Wine, and knowledge of wine, has a strong association with the luxurious life.
But while you’re working hard to earn that life of luxury, you don’t have time to pick up every bit of knowledge you’re going to want to have once you’re able to dive into all the perks of that life.
If grasping the nuances of “oaky” tastes and “notes” of every fruit and most of the vegetables under the sun hasn’t been a big priority for you, it’s easy to feel lost at many dinner party chats and unsure when choosing libations for your own occasion.
But getting where you need to be doesn’t require a class or a trip to Italy (though we heartily endorse either approach). In these three steps you can learn what you need to know to get comfortable around vintages, varietals and viniculture.
1. Know how wine should look in your glass.
Quality wines will have a rich hue (not translucent) no matter what color it is, sparkle in the light and be crystal-clear, not murky or muddy. • White wine — It does have color, and it should be a shade of either white-gold, green-gold, pale gold, yellow-green gold, pale yellow, orange-yellow or amber-yellow.
• Rose wine — Look for violet pink, raspberry-pink, orange-pink, salmon, apricot or red onion-colored tones. • Red wine — These tend to be deep violet-red, pomegranate, ruby red or cherry red shades.
2. Know how your wine should smell.
All wines should have a strong yet pleasant aroma, which is indeed discovered by swirling it around the bottom of your glass and letting it come to the surface.
3. Know how wine should taste.
As a rule, any quality wine is going to be supple yet tender, with an even balance of flavors. A good product will be smooth in its flavor and approach, never aggressive. Over time you’ll begin to pick up the hints of different fruits, spices, herbs and more gastronomic and aromatic undertones that make wine tasting an intellectual as well as a sensual pleasure.