Have you recently become acquainted with wine and are interested in learning more about this age-old beverage? Rome most certainly was not built in a day, nor is a knowledgable and experienced oenophile. To become a true wine connoisseur you have to start out by taking baby steps. This includes introducing yourself to some of the more basic principles and starter wines, rather than jumping head first into the deep end of your wine glass right from the get-go.
As you venture out on to your journey towards becoming knowledgeable about wine, it is very important to first become acquainted with what is known as “wine speak”. Wine speak is a collection of different commonly used terms within the world of oenophilia. Knowing these terms will help you to attain a far greater understanding of certain concepts related to wine and how to better express these concepts.
The Top 10 Terms Used Within Wine Enthusiast Circles (A-Z)
1. Acidity – This term refers to the sharpness or “bite” that any particular wine possesses. The acidity within a wine will stimulate your salivary glands.
2. Aging – This term refers to the age of a particular wine. Winemaking is a delicate and complex process that can take years or even decades to complete.
3. Barrel – This refers to any particular container that is used to house wine while it ages. A barrel could be an actual wooden barrel, or it might refer to a container, drum, tank, or other holding vessels.
4. Bitter – This frequently used term refers to a taste sensation of a wine due to the tannins within it. The taste sensation is primarily picked up by the taste buds at the back of the tongue.
5. Body – This term refers to how the wine feels in your mouth. Does it feel light, medium, or heavy? Typically, the body of a wine can be determined by the types of grapes used, the alcohol content of the wine, and how long the wine has been aged for.
6. Brut – This refers to the plug used to seal or “cork” a wine barrel. The brut is usually created out of cork wood, soft plastic or rubber, or it might even be made out of aluminum and possess a rubber gasket for sealing.
7. Fermentation – This term refers to the process of the sugars within a wine turning to yeast as it ages. The longer the wine is allowed to ferment the higher the alcohol content within it will be.
8. Full-bodied – This term refers to a wine that is rich in both flavor and alcohol content. A wine that does not possess such qualities is often referred to as light-bodied.
9. Tannins – These are the phenolic elements within wine that contribute to the bitter and dry feeling that they stimulate within our mouths. Tannins bind with the taste bud receptors at the back of our tongues.
10. Vintage – This term specifically refers to the year that any given wine was bottled. The term can refer to both a specific calendar year or a specific vineyard season.
Take it Slow
When you are first venturing out on your oenophile adventure be sure to take it slow. If you rush into the world of wine and try to become a wine connoisseur overnight then you risk getting burnt out with the beverage and eventually turning your back on it completely. Be patient, focus on wines that you enjoy the most, and try to force yourself to find things that you enjoy about each particular wine. In other words, be mindful of what makes the beverage enjoyable and don’t overindulge in selections that you really like.
The Top 5 Wines For Beginner Oenophiles
1. Pinot Noir – This light to medium-bodied red wine blend is an excellent choice for dining. The flavor balance will compliment both savory and sweet foods, giving wine newbies the ability to enjoy a nice meal with their beverage.
2. Pinot Grigio – This fantastic white wine is a crisp, light, and refreshing blend that won’t overpower your taste buds. Most beginner wine enthusiasts will enjoy Pinot Grigio’s unimposing friendliness and delicate flavor.
3. Sauvignon Blanc – This exceptionally crisp white wine blend is known to have delicious flavor notes that resemble citrus fruit and kiwi. Due to its pleasant and fruity flavor, VINE.LY Magazine recommends Sauvignon Blanc for anyone starting out in wine tasting.
4. Syrah – This extra fruity red wine blend is certainly one of the most favorable for wine newbies. It’s simply delicious and most certainly low on bitter compounds that will often scare people away from wine completely.
5. Riesling – This red wine variety is known to be very sweet, very dry, and a near-universal favorite among most wine drinkers. If you ask any wine enthusiast what their favorite wine choice is, more often than not they will say Riesling.