June 26, 2023

Wine 101 - It's All About You

It never hurts to be a little more educated (or reeducated) about wine basics, no matter your age or what your favorite wines are. I enjoy expanding my wine repertoire and trying new varietals now and then. For most of my adult life, I’ve enjoyed both red and white, but lately, I’m in a sparkling frame of mind…after all, Champagne is always a good idea!

As a reminder, if you subscribe to Wine Spectator and/or are a Sommelier, I’m sorry but you will not like what I have to say here, thanks for stopping in!

So here goes. After reading this, consider yourself educated “enough” to make it through the wine store (not just buying wine because of the fun label) and get you through a complicated wine list! I also hope I get you to thinking of wine in a different way.

Dragonfly Hand Painted Wine Glass
What do I need to know about choosing a wine?

Learn your wine boundaries, and I’m not talking about how many glasses. Figure out the flavors and finishes in wines that you really like.

Pay attention when you sip a wine. Even if it’s your regular bottle of Yes Way, Rose’, or the newest canned Chardonnay. Be honest about how the flavor hits your tongue, and how it tastes when swallowed. Then what are the flavor notes you are picking up? Do you really love it? Some common “wine note” words are: Fruit forward, hints of spices, smoky finish, dry; buttery, wood enhanced, hints of vanilla and cherry, you get the drift! Don’t drink something just purely because it’s a habit to get that go to brand and varietal! Regardless of the price, all that matters, again, is that YOU like the notes and finish of the wine. << p>

The more you narrow down your personal flavor profile, the easier it will be to pick wines that you will enjoy, something for a dinner party or when asked to choose wine for a meal out. Say to a waiter “I prefer a buttery Chardonnay” or “I don’t like Sauvignon Blanc that is grapefruit forward”…. Know your wine boundaries!! Defining the flavors, finish, and type of wines you love is essential for living your best wine life.

How can I determine what I really like?
To narrow down what you do like, you need to figure out what “notes” and finish tastes good to you, and what type of wines agree with your body (including headaches from sulfites.) Some things we do aren’t good for our bodies, but there is so much about wine that adds beauty to life, and we want to feel good when choosing a wine, drinking the wine, and how we feel after the wine. With so many choices, wine tastings, tours, and just trying different varietals is important next time you are at the wine shop!

Choosing a Wine With a Cork or Cap

Is it okay to buy metal capped wines? What about single can or boxed wines? Doesn’t that mean low quality?
None of this represents quality.

I enjoy BOTH corked and capped wines. There are some very fine wines out there with metal caps, and some of my favorite wines of the moment have caps. No longer is it necessary to have a 15-year corked Pinot Noir for it to be good!

There are some very high qualities of wine in box and canned. The canned wines have exploded as a category on their own and are mostly affordable. Try a new one each time!

After Wine 101…. In summary…
After all we’ve been through in the last three years, we know life is too short to be drinking a 40-year-old bottle of wine that tastes like crap! I dislike old corklike flavor, a wine that tastes like an old oak barrel, an unfinished red which sat under my kitchen sink for cooking for a while, or a Sauvignon Blanc that is grapefruit forward. I know what I like and don’t like! And it enhances my life!!

It is hard for me to go to dinner with a known wine snob because it usually involves an expensive wine that I won’t like. I know the price of wine doesn’t mean it will be good, nor will the label, varietal, or production qualities…. don’t get me wrong, if someone is willing to choose, through tasting and paying, I’m game to try it. On my own, I only order what I LOVE. I’m very descriptive to Sommeliers and waiters on my likes and dislikes with wine. Then I insist on a taste before investing in it.

Understanding what you LOVE and what flavors you really don’t like is everything in the wine realm.

Last but not least, never hesitate to go on a wine tour if available in areas you are traveling to expand your knowledge and flavor palette for a variety of wines. It is fun to see how different vintners process their wines, but the tasting part is a joy. I always swallow the taste, lol… (there is something about spitting out wine into a bucket that is disgusting.) At this phase in my life, I love wine tours for the sole purpose of finding something I really love, maybe even to take home. Not to mention the perfect get out of the house activity on a cloudy day!

Wine can add many benefits for a long, happy, and delicious life full of fun, girlfriends, family, relaxation, celebrations and delicious meals. Never hurts to learn, too.

Now you have my take on the whole arena of wine!!!! Go forth, wine, dine and dance, and celebrate every moment, with your wines of choice whenever you can, of course with your Lolita® glass! You’ll never be sorry you included wine in your life.