How to Discover the Wines You Love

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With so many wines from all over the world to choose from, how do you find and how do you begin to select the ones you’re sure to like? Follow these tips to help you narrow down the right wines for you.

Taste

Every person has his own preferences when it comes to taste, and there are even applications and websites that help you to identify those you prefer. At the simplest level, you might tend towards bitter or salty foods while others love fruity, sweet notes.

Ascertaining your natural favorites is helpful to a point. On a limited level, you might use these to choose between one merlot and another, or between a chardonnay and a chenin blanc. Using notes in a more adventurous way, you might seek out those vanilla flavors you love as a way to branch out from your go-to wine. However, a wine that seems cruel and harsh on its own becomes an entirely different one once it’s been paired with the perfect dish and left to breathe, so it’s seldom a good idea to rely completely on your penchant for deep coffee tastes or peachy acidity.

Finding Alternatives

New connoisseurs seeking taste adventures might enjoy trying similar wines to those they always drink. Those who enjoy a grape-tinged sauvignon blanc, for example, will enjoy torrontes and moschofilero. These often move away from typical wooden flavors, adding their own unusual peach and apricot aromas.

Merlot fans enjoy luxurious textures and heavy, acidic fruity tastes. Ripasso, Malbec, and Grenache are equally bold. Merlot is not always quite as fruity as its reputation allows, so it pays to branch into different regions and years. Italian and South African merlots often mature to become milder and deeper, with emphasis on oak, mocha and tobacco notes. Cabernet Sauvignon is a popular choice, known for its smooth, subtle taste. It needs plenty of character, something that vegan fining processes sometimes bring. Unfiltered, unfined wines allowed to develop on their own are often best bought from small wineries able to pay close attention to every racking process.

Food Pairing

Wineries often offer food pairing lunches that maximize the number of tastes you are exposed to by offering smaller meals in more courses. This is the ideal way to unearth new vintages and unveil your passion for that high tannin wine you thought you hated. When the winemakers themselves are in charge of which wine you drink with which dish, you are able to find out how harsh tastes are mellowed when paired with intense foods.

Another version of a full wine pairing meal is cheese and dessert pairing. This is often done when time is an issue, such as at festivals or on a wine tasting tour. This opens you up to a range of new wines but is far from a full course in how to serve your meals.

Wine and food pairing is less complicated than you might think and you can quickly learn the basics. One of the principles is easy to learn if you’re a competent cook: the intensity of your wine should be paired in the same way you choose sauces for your pastas or meat. A full-flavored wine enhances a lightly flavored dish while a dominating taste needs an equally bold wine. Curries are enhanced by spicy Gewurztraminer, while creamy and buttery foods are best with oak flavors. The weight of the wine should match the weight of the dish. Red meat needs a heavy textured white wine while lighter foods such as fish need the delicate textures of clear, refined wine.

Acidic wines are often the most challenging for the uninitiated. They are used to lighten the experience of high-fat dishes by cleansing the palette. Acidic reds are wonderful with oily tomato-based sauces. Similarly, tannins help to clear the mouth of fat from oily red meats. The tannins refresh your mouth, allowing you to enjoy rich foods for longer.

Sweet wine is popular but often paired with the wrong foods. It is ideal with rich dishes, allowing even those who usually don’t enjoy this kind of eating to relish a new experience. Wine should usually be sweeter than the dish it is paired with, but those with an acidic presence are ideal for salty foods such as blue cheese and Parma ham. Salty foods with citrus undertones can be paired with dry wines that lift the lighter flavors of the food, creating a more holistic taste. Tart sauces can overwhelm a lot of wines, so those with vibrant flavors are best: Sauvignon blanc, Vinho Verde, and Verdejo are all wonderful with scallops, citrus chickens and prawns.

Glasses

The color of your wine glass is not only important to your visual experience of wine but also your impression of its flavor. Clear glasses with stems have long held their reputation as the best way to enhance all aspects of the experience. Their shape can either diffuse the nose, diluting its taste, or taper to direct all aromas directly where they are needed. They can even lift certain notes while dispersing others. There is no perfect wine glass, only the perfect one for each individual wine. An open rim forces you to drink your wine slowly while a narrow one concentrates the nose while directing it towards the palate.

Red wines need glasses with large bowls so that you can swirl the wine and increase its surface area. This exposes it to air, improving oxidation and letting it develop roundly to lose its harsh edges. Merlot and cabernet also need a narrowed rim that retains the aroma instead of dispersing it. Reds that have potent noses are better served with rims that are slightly more open to prevent the aroma from overwhelming you. White wine needs a narrow, small bowl that preserves temperature. Chardonnay needs an open rim while standard narrow sauvignon blanc glasses will suit most other white wines. Despite the accepted guidelines of passionate connoisseurs, everyone enjoys different elements of wine, so experimenting with glassware is recommended.

Light and Sound
Oxford researchers recently discovered that the time of day and kind of celebration affects wine’s taste differently. Creating a festive atmosphere using classical music and warm lighting gives you the impression of sweetness, lifting wines that rely on subtle notes. As yet, research is in its early stages, so wine connoisseurs are left without solid guidance but plenty of room to experiment.