An Informational Guide to Wine Tasting
Think that you aren't sophisticated enough or don't fit in the right income bracket to enjoy wine-tasting? Think again. These tips will help you fake your way through a wine-tasting session -- or develop a lifelong Epicurean hobby (the finest pleasures, not the most!).
Supplies - All you really need is a good wine glass, some wine, and preferably some good company.
Glasses - Obviously if you are at a wine-tasting party or tasting the wares at a winery you won't be bringing your own glass, but when you decide that it is time to get your own wine glasses, first look for a clear glass -- you definitely want to be able to see the color, especially as a beginner. Your glass should curve in a bit at the top so you can swirl it without spilling. Some companies try to sell glasses that are supposedly matched to certain wine types, but taste tests have shown that people rarely prefer wine from its matching glass. Instead, a good hand-blown crystal glass is often preferred.
Wines - The two main types of wine are red and white. Red wines are made from black grapes fermented with skins and pips. Red wine can be dry or sweet. Some of the more well-known reds are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Sangiovese. These names refer to the types of grapes which the wines are made from, and there are about 40 major types of grapes used for red wine. Wine regions have standards as to what percentage of a wine must be a single sort of grape to be classified by that grape used for its creation - in California it must be 75 percent, while in Alsace, France, it must be 100 percent. Many wines, however, are a combination of different varietals, the term that refers to a single grape wine. White wines can be made from either white or black grapes.