By: Nikia Wells
Much like a memorable and expertly crafted meal, some wines can be carefully balanced to create subtle or robust flavour profiles, that can bring joy to the most astute and discerning palates. But, if a diner does not enjoy certain ingredients or dishes, the culinary efforts of the most skilled, talented, experienced and gifted chef, will not be appreciated. The same goes for a glass of the finest red, white, rose or sparkling wine.
Different variations of grapes, location, strains of yeast etc. can create varying degrees of sweetness, tartness, dryness, bitter notes, or savory undertones in a bottle of wine. And, even though the many variations and the terminology used to describe them can seem intimidating for casual or novice drinkers, wines are, in their simplest form, fermented grape juice.
A full bodied wine, for example, simply has more tannins and is greater in alcohol content. And, a wine with high tannins is usually one that is more bitter or astringent. Navigating the language used to describe wines is half the battle for selecting the perfect pairing to accompany a meal. But, there are also a number of ârulesâ regarding what wines pair best with certain cuisines. Full bodied white whites, such as a Chardonnay, are said to marry perfectly with the flavours of seafood. While a juicy, grilled steak is said to pair best with an equally robust Cabernet Sauvignon.
However, if a diner finds either wine not to their liking, should they simply skip a glass of vino with their meal? The answer is no.
Many of the words and terms used in the wine world are industry jargon. And the ârulesâ should perhaps be seen more as suggestions. In traditional Italian cuisine, for example, seafood and cheese are not mixed. But, that does not mean a creamy and rich seafood pasta is an abomination or any less delicious.
Even the phrase âfine wineâ is a marketing term. There is no exact definition of what makes a wine âfineâ or superior to other wines. Mass produced varieties may arguably not be as flavourful as wines produced at smaller vineyards. But, taste preferences are so subjective, that what could be considered a masterpiece to one wine enthusiast, could be considered a glass of swill to another.
A good wine is one that is enjoyable to the drinker. And, price may not be an indicator of what will be enjoyable for each individual.
If a $5 bottle of Riesling brings you joy – drink it. If you fell in love with a locally produced, and relatively unknown, Pinot Noir that you snagged on vacation – drink up. If you enjoy a $1000 Merlot and have the means – treat yo self. And, if you want to have a Grenache with your salmon- who is anyone to judge?
Wine to be to be enjoyed. So, no matter if itâs young or aged, comes in a bottle, box or can, or is âfineâ or affordable… if It tastes good, sip away.