You don’t need to be a connoisseur to enjoy wine.
But knowledge will really help you get more from each glass you drink.
Knowing your wine also helps you choose the right bottle for you or for.
It’s certain that without knowledge, looking at the shelves of a wine shop, or the wine list in a restaurant can seem a daunting experience.
You quickly look for the wine you already know; staying in your comfort zone. But, as you can see from all the other wines available, there is so much to discover, so many wines waiting to be discovered.
OK, I’ve made my point you must be thinking… That’s all good, but how on earth does one “learn about wine”?
What do I need to learn? Where do I go to get this info? How do I get started?
Well, I’ve decided to put list of the first 5 steps for you to follow to get started.
First things first, it may not sound exciting but you need to start with this.
1- The basic jargon
The world of wine is often intimidating to newcomers.
The language used is bizarre: there are lots of foreign words being thrown around and even the English words you hear sound strange.
Yes, the world wine has its very own language.
This is because, when talking about something involving the senses, such as wine, you could easily get carried away and use references that aren’t common to all.
This is why there is a need for a common language that could be understandable by all and that would be specific to wine.
You won’t often come across “tannic”, “mineral”, “acidity” or “oxidised” outside the world of wine.
Of course, the whole thing looks scary, but rest assured, you don’t need to learn a whole new language to get by.
Learn the 10 or so most important words and you’ll get along just fine.
A great way to learn them is to follow the A-Z of Wine guide by Intovino.
There is also a wine enthusiasts wine mag glossary
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Ok, you’re done with the hard, boring stuff, now for the fun part…
2- Learn to taste wine
Learning to taste wine isn’t just for people going to wine tastings!
Learning to taste and understand wine is at the very base of being able to enjoy it.
You want to enjoy wine more?
You want to pick up the small details that make great wine different from good wines?
Then you really need to learn how to taste wine the proper way.
There is a real methodology you need to learn. And once you know it, it’s all a question of practicing regularly. Just like anything, with regular practice you will improve.
And before you know it you’ll be able to guess the name of a wine from its taste.
Here is a great video for you to understand the basics.
And now, you’re going to be able to understand the next subject much better.
3- Grape varieties
As you know, wine is made entirely from grapes. But all grapes don’t taste the same.
There are a few factors that will influence the taste of a grape, but none more so than the variety.
What are grape varieties exactly?
Well they’re just the same as the different varieties of apples you can find. Granny Smith apples don’t taste the same as Golden Delicious, Gala or Pink Lady.
Each grape variety will have a different taste and the wines they produce will of course be different too.
There are way too many grape varieties for you to know all of them. But learning about the 4/5 main grape varieties grown in the world is a good start.
You need to learn about what they taste and smell like of course, but also knowing where they are grown is useful when wanting to choose a good bottle.
This website offers a good resource of the different varieties.
There are also these guides with videos that are interesting to learn.
With a few grape varieties learned, you’ll be well on your way! Next:
Now that you know how to taste wine. You know what the basic grape varieties are. And of course, you also know the basic vocabulary needed to describe taste and smell.
Well, all you need now is to put this knowledge to practice.
The best way to do this is to taste wine regularly.
It doesn’t HAVE to be at professional tasting events or doesn’t have to involve you buying dozens of wines to taste in one go.
What is important is that you practice regularly.
It can be that it just involves enjoying a glass of wine at home now and again, or maybe signing up to some tasting events.
Whatever you do though, it’s important you really concentrate on the tasting of the wine.
That you look deep into the layers of the wine.
Try and focus on the aromas, on the different tastes.
And remember to take notes, putting pen to paper (more than finger to smartphone) is the best way to memorise.
Next is about YOU.
5 Learn about your palate
Learning about wine is one part of it, the other important part is learning about your own palate.
You see, when it comes to taste and smell, we’re not all equal.
Some of us have a better sense of taste than others. This is due to the number of taste buds we have on our tongues.
But we also all have varying sensitivities to the different tastes.
Some of us detect acidity more sharply than others and as a result we’ll prefer more or less acidic wine. This is also true with tannin and sweetness.
So, we end up with preferences for this or that style of wine.
How do we find out without having to taste dozens and dozens of wines?
Well, simply take a multiple answer test…
The test is based on the scientific study into taste profiles and sensitivity.
You can do the test and get your personal wine palate profile free here.
Getting into wine may sound difficult and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.
You can get into wine and understand the basics easily in just a few hours.
Once you learn these few basics, you’ll be able to get the most out of each wine you drink as well as describe your taste to other wine professionals.