Monday, February 28, 2011

Follow These Steps to Unadulterated Wine Loving Consumption

I happened on The 8 Step Program to Enjoying Wines. It got me to wondering… are there other multiple step wine programs out there that might teach me a thing or three.

Well, with just a few quick Google searches I bring to you the ultimate in Follow These Steps to True Wine Loving Consumption…

4 Steps to Wine Tasting
6 Steps to Loving Red Wines
8 Steps to Enjoying Wines
10 Steps to Ordering Wines in a Romantic Restaurant

The first three I only summarized the highlights with links to the original blogs.

The 10 Steps… was just so much fun to read, I kept trying to summarize. Frankly I would just click on the link and read the original unadulterated version!

Now obviously you might be thinking… I bet Kathy didn’t stop at 10 Steps.

Of course not! I continued my Google search for the 12 Steps to Wine Something?

And, you know what I got; “The” 12 Step Program. So I thought it best to stop there.

Cheers, Kathy

4 Steps To Wine Tasting

Step 1: Evaluate its appearance. Before you chug it back, observe the color and the odor of the wine.
Step 2: Check the bouquet. Don’t be shy; stick your nose in the glass. Young wines will tend to have fruity smells, while older ones will have more complex fragrances." If you smell the barn yard… send it back!
Step 3: Pay attention to the taste. You discern most of the flavor of the wine at the back of your throat, not your tongue.
Step 4: Evaluate the finish of the wine. After you swallow, notice how long the wine stays with you; that's called the "finish." Generally speaking; the longer the finish, the better the wine.

6 Easy Steps To Loving Red Wines

1. Shop for a "ripe and round" red wine. At your local wine merchant, ask for the wine manager, owner or a knowledgeable wine sales person. Use descriptors to describe the rich flavors you want: jammy, ripe, lush, black fruit, round, big fruit, ripe, blackberry, cherry or rich. A wine with a "jammy" characteristic will have a perceived taste of "sweetness," even though the wine is not sweet.

2. Request a medium-bodied wine. Some foods are best with a full-bodied wine, but medium-bodied is a good place to start, and works well with or without food. A lighter-bodied red wine can be risky. Lighter" may result in "thinner," and thinner wines are not attractive.

3. Ask about wines made from these grapes: Shiraz, Syrah, Grenache, Zinfandel (red Zinfandel - not white Zinfandel), and perhaps some Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons. The Shiraz, Syrah, Grenache and Zinfandel grapes are inherently a bit fruitier than the noble grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

4. Only buy red wine that have a grape-name on its label, such as those listed in No. 3 above. A wine made from a specific grape(s) should always be better than just a “red” wine. (Not sure I agree with this, blends can be outstanding but get advice from someone who knows.)

5. State your price range. For $8.00 to $17.00 you can find a really lovely red wine.

6. Practice. Pour about three ounces of your red wine in, at least, an 8-ounce glass. Let the wine breathe. Place your fingers on the base of the glass and get the wine swirling. This puts air into the wine and softens the tannins (the “bitter” taste). Food is essential to learning to love red wine, food first then wine. Crackers or bread will ready your palate for the wine. Resist the urge to try the wine without food. With the first couple of sips, moisten all the taste buds in your mouth (this absolutely makes the wine taste better) – resist throwing it to the back of your mouth and swallowing. Be determined – don’t lose heart if the first couple of wines aren’t appealing – it grows on you!

Eight Step Program to Enjoying Wine

1. The best wine is wine that you like. If you don't like it, don't drink it. Or, as the legendary Josh Wesson says, "Would you eat chocolate ice cream just because I told you to, even though you like vanilla better?"
2. Don't be afraid to try something different.
3. Price is not always an indication of quality. Inexpensive wine can be well-made, just like expensive wine.
4. Wine is supposed to be fun.
5. Wine snobs are not fun.
6. Wine speak is for wine snobs.
7. Wine is not rocket science. Anyone can learn about wine, as long as they're willing to drink it.
8. Wine and food pairings, no matter how good, are just suggestions. The wine police will not come and arrest you if you drink white wine with beef or red wine with chicken. In fact, red wine and roast chicken are good together.

10 Steps to Ordering Wine in a Romantic Restaurant

So, gentlemen: for once, you've had the presence of mind to make dinner reservations ahead of time for Valentine's night - the second busiest day of the year (after Mother's Day) for restaurants.

So what are you going to do if you know she prefers wine, but you know absolutely nothing about it? Tell her, "Why don't we just go for two pints of Guinness?" Wrong! If your dining partner is truly important to you, it is definitely to your advantage to whisper the three magic words: "Let's have wine." And this I can say after 25+ years in the restaurant business: women prefer wine!

1. Bone up. It doesn't take more than a few minutes to prepare by absorbing the introduction of a wine book. So now that you've done some homework, here's what you do once you've made it to the restaurant, and you've just been seated.

2. First, a waiter will approach to ask if you would like to start with a cocktail or glass of wine. Rule #1: remember that you are there to please your date, not a server. So without breaking the gaze between your eyes, the thing to do is to simply ask, "Would you care to join me with a glass of Champagne?"

3. Plan to order a full bottle of wine. Why? Bottles are so much more romantic than glasses! Don't worry about quantity. If you say something like, "Let's not worry about finishing it, since the best wines always come in full bottles," how do you think she'll feel? Do words like dashing and debonair mean anything?

4. Do take a good look at the wine list, whether you know what you're looking at or not. The important thing is to look good doing it -- this is romance, after all, not a driver's test. You might consider practicing beforehand -- furrowing your brows, raising one side or the other or glancing up with a smile as you turn the pages.

5. Now it's time to order the wine. If you've already forgotten what little you've learnt, don't panic. Just follow this full-proof method: select one of the two most food-flexible wines in the world, one of which is a white, and the other a red. So you ask her, "Would you prefer a white or a red?" If she says white, look for a Riesling (pronounced "REEZ-ling") type wine from Germany; preferably one that says it is of Kabinett or Qualitatswein ("quality wine") level.

6. If she says she prefers a red, look for a Pinot Noir ("PEE-no NWAH") from either California or Oregