One of our favorite past times is sharing our love for wine with other people. That’s kind of why we started our own wine company, after all. But when we introduce a newbie into the drinking alcohol scene, we immediately realize that the world of wine can be daunting. With tons of different types and thousands of bottles readily available to sip on, we’re sure it's intimidating to figure out what to try first. So, let’s talk about how to drink alcohol and wine while also learning how to wade into the beautiful world of wine. Of course, if you are planning a night out full of liquor and wine, always have a designated driver that is sticking to drinking water or a non-alcoholic drink.
1. How Should a Beginner Drink Wine?
While we want to tell you to start with our beloved sugar-free wine, we understand it might not be ideal for a beginner drinker, such as yourself. If you’re used to drinking soda or juice, you might consider starting with a sweet wine that’s lower in the amount of alcohol. Doing so will let you transition into more alcoholic beverages seamlessly. We advise something sweeter because you might be alarmed or turned off by the bitter, strong flavors or even the tannins present in many wines. After you’ve gotten used to the taste and flavor of sweet wine, you can start making your way into more full-bodied or dry wines.
Try It 5 Times
Make an effort to try wines multiple times. Wines are like all products; there are certain brands and companies you’ll like and others you won’t. Just because you didn’t like wine from one winemaker doesn’t mean there isn’t another one out there more suited for your taste. Additionally, there are tons of wines out there, red, white, sparkling, dessert, for starters, and each of these wines suits various taste preferences. If you try a handful per day that you drink then your senses will be ready for any wine or cocktail recipe thrown your way.
Swirl, Smell, Drink
Make sure you truly swirl the wine before sipping. Swirling releases the different aroma compounds and makes alcohol evaporate the aroma compounds in wine to your nose. Swirling also enables you to see how much residual sugar is in your wine. If the wine sticks to the sides of your glass, that means your wine has residual sugar. This informs how your vino is going to taste.
Here's why: when grape juice converts to wine during fermentation, alcohol is created during fermentation because yeast eats the juice's sugar. In many wines, the winemaker will end the fermentation process before yeast devours all of the sugar, leaving a small amount of residual sugar and allowing the wine to be mildly sweet. For a dry wine, the yeast eats all the sugar up, and therefore there is no sugar, so the wine is dry. If you see the residual sugar, you can, therefore, identify how sweet or dry wine is.
Don’t Drink Too Much at Once
Wine drinking is intended to be a relaxing and fun activity! Drinking too much will prevent you from enjoying and genuinely appreciating the entire experience. Before you start tasting, you should drink a glass of water and ensure you are hydrated. Although wine is not like absinthe, tequila, or other classic cocktails, it can make you feel effects quite quickly in real-time.
2. What Glasses Should I Use?
Here is the truth about wine glass shape and its impact on wine taste: it has not been exhibited to have any effect. The story goes that in 1973, a Mr. Claus Riedel of Riedel glass company was eager to sell more of his wine glasses. He invented his Riedel Sommelier series, which comprised ten glasses he alleged were exemplary glassware for numerous types of wine. According to Riedel, the glass shape would support the drinker to better experience the wine's aroma, while the shape would direct the wine to the specific parts of your mouth that would allow you to taste the glass of wine the best. Fortuitously for Riedel, sales skyrocketed.
However, sadly for Riedel, in 2004, his claims were deflated. In an article written by Gourmet Magazine, studies essentially said that Riedel's claims were rubbish. So while his stemware was undeniably gorgeous, his special red wine glasses and white wine glasses ultimately did not scientifically enhance the drinkers' wine experience.
Regardless of whether particular wine glasses work for specific wines, most people still serve their wines and alcoholic beverages in the glasses that were created specifically for their drink recipe.
At Bev, we're not sure where we stand on this front. As a company that makes their wines in cans, we believe our wine is excellent and can be equally as delightful in a glass. However, if you are a real wine enthusiast and understand how to taste and enjoy wine correctly, we can see how glass can influence your experience. Essentially, wine glasses are designed to 'seize' the aroma of a wine. Therefore, preferring the correct wine glass can be important for enhancing the taste and smell of the wine you choose to drink.
Standard white wine glass holds around 12 fluid ounces (360 mL). Standard red wine glass holds approximately 12-14 fluid ounces (415 mL).
