You don’t have to be an oneologist, viticulturist or sommelier to enjoy a glass of wine – thankfully! Still, knowing just a little bit about wine will bring you a greater appreciation for it and may even enhance your overall experience of drinking it. Here’s some information – albeit a drop from the barrel – from wine experts at Baldacci Vineyards and Sullivan Vineyards – two ultra-premium producing boutique wineries in Napa Valley, California.
Hints of citrus, aromas of cherries, a touch of chocolate. The myriad of flavors you taste while sipping a glass of wine come from a combination of factors – including the soil in which the grapes are grown, the grapes themselves – and how long they’re on the vine, and the oak barrel.
2005 is the year for stellar reds. Northern California experienced a long cool summer in 2005 – allowing the grapes to stay on the vines longer and ultimately producing some outstanding wines. The 2005 IV Sons Cabernet Sauvignon from Baldacci Vineyards is one example. 2009 was a similar season weather-wise so check out that year’s batch of fabulous, full-bodied wines out of Northern California.
Cheese then wine. If you taste a red wine and feel it is bitter, eat a piece of blue cheese and then taste the wine again. The wine will taste completely different – much more velvety. The cheese coats the tongue, inhibiting the taste buds that cause bitterness. It’s a fun experiment to run with friends.
Give it time. Decanting will benefit most wines. If you don’t have time, pair the wine with food.
The range of reds. Pinot Noir is the lightest of the red. When it comes to Merlot, expect a smooth, soft beginning to it and a bold, spicier finish.
The best of the best. Wines are classified Reserve based on the winemakers’ preference and taste. If a winemaker samples a wine that is demonstratively better than the others, that wine will be declared Reserve.
Become VIP. Many boutique wineries offer club memberships giving you discounted rates on their wine, annual newsletters, as well as home delivery of their wines. If you live near the winery, you’ll also enjoy complimentary wine tastings and invitations to special winery events. Note, shipped wine should rest for a few days before drinking – this will allow the true flavor to return.