Are you a foodie but have just discovered the wonders of wine? Welcome to the party. Wine symbolises celebration and it pays off to know what food to pair it with.
So, here’s a complete beginner’s guide that will help you immerse into the world of wine and wine tasting.
Wine is a fermented alcoholic beverage. It can be made from any type of fruit but grape is the most common ingredient used around the world. Wines are mostly made from grapes that have seeds, thick skin, are sweet and small. There are 1,300 varieties of these types of wine grapes. The most popular one, planted in many Australian vineyards, is the Carbet Sauvignon.
These wine grapes are not the ones you purchase at your grocer’s. These table grapes are bigger, crunchier, and seedless. They also have thicker pulp and lesser acidity.
It takes an entire season for wine grapes to ripen. That’s why wines are produced only once a year. In Australia, the harvest season for wine grapes is February to April.
Types of Wine
There are two types of wine according to the number of grape used. The first is called single-varietal wine, which is made from a single type of grape. These are grapes like Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. Single-varietal wines are usually labelled with the name of the grape variety used. To be labelled as such in Australia, a wine must contain at least 75 percent of the grape variety.
The second type of wine is “wine blend” and it’s made from several grape varieties. Wine blends can be made by blending the varieties of grapes together after fermentation or by mixing and fermenting them together. A wine blend that is blended and fermented together is called a field blend.
Wines can also be classified according to their colours. There are red wines, white wines, and roses. Red wines are made from grape varieties with a darker colour and are best served at room temperature. They are also best paired with bold-flavoured meats and starchy foods.
White wines are made from green grapes. They have a lighter and fruitier flavour than red grapes. White wines are consumed best when chilled and they pair well with light meat (fish and chicken), seafood, desserts, and salads.
The last type of wine according to colour, rose, is a mixture of red and white grapes. Roses can be served cold or not and can go well with any meal.
View Cedar Creek Estates selection of wines.
Thousands of wine products are manufactured in Australia and around the world, made from different blends and grape varieties. They have different tastes and aromas, which wine enthusiasts have made a hobby out of. This is what’s commonly called wine tasting. Wine tasting is a great way to pick your favourite wine. It will also help develop your taste palate and determine wines of great quality.
Whether you are a professional wine taster (sommelier or retailer) or wine enthusiast and hobbyist, there are four stages to wine tasting you need to follow:
- Looking – Observing the wine, including its colour, presence of bubbles, and uniformity of appearance.
- Smelling – Swirl the wine gently in the glass and smell the aroma
- Tasting – Sip the wine and let it stay in your mouth for a bit. Notice the taste, the flavour, and the consistency of the wine. Find out if it has an aftertaste.
- Assessment – Write down all your observations about the wine and compare it to other wines. If you are working with a group, discuss your findings and see if they match.
Although wines are frequently tasted individually, you’ll arrive at a more objective assessment if you do several wines one after another. This practice is called tasting “flights”. Another way of making an objective assessment is by tasting the wine without seeing its bottle, label, and colour. It’s called blind tasting.
Read our helpful article on how to Pick the Right Beverage for Your Wedding
Wine and wine tasting aren’t complete without a good wine glass. Though you can definitely use any wine glass you fancy, most wine experts agree that certain glassware is more fit for wine drinking. The right wine glass will enable you to smell the aroma and taste the flavour better.
In general, the standard wine glass has a shape with a narrow opening and larger bottom, made from lead crystal material, which is 9 percent lead. It has a capacity of approximately 215 ml. Most wine tastings serve wine in egg-shaped ISO XL5 glasses. However, you’ll find that different types of wine fit certain wine glass.
For example, light-bodied white wine is best served in a taller but smaller-bowled glass. This is because it maintains cooler temperature and preserves floral aromas. Full-bodied white wines are well-paired with wine glasses with larger bottom, which emphasises the creamy texture better.
A tall glass with a wider bowl and larger opening is more suited for bolder red wines like Bordeaux Blends and Cabernet Sauvignon. Red wines with spicy taste or high alcohol are best consumed from a standard wine glass. This glass has a more narrow opening to soften the taste. Lastly, a “Burgundy” glass, which is shorter but has a larger bowl, is great for more delicate lighter red wines like Pinot Noir and Schiava.
Taste Vs Flavour
In wine tasting, you’ll hear people often use taste and flavour interchangeably. However, these wine characteristics are not the same. Taste is how our tongue and mouth perceive the wine. Our tongues often taste wines as either sweet, bitter, or sour. The equivalent when it comes to how our nose perceives wine is called aroma.
Combine the taste and aroma and you’ll get the flavour, which is your overall experience with wine including the thickness (viscosity) and texture.
The handling of wine includes serving it at the right temperature, popping the cork correctly, and pouring the wine without dripping. In terms of serving temperature, red wines should be slightly cooler than room temperature. On the other hand, white wines are best to serve cold, like at 7 to 12 degrees Celcius.
Proper opening of a bottle of wine requires a corkscrew. If you can get one with the restaurant industry standard at home, then wine opening will be easy-peasy.
Here are the steps to proper wine bottle opening:
- Start by cutting the foil beneath the lower lip.
- At the centre of the cork, insert the screw firmly.
- Rotate the corkscrew 3 full turns.
- Slow lever the cork out of the bottle.
- Using a napkin or clean towel, wipe off any sediment or tartrate crystals.
Once you’ve opened the bottle, the next step is to serve the wine by pouring it perfectly into the glass. Before doing so, make sure that you have a napkin handy to wipe the spout. When holding the bottle, make sure that the label is facing outward. This way, your friends and fellow wine tasters will easily see what wine you are pouring.
The key to pouring wine without a drip is rotating the bottom of the bottle away from you as you quickly stop pouring. This will deliberately throw the remaining drops back into the bottle. It will take some practice to perfect this, so it’s alright not to do it right the first time.
When it comes to the pour itself, the standard serving is around 5 to 6 ounces. You can get this perfectly by practicing with water first. Once you get used to it, you’ll be able to pour the standard portion accurately every time.
The marketplace for wine is full of quality products from wineries worldwide. That’s why buying wine can be very tricky if you don’t know how to read the label. Wine labels can contain the grape variety like Reisling, Albarino, and Cabernet Sauvignon. They can also indicate the vineyard regions like Chianti, Bordeaux, and Chablis. You can see these labels on wines from Italy, France, Portugal, and Spain.
Lastly, the wine label can tell you the wine name, which is usually a made-up name for a unique blend that the producer invented. By being able to read labels, you’ll be able to know what type of wine you are buying and what to expect once you’ve opened it.
Wines and Wine Tasting at Cedar Creek Estate
Now you know the basics of wine and wine tasting, you can visit different vineyards and wineries around Australia with confidence. The best place to start your wine tasting journey in Queensland is at Cedar Creek Estate Vineyard and Winery in Mt. Tamborine.
Cellar Door will open for tastings every weekend, as well as Monday, Tuesday and Fridays 10 to pm. You can always order wine online or click and collect at Cedar Creek Estate Online Wine Shop and take advantage of the FREE SHIPPING DEAL during current restrictions. Cheers!
Our Wine Shop offers a full range of wines for wine tasting, from red wines to white wines. We also have a red wine tasting pack, so you can do tasting “flights”. Call Cedar Creek Estate Vineyard and Winery on (07) 5545 1666 to get more information about our wines and shipping.
You can also join our Wine Club for special prices and discounts.