Beginning Wine Drinker
I have recently begun developing a taste for wine but I do not know anything about it. Have tasted several kinds but would like to become more educated in an easy way! Any suggestions would be appreciated.
You can take the informal approach and simply buy and taste wines from different grapes and regions. There are many tastings that are open to the public and try to attend those that might be of interest. Check out are Events page.
If you want to be more serious, you can enroll in a wine course and by all means, buy a good reference book such as Windows on the World Complete Wine Course by Kevin Zraly.
So we all worry and fret about "cooked" wine—but what does it taste like?
If a bottle of wine has been exposed to extremes of heat, the wine might start to expand and leak out of the cork a bit. When you remove the capsule, you might notice a sticky mess. This is evidence your wine may have been exposed to heat, but it doesn't always mean that your wine is toast. A "cooked" wine's flavors will actually taste ... cooked. The fruit flavors might seem stewed, not fresh. There might be baked, burnt or caramel notes. The color may also have changed from deep red to more of a brown or brick tone.
How long can an uncorked bottle last. Do you keep it in the refrigerator?
The simple answer is to consume a wine at one sitting, or the next day, and you will not have to worry about serious deterioration. The lighter, more delicate the wine, the faster it will deteriorate. To keep opened wine for several days, you may want to purchase a stopper and pump kit which "evacuates" the air partially, or a preservative spray that inserts a layer of inert, non-toxic gas followed by a stopper.
Whites are best kept in the refrigerator. Opinions vary as to the best practice with reds, and some people also keep these in the fridge, allowing them to reach room temperature again before serving. Big, powerful, youthful reds are often better - more open and revealing - the next day, even if you simply put the cork back in the bottle.
When a recipe calls for a "dry white wine," what wines do they mean?
Whether a wine is considered "dry" or not depends on the amount of residual sugar it has. Technically, wines with less than 10 grams per liter are considered "dry," those with more than 30 grams per liter are "sweet" or dessert wines, and anything in between is considered "off-dry." In practice, different people have different thresholds for tasting sweetness in wine, so what you consider dry another person might taste as sweet.
In general, some whites wines are almost always made in a dry style: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Spanish Albariños and Austrian Grüner Veltliners, for example. Some wines often fall between dry and off-dry: many New World Chardonnays, Rieslings, Viogniers and Pinot Gris, for example. And some whites are always sweet: Sauternes and "late-harvest" bottlings of grapes such as Riesling and Chenin Blanc are examples.
Regardless, always taste a wine before you cook with it. If it's not fun to drink, it won't improve your dish.
What’s the best temperature to serve wine?
Here is a general guideline:
- Red Wine, Port, Marsala or Madeira – approximately 64°F/18°C.
- Beaujolais, serve at 60°F/15°C.
- White Wine or Dessert Wines – approximately 48°F/9°C. Sparkling Wine – serve at refrigerator temperature, about 42°F/6°C.
- Sherry – Light sherry should be served like a white wine. Sweeter, darker Sherries should be served like red wines or at normal room temperature.
Why does wine give me a headache? Is it because of the sulfites?
Many times a headache is the result of dehydration, so try to drink at least one full glass of water with each glass of wine. Red wine contains different levels of histamines which could cause headaches if you suffer from allergies. Sulfites can cause allergy and asthma symptoms but are not responsible for headaches. All wines contain some sulfites, a natural byproduct of grape fermentation. Some winemakers add sulfur dioxide to the wine as a preservative to prevent oxidation and bacterial growth. The U.S. government mandates that all wine containing ten parts per million of sulfites carry “Contains Sulfites” on the label. The maximum allowable level of sulfites in wines is 350 parts per million but most wines contain less than half that amount.
What is the difference between Champagne and sparkling wine?
Champagne is a sparkling wine from specific grapes, from a delimited French region, from set growing, harvest and production methods. True Champagne comes only from France, from the Champagne district. To the French and the ED, the term Champagne is a trademark.