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Wine 101 Guide

CHAPTER 1 What Really is Wine? CHAPTER 6 Food and Wine Pairing Basics
CHAPTER 2 The 9 Styles of Wine CHAPTER 7 Wine Regions of the World
CHAPTER 3 Top 10 Types of Wine CHAPTER 9 Going Deeper: Climate & Soils
CHAPTER 4 How to Taste Wine
CHAPTER 5 Wine Serving & Storing Tips

What is Wine?

Wine is an alcoholic beverage made with The grapes used for winemaking are not like
fermented grapes. the ones you’ll find in the grocery store. Wine
grapes are smaller, sweeter, have thicker skins,
Of course, you can ferment any fruit to make and contains seeds. These attributes give
wine. But legally speaking, if it’s labeled “wine” wine its unique acquired taste.
then it must be made with grapes. Other fruit
wines must append the fruit type to the label
(e.g. “cranberry wine.”)

What’s surprising is most wine is made from
grapes of a single species called Vitis vinifera.
This species originated in the Caucasus
Mountains of Eastern Europe. We’ve made
wine with this species for about 10,000 years.

Once a year, grapes are harvested to make
wine. This is where we get the term “vintage.”

Each vintage is characterized by unique
growing conditions (rainfall, wind, frost, hail,
fires, etc) that ultimately affect how the wine
tastes. This is why you’ll find some vintages
preferrable to others.
Today, there are about 1,400 grape cultivars
It’s useful to note that a single vintage used in commercial wine production. That said,
can affect red and white wines somewhat only about 100 of these varieties make up
differently. 75% of the world’s vineyards. This means some
wines you’ll discover are made with very rare
wine grapes.


objective notes.   Consider this a homework assignment. Light-Bodied Red Medium-Bodied Rosé Red Aromatic Full-Bodied White STYLES OF Red WINE Other & Full-Bodied White Dessert Light-Bodied White Sparkling With so many options out there. as diverse as wine is. (Use the tasting method included in this guide!)  WINE 101 GUIDE | WINE FOLLY . how do you hone in on your favorites? Well. you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you like and don’t like. Once you try each of the 9 styles. most wines can be categorized into 9 styles. Taste at least one wine from each of the 9 styles over the next month (or so) and take detailed.

be sure to look up the aging pro- gram to ensure the wine has had some barrel aging (usually from 6–12 months.SPARKLING Sparkling wines are char. CAP CLASSIQUE PROSECCO Sparkling wines come in all LAMBRUSCO styles (white. VINHO VERDE PICPOUL *French regional wine made with Melon grapes. FULL-BODIED WHITE Full-bodied white wines are WHAT TO TRY great wines for red wine WINE lovers because of their rich CHARDONNAY smooth taste and subtle VIOGNIER creamy notes.) Light-bodied. and peppery flavors. This gives bubbly CHAMPAGNE wines distinct yeasty and CRÉMANT bready aromas. and red) SEKT and sweetness levels. The AMERICAN SPARKLERS label terms “Brut.g. CHASSELAS Aromas range from sweet. VERMENTINO er stone fruits to savory. CAVA mentation. but PINOT GRIGIO (AKA PINOT GRIS) WINE are some of the most-sold SAUVIGNON BLANC wines in the world (even if CHENIN BLANC red wines get more atten. MARSANNE ROUSSANNE What makes white wines so GRENACHE BLANC rich? Aging white wines in SÉMILLON oak barrels causes several AGED RIOJA BLANCO interactions to occur that increase body. pair with GRÜNER VELTLINER a wide array of cuisines.) WINE 101 GUIDE | WINE FOLLY . easy-drinking WHAT TO TRY LIGHT-BODIED WHITE dry white wines may not command high prices. So.” and “Brut Nature” are the most dry (e.” “Extra Brut.) ALBARIÑO ASSYRTIKO Light whites have increased GARGANEGA (SOAVE) acidity and thus. WHAT TO TRY acterized by carbonation WINE caused from a second fer. VERDICCHIO herby. rosé. MUSCADET* tion. not sweet.

