Wine Primer for Men
Guys aren’t generally into wines – most are into beer and many guys think only metrosexuals care about wine. Still, the occasion arises every so often where you’ve got to know something about the subject or you face looking like an unsophisticated caveman. One such occasion is today, National Drink Wine Day. So in honor of the holiday, here’s a quick primer on what you need to know the next time you order or buy a bottle of wine.
White wines are light, floral, fragrant and go best with fish, chicken, pork, veal, veggie pastas; lighter meals. Think “white wine with white (colored) food”. When selecting the a bottle of white wine, price and age doesn’t matter much. The proper selection is in how you pair it with your meal. We’ll get to that later. Serve white wines chilled from the mid 40’s to mid 50’s.
- Chardonnay: Full and buttery with a fruity taste. Flavor notes are vanilla, oak, butterscotch, melon, pineapple and peach.
- Sauvignon Blanc: Fairly dry, higher in acids, and crisp. Flavor notes are grass and gooseberry.
- Riesling: Lower alcohol level and fruity. Flavor notes are green apple, orange, lime and honey.
- Gewurztraminer: Medium body with a spicy taste. Flavor notes are spice with nutmeg.
- Chenin Blanc: A picnic wine, crisp with high acidity. Flavor notes are peach, apple, honey, and marzipan.
- Sauterne: A rich dessert wine – a taste of honey with a luscious creme brulee texture. Flavor notes are apricot, peach, and pineapple.
Safest pick in most situations? Gewurztraminer.
Red wines are “spicy” and taste like berries. Red wines are good with beef, meat pastas and lamb; heavier meals. Think “red wine with red (before cooking) meats.” You have to pay attention to price and age when choosing a red wine. If not aged long enough, the wine will have a “cotton mouth” dryness to it. What’s cotton mouth dryness? Imagine stuffing your mouth full of cotton balls. Serve and chill red wines from the low to mid 60’s.
- Merlot: Dark red and full-bodied, but soft and less tannic. Flavor notes are plum, rose, and spice, with some lighter grassy undertones.
- Cabernet Sauvignon: Dark red, big, and full-bodied. Flavor notes are black currant, chocolate, tobacco, and olive.
- Pinot Noir: Relatively low tannins and acid. Flavor notes are raspberry, cherry, violet, and rose.
- Sangiovese: Medium body Chiani-like wine. Flavor notes are cherry, spice, tobacco, and herbs.
- Syrah: Lighter, more peppery wine. Flavor notes are ripe berry, mixed spice, and black currant.
Safest pick in most situations? Merlot.
Pairing Wine with Food
Pairing of food and wine are crucial to your selection process. If you’re going to eat something delicate with subtle tastes, avoid a strong flavored wine that will overpower the food. Conversely, if you’ll be eating a hearty meal, choose a strong flavored wine to compliment it. You also want to balance out the acidity levels of the food and wine. If the food is low-acidic, choose a higher acidic wine and vice-versa.
If you’re at a fancy restaurant and feeling intimidated, ask the Sommelier (wine steward) for his/her suggestion. Better to ask and have a good glass of wine than to pay for something that’s horrible. Good luck because selecting a wine is not easy and there’s never a “right” answer. Armed with knowledge, we think you’re ready to do some head fakes the next time you’re faced with the daunting task of selecting a bottle of wine.