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Stirring Curiosity - Wine

The world of wine can be a vast and often confusing land. However, with a little knowledge and a few simple techniques, you can greatly enhance your wine experience.

Generalizations: Red vs. White

The red color to the wine is the result of allowing the skins of the grapes to soak in the pressed juice. This adds depth and body to the wine in the form of 'tannins' as well as a maturing of flavor over time. Tannins also account for lingering flavor and slight drying in the back of the mouth.

White wines skip the soaking step, resulting in an overall sweeter flavor with a cleaner finish.

It is common to chill white wines but not reds. However, like many rules, there are exceptions.


After pouring a few ounces into a clear, round glass and observe. The wine should be clear and not cloudy. Whites will range from pale yellow to almost brown where reds will vary from pink to deep purple.

Next, swirl the wine around the glass and hold it to your nose. (Don't be shy- put your nose right in the glass.) Inhale deeply and slowly. Concentrate on the aromas flooding your senses. Do you detect sour cherry, citrus, or apple? Perhaps chocolate, spice, or leather? Focus on a particular characteristics of aroma and search for them. (In the beginning, you may benefit from professional tasting evaluations as a learning aid.)


Take a small sip and move the wine around your mouth. Think about big characteristics such as sweet, sour, and bitter. Notice how the wine feels in your mouth. Is it clean and refreshing? Does it coat your tongue? Do you recognize flavor components such as cherry, apple, cranberry, or banana?


It is important to keep the old adage in mind; drink what you like. At the end of the day, the only opinion that matters is yours.

P.S. This process also works wonderfully for coffee with the added dimension of temperature! (Coffee sweetens slightly as it cools.)

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