wine basics

staff notes

Types of Wine:

  • Red Wine: Made from dark-colored grape varieties. Common types include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Syrah.

  • White Wine: Made from green or yellow grapes. Common types include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Pinot Grigio.

  • Rosé Wine: Often made from red grape varieties but with limited skin contact to produce a pink hue. Examples include White Zinfandel, Provence Rosé, and Grenache Rosé.

  • Sparkling Wine: Carbonated wine with bubbles, typically produced through a secondary fermentation process. Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava are popular examples.

Wine Characteristics:

  • Body: Describes the weight and texture of the wine in the mouth. Wines can be light-bodied, medium-bodied, or full-bodied.

  • Acidity: Provides freshness and crispness to the wine. High acidity wines feel tart, while low acidity wines feel flat.

  • Tannins: Found in red wines, tannins add bitterness, astringency, and structure to the wine. They are often described as smooth, firm, or gripping.

  • Sweetness: Indicates the amount of residual sugar in the wine. Wines can range from bone-dry to sweet.

Wine Regions:

  • Old World: Refers to traditional wine-producing regions in Europe, including France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Portugal.

  • New World: Refers to wine-producing regions outside of Europe, such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and South America.

Wine Pairing:

  • Red Wine Pairing: Typically pairs well with red meat, rich sauces, and aged cheeses.

  • White Wine Pairing: Matches well with seafood, poultry, creamy sauces, and lighter dishes.

  • Rosé Wine Pairing: Versatile and pairs well with a variety of foods, including salads, grilled vegetables, and light pasta dishes.

  • Sparkling Wine Pairing: Suitable for appetizers, salty snacks, seafood, and creamy desserts.

Wine Service:

  • Temperature: Serve white wines chilled (45-50°F or 7-10°C) and red wines slightly below room temperature (55-65°F or 13-18°C).

  • Decanting: Allows the wine to breathe and enhances its flavors, particularly for young red wines with strong tannins.

  • Glassware: Choose appropriate glass shapes; larger bowls for red wines and narrower bowls for white wines and sparkling wines.

Wine Tasting:

  • Appearance: Observe the wine's color, clarity, and viscosity.

  • Aroma: Swirl the wine in the glass to release its aromas, then smell to identify fruit, floral, herbal, and earthy notes.

  • Taste: Take a sip and assess the wine's flavor profile, including sweetness, acidity, tannins, and any additional flavors.

  • Finish: Notice the aftertaste and how long the flavors linger on the palate.

Keep in mind that wine appreciation is subjective, so it's beneficial to explore various wines to discern your preferences and savor the experience. Always prioritize the guest's preferences. Consider their previous experiences with wine and their culinary tastes. Asking simple questions like 'Do you lean towards sweet or savory?' can provide valuable insight to tailor their wine experience accordingly.