A Flute wine glass has a short- to medium-length stem and a small bowl that retains a sparkling wine's carbonation. Younger sparkling wine and champagne are best enjoyed in flute wine glasses.
In general, a white wine glass's basic anatomy is that the bowl is more u-shaped and upright than a red wine glass. The shape is intended to enhance and preserve white wine's aroma while maintaining its cool temperature. There are four types of white wine glasses, Sauvignon Blanc, Montrachet, Chardonnay, and a Riesling Sweet and Standard Sweet Wine Glass.
3. What’s the Right Temperature for Wine?
The perfect serving temperature for wine is critical because it impacts both the wine's flavor and aroma. Wine too warm? Prepare to be overwhelmed with a rich, alcoholic taste and bitterness. Wine too cold? You won't enjoy the wine's acidity, fruit structure, or sweetness because the cold will mask these delicious elements. But, when the bottle of wine is at the proper temperature, you'll discover its aroma, body, and flavor as it was intended to be consumed!
4. How Much Should I Pour?
As it turns out, different wines demand different pouring styles. Here are a few basic guidelines to keep in mind!
Ever have a bubble overload? Avoid that by pouring in a trickle, then let it settle, pour a small amount more, settle, and then finish with one last pour. Key here is small bits!
Pour slowly to about the center of the glass until it’s about one-third full. That’s a standard wine pour of around three ounces.
Pour slowly until your wine is about the center of the glass, half full. That is a standard wine pour for red wine at four ounces.
5. How Do I Examine a Bottle?
There is a lot of information you can get by reading a wine's label. There are five components of a wine label. Here is what they are:
Producer or Name: This one might be self-explanatory. This is who produced the wine.
Region: This indicates where the grapes of the wine were sourced.
Appellation: This shows what grape or grapes were used to create the wine. An appellation is a legally established and preserved geographical indication used to distinguish where the wine's grapes are grown. When you become a serious wine drinker, you will be able to differentiate the tasting notes.
Vintage or Non-Vintage: The year that the grapes were harvested is the vintage. This information is vital to wine connoisseurs because the vintage often tells a lot about wine. Moreover, the older or more vintage wine often tells you how expensive you think the wine is.
Alcohol by the volume or ABV: This is the alcohol level. European wine regions are very stringent with their wine and only allow their highest quality wines to have 13.5% ABV and above. Many high alcohol content wines are created from riper grapes and, frequently, have more fruity flavors.
6. What’s the Best Way to Store Wine?
The three most significant factors that can have an impact on a wine's condition are light, humidity, and temperature. If you do not have this dedicated space, consider buying yourself a wine cooler or wine refrigerator. Unlike a regular refrigerator that keeps your food cool and dry, a wine fridge is set to proper humidity and between fifty to sixty degrees Fahrenheit.
7. What Are the Best Pairings?
Goat Cheese and Sauvignon Blanc
As the name suggests, goat cheese is any cheese made with goat milk instead of cow's milk. Known for being a soft and more spreadable cheese, Goat Cheese still has varieties that range from soft to hard, tangy and sweet, and everywhere in between.
The many layers of flavor in goat cheese can make pairing it with wine a challenge. However, you can find a wine that pairs harmoniously, and that will show off both the flavors of the cheese and the wine.
The wine we pick? Sauvignon Blanc. The zippy acidity in Sauvignon matches goat cheese's acidity. The combination results in a fresh and refreshing taste. The pairing also happens to be a regional one.
Thai Food and Pinot Gris
Thai food and aromatic wines from Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris are the best pairings. If you're hoping for a different pairing, try to choose wines with lower alcohol levels. The spicy element of the food will clash with bottles whose abv exceeds 12%.
Red Meat and Cabernet Sauvignon
Red Wines and Red Meats: As we discussed earlier, one of the most elementary tips is that red meat and red wine are made for each other. Why? Because due to its tannins, red wine softens the proteins in meat and enhances the flavors of the meat's fat. This means that a burger and a Merlot or a roast and a Cabernet Sauvignon are a great pairing. The body of your wine can definitely affect what you pair it with— a light red like a Pinot Noir can work with more delicate dishes, while a Syrah works excellent with a stew. And, if you cooked with a Bordeaux, drink the Bordeaux as the winemaker gods intended.