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Red wine is no doubt the most popular wine across the globe. However, with the countless flavor profiles, variations, and blends available in the market today, it’s best to know the ways to truly experience and enjoy drinking quality red wine.
Whether you like to deepen your understanding of red wine or you want to know which red wines are the most ideal for your preferences, keep the following in mind:
Read The Label
You can learn more about a wine just by checking the label on the bottle. If you’re buying red wine at stores like UsualWines.com or restaurants and you want to make a wise choice, it’d be best to know where the wine came from because the environment, or the terroir, where the wine is produced impacts the final product.
For instance, in colder areas such as Germany, Chile, Italy, the US Pacific Northwest region, and northern France, vintners, or wine makers, create light-bodied red wines. Conversely, in warmer countries like Argentina, California, and southern France, vintners produce full-bodied and riper wines with a stronger flavor. So, make sure to read the label first to get an idea of the flavor and body of the wine you’re considering.
Know The Different Types Of Red Wine
There are various types of red wines that the best wineries offer and each provides you a unique wine drinking experience:
- Cabernet Sauvignon – This popular red wine is served across the globe. When compared to other wines, Cabernet Sauvignon has flavors of currants, black cherry, and a touch of bell peppers. Oftentimes, it has a slightly oaky scent with traces with vanilla and herbs.
- Merlot – It’s easy to enjoy and may fit many situations, but it usually lacks complexity compared to other red wines. Merlot has fruity and rich flavors reminiscent of cherries, strawberries, watermelon, and plums.
- Red Zinfandel – This red wine is known for its bold and complex flavors, often tasting of dark fruits like blackberry, prune, raisin, and black cherry. Often, zinfandel has a spicy and smoky undertone. Its aroma also suggests a swirl of oak, vanilla, and jam. Zinfandel also has a higher alcohol content than some other varietals of red wine.
- Tempranillo – This earthy and spicy wine originates from Portugal and Spain. Tempranillo tastes of hints of plum and cherry and has a smoky fragrance that’s similar to unburnt tobacco. It’s a fairly dry wine with a high tannins content.
- Pinot Noir – This type of wine ranges in aroma and flavor depending on the climate where the grapes were grown. Some Pinot Noir may produce flavors of clove, raspberries, licorice, blackberries, plums, and cherries, while others have hints of roasted tomato, rose petal, and beets.
Use The Right Glassware
Before drinking your wine, ensure that you’re using the right glassware for the type of wine you’ll be drinking.
Although every red wine is best drunk in glasses with large and rounded bowls, shorter glasses are better for light-bodied wines because they enable your nose to be closer to the wine and full-bodied red wine does best in taller glasses which provide more room for the stronger aromas to move around.
Pour And Swirl Slowly
When the wine has been left to breathe, or decanted. for some time, you may pour some for yourself. Take note to do it with care. While pouring the wine, you can tell the kind of body the wine has by checking how viscous or thick it is.
After pouring the wine into your glass, consider swirling the wine gently. Then, observe the body and density of the red wine. Moreover, check if there are solids floating around the wine.
Typically, red wines are almost opaque if they were made from warm-climate regions and aged for a short period of time. Moreover, if you notice wine legs on the sides of your glass after swirling your wine, it may be an indicator of the levels of alcohol or sweetness of the wine.
Don’t Forget To Smell The Wine
Take in the notes of your wine through the aroma. You can do this by getting your nose close enough to the rim of the glass so you can get a particular scent. When smelling your wine’s aromas, know that there are three aroma levels:
- Primary Aromas – These are grape-derivative aromas, which include herbs, fruits, and floral notes.
- Secondary Aromas – These come from the winemaking process. The common aromas can be spotted more easily in white wines and often yeast-derivative.
- Tertiary Aromas – These aromas are from aging, typically in bottles or in oak. Such aromas are mostly savory, some common ones being vanilla, cedar, cured leather, coconut, old tobacco, autumn leaves, and roasted nuts.
Taste The Wine
Take a sip of your red wine, but don’t swallow it right away. Let it move around your tongue and determine whether the wine contains lots of sweetness or tannins.
Tongues can detect bitter, sweet, sour and salty flavors. All wines have some level of sourness because grapes have some acid, but the level of sourness depends on the type of grapes and the climates they grew in. Other varieties are renowned for their bitterness and it manifests as a kind of pleasant tonic water-like, light flavor. You should also pay attention to how long the aftertaste lingers on your palate as it’s a key characteristic of the wine.
As you taste the wine, you may also try coating your mouth with a bigger sip of wine followed by some smaller sips so you can isolate and choose flavors. If possible, focus on one flavor and go with more broad-based flavors.
It takes a little practice to master how to enjoy and truly experience drinking red wine, but it’s certainly no chore. Whether you want to make the most out of your red wine drinking experience or you want to know more about the wine you drink, make sure to consider those tips above and explore more of what red wines can offer you.