance refers to how a wine tastes in terms of wine’s primary components: tannins, alcohol, acidity, and the fruit’s residual sugar. (This is also referred to as evaluating a wine’s structure.) The wine taster judges how well these components are integrated in the wine. A well-balanced wine is said to have achieved a harmonious fusion, the state in which no component (tannins, acid, alcohol, etc.) stands out as being out of balance with the other components.

A taster also observes a wine’s expressiveness. Expressiveness denotes how well a wine’s flavors and aromas are defined and projected; an expressive wine will have flavors and aromas that are well-defined and clearly projected.

Temperature of a wine greatly affects its taste and aroma. A wine served at a cooler temperature may have muted aromatics and stronger tannic and acidic influences, as with many white wines. Thus, a wine served at a warmer temperature may have stronger aromatics and less noticeable tannins and acidity.

How to Serve an Ice Wine

Ice wine is always served fully chilled, but not freezing – just place the Ice Wine in the refrigerator for a few hours before you plan on serving it. While an Ice Wine can stand on its own as a satisfying dessert, it can also be served along with a dessert. Like any other wine type, some Ice Wines pair better with certain foods, dependentupon the grape varietal.

Due to the sweetness of the wine, it goes well with creamier, sweet desserts, like a mousse. It’s also best served with dessert that follows either a lighter meal vs. a heavier entree such as steak or if there is a lengthy break between dessert and dinner.

It’s always nice to have a few suggestions of wine and food pairings, and you might find the following ideas helpful.

Vidal Ice Wine Pairings
Ice Wines made from the Vidal grape are known for their honey-like flavors and aromas of peach, tangerine, pineapple and apricot.Vidal aged in oak has additional overtones that are rich in vanilla, freshly baked bread and almonds. AVidal Ice Wine pairs beautifully with summer berries in cream, raspberry mousse, chocolate biscuits, or an Anjou pear tart.

Riesling Ice Wine Pairings
Ice Wines made from the Riesling grape are known for theirmineral notes as well as for bright orange and citrus flavors and acidity. A Riesling Ice Wine pairs nicely with a wide range of decadent, creamy textures and tastes, from a crème brulée to a foie gras.

Cabernet Franc Ice Wine Pairings
Ice Wines made from the Cabernet Franc grapeare known for their classic aromatics reminiscent of freshly baked rhubarb and strawberry pie balanced with notes of spice. A Cabernet Franc Ice Wine pairs up nicely with baked desserts featuring fresh strawberries or served with a dollop of crème fraîche. Its spicy quality also makes it a great candidate for pairings with desserts featuring dark chocolate or hazelnuts.

Ice Wine Purchasing Suggestions
If you’d like to try some Ice Wines check out the following:

• 2007 Inniskillin Niagara Peninsula Vidal Ice Wine 375 mL (Half Bottle) – WE (Wine Enthusiasts) Rating: 90

• Inniskillin Oak-aged Vidal Icewine (375ML half-bottle) 2006 – WE 92

• 2007 Inniskillin Riesling Icewine Niagara Peninsula 375 mL (Half Bottle)

• 2007 Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Icewine 750 ml (Full Bottle)

Ice Wines can be considered a delicacy, difficult to make and a treasure to taste knowing what great measures it takes to produce it. Enjoy and savor your Ice Wine!

How to Become a Wine Expert

Wine tasting is an age old tradition that has always been associated with wine. It helps a person become introduced with a specific type of wine, as well as letting the person anticipate the different tastes and smells that he would get from a particular bottle of wine.

For beginners, however, the subtleties in the taste and odor of different wines may not be so distinct. It is, therefore, important for us to learn how to properly taste wine, and learn to differentiate a particular type of wine with others.

The problem is, there are so many different wine types that it’s going to be hard to learn them all!
Well, not necessarily. In this video, Gary Vaynerchuk teaches viewers how to properly taste wine in a funny and entertaining manner. He’ll tell you what exactly you need to be looking for when tasting wine, and how to bring out all the flavors and odors in every bottle of wine.

Gary Vaynerchuk guarantees that by following these steps, you’ll be an expert within a year! It’s that easy.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there, start tasting different types of wines, and become a wine virtuoso in no time! Good luck!