perfumed MOSCHOFILERO aromas that spring out of the glass. Rosé is made by “dying” the WHAT TO TRY ROSÉ WINE wine for a short time with red grape skins. and delicate. GARNACHA ROSÉ deaux wines imported to PINOT NOIR ROSÉ England had a pale color SYRAH ROSÉ and were called Claret. *Various regional names for wines made with Muscat Blanc grapes. MOSCATEL* GEWÜRZTRAMINER Expect explosive. MOSCATO* dria–a rich. WINE 101 GUIDE | WINE FOLLY .AROMATIC WHITE WINE Aromatic grapes include WHAT TO TRY some of oldest wine vari- eties in the world. In fact. it’s possible to blend in white wines to add acidity and complexity. France. floral. CABERNET FRANC ROSÉ BEAUJOLAIS ROSÉ Nearly any red grape can WHITE ZINFANDEL (SWEET) be made into rosé. but often taste a touch sweet because of their sweet aromas. increased PINOT NOIR acidity. LIGHT-BODIED RED Light-bodied red wines are WHAT TO TRY typified by their translucent WINE color. ZWEIGELT LAMBRUSCO** This style is growing in popularity given that it *A French regional wine of 100% Gamay **Sparkling style pairs with a wide variety of cuisines. aromatic sweet MUSKATELLER* wine from Greece. The world’s largest rosé re- gion is Provence. Also. Aromatic whites are available in dry or sweet styles. BEAUJOLAIS* FRAPPATO Light-bodied red wines are CINSAULT very versatile food wines – NERELLO MASCALESE they make a perfect match SCHIAVA with poultry. RIESLING Cleopatra was noted to TORRONTÉS love of Muscat of Alexan. GAMAY herbal aromas. Rosé first PROVENCE ROSÉ became popular in the late SANGIOVESE ROSÉ 1700’s when French Bor. light tannin.

it ensures many MONASTRELL of these wines will age for NERO D’AVOLA decades. There are a wide MERLOT array of choices (and thus. and highest in tannin of the red CABERNET SAUVIGNON wines. many of NEBBIOLO these wines have the struc- XINOMAVRO ture to age well. darkest. WINE 101 GUIDE | WINE FOLLY . SYRAH ditionally. GRENACHE flavors) in this red wine SANGIOVESE category. WHAT TO TRY MEDIUM-BODIED RED this is the “baby bear” red WINE wine style. several of the most exalted wines in SHERRY the world. Ad. BORDEAUX BLEND tannin is what gives wine MALBEC antioxidant properties. DESSERT / OTHER WINE In the 1800’s. Tannin is mod. PETITE SIRAH PINOTAGE Bold red wine pairs well SAGRANTINO with fatty. ZINFANDEL Full-bodied red wines are WHAT TO TRY FULL-BODIED RED WINE the deepest. Truthfully though. TEMPRANILLO erate.) Additionally. Each is made with a unique method and range from dry to sweet. will age just ICE WINE as long as bold red wines MADIERA (or longer!) MARSALA MOSCATEL DE SETÚBAL The dessert wine style is VIN SANTO actually a catchall for some MUSCAT OF ALEXANDRIA of the more rare wines of the world. Not too light nor too heavy. sweet wines were more popular than dry WHAT TO TRY wines. from Sauternes PORT in Bordeaux to Tokaji Aszú SAUTERNAIS from Hungary. In fact. CABERNET FRANC DOLCETTO CARMÉNÈRE The aforementioned traits BLAUFRÄNKISCH make for a wine that can VALPOLICELLA BLENDS pair with most foods (but MENCÍA avoid super delicate dish- MONTEPULCIANO es. you might want to ditch the food altogether – they drink well solo. umami-driven TANNAT foods because of their high TOURIGA NACIONAL tannin. Despite what you SYRAH (AKA SHIRAZ) might have heard about it. and expect most to BARBERA have slightly higher acidity.

