The Collegiate Girl's Guide to Wine Tasting

Wining is a girl’s favorite thing to.

There is nothing like sitting down after a hectic day with your favorite glass of wine. Every girl has that go-to wine, whether it is her favorite Moscato or Merlot. If you are looking to expand your wine pallet, it’s helpful to know what’s what when it comes to wine. Knowing everything about wine can be considered a full-time job, but if you find yourself sitting at a winery absolutely clueless of what you are drinking, here are a few tips to help you out.

Twirling your glass isn’t just for show

You see it in every movie, TV show, and restaurant: the girl casually twirling her glass of wine around while flirting with the beau across the room. When someone orders a glass of wine, the first thing they do is swish the wine around in the glass. Come to find out, twirling your wine around isn’t just for show. It is to bring out the natural flavors of the wine right before you take a sip. The hardest part about it is making sure you don’t spill on yourself. That just has amateur written all over it!

Know the basic types of wine

It is impossible to know all the different types of wine because there are so many, but there are four basic white wines and four basic red wines that are listed on any menu you see. The most common white wines are: Riesling, Moscato, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. Typically, white wine is sweeter and pairs well with sweet treats. The basic four red wines are: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. Red wine typically has a dry taste that pairs well with food. When expanding your wine pallet, try a different wine from the basics. If you like the basics, then consider diving deeper into the wine tasting world.

Oaked vs. Unoaked wine

Some wines spend time fermenting in an oak wine barrel. You can tell that wine has been soaked in an oak barrel because it has a richer taste and a deeper color. Wines that have not been soaked in an oak barrel typically have more of a fruity taste. This doesn’t mean that white wines are not oaked too. Taste the difference for yourself to see if you prefer oaked vs. unoaked wine.

Serving Temperature does matter

When serving wine to guest, make sure you have it chilled at the appropriate temperature to get the best flavor from the wine. Typically, white wine is chilled and red wine is served at room temperature. However, you do not want to over chill your white wine because it will mask the flavor. For red wines, you do not want to get it so warm that it will evaporate. (Yes, that will actually happen!) Remember, it takes longer to chill a wine than warm a wine so take the time to make sure you are getting the most out of your wine experience.

Corked wine is better wine

Screw cap wine is becoming more and more popular today. Screw cap wine is inexpensive and easy to open. But let’s not forget the way wine was stored since the 1400’s. Corked wine is better because it helps the wine age while still in the bottle. Corked wine allows minimum oxygen into the bottle. Oxygen can change the taste of your wine. The less oxygen that is admitted into your bottle of wine, the better it will taste.

How many glasses of wine does it take to get drunk?

This may be the most important question of all. The rule of thumb is that one glass of wine equals one standard drink. The average glass of wine contains 13.5% alcohol. Lighter wines, such as a Riesling or sparkling wine will have less alcohol content. Stronger wines include Zifandel and other fancy wines that are extremely pricy. And thanks to science, wines have become more alcoholic over the years.  

Now you may know a little more about wine than you did before. Before you call yourself the complete wino, order a new wine when you are out to dinner or pick up a new bottle at the grocery store. You can also take advantage of the beautiful wineries the High Country has to offer. When it comes to wine, remember the old saying: don’t knock it till you try it.