History of Wine Expands to Ancient Greece and Roman Empire

The history of wine made its way to Greece, where it was revered and immortalized by Greek poets, artists and historians, as well as in their religious literature. But like Ancient Egypt, the early history of wine indicates that common class citizens did not partake in wine; the upper class considered it their exclusive privilege to consume wine.

Greece is credited with perfecting the Egyptian amphorae with tight seals that it allowed the wine to mature, hence also receiving credit for the first known aging of wine before drinking.

During the Roman Empire, wine production began to spread across Europe. It was also during this time that wine became available for consumption by common citizens. Wine was so revered and popular in the Roman Empire that some of its cities built bars selling wine positioned along many of their streets.

Much of the Roman wines were sweet wines, but the Romans also experimented with wine making to the extent of adding some peculiar flavorings to the wine, like onions, garlic, and fermented fish sauce, to name a few.

The Romans may have been the first to top the Greeks in wine storage, as they are credited as being the first in the history of wine to introduce wine barrels or wooden casks. Initially, the Romans hadn’t worked out how to create an airtight seal in the casks. The wine, therefore, could not undergo a successful aging process, and the result was that they had to drink the wine young. But, they soon figured out how to create an airtight seal and are also credited in the history of wine making with being the first to do some serious aging of wine.

Grape Variety

At this first step in wine tasting, a wine taster may not know what type of wine they have, but by looking at it they can identify some clues to its variety. For example, a fuller-bodied wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon is deeper in color than a lighter-bodied wine like a Pinot noir and a denser, sweeter wine like a dessert wine, such as Muscat, will leave thick, viscous “legs” or streaks running down the inside of the glass when swirled. As a taster moves along in the tasting process (evaluating overall quality) they examine the terroir of a wine – the region in which it was produced – and whether a wine has good “typicity”, i.e. how well the wine expresses or represents its grape variety.

Aged Wine
Whether it is a red or a white wine, aging wine changes its color. Color changes occur when grape tannins and oak/wood tannins interact with other compounds to the point that they turn to sediment and can no longer stay in the wine. Aged red wines are lighter in color than un-aged red wines. The red pigments (anthocyanins) of red wine bond with the sediment, thereby removing color from the wine. Some aged white wines are a little different in that the wine becomes “oxidized” and turns the wine’s color towards brown. Actually, most white wines don’t age well and an “oxidized wine” is considered a “faulty” wine.

A wine that becomes excessively exposed to oxidation is an oxidized wine in wine tasting terminology, it’s a negative characteristic and one that gives non-sherry wines a sherry-like odor.
On the other hand, “oxidative” is a positive term describing an oxidation process that is regulated and controlled throughout the aging of a wine.

During the aging process, a wine’s “aroma” is replaced with an aged wine’s “bouquet”. An aged wine can have flavors and aromas that stretch anywhere from nutty, oaky and buttery to smoky, spicy and beyond.

Finding the Best Wine Opener for the Best Wine Experience Ever

Having the best wine opener possible certainly takes you half-closer to enjoying your favorite wine; because really, when you think about it, what good is a nice wine if opening it can be frustrating? So, although there might be less focus on wine openers than there is on wines; choosing the right opener is equally just as important.

Two Things to Remember in Finding that Best Wine Opener
Wine Openers Should not be Space Technology – Keeping it Simple
In a lot of cases, a cliché that says “less is more” is applied and this holds true of wine openers. Keep in mind that expensive does not always mean translate to quality and that a wine opener may look like something that came out from a high-tech science fiction movie but it doesn’t always mean that it can help you pop out that cork with ease.

Now, I am not suggesting that the best wine opener is the ones that have that spiral metal which comes very cheap and famous among many households. His type of wine opener sometimes – because of its being “too simple” – defeats the process of having a wine opener that’s supposed to make things easy. One would need to have an ample amount of strength and accuracy to use this which to many, can be a lot already. The key is finding something that is fairly simple that does the job efficiently.

Pump Wine Openers are simply too Fancy
While there are virtually countless cork screw that can be bought in the market today, pump wine openers are far from being considered to be the best. This is a perfect example of a technology used for something that is intended to do a very simple task. The idea in using a pump wine opener is to add pressure inside the bottle to practically “force” the cork out. This can be a nightmare around kids and is almost unusable with bottles that are shaped differently or ones that are damaged or wines that are full. Simply put, pump wine openers are just too complex.