How To Become A Wine Expert
One of the most fascinating subjects in the arena of food and drink is wine. What makes a good wine? Do you need to be a wine expert to choose a good wine? What is a wine connoisseur? Is a wine connoisseur the same as a wine expert? Let’s tackle these terms one at a time.
The interesting thing about wine terms are that the meaning of words used are confusing to the average person. As an example, in this article the words expert and connoisseur seem to be interchangeable but they are not. Each has a specific meaning.
Sommelier: Wine Expert
A true wine expert, in the area of wine, is actually called a sommelier. This is a designation that conveys to a diner at a fine restaurant that the wine steward is highly trained in all the aspects of wine service and the pairing of foods and wine. A sommelier certification is a highly sought after designation for the restaurant professional. Sommelier certification, in addition to the designation, also gives a restaurant some amount of prestige. Would you like to be a sommelier? If you do, you need to understand what it takes and how to become a sommelier. There are many colleges that offer this designation. Just do a Google search in your area with the search parameters of how to become a sommelier.
What about a simple general education about wine. Wine can be broken down into simple elements that you can learn if that is the way you want to approach this subject. A common and practical way to approach picking a good wine is the four S methods, seeing it, smelling it, swirling it, and sipping it.
Step one involves pouring the wine into a clear glass to examine its color. Generally speaking, white wine will be darker if its older while red wine will be lighter in color. The wine’s color can also give you a hint at the process used to make the wine.
Step two involves swirling the wine around in your glass so that it coats the inside of the glass. This will help release the aromatics of the wine making it easier to identify specific scents.
Step three involves smelling the wine to identify different bouquets such as lemon or lime which are found in many whites. If you are drinking a red look for earthier aromatics such as those found in berries or even aromas like coffee or chocolate.
Step four is to take your first sip. Afterward, ask yourself whether you liked the taste or not. Try to mentally identify the flavors in the wine along with its other characteristics.
Write all of this down in a notebook. If you record your thoughts you will, over time, identify patters in the wines that you enjoy and the ones that you didn’t care for.
You will also at some point be introduced to “wine snobs”. When that happens, and it will, the best advice is to ignore them. Remember, the best wine out there is the one that you like.
2015 FAMOUS WINES
Peter Michael Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Au Paradis 2012 96 $195
Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2012 96 $140
Evening Land Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills Seven Springs Vineyard La Source 2012 98 $70
Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino 2010 95 $85
Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains 2012 95 $60
Bodegas Aalto Ribera del Duero 2012 94 $54
Escarpment Pinot Noir Martinborough Kupe Single Vineyard 2013 95 $69
Masi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Serègo Alighieri Vaio Armaron 2008 95 $85
Clos Fourtet St.-Emilion 2012 94 $72
Klein Constantia Vin de Constance Constantia 2009 95 $80
Big Table Farm Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2012 95 $40
Limerick Lane Zinfandel Russian River Valley 2012 94 $32
La Serena Brunello di Montalcino 2010 96 $60
Bergström Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge Le Pré Du Col Vineyard 2013 95 $60
Abadia Retuerta Viño de la Tierra de Castilla y León Sardon de Duero Selección Especial 2011 94 $30
Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Port 2009 93 $25
Turley Petite Syrah Howell Mountain Rattlesnake Ridge 2013 95 $44
Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli 2010 98 $125
Dehlinger Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Altamont 2013 95 $60
Meiomi Pinot Noir Monterey-Sonoma-Santa Barbara Counties 2013 92 $22