Ten Facts to become a Wine Pro
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10) Hold the glass by the stem
Holding the glass by the bowl will warm it up. This is undesired, see below.
9) Serve white chilled; Serve red slightly below room temperature
It is a common misperception to serve red wines at room temperature (70ºF / 21ºC). Red wines are best served between 57-65ºF / 14-18ºC.
In fact, there is an optimal temperature for each type of wine. Click here for our wine serving temperature chart.
8) Decant the Young and Bold; Handle mature wines with care
Exposure to oxygen opens up a big wine, making it rounder and bringing out its extensive aroma. While commonly done on reds, structured and tannic white wines can be decanted.
However when serving a mature wine, avoid over-swirling and decanting as it will make it die faster. More on when to decant and when not to decant here.
7) "Cab" is the king of red; Merlot friendly; and Pinot sexy
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir are the 3 common red wine types. Cab is tannic with notes of blackcurrant. Pinot Noir is velvety with aromas of raspberries. Merlot is in between, thus a red that can please most guests. Cab and Merlot pair well with steaks; Pinot goes well with poultry. More on the characteristics of these three red "noble grapes" here.
6) Sauvignon acidic; Riesling versatile; and Chardonnay intense
Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Chardonnay are the 3 most common white wine types. Sauvignon Blanc is acidic with notes of citrus and lime. Riesling can be sweet or non-sweet, thus can go well with a variety of difficult to pair food including spicy curry. Chardonnay is often oaked with notes of vanilla, butterscotch, and nuttiness. Sauvignon pairs well with seafood. Avoid shellfish with oaked Chardonnay. More here.
5) White before red; Dry before sweet; Light before full; Young before old
This is the tradition serving order when deciding which bottle of wines to open first. Dry means not sweet. Serve light-bodied wines such as Pinot before a fuller bodied Cab. Young refers to recent vintage. More expert tips on serving order of wines here.
4) YES to change glass; NO to rinse glass
For a different wine, use a different glass to avoid mixing up the body and aroma. Avoid rinsing glass with water as it will dilute the taste and aroma. If you have to rinse, rinse it with the wine you will be drinking.
3) Sediments, though not aesthetic, is safe to drink
Sediments are the dark residuals. As wine ages, it shreds color in the form of pigmented sediments. Most sommeliers prefer decanting to filter the sediments, but they are perfectly safe to drink. More here.
2) Not all wines get better age!
It is a common myths that wines get better with age. Over 90% of all wines produced are meant to be consumed within 5 years. Vintage (the harvest year) matters as quality and price can differ vastly. Know which vintage to buy and which to avoid here.
1) Speaking the wine lingo is easy
Think of wine as a person. A simple wine can be described as "fruity, easy-going, and approachable". A heavy wine with different aromas can be described as "structured, bold, with complex aromas".
Use green and yellow fruits when describing white wines; and red and black fruits when describing red wines. Never vice-versa. Click here to download our wine aroma tasting note aid.
For a solid foundation, visit our comprehensive wine course.
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Practical Wine Lessons: Wine Tasting Like a Pro | Grapes | Serving Wine | Food Pairing | Preservation | Temperature | Restaurant Ordering | Wine Labels | Wine Regions | Wine Storage | Start a Collection | Common Wine Myths.
Useful Wine Tips: Ten Facts to Become an Instant Wine Pro | Vintage Guide | Removing a Broken Cork | Serving Order of Wines | Fastest Way to Chill a Wine | Host Wine Party | Elements of a Good Wine | Wine Investment "Winning" Guide | Leftover Wine: Recipe for Vino Punch | Freeze Your Leftover Wine | Wine Moods Pairing | Best Way to Preserve Champagne After Open | Ten Must-Have Wine Accessories.
Fun Download: Wine Tasting Scorecard | Wine Serving Temperature Chart | Wine Aroma Table | 3 Must-Know Red Grapes | 3 Must-Know White Grapes | Vintage Chart | Wine Party Themes | Wine Region Maps | Grand Cru Chart | Wine and Moods Pairing Chart | Wine Quotes & Wine Humor.