VANILLA Merlot tastes great alongside roasted dishes like ICE HERB pork shoulder. and dishes with high BA flavor. That said. CHOCOLATE. PEP TH PER EAR WINE 101 GUIDE | WINE FOLLY . there are a couple of unfamiliar wine grapes included which are used primarily for brandy (Cognac.The Major Types of Wine BY THE NUMBERS Let’s zoom out a little to get perspective on what grapes are at the top. The grapes included here are the most planted varieties. Merlot is actually AC E G very closely related to Cabernet Sauvignon. and robust. red. Try complementing Merlot’s fruit flavors with EO KI U BA S chimichurri sauce. BAKING SPICES. BAY LEAF. PLUM. They represent a large portion of what’s available in the market.   FLORAL LEATHER FLAVORS CHERRY. Wines are K IN FR TR rich. This grape originated in France UIT AS around the region of Bordeaux. Chances are. you might already be familiar with what’s listed here. broiled mushrooms. PEP TH PER EAR MERLOT BO DY RED F RU IT MERLOT CY BL N (“murr-low”) Despite what some say. Wines are K IN FR TR usually considered slightly more fruity than Cabernet UIT AS Sauvignon but can age just as long. FLORAL LEATHER FLAVORS BLACK CHERRY. or braised short SP AC NG ribs. BLACK CURRANT. CEDAR. peppery sauces. GRAPHITE ICE HE The rich flavor and high tannin content in Cabernet RB SP AC NG Sauvignon make it a perfect partner to seasoned EO KI U S grilled meats. etc) or balsamic vinegar production! CABERNET SAUVIGNON BO DY RED F RU IT CABERNET SAUVIGNON CY BL N Cabernet Sauvignon (“cab-err-nay saw-vin-yon”) is AC E G the most planted wine variety in the world.

CEDAR. where wines are classified by how long they age in K IN FR TR oak. Fresher ICE HERB styles match well with Mexican street food and even SP AC NG tomato dishes. E AC FR RB buttery. buttery flavors then ER Y IN you will be delighted. PINEAPPLE. BUTTER. EO KI U BA S PEP TH PER EAR CHARDONNAY FLO RAL CITRU SF RU CHARDONNAY IT S T U Chardonnay originated from the Burgundy region of RE EO France and produces a wide range of styles from bold. ROSE Madrid-inspired tapas and warm weather. LEMON ITY If you keep spice and flavor intensity slightly lower HO AL NE and choose dishes with creamy. gourmet burgers. PINEAPPLE. A well-made Tempranillo will age over 20 years. Blanc de Blancs UIT HE sparkling wines. STARFRUIT. Still. and rack of lamb. That said. made famous by the region of Ri- AC E G oja. a few producers have revitalized the E AC FR RB old. GRAPEFRUIT. TRO BITTERNESS PICAL FRUIT FLAVORS APPLE. VANILLA.THE MAJOR TYPES OF WINE AIRÉN FLO RAL CITRU SF RU AIRÉN IT S T U Spain’s most widely planted grape is primarily used for RE EO brandy. ITY HO AL NE ER Y IN M SS BO INE DY CREAM TEMPRANILLO BO DY RED F RU IT TEMPRANILLO CY BL N Spain’s top variety. oak-aged still wines to lean. drought-resistant bush vines for winemaking. BANANA. DILL Bolder. M SS BO INE DY CREAM WINE 101 GUIDE | WINE FOLLY . aged Tempranillo wines pair nicely with steak. TOBACCO.   UIT AS FLAVORS FLORAL LEATHER CHERRY. UIT HE it’s quite hard to find outside of Spain. DRIED FIG. This is a wine worthy of lobster. TRO BITTERNESS PICAL FRUIT FLAVORS YELLOW APPLE.

