Over 19 years as a wine consultant and wine lover, the one thing that I hear over and over again, is “I just don’t know enough about wine to drink good wine“.
No Wine Knowledge Basics Needed
A lot of people seem to think that they need to know wine knowledge basics to enjoy the nectar of the grape in all its splendor! The truth is while wine knowledge basics are helpful, no knowledge is needed!
Sure, wine can be a complex topic and there are incredible amounts of information on wine available (and more coming out each day) this article included. But in spite of the volumes of information, man has been drinking wine long before he was able to write about it!
Wine is really very simple
Some of the very best wines around are still made with the bare minimum amount of human intervention. Likewise, the enjoyment of wine is quite simple as well. Either you like it, or you don’t!
Knowing a lot about a wine is not going to make it taste better. Wine knowledge basics can enhance your understanding and appreciation of the wine, but the quality of what is in the bottle remains the same.
To enjoy wine all you need to do is to put it in a glass and give it a sniff. If it doesn’t smell good, then that’s as far as you need to go!
The majority of our ‘taste’ is in the aromas we inhale, so if the wine doesn’t smell appealing you can pretty much bet it won’t prove to be any different once you taste it.
If it has a pleasing aroma then take a sip… and voila! If it tastes good then that wine is a good wine for you. On the other hand, if you don’t like the smell or taste then it is not a good wine for you.
Your Palate will never lie
The next guy in line may have a completely different opinion, and that is fine! I always encourage people to trust their own palate, because your palate can never lie to you.
I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying “one person’s treasure is another’s trash”! Your taste is your taste and will always be true to you. We all have our own taste in cars, art, mates; likewise, so it is for wine.
Over time our tastes can change, but even then it is still unique to you! We need to follow our palates rather than some popular trend or the latest “ranked 95” wine magazine.
As we begin to pair wine with food, as compared to consuming it alone as a cocktail, most people’s tastes begin to gravitate to drier styles of wine. What’s important is that you enjoy what you’re drinking, whatever you’re drinking it with.
Make sure it’s good quality wine
The one caveat I would propose, no matter how much wine knowledge basics you have, is to always make sure the wine is good quality wine.
Wineries, especially those producing large volumes of ‘value’ wine, are in the habit of enhancing the aromas and attributes of the wine with additives. The FDA does not regulate wine, that is the Department of Alcohol and Tobacco’s job. The result, is anything they add to the natural wine does NOT need to be listed on the label.
The exception is the phrase “contains sulfites”, this was mandated several decades ago and is required for any wine containing more than 5ppm (parts per million) of sulphur dioxide. (maximum allowed is 350ppm)
Most wines will produce more than 5ppm as a by-product of natural fermentation so this is seen on literally all wine bottles. I assume that there is an exception to this somewhere but I have never seen it nor am I aware of a wine sold in the U.S. that this is not on the label. However, wines packaged for sale in other nations may not be required to do so.
The advantages of making sure to acquire better quality wine are many! Not only are the flavors more authentic, but your body isn’t asked to process unknown synthetic and organic compounds that are foreign to natural wine.
In addition, it will taste better, pair better with food, improve with age, and be much less likely to give you a headache… at the time of drinking OR the next day!
A very wise man told me many years ago, “if you spend 50% more on the wine you drink, you will be 100% happier with it“, that was accurate over 30 years ago and is still accurate today.
Pat (the wine guy)
If I can answer any questions you have about wine, make suggestions, or help you with finding something special, feel free to reach out.
You can contact me through the site here, or on our Facebook page, found at: https://www.facebook.com/anyglasswithwine