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The Basics of Understanding Wine


Inexpensive Wine Can Still be AppreciatedPart of really appreciating wine is understanding it better.  Unlike most beverages wine is extremely diverse even when from the same region, made from the same grapes or even by the same method.  No two vintages of wine are completely alike even from the same winery a 2001 will taste different then a 2002 even if they were compared at the same age.

Just because we here at 10 Dollar wine like to review, drink and enjoy "value wines" in the 10 dollar and below range does not mean that you can't learn to really understand and appreciate wine.  Will a 8 dollar bottle of 2004 Beaujolais-Villages from Louis Jadot ever have the complexity and age potential of a bottle of Opus 1?  Of course not but Louis Jadot has a real hit in their simple Beaujolais and it can be a big hit at a home dinner or informal tasting when you know a bit about the wine and where it comes from.

Indeed this is often what makes a person appear to be a wine expert or at least educated to the world of wine to some degree.  Lets consider the above mentioned Louis Jadot - Beaujolais for example.  Here are two ways you could serve this wine paired with a nice dinner with a few friends.

Scenario One - When you bring out the bottle/bottles (depending on the number of friends) you state, "this is a wine I really like I picked up from Costco, its light for a red wine and the folks at 10dollarwine.com (or what ever resource) recommend it highly".

Not bad and better then most do by the way but now consider another way to do this.  

Scenario Two -  When you bring out the bottle/bottles (depending on the number of friends) you state, "This wine is called a Beaujolais-Villages made by Louis Jadot, Beaujolais is unique to an area in Southern France.  It is really a light wine for a red and should go nice with our meal".  You might then mention as you pour it or people comment on the taste a few tid bits like the fact that the Grapes used are called Gamay Noir or that the term Villages denotes that this wine is made in an area of 39 small villages that are permitted to use the term on the bottle.  

Tell your Guest Where the Wine Came fromNote that in scenario two you are not being the classic wine snob that many of us just can't stand.  You are simply telling people a bit about the wine they are drinking and putting them in touch with the region of the world it comes from.  This allows the drinker to have just a bit more appreciation for the wine they are drinking.  Most people who enjoy wine want to know more about it but there is an air of pretension around many people that are knowledgeable about wine.  Also as consumers we are often unwilling to tell a clerk how little we really know.  Our view is that a little knowledge goes a long way.

Just understanding the basics of Varietals and Appellations can do a lot to help you better explain wine and demystify those European wine labels that don't use words like Chardonnay, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.  As you spend time our our website especialy in our learning center keep these things in mind.  Basicly just knowing a bit about wine, varities, regions and vinters will go a long way in helping you better enjoy and share wine.

 

~Jack Spirko

10 Dollar Wine the Inexpensive Wine Resource