Wine For Dummies
Selecting a wine you like is easy when you can correctly pronounce wine names, use appropriate terms to describe wine, decode wine names, and approach the selecting process with confidence.
Quick Guide to Wine Pronunciation
Correctly pronouncing wine names is one way to keep from irritating a wine snob; the following table can help you out. The stressed syllable in each word is italicized; if no syllable is italicized, all syllables carry equal weight.
|Cabernet Sauvignon||cab-er-nay saw-vee-nyon|
|Montepulciano d'Abruzzo||mon-tae-pul-chee-ah-noh dah-brute-zoh|
|Pinot Grigio||pee-noh gree-joe|
|Pinot Noir||pee-noh nwahr|
Useful Terms for Describing Wine
When describing wine, wine merchants, restaurant servers, and your oenophile friends will use specific language to tell you about its characteristics. Knowing these words will help you understand the wine they're describing:
Aroma or bouquet: The smell of a wine — bouquet applies particularly to the aroma of older wines
Body: The apparent weight of a wine in your mouth (light, medium, or full)
Crisp: A wine with refreshing acidity
Dry: Not sweet
Finish: The impression a wine leaves as you swallow it
Flavor intensity: How strong or weak a wine's flavors are
Fruity: A wine whose aromas and flavors suggest fruit; doesn't imply sweetness
Oaky: A wine that has oak flavors (smoky, toasty)
Soft: A wine that has a smooth rather than crisp mouthfeel
Tannic: A red wine that is firm and leaves the mouth feeling dry
Easy Wine Identifier
Most wines you find in shops and restaurants are named in two basic ways: for the variety of the grape or for the place the grapes are grown. This instant guide decodes common wine names and tells you the wine's color.
|Wine Name||Grape or Place||Wine Color|
|Bordeaux||Place/France||Red or white|
|Burgundy (Bourgogne)||Place/France||Red or white|
|Champagne||Place/France||White or rosé|
|Côtes du Rhône||Place/France||Red or white|
|Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris||Grape||White|
|Port (Porto)||Place/Portugal||Red (fortified)|
|Rhine (Rheingau, Rheinhessen)||Place/Germany||White|
|Rioja||Place/Spain||Red or white|
|Zinfandel||Grape||Red or pink|
Buying Wine with Confidence
Don't get frazzled when you're shopping for wine. Browsing and buying wine should be a fun, positive experience. Remember these helpful hints when you hit the wine shop:
No one in the world knows everything about wine.
Smart people aren't afraid to ask "dumb" questions.
The purpose of wine is to be enjoyed.
Expensive doesn't necessarily mean I'll enjoy it more.
I am my own best judge of wine quality.
Most wines are good wines.
Experimentation is fun.
Advice is free for the asking.
Every bottle of wine is a live performance.
I'll never know . . . until I try it!