Wine not?

You don't have to be a snob to enjoy wine

Graphic by: Cora Hall | Editor in Chief

Wine is often seen as a drink for the members of high society. You’ve no doubt heard of the overwhelming number of “rules” surrounding the subject. Perhaps you’re interested in joining the wine community but don’t know where to begin. I admit that it can be intimidating at first, but wine doesn’t need to be difficult. So ignore the wine snobs and find your way into the world of wine with this simple introduction.

The basics

Simply put, wine is a drink made from fermented fruit, typically grapes. There are over a thousand varietals of wine grapes grown throughout the world. Type and flavor of wine depends on both the grape used and the process used.

The most common wine categories are red, white and rosé. Inside each of these categories there are a number of wines including single varietals and blends. Single varietals are made with one type of grape and are often named for that grape. An example is Cabernet Sauvignon. Blends use a variety of grapes in the process. 

There are also fruit wines which are made through a similar process but without grapes as the primary ingredient. 

Developing your tastes 

The flavors in wine can be described through acidity, sweetness, alcohol, tannin, and aroma compounds, but a simpler method of explanation is sweet to dry. A dry wine consists of a high distribution of tannins. This will give your mouth an almost “dry” feeling. It is similar to the feeling you might get from a very strong, bitter tea. Dry wines are often an acquired taste so if you are a beginner, you might want to start with a sweet wine. Expanding your wine palette is as simple as continuing to try new wines. 

Port: Sweet, fortified red wine often categorized as a dessert wine

Moscato: Sweet white with fruity notes

Riesling: Semi-sweet white with floral notes

Rosé: Semi-sweet red made like a white wine

Merlot: Medium-dry red with smooth tannins and fruity tones

Pinot Grigio: Medium-dry white with light and crisp flavor

Pinot Noir: Dry red with floral and spice aromas

Sauvignon Blanc: Dry white with unique herbaceous flavor 

Cabernet Sauvignon: Dry red with fruity and tannic flavor

Wine and food pairings

The simple answer here is to do what you want. If you like the way a food and wine pairs, don’t let a wine snob tell you you’re wrong. If you are interested in using some tried and true pairings as a bit of a guide, check out some favorites.

Port – Chocolate

Moscato – Prosciutto

Riesling – Fruits

Rosé – Brie

Merlot – Pork Chop

Pinot Grigio – Salmon

Pinot Noir – Mushrooms

Sauvignon Blanc – Potatoes 

Cabernet Sauvignon – Steak