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Wine Basics for the Gent
A lot of Gents Place members have a decided preference for whiskey and many of its glorious and historic variants. Our articles about spirits reflect this preference. But a category that continues to grow (and rapidly) in the United States is wine, and unlike whiskey, wine can sometimes seem intimidating. But it shouldn't be. We've put together a few simple basics to keep in mind should you wish to up your wine game and broaden the flavors your palate can enjoy when relaxing with friends or a cigar (or both).
Learn a couple terms
When you refer to body regarding wine, you are really discussing how the wine feels in your mouth. If you can imagine the difference you would feel between swirling skim milk, whole milk, or egg nog in your mouth, that's the difference between a light, medium, and full body wine.
When we are talking about tannins in wine we are often talking about red wine and when talking about acidity we are often talking about white wine. Tannins make a wine taste red. If you feel like all the saliva in your mouth has disappeared after a first sip of wine, you're dealing with a tannin-heavy wine.
Learn a few grapes
Most wine menus you find in restaurants are divided between red and white wines, then move from light bodied to full bodied wines, in order. To give you a frame of reference:
- White grape, light body: pinot grigio, riesling
- White grape, medium body: sauvignon blanc
- White grape, full body: chardonnay
- Red grape, light body: pinot noir
- Red grape, medium body: merlot, malbec, shiraz
- Red grape, full body: cabernet sauvignon (also the world's most planted wine grape)
Use these wines (and where they fall in terms of body) to begin a conversation with a sommalier or an employee at a wine shop when you are trying to decide what to drink or buy. They provide an easy background to plot a direction of travel.
Swirl and Sniff
We've noted in a previous article that water and/or ice with whiskey has clear and definite effects on the flavor. So too with oxygen and wine. Swirling (and decanting) wine exposes more of it to air, developing and exposing its aromas. Giving it a gentle, then stronger sniff before sipping gives your taste buds more context to appreciate what you're about to drink.
Do you have a favorite wine or wine region? Share with us in the comments below to get 25% off your next purchase of Rascal products in any of our clubs.
About Ben Davis
A serial entrepreneur, Ben Davis is founder of The Gents Place and a leading investor in gentlemen's refinement and confidence.
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