M SS BO INE DY CREAM WINE 101 GUIDE | WINE FOLLY . DRIED HERBS. and peppery reds. or fish dishes. LEATHER. WHITE PEACH. BLACK PLUM. Try it with lamb shawarma. RUBY RED GRAPEFRUIT ICE HE The high intensity flavors of Grenache match well RB SP AC NG with roasted meats and vegetables spiced with Asian EO KI U five-spice and cumin. GREEN PEPPERCORN Darker meats and exotic spices bring out the fruit ICE HE notes of Syrah. medium-bodied red wines with red K IN FR TR berry flavors and elevated alcohol. HONEYDEW MELON. GRAPEFRUIT. gyros.THE MAJOR TYPES OF WINE SYRAH BO DY RED F RU IT SYRAH CY BL N Also known as Shiraz in Australia. BA S PEP TH PER EAR SAUVIGNON BLANC FLO RAL CITRU SF RU SAUVIGNON BLANC IT S T U A popular and unmistakable white that’s loved for its RE EO E “green” herbal flavors and sky high acidity.  UIT AS FLAVORS FLORAL LEATHER TART BLUEBERRY. GRILLED PLUM. and even Indian tandoori meats. This French AC FR RB origin grape turns out to be one of the parents of UIT HE Cabernet Sauvignon.  Syrah originated K IN FR TR close to the Northern Rhône of France. TOBACCO. CHOCOLATE. this grape produces AC E G boisterous. EO KI U BA S PEP TH PER EAR GRENACHE BO DY RED F RU IT GRENACHE CY BL N Also known as Garnacha in Spain. Evidence suggests UIT AS Grenache is originally of Spanish origin. tofu. RB SP AC NG Asian five-spice pork. this grape produces AC E G juicy. spice-driven. TRO BITTERNESS PICAL FRUIT FLAVORS GOOSEBERRY. rich.   FLORAL LEATHER FLAVORS STEWED STRAWBERRY. PASSION FRUIT ITY A wonderful choice with herb-driven sauces over HO AL NE ER chicken. Try matching Sauvignon Y IN Blanc with Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.

HONEYDEW MELON. MUSHROOM. INE DY CREAM PINOT NOIR BO DY RED F RU IT PINOT NOIR CY BL N The world’s most popular light-bodied red is loved for AC E G its red fruit and spice flavors that are accentuated by K IN FR TR a long. chicken. EO KI U BA S PEP TH PER EAR Need information on a specific wine or grape variety? Search our free infobase! SEARCH GRAPE DATABASE WINE 101 GUIDE | WINE FOLLY . Pinot Noir pairs particularly AC NG well with duck.   TRO BITTERNESS PICAL FRUIT FLAVORS LEMON. pork. ALLSPICE. HE and balsamic vinegar in Italy. UIT AS FLAVORS FLORAL LEATHER CHERRY. seafood pastas. roast Y IN M SS BO chicken. white pizza. CRUSHED ROCKS. RASPBERRY. HIBISCUS A very versatile food pairing wine given it’s higher ICE HERB SP acidity and lower tannin. this grape is FR RB UIT primarily used in the production of Cognac. Trebbiano pairs well with hard AL NE ER Italian cheeses. smooth. and pesto. Armignac. LIME PEEL ITY HO As a dry white wine. and mushrooms. GOOSEBERRY.THE MAJOR TYPES OF WINE TREBBIANO TOSCANO FLO RAL CITRU SF RU TREBBIANO TOSCANO IT S T (AKA UGNI BLANC) U RE EO E AC Also known as Ugni Blanc in France. soft-tannin finish.

breathing through your nose) Active tasting is a learned skill.g. the framework to bitter. This TASTE method will give you Assess both the taste structure (sour. with the back of your nose) Practice makes per- fect! Be sure to use THINK Take a pause to solidify the taste profile this method each time of the wine into your long term memory you taste a new wine. olfaction (e. WINE 101 GUIDE | WINE FOLLY .g. breathing assess wine quality.How to Taste Wine The single LOOK most important A visual inspection of the wine under neutral lighting step towards improving your SMELL Identify aromas through orthonasal palate. sweet. etc) and flavors derived improve your ability to from retronasal olfaction (e.

