When it comes to wine, it can feel like there is a limitless amount of information that needs to be learned before you can feel confident putting in a drink order or choosing a wine for a party. Sometimes it can be intimidating to speak about wine for fear of saying something “wrong.” Sometimes it can be hard to speak up and admit that we don’t like a particular wine that everyone else seems to love.
So how does a wine lover become a wine connoisseur? While most sommeliers have years of training and experience, there are a few tricks and tips that you can pick up early on to help you feel prepared for wine-based conversations and decisions. The following will break down some of the things that experienced sommeliers understand about tasting and enjoying wine.
You Don’t Need To Take A Class
There, we said it. Sommelier courses and certifications are a significant source of controversy in the wine industry. As it turns out, there are no specific requirements for being a sommelier, and some of the most prestigious sommeliers in the world didn’t have a formal wine education. Of course, you can take these classes if you want to, but they are by no means a prerequisite. Many people know a lot about wine who have not studied it in a professional setting. This means you shouldn’t feel like your opinion on a wine is not valid just because it contradicts the opinion of someone who has taken a course.
Learn How To Store Your Wine
This is a big one. There are ideal temperatures, humidity levels, and positionings for wine (especially wine that is corked). Take some time to learn how to store your wine so that you don’t end up drinking something that has spoiled and wondering why everyone has been raving about this one wine that you felt tasted terrible. Experts from WineCellarHQ.com emphasize that wine should be kept between 50% and 70% humidity, stored horizontally, and kept somewhere between 45 degrees Fahrenheit and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, every wine is different, so make sure to follow the instructions provided by the producer of the wine.
There Are No Hard And Fast Wine Rules
You might have heard that all sweet or dessert wines are bad. Or maybe you’ve heard that good wines never come in uncorked bottles. Maybe you’ve heard that every type of white wine should be served cold, and every time of red wine served warm. When it comes to wine tasting, all of the common phrases you hear are simply guidelines.
Some common wine statements are complete myths. There are exceptions to every type of rule you hear. There are sweet wines that everyone agrees are wonderful. Some wines come in uncorked bottles that are delectable. There are white wines that are dense and rich and should be served a little warm and light red wines that could use a chilling.
One Pairing Shortcut: Use Region
A rule of thumb to follow is “if it grows together, it goes together.” If you’re nervous about pairing a glass of wine and a meal, consider using the region as your guidelines. It turns out that if you have a dish from the North of Spain, there’s a good chance that a wine from the North of Spain is going to pair well. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, but it is an excellent jumping-off point.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up About Red Vs. White
Yes, red wine tends to go better with heavier and more savory dishes, while white wine tends to suit lighter meals. This doesn’t mean this is always the case, and it doesn’t mean you have to order a wine you don’t want with your meal. Beyond this rule, you don’t need to become an expert on white wine if you only like red or study up on red wine if you know you’re always going to want white. The whole point is to enjoy your wine, whatever that looks like for you.
With the above tips and tricks kept in mind, you are well on your way to feeling more confident when discussing, choosing, and tasting wine. It is important to remember that everyone is different and has different tastes. It’s completely acceptable to enjoy something that others don’t or to dislike something that everyone else seems to love. Take your time and get to know the wines that interest you. Trust your sense of taste, but always keep yourself open to trying new things.