Disclaimer: I am in my late twenties. . . and being in my late twenties has made me realize two things:
#1 I love drinking wine for no solid reason except for, maybe, the fact that drinking wine is like a pat on my back for surviving a Monday or for just simply checking my email.
#2 I am genuinely intrigued by the intricacies of the wines I buy.
So, if you are like me, and can stand on one isle reading the label of bottle after bottle, at the spirits store, this guide is for YOU! Welcome to: A Loser’s Guide to Wine.
Let’s start out with the very basics.
The World of Wine is a vast one, my young padawan. There are many ways to categorize wine: by names or style that reflect their origin, vinification, a complicated word meaning the process of making wine, by vintage (age), and varietal. So before you become overwhelmed, let’s jump into the 4 red wines you most likely already stumbled upon during those awkward dates, overwhelming Tuesdays, or TGIFs. And remember wine should be fun – yes, it’s complex but it is also sophisticated, artistic, romantic, and should be part of our lives because, HECK – we deserve it!
Keep in mind the following: There are 9 main categories of wine, and within these types there are variations – that taste similar, so if you are leaning to a specific wine you may want to try the alternatives as well. I won’t get into the alternatives in this post. I will on the next one though!
Red Wines…. are red in nature? Ok, you don’t need help recognizing white from red wines, I have faith you. Not only do they look different, their taste is different as well. But why is red wine, red ? The skins! It’s all in the skins of the grape, those silly grapes! And a word from outer-space that goes like this: tannin – a substance that is often described as bitter. When the Vintner aka Wine Making dude decides he is going to let the skins sit in the grape juice as it ferments, the wine becomes red and thus contain more tannin.
This wine is known for its dark color, full body and alcohol content of over 13.5%. And most of the ones that come from California, Australia and Chile, sometimes go over that 15% range. Don’t drink this without eating.
Pair it with: lamb, beef, smoked beef, beef jerky? French, American firm cheeses like aged cheddar (gross), and hard cheeses like Pecorino.
Taste: Many people pick up a taste of green pepper, tobacco, cassis and dark fruits such as cherries, along with a very slight hint of vanilla.
Syrah is darker than the sauvignon. It is known for its big, bold and spicy versions & aromas of leather and black fruit. In Australia, this wine is known as Shiraz. The grape, Syrah originates from the Rhone region of France and there are around 460,000 acres of this grape worldwide.
Pair it with: Lots of different foods! Awesome with grilled meats.
Taste: Many people pick up a taste of pepper, vanilla, mint, smoke, herbs, and dark berries.
Many people believe that the origin of the Zinfandel grape is California, after all, it is one of the more important grapes in the California Red Wine industry – this belief is incorrect, it actually comes from Croatia.
Pair it with: spiciness. Since zinfandel tends to be on the sweeter side of red wines, it’s good with BBQ dishes and curry.
Taste: Sweet & bold thanks to a moderate tannin – flavors of jam, blueberry, black pepper, cherry – just plain o’ fruitiness followed by a nice kick of spice and smokiness.
A good Pinot Noir is the rarest pokemon in the wine world. Ok, stick with me here. The grapes are difficult to grow and a good Pinot Noir can hurt your pockets. The grape originates from France, and many Pinot producers actually call this wine Red Burgundy.
Pair it with: One of the best qualities of this wine is that you can pair it with virtually any kind of food. I personally recommend salmon.
Taste: Pinot Noir can have a wide range of flavors depending on the vintage and where it’s grown. For example, Pinot Noir originating from France can have very earthy aromas, faint floral smells, delicate cherry and strawberry flavors with some spice.
So there you have it folks! I hope this post was helpful and entertaining as much as it was for me. What specific red is your favorite? Brand? Please subscribe to my email list as I will be holding this series twice a month. It will include lots of great content that is easy to digest and most importantly you will get to brag about your wine prowess to your friends! What’s better than that?!
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