will have a translucent garnet or orange color on their rim. HELPFUL TIPS 1. it’s not bad for you! It’s just a sign of an unfiltered wine. they lose color. A fully oxidized 2. Most Often Nebbiolo and Grenache-based wines consider this a highly desirable trait. Identify the hue As white wines age they oxidize and change color. even in their youth. WINE 101 GUIDE | WINE FOLLY . Inspect intensity (how opaque is it?)  white wine is brown. becoming deeper yellow.HOW TO TASTE | STEP 1: LOOK VIEW “COLOR OF WINE” POSTER > Hold a glass of wine over a white background under neutral lighting and observe. the more alcohol or residual sugar in the wine. especially from cooler climates. The tears that form on the side of the glass (“wine legs”) can tell us if the wine has high WATCH VIDEO > or low alcohol and/or high or low sugar. Check viscosity (watery or viscous?) As red wines age. INTENSITY How intense and opaque is the color in the glass? Can you see sediment in the wine? These are general clues that can help you identify the variety and concentration of the wine. 3. becoming HUE more transparent and faded with a more orange or tawny-colored rim. The thicker and more viscous the legs. Malbec will often have a magenta-pink rim. Pinot Noir will often have a true-red or true- ruby color. VISCOSITY Grab a glass and taste with Madeline P. Here are some common hints you can look for in the color and rim variation – If you see sediment in the wine.

aromas sourdough. or beer-like smells.   Primary Aromas are derived from the interaction between the grape and yeast and can include fruit. and herb-like flavors. maple.   GRAPE-DERIVED AROMAS PRIMARY AROMAS TERTIARY SECONDARY Aromas in wine can reveal almost everything AROMAS AROMAS about a wine including grape variety(ies) used. oak or aging regime. and nut-like aromas. and even vintage.HOW TO TASTE | STEP 2: SMELL All aromas found in wine are derived from chemical interactions between the grape juice. region. the yeast fermentation. interrelationship (unless you’re studying fermentation science). A well-trained nose can pick out each of these details.  HELPFUL TIPS Find Your Position Hold your glass right under Secondary Aromas are derived primarily your nose and slowly move it away (while from yeast and other microbes and may sniffing) until you can pick out individual include aromas like yeast. it’s one of the primary challenges to becoming a Master Sommelier. cream. WINE 101 GUIDE | WINE FOLLY .  your forearm. how it was To simplify this incredibly complex made. and the aging method.   AGING & OAK FERMENTATION AROMAS AROMAS Your goal with this step is to isolate a wine’s individual aromas so that you can use them as clues to define what the wine is. In fact.  Tasting is generally more about the texture than flavor. smell browned butter. so pay attention to that first.  It helps reset your nose. flower. knowing that the smell of three categories:  vanilla indicates a higher presence of vanillin suggests the wine was likely aged in oak. Overloaded? If your nose is overloaded. and where it came from. cheese. we can sort aromas into For example.  Swirling Wine in your glass concentrates the aromas and can help you pick out flavors more Tertiary Aromas are derived from aging easily and oxidation (including aging in oak barrels) and may include vanilla.

  Acidity: How sour is the wine? Does it make your mouth water? All wines lie on the acidic side of the pH spectrum. bitter sensation. a large part of the tasting portion is are one of the few wine traits that are actually dedicated to texture.”  VIEW WINE FLAVOR CHART > WINE 101 GUIDE | WINE FOLLY . tannin.  Length: How long does it take until you can’t taste the wine on your palate? Even a very light-weight wine can have a long length.HOW TO TASTE | STEP 3: TASTE Sweetness: The first thing to look for.  Is the wine sweet or is it dry? Most people taste sweetness towards the front of the tongue where they have the highest proportion of tastebuds. it can really help describe what we like/dislike in wine.  High alcohol wines often have a burning flavor evolves on your palate until sensation and because of this are often it’s no longer present. acid level.  Tannin: How astringent or mouth-drying is the wine?  This is a trait found is most red wines When we taste we’re essentially and less so in white wines. pay attention to the warming sensation in your throat. the wine is “layered.  Layers: Does the wine’s flavors and textures change over the course of a single taste? If so.   described as tasting “hot. As negative as these taste traits may sound. A wine with a low pH (e.g. You can feel tannins touching wine and sensing how it on the middle and sides of your tongue as a feels.  Finish: What flavor or taste does the wine finish with?  Is it bitter? sweet? smoky? oily? salty? It’s interesting to note that the finish is one of the deciding factors behind what consumers like.”   Some wines will continue to deliver taste sensations on your palate long after you’ve Body: How “big” is the wine on your swallowed. high acidity) will cause your mouth to salivate and tingle more than a wine with a high pH. tannins in wine Thus. This step ultimately good for you!  reveals a wine’s physical traits including sweetness. palate?  Does it fill your mouth with flavor and richness or is it lean and lithe?  While body is not a scientific term. mouth-drying.     Alcohol: When you swallow. and alcohol.  This The moment you taste wine the is how most of us sense the alcohol level in wine.

Instead. A high rating doesn’t gaurantee that you’ll love a wine. What AVERAGE makes this wine different than others? BELOW AVERAGE Your wine repertoire is as big as you choose to POOR make it.   choice. The most common rating scale is the 100-point system (developed by Robert Parker). You can accelerate the process by thinking LEGENDARY carefully after tasting a new wine.  WINE 101 GUIDE | WINE FOLLY .5 4. The goal is EPIC to pick out the key characteristics of a wine GOOD in the way it looks. a good rating is a general indication of quality within a style or a good quality-to-price ratio. and new wine regions you’ll create a diverse 50 60 70 80 85 90 95 100 wine repertoire. COMPLEXITY Does the wine have an endless number of VIEW flavors and textures to identify? Or does the wine only have one or two major flavors?   Generally speaking. there is a 5-star system (used on Vivino) and a 20-point scale (more common in the UK). and tastes. alcohol. By continually trying new wines.5 BALANCE Does the wine’s taste characteristics of acidity. smells. and tannin work in balance with one another? Or does the wine have a trait that tends to dominate the others? While balance is not necessarily an indicator Keep track of of quality. you’ll find many highly rated wines your tasting are noted for being balanced. Additionally. wines with high complexity are considered higher quality. Thus.  notes with this custom Wine Tasting Journal. What’s cool is that it really doesn’t matter if you spend a lot or a little on 10 12 14 16 17 18 19 20 a bottle of wine. What’s more important is that you’re actively tasting new wines. new vintages. 3.HOW TO TASTE | STEP 4: THINK READING WINE RATINGS Often times you’ll find a point-score associated with a bottle of wine. make sure you like the style of wine first Developing a highly tuned wine before using ratings to hone in on a purchase palate takes time.

some wines last open longer. dark place) Box Wines *Freshness varies.Tips on Serving & Storing Wine SPARKLING WINES Serve “Ice Cold” (38–45 ºF / 3–7 ºC) Store open 1–3 days* (store in fridge) LIGHT WHITE & ROSÉ WINES Serve “Cold” (45–55 ºF / 7–13 ºC) Store open 5–7 days* (store in fridge) FULL-BODIED WHITE WINES Serve “Cold” (45–55 ºF / 7–13 ºC) Store open 3–5 days* (store in fridge) RED WINES Serve “Cellar Temp” (55–68 ºF / 13–20 ºC) Store open 3–5 days* (in cool. dark place) Decant for at least 30 minutes FORTIFIED & BOX WINES Serve “Cellar Temp” (55–68 ºF / 13–20 ºC) Store open 28 days* (in cool. WINE 101 GUIDE | WINE FOLLY .

a slightly smaller bowled peppery red wines such as Syrah. different aromas in wine. In a pragmatic world.  You’ll find A large glass with a wider diameter opening that most quality glasses have increased is better for big. compounds to our noses. Conversely.   preferred. ounces. in order to sense the Pinot Noir or Gamay. owning 1–2 glass types is sufficient.  have a larger bowl shape and larger diameter opening. be it a wine glass. bold. The choice of a red wine glass has a lot to WINE 101 GUIDE | WINE FOLLY . Viognier. We’ve observed red wine glasses tend to better than others on certain wines. The vapor patterns revealed that wine glasses aged Chardonnay. glass with a smaller diameter opening is or Sangiovese. Here’s how these two traits affect aromas: Preserves floral aromas Related Study: In 2015. and are the most effective at delivering aromatic orange wines are better with a larger bowl. full-bodied white wines like oak. coffee mug. (325 ml to 620 ml) A large glass with a smaller diameter opening is generally better for spicy and For most white wines. red wines with high volume capacity ranging from about 11 to 22 tannin such as Cabernet Sauvignon. White Rioja. or spicy flavors to deliver a smoother tasting or dixie cup! That said. Zinfandel. You can drink wine from whatever vessel you do with mitigating the bitterness of tannin want. you can have one glass for every style of wine. you’ll need added space in the glass above the liquid. a study came out by a Japanese group that developed a special Maintains a cooler temperature camera to record evaporating ethanol. light-bodied red wines such as Most importantly.CHOOSING GLASSWARE SPARKLING WINES FULL-BODIED RED WINES LIGHT WHITE MEDIUM-BODIED WINES ROSÉ WINES RED WINES DESSERT DRY SHERRY WINES AROMATIC LIGHT-BODIED WHITE WINES RED WINES FULL-BODIED WHITE WINES In a perfect world.  Here are a few pointers: Here are the major things to consider when choosing glassware: A globe-shaped glass is ideal for more aromatic. certain glasses do work wine. The Better expresses acidity in wine study recorded the density and position of Delivers more concentrated aromas ethanol vapors in different glass shapes. mason jar.

smokey. a rich. The first thing to do to achieve this is to start thinking CONGRUENT COMPLEMENTARY of wine more like an ingredient.  Thus. a pairing of Syrah with example.  For rotundone.  In most cases. earthy notes) umami vs.   Beef Mushroom Lime Coconut The goal with a great pairing is to create harmony between food and wine.   Buttered Popcorn and oaked Chardonnay Blue Cheese and Ruby Port (pungent and (both are “buttery”) creamy vs. the wine pepper have a shared compound called acts as a palate cleanser to the food. creamy. gooey.   sparkling white wine. rich. sweet and bitter) Barbecue Pork and Zinfandel (both have Pork Chop and Riesling (umami and rich vs. “spiced” flavors) sweet and acidic)  Bresaola and Chianti Classico (both have Maple Bacon and Champagne (sweet and meaty. Syrah and black extreme opposites.Food & Wine Pairing Basics VIEW ALL WINE POSTERS > Even though the science of flavor pairing is complex. anyone can learn the fundamentals and make great wine pairings. mac and peppered steak would be a good example of a cheese can be contrasted by a high acidity congruent pairing. PAIRING PAIRING Many shared compounds Few shared compounds CONGRUENT PAIRING CONTRASTING PAIRING A congruent pairing amplifies shared flavor compounds found in both the wine and A contrasting pairing creates balance with the food.  For example. sour and carbonated)    WINE 101 GUIDE | WINE FOLLY .


and ensuring a stronger fruit flavors. produce wines with more body.Going Deeper: Climate & Soils The soil porticle size provides a clue towards the quality of a wine produced from a vineyard. and whether or not grapes will mold before harvest. etc). better when nutrients are scarce and roots or by general climate groups (Mediterranean. deep pigments. wind. Learn more about how location. pebbles. READ MORE WINE 101 GUIDE | WINE FOLLY . grainy soils produce In general. and soils affect different wines. or Continental. kinds of wine that they make. developing delicate body. can even moderate temperature in a vine’s immediate microclimate. aren’t swampy. weather. microclimate). tannin. In general. grape vines actually perform (macroclimate. hail. humidity. water drainage. soils with more clay (and those the flip side. cooler climates show a softer with additional limestone content!) tend to side. warmer climates allow grapes wines with more aromatic intensity and more to fully ripen and mature. clay. and maintaining juicy acidity. delicate dance of flavors across the palate. and quality of sunlight. water retention. dirt. Each attribute can affect everything Soil type determines the availability of from a grape’s skin thickness (tannins!) to nutrients. into account the weather patterns and rocks. accentuating white wines’ minerality. On Conversely. frost. Depending on who you talk to. climate takes Soil type – including sand. mesoclimate. more sandy. there are dozens of ways to classify climate: by Far from the nutrient-rich potting soil you use average temperature (warm/cool). by scale for house plants. These factors include rainfall. CLIMATE TYPES AND WINE SOILS AND WINE Beyond average temperature. Maritime. greater sweetness. bold fruit flavors. and dozens of combinations in between atmospheric conditions that can help – or hurt – plays a big role in how vines grow and the – wine grapes. and higher alcohol content.

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