Look, our circumstances suck. We all know that. And no matter how much we complain, sulk, and pout, we’re not going to change anything. So, may as well sit back and go with the flow. And what flows better in the midst of this steamy summer state of self-isolation than a crisp white or a chilled rosé?
(whines) But wine is so fancy. It’s not like we can just pop open a can on a hot day or have a glass with a bag of potato chips. And the cheap wine is … well … cheap.
Not so fast. Thanks to the new video series The Instant Sommelier: Choosing Your Best Wine, the days of annoying aficionados swirling, smelling, and sipping $1,000 dusty bottles alongside extravagant cheeses are over. Nor do you have to dredge the bottom of the shelf and stock up on the sickly sweet, cheap fruit wines.
With the help of Paul Wagner, you can enjoy good–and even great–wines, found at your regular market for about the same price as a fast food meal. Check out these tips from Paul to make the best of everyday wine.
- Expensive wines tend to come from small production lots where winemakers take chances. Less expensive wine is designed to meet the needs of more people—clean, fruity, and simple to understand and appreciate.
- Don’t worry too much about the vintage on the bottle, because these days the differences are relatively small.
- Wines that sell for around $10 typically have sugar added to make the flavor more full-bodied and fruitier. These winemakers know what they are doing; so, you won’t find many brands where the added sugar is obvious. But if you are sensitive to sugar, it’s good to know.
- Contrary to popular belief, most ports are not designed to be aged. If a port comes with a bar-top stopper—a little plastic-top cork that you can pull off with your hand—it’s ready to drink.
- Lighter wines have less alcohol, which may make them seem less powerful but more refreshing.
- With white wines, aim for a recent vintage, because you want the fresh fruit flavors.
- When you chill a wine, you emphasize the acidity and the fruit. Acid plays an important role in giving wine a fresh, lively taste. It can also keep wine fresh, longer.
- With red wines, you might choose older rather than younger and take advantage of the softer nature of older red wines. Still, don’t sweat the specific years too much. Wines that are $10 have not been aged, so they are created softer and fruitier, with less tannins, meaning you don’t have to age them yourself.
- When a wine gets a bit warmer, the acidity and tannins soften up, and the texture of the wine is smoother. A good starting range for red wine is 60–65 degrees Fahrenheit.
- There is a common misconception rosé is red and white wines combined. Essentially, rosé is white wine made from red grapes with white wine techniques, so rosés actually have a unique, refreshing flavor of their own—ranging from light and fresh, to big and rich.
- A great rule for wine and food pairing is to never match a wine with a food that is sweeter than the wine. Potato chips and buttery popcorn go surprisingly well with wine.
With 12 easy and accessible lessons, The Instant Sommelier: Choosing Your Best Wine introduces you to the pleasures of wine without the pretensions. Providing the foundation needed for novices, while also providing insider tips for experts, you’ll find plenty to raise a glass to with this video series. Cheers!