07 Oct Wine 101 – October 07, 2015: As A Beer Drinker How Can I Switch To Drinking Wine?
This Week In Wine 101: As A Beer Drinker How Can I Switch To Drinking Wine?
Beer is so good! There are very few things in this world that can come close to the satisfaction of a refreshing pint of cold beer. The taste, the fizz, the hops, the sensation when it hits the back of your throat; who wouldn’t get all giddy just thinking about the taste that awaits? Though, like beer, which is constantly changing, fusing, being manipulated and blended together, there comes a time when beer drinkers must ponder the following:
a. My partner drinks wine, so shouldn’t I give it a try?
b. Is wine good enough to replace the exotic imports that quench my very being?
c. Can you compare the two being that one is made from barley & the other from grapes?
Know Your Beer Preferences
Well, like your preferences in beer, it all depends on each person’s taste or palate. So, how do you transition from beer to wine?
First, you must know your preference in beer. From there it can be a fairly simple transition. Now if you’re not particularly sure or adventurous when it comes to beer drinking, and you typically buy Natty Light, Miller Light and maybe the occasional ‘King of all Beer’, maybe it’s time to stop, take a moment and swim in different waters because you’re not exploring the full potential of your palate and the senses you were blessed with. Quite frankly, you’re simply wasting them! Let’s see if we can, as Beyoncé would say, “Upgrade you!”
Lagers & Pilsners
Let’s begin here but first, remember this: Pilsners are Lagers but Lagers are not Pilsners. Remember the whole box is rectangle but not vice versa thing? It’s like that but obviously better. Anyway, if these are the beers you most enjoy, think about comparing the elements, such as flavor, light aromas, age, color, the cool temperatures and less residual sweetness used to create them. These features lead us to start with a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Grigio. Even a drier, full-bodied Chardonnay, with less sweetness and milder flavors may be perfect; think French Chardonnays. Of course this can vary and depends on what you find using your palate.
Focus on the same attributes of the wine as you would with the beer. If you’re leaning towards red wines, start with a Malbec, Chianti, Bordeaux, or Châteaux. Begin testing all your senses. Let the sensual aromas flutter through your nostrils as you oxygenate the wine by swirling it in the glass. Now close your eyes and take a few sips, let your mind wander, but hold and swish the wine around every part of your mouth, allowing your palate to burst open. After you experience the wine, follow through with a gentle finish, letting the fruits, spices and sensation travel down the back of your throat as you would beer. You’ll begin to follow a whole new direction when it comes to using your taste buds. It’s sort of like using more than just 10 percent of your brain. It’s opening up your mind!
If you are a fan of the Ale persuasion including, Ambers, Reds, Pales, IPA and Wheat Ales, one must remember that Ales are complex flavorful beers with rich aromas and flavors and are served and brewed at room temperature. You may want to begin with a Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, Grenache, Zinfandel or a red wine blend. On the more expensive side, consider sampling a Bordeaux, Barolo, or Brunello. All of these wines fill a glass with aromatic flavors and tannins to satisfy your taste buds. For white wines try Abbazia di Novacella, Pouilly-Fumé, or a Grand Premier Cru Chablis from France.
If you’re a stout drinker, you may want to try several different port or creamy sherry wines. These dessert wines contain between 16% – 22% alcohol and are much heavier than say, flat wines. Regardless of their classification, you’ll find you’ll really enjoy a good port or sherry before a meal and without dessert. You may also like to indulge your senses in a glass of Pinot Noir. Some offer toasted, coffee, chocolate, cherry and blackberry flavors, with a silky smooth finish.
Another great alternative to consider is an Australian Shiraz. The Aussies concoct their Shiraz with complex flavors of varied spices, coffee, chocolate, cedar, blackcurrant, plum, cherry and blackberry. Most of these wines can be enjoyed alone, however, when combined with a meal, the flavors experienced are greatly enhanced.
If you love bubbly, here are some sparkling wines you might find tasty:
- Gruet Brut New Mexico 2012 – $10.99
- Black Chook Sparkling Shiraz – $18
- Lini Lambrusco – $16.99
- Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Rose – $19.99
- Iron Horse Wedding Cuvee 2009 – $33.99
Transitioning from beer to wine doesn’t have to be difficult. Of course, it helps to know which types of beers you like. Ultimately, this will help you pinpoint which wine grape varietals will most satisfy your taste. If you find yourself perusing the wine aisle at the grocery or liquor store but are uncertain of which varietals to select, ask one of the merchants to assist you select a good bottle of wine. Communicate your taste in beer and they might be able to better help you find a wine suitable for your palate. Happy adventures!