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If you've ever been intimidated by wine, then you're not alone.
The wine world is unnecessarily full of jargon and mystery. But really, it's not as complicated as many people make out.
This guide is designed to help you take your first steps into the world of wine, understand some of the important concepts, and help explore a few different wine styles.
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There are four main types of wine:
White wine has the highest share of sales volume in the UK, making up 47% of the UK wine market.
White wine is made by fermenting the juice of grapes that have been stripped of their skin.
Red wine is the second most popular wine style in the UK, making up 42% of the wine market
Red winemaking is a little different from white winemaking. In red winemaking, the juice ferments with grape skins intact to dye it red.
Rosé makes up 11% of the UK wine market and is popular during the summer months. It is also a style of wine that is popular with younger consumers.
The production of rosé is almost a hybrid of red and white winemaking. It allows limited contact time with the skin of red grapes, which gives it a distinct pink colour while keeping it fresh and fruity.
Sparkling wine is popular for celebrations, and more increasingly for enjoying on a warm summer day.
Sparkling wine is produced by adding a second fermentation process (either in a tank or in the bottle) which produces carbon dioxide bubbles. France, Italy and Spain all have famous sparkling wine variations – Champagne, Prosecco and Cava.
One of the things that makes choosing wine so overwhelming for a lot of beginners is the sheer volume of choice.
There are over 4000 different grape varieties that are used to make wine across the globe. That’s a lot to keep up with.
Things are more manageable when you understand that around 100 varieties of grape account for over 70% of global wine production. But 100 different grapes are still a lot to get to grips with.
Luckily, for beginners to wine there are some palette friendly varieties that help introduce you to different styles.
Pinot Noir is a delicate red wine with low tannin levels and high acidity. It has a fruity flavor profile which contains notes of strawberries, raspberries and cherries. It is lighter-bodied than other red wines. If you’re looking to enjoy it with food, try pairing it with chicken, salmon or creamy pasta dishes.
If you're looking for a lighter red wine, this one's ideal for beginners. It has a sweet jammy fruitiness and spicy notes, and it pairs well with spicy food dishes.
Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine that's light, crisp, fragrant and includes flavours of citrus fruits, apple, passion fruit and peach.
It's worth trialling French Sauvignon Blanc alongside New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc – both are delicious but have a slightly different taste profile.
If you're looking for a dry white wine to start with, Pinot Grigio is a great option. It has a flavour profile that includes notes of peach, lemon, pear, apple and grapefruit.
It's also great at pairing with many different kinds of food—especially white meat and seafood.
Malbec rosé is a dry, soft wine that typically has red fruit aromas and complex juicy flavours of white peach and berries. It's great to enjoy alongside light salads and barbecues!
Pinot Grigio Rose
Pinot Grigio creates a dry, fresh and fruity rosé with delicate flavours of ripe berries and red fruits. It's great to pair with seafood or lighter meats, like chicken or pork.
Champagne is a sparkling wine that's produced in the Champagne region of France.
The flavour of champagne can vary depending on the grapes used and the winemaking technique, but all variations pair well with seafood or chicken dishes.
Prosecco is a sparkling wine from Italy. It's made from a grape called Glera and can be found throughout the Veneto region.
Prosecco tastes like fresh lemon, apples, and peach—it's sweet and fruity.
This makes it a great option for pairing with light foods that aren't too rich or heavy. For example, you could pair Prosecco with a salad or seafood dish if you're looking for something to complement your meal without overpowering it.
If you’re genuinely interested in understanding the best way to taste and appreciate wine, the best thing you can do is take yourself along to a local wine tasting event.
Sites like Groupon often have deals for wine tasting sessions in your local area. A wine tasting session can help you understand more about wine first hand from an expert but can also help you understand how to appreciate wine with each of your senses.
Your guide will be able to help you understand the different colour profiles of wine, and how to appreciate the different bouquets (a fancy word to describe a wines aromas) of different styles of wine.
A good wine tasting session will also help you to understand how to feel the texture and density of wine in your mouth and appreciate the different flavour profiles.
When it comes to wine, there are a lot of rules that you may have heard—like only serving red wines at room temperature or making sure a white wine is chilled to a specific temperature before opening.
A lot of these ‘rules’ are overstated in importance and are more guidelines to help the enjoyment of certain wines.
However, temperature can affect the way wine tastes, and serving wine at the correct temperature can help bring out its full flavour profile and character.
The ideal serving temperature a sparkling white wine is between 6-10 °C.
For white wines and light reds, an ideal serving temperature is between 8-12°C.
Medium and full-bodied reds are often best served between 14-18°C.
The honest answer is – yes and no.
When you’re starting out on your wine discovery journey you certainly don’t need to invest in high end crystalware to enjoy wine.
That said, different types of glasses can actually help to improve the taste of different styles of wine.
There's one feature that will make all the difference in how your wine tastes: the surface diameter of the top of the glass. This is important because it determines how much air gets in contact with your wine and helps appreciate the aromas.
White wines should typically be served in smaller bowled glasses. In these, you'll find that the wine will preserve its delicate floral aromas better than if it were served in a larger glass. Smaller glasses also help to maintain a cooler temperature.
The best glasses for red wine have wider openings that allows the collection of different aromas and helps the wine taste smoother.
A champagne flute is the most popular type of glass used for sparkling wine. It's tall and narrow, so it allows your nose to detect all those delicious aromas without letting them escape too quickly! The glass also helps keep your bubbles from getting flat before you get a chance to enjoy them.
Hopefully it makes you feel a little more confident in getting started on your journey of wine discovery. And if you ever have any questions or are looking for wine recommendations, you can contact us on email@example.com