LGG to Wine – The Basics

The World of Wines

I’ve decided since I’m not getting any younger, I need to start working on sophisticating myself. So naturally that made me consider the complex and sometimes challenging world of wines! I’ve ordered plenty of wines at restaurants ranging from sweet whites to bitter reds. And for some reason, my experiences with both whites and reds have always been hit or miss. Then it dawned on me…you don’t know what you’re drinking, dummy! I figure if I can manage to become a wine connoisseur, then I can check this self-enriching activity off of my bucket list and start ordering wines all over the world with ease!

There are a lot of steps between where I am now and becoming a wine connoisseur, so let’s start with the basics…

Five Basic Characteristics of Wine

Sweetness

This is the level of dryness in your wine. The sensation of sweetness can be found at the tip of your tongue. If you focus on your taste buds at the tip of your tongue and notice a tingling, then the wine you are sampling has a higher level of sweetness and is not very dry.

Acidity

The best way to describe this characteristic is by paying attention to the tartness of the wine. The front and sides of your tongue mostly convey the acidity of a particular bottle of wine. If your mouth feels let there is an active tingling sensation (think bubbles from a soda), then there is a higher level of acidity in your wine.

Tannin

Is defined as the presence of phenolic compounds that add bitterness to a wine (not to get all technical on you). Basically that means, it adds balance and longevity to your wine thanks to its sharp bitterness. It is often mistaken for discerning the dryness of a wine because it has the ability to dry your tongue out…but just focus on the bitterness of the wine and not the “dryness”.

Fruit

Wines are often characterized by their fruit flavors. At restaurants, servers will point out specifically which fruits are identifiable in your wine selection. The list is endless, but you can taste strawberry, blackberry, apple, peach flavors depending on the type of wine you choose (red/white/mixes).

Body

Is the overall impression of the wine. There’s a lot that goes into creating what is known as the “body” of a wine. For instance, details like it’s alcohol content, where it’s made, and its age all contribute to fullness. The higher the content of alcohol present, the fuller the body of the wine and vice versa for lighter-bodied wines.

Stay tuned for my next post where I will share with you how to taste wine and also how to find the perfect red and white for any occasion!

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