Wine is the seventh most consumed beverage in the world. However, of the billion-plus wine drinkers on the planet, only a fraction of them can be considered connoisseurs. For those who don’t know, connoisseur is a French word for expert that has been appropriated by winos. Therefore, a wine connoisseur is a person who knows wine, like really knows wine: its chemistry, culture and flavor. This is knowledge that is accessible to everyone. Anyone can become a wine connoisseur if they follow these steps.
How To Become A Wine Connoisseur In Three Simple Steps
Differentiating between the thousands of brands and blends of wine is the first stop on your journey. A wine store is chaotic to the untrained eye, but with a little bit of knowledge, it becomes a perfectly curated shrine to one of the world’s most iconic beverages. The best part about wine stores is that they are usually staffed by connoisseurs. Staff members can give recommendations, explain the classification system, and elucidate the differences between blends. For instance, Merlot is a dry red wine that’s a little bit sweet and soft, while Cabernet Sauvignon is drier and richer, and has enough tannic to supply an unparalleled aftertaste that’s called its “backbone.” You can taste the differences between these blends, and all others, for yourself – for free. Many wine shops offer samples on certain days, so you can give your newfound knowledge a practical test. If you’re less inclined to turn your wine enthusiasm into a public spectacle, the internet is the best resource for private research. Another way to privately assess wine is to check their labels for awards and distinctions.
Learn How To Pair Wine
Wine is very much a companion drink. An essential component of wine expertise is knowing which wine goes with which food. To become a wine expert, you have to experiment with pairings, and this entails making mistakes. However, some pairings are already well-established and shouldn’t be tampered with. For example, both Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are perfect companions for steak. Adding wilted greens and steamed potatoes into the mix will be a party for your taste buds. Pinot Noir is a light to medium-bodied red wine with high acidity that has long been paired with mushrooms. Therefore, any mushroom dish will go great with Pinot Noir. Rose wine, a fruity hybrid between red and white, is a tremendous complement to cured meats and cheeses. This is traditionally a summer pairing. Being a connoisseur means knowing that the seasons play a big role in wine-food collaboration. White wines like Viognier can enhance the flavor of turkey and roasted pumpkin during autumn, while Zinfandel is often paired with wintertime desserts like brioche and steamed pudding.
Learn How To Consume Wine
One you have chosen a proper wine for the meal, season and your personal tastes and expertise, you can consume it. Consume, when applied to wine, doesn’t simply mean drink. Wine connoisseurs are taught to follow the 4 S’s. Number one is to see it, which means to examine the wine’s color. A red wine that is older will be lighter, while a white wine of similar age will be darker. The second step is to swirl it, which entails swirling the wine around so that the sides of the glass are coated. This releases its scent and leads to the next step: smelling it. A wine’s scent can tell you a lot about how and where it was made. If you catch the aroma of red berries like strawberries and cherries, the wine was probably made in a cooler environment. Conversely, if you detect darker fruits like plums, the wine might be from a southern country. You may also detect aromas like chocolate and coffee. Finally, you can sip it. The wine will be extra flavorful due to the swirling and smelling, so you can give your first taste review as a wine connoisseur.
It takes lots of research and practice to be a wine expert, but if you know the basics of how to read, pair and consume wine, you’ll be able to pick the perfect wine for any event. If you’re not ready to become a connoisseur, you can at least drink like one. Your friends, family and taste buds will thank you.