You may never really like drinking wine, but chances are there will come a time when a woman or CEO of some big company or future father-in-law will want to talk wine. It’s one of those social skills you may be able to do without, but at the same time, it’s just part of being an adult. True gentlemen know how to talk about wine, or at the very least, they know what different types of wine are. If all you know about wine is that it comes in red and white, read on. And if you’ve never been to a wine tasting, fix that real fast. It’s easy to find a free one, and they’re a fucking blast. If you’ve never been wine drunk, it’s one of the happiest, calmest drunks out there. But wine can get wild, too, of course.
For starters, here are two massively basic tips:
- Red wine is served room-temperature. White wine is served chilled.
- Never add ice to wine.
Now let’s get to the basic types of wine you’ll be sure to come across.
Types of White Wine
Riesling: go-to wine for chicken and pork
When you hear Riesling, think German. When you think of the typical German personality, you think dry. Rieslings are typically a sweet, sometimes somewhat dry wine. Their taste? Apple-y and fresh.
Chardonnay: go-to wine for fish and chicken
Chardonnay can be sparkling or still, and it’s a rich French white wine. You’ll hear Chardonnays described as citrusy, buttery, and even creamy with hints of grapefruit, coconut, vanilla, etc.
Sauvignon Blanc: go-to wine for seafood, poultry and salads
Sauvignon Blancs can be from all over, from France to New Zealand. These wines are herbal (think fresh grass) with a dash of fruitiness. If you want a wine that’s not too sweet, they’re a good pick.
Types of Red Wine
Shiraz: great with heavier meats like steak and beef
Shirazes come from France, Cali, and Australia. These are hearty and spicy reds with wildberry, black pepper spice, and even toffee flavors.
Merlot: good with anything
Merlot is a simple red wine, not too heavy, not too light.
Cabernet Sauvignon: a bold red wine great with red meat and cheese
This one’s popular, considered one of the best. Cab Sauv, AKA Cab goes best with red meat. You can find Cabs all over the place, from Germany to France to Chile and Australia. Cabs are full-bodied wines that can taste woodsy and dry.
Pinot Noir: good with salmon, chicken, and lamb
Pinot Noir is about as different from Cabs as you can get. It’s very delicate, fruity, and sweet.
Rosés are pink-colored wines that have a dash of color from grape skins, but not enough to qualify them as reds. They vary widely – they can be very sweet or very dry, very heavy or very light. They’re a very pretty drink for springtime!
Wait, Champagne’s wine? I thought it was just… Champagne. Yep. Champagne is the most popular example of a sparkling wine. Although a lot of sellers will call their wine Champagne, the only true Champagne is made in the Champagne region of France under strict guidelines.
Sip, don’t chug.
When describing the taste of wine, you can incorporate all sorts of flavors including: fruity, sweet, woody, spicy or savory, herbal or floral, and even dairy or nutty.
Fancy people swirl their wine at wine tastings because, apparently, it releases more of the wine’s aromas. Give it a sniff before you drink. Cheers!