Whether you’re headed to a socially distanced winery or planning a tasting party of your own, you need to know a few things for the tasting to be a success.
You’ll need to not only have an idea of food pairings, but also be prepared for red-wine teeth and actually understand the wine you’ll be drinking. All these things will make your wine-tasting experience much more memorable and enjoyable.
Below, we’ll help you cross off one must-do before the tasting—understand a little bit about wine. You don’t want to go in completely blind, and that’s where we come in.
Discover what you need to know about wine before a tasting here!
Understand the Different Styles
The most important thing you need to know about wine before a tasting has to do with the different styles of wine. There are nine primary styles, ranging from sparkling to sweet whites to deep reds—all the way to dessert wine. With such a wide variety, knowing what to expect before the wine touches your lips will help. Here’s a quick list:
- Light-Bodied White Wine
- Full-Bodied White Wine
- Aromatic White Wine
- Rosé Wine
- Light-Bodied Red Wine
- Medium-Bodied Red Wine
- Full-Bodied Red Wine
- Dessert Wine
Understanding these styles will not only make the tasting process make more sense to you, but also help you recognize which style you should taste first. Start with bubbly, and then make your way down the path to darker, more intense wines. Either way, enjoy the fact that there are so many different wine styles out there for you to enjoy and sip on!
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Be Conscious of ABV
As you learn more about the different wine styles, you’ll also need to understand how each has different alcohol levels. An easy Pinot Grigio might have an ABV of around 11%, but some of those deeper reds can get up to 15%. When you only have one glass, that percentage doesn’t seem like too much to handle. But when you’re at a tasting, you’re sipping on a lot of wine with a variety of alcohol percentages.
That’s where remembering to spit comes into play. You may love the taste of wine, but you don’t need to swallow every sip to get that flavor. Most tastings will give you some sort of receptacle so that you can spit after you swish the wine around in your mouth. You still get the flavor profile and the mouthfeel—without the raging headache afterward.
Recognize How Tannins Affect You
Tannins are important wine aspects to keep in mind when you’re trying wines. If you’ve ever tried a red wine before and puckered your lips, tannins are the reason why. When you’re at a wine tasting, there’s a high chance you’ll come across some red wines that bring about that same sensation.
Tannins are a polyphenol that comes from the grapes and their stems, and when paired with the right things, they can accentuate the flavors within the wine.
Related Read: Perfect Pair: Best Wine and Cheese Pairings for Picnics
These are just a few of the things you need to know before you go to a wine tasting. Sip and enjoy with this information in your back pocket!