There's a lot more to becoming a wine expert than tossing back a glass now and then.
You've got to know the vocab — tannin, bouquet, terroir, aroma — not to mention how to hold a glass, recognize flavors, and know when to drink it.
Luckily, London-based company Datadial developed a helpful infographic for their client WineInvestment that breaks down everything a budding wine enthusiast needs to know (first found at Visual.ly).
We broke apart the infographic into nine handy illustrations.
Let's start with the breakdown of the bottle. The name of the company that produces the wine will be at the top, followed by the variety of wine, the region and type of grapes used, and the year it was made. Alcohol content will be at the very bottom of the label:
Different wines should be served at different temperatures. Red wine should be room temperature, or about 20-25 degrees C, whilepink or rosé wines should be served slightly chilled around 7-13 degrees C.
White wine and sparkling wine should both be cold — keep them in the fridge so that they're below 5°C, or 40°F.
Different types of glasses are best for different types of wine. Of course, you don't need all the variety of glasses in your home, but when picking out glasses, choose ones that complement the type of wine you favor.
It's always a good idea to have champagne flutes and port glasses on hand, as well.
To hold and swill wine like an expert, hold the glass by the stem. This is important especially with chilled wines since the heat from your hand will warm the bowl and alter the taste of the wine.
Then rotate your wrist so the wine gently swirls around the bowl. This allows the smell of the wine to fill the bowl, which is important for the flavor profile.
Wine are not only red, pink, or white. In fact, the shade and hue of the wine indicates its age and the type of wine — whether it's light- or full-bodied, or the different kinds of rosé.
And if a wine looks cloudy, that usually means there's something wrong with it. Ask for a different glass, or throw out the wine.
The alcohol content in wine ranges from 11-14%. Lighter wines tend to have less alcohol, whereas bolder wines will have more.
Make sure to drink light wines 3 days after opening. Bolder wines can last up to 10 days.
To sound cool in front of all your oenophile friends, it's important to know the aroma of your wine. Fruity, sweet, spicy, herbal, mineral, and floral are some of the more common aromas.
Experts can even taste the underlying flavor notes of the wine. Here are some of the common ones:
Ah, tannins: One of the more confusing components when experts talk about wine. All you really have to know is that a tannin is a textural element of the wine that makes it taste dry.
Here's what you don't have to know, but might find interesting: Tannin is a naturally occurring polyphenol found in plants, seeds, bark, wood, leaves, and fruit skins. Tannins add bitterness, astringency, and a complex flavor to your wine.
Typically, tannins in wine either come from the grapes' skin, seeds, or stems. Tannins can also be from the wood of the barrel that the wine was aged in.
Wine tannins are most commonly found in red wine, although some white wines have tannins from being aged in wooden barrels.
Terroir is a vocab word that only true wine connoisseurs are familiar with — or those who have been to the NYC wine bar by the same name.
Essentially, it's the set of special characteristics (including climate, soil type, topography, and other plants growing in the area) that influence grapes where they're grown.
The terroir affects the flavor of the grapes, and is what makes all wines unique.
And here's the full infographic to keep handy.
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