You Don't Need to be a Sommelier
Patrons always come to my stores with the same issue. “I don’t know anything about wine, where do I go to learn about wine.”
I usually tell them that learning about wine is like dieting…you have to want to learn. After that, it’s much easier and certainly more fun than going on a diet.
If I were teach a Wine 101 course here is how I would proceed:
Wine is not a mystery. It’s a natural beverage made with natural fruit which has sustained mankind for 10,000 years or longer.
In our modern era, say 1970 onwards, as wine in the United States has become more popular, various sources have attempted to analyze wine, give it points, put it in competition against other wines, and generally promote wine like a professional athlete. That is perhaps the most confusing part of wine understanding.
You drink what you like. But keep in mind that the more frequently you enjoy wine, your palate will change.
By drinking regularly, like every day at dinner with a glass of wine, your palate will gradually become accustomed to drier wines, rather than sweeter wines. After about a month with drier varieties of wine, you would be amazed if a glass of Riesling or Chenin blanc were poured for you, how immediately you would react to it as being “too sweet” And the glass of Asti Spumante you have at Thanksgiving would was just as good as real “champagne.” After drinking a variety of sparkling wines, you would return the glass of Asti tout suite ! But if you only have 1 glass of wine every holiday, like aunt Joan, you would never notice any change.
The first thing I would impose on you is the idea that you taste with your eyes and nose.
I will explain that in the next installment of WINE 101