Wine 101: Time to Dive In
Something about wine culture scares a lot of people away from dabbling or falling in love with everything about wine.
We here at Manopause, are in no way sommeliers, but we know enough to get by and even impress a few people at a dinner party.
Check out our 5 tips and you will be ready in no time to hold your own in a conversation about vino.
Types Of Wine
Instead of dense descriptions of some of your most common red and white wines, this diagram will easily help you understand a few the most popular wines from lightest to heaviest.
In case you didn’t already know, white wines are typically fermented without the grape skins, while red wine leaves them on, adding color and flavor.
It is up to you which wine you choose to pair with any given meal, but white wines typically go with lighter foods (fish, salads, chicken, etc.) and red wines often go with heavier foods (steak, lamb, barbecue, etc.)
*and the increasingly popular rosé is a middle ground between red and white, where the red skins are pulled early, giving the wine it’s pink color.
What Are Wine Legs?
Contrary to what you may think, wine legs aren’t just what happens to you when you drink too much wine with dinner.
Wine legs are the drips that appear on the sides of a wine glass after you swirl your wine. Many people hypothesize about what “wine legs” mean. Some believe it pertains to quality of the bottle you’re drinking, but the simple science is that it is an indicator of how much alcohol and sugar is in the wine. And when the ABV is printed on the bottle, who cares! Just open and enjoy.
Never Met A Tannin We Didn’t Like
Tannins are naturally occurring compounds that exist in the skins, stems and seeds of grapes. Polyphenols come out of these skins while they soak in the grapes, and give the wine a distinct dryness or rich flavor.
The longer the wine sits with the skins, the higher its level of tannins. The more tannins, the dryer the wine is (and “dry” wine is less sweet, in case you didn’t know).
Has red wine ever given you a headache? Tannins cause a serotonin release, and though there is no scientific proof, they are presumed to be the cause of wine headaches and migraines.
Fun Fact: Tannins are also the reason red wine can make your mouth and lips purple/deep red.
Oaked Vs. Unoaked Wine
Wine doesn’t have to be oaked… at all. But this oaking process can be compared to a chef using spices to cook. Anyone can make a meal, but spices and salt certainly bring up the flavor game.
Soaking in oak barrels will darken the color of a white wine into a deep, buttery yellow. You might not see as much change in red wines, as they start off dark already. Either way, it will change the flavor profile of whichever wine you produce with oak barrels.
Keep in Mind: Not all wines are soaked in oak– some use steel barrels and they are equally delicious.
What Is Wine Appellation?
Did you know that certain wines have an appellation? This mean that legally these wines have to come from a defined and protected region.
Bordeaux has to come from a specific part of France. Same with Champagne, only deriving from the Champagne region on France. Chianti has to come from Italy and port comes only out of Portugal. And that’s just the beginning!
There’s so much to learn and remember, but it is interesting once you realize all of the wines that are attached to a specific region.
Fun Fact: There are also several liquors with appellation. Tequila, bourbon, brandy, cognac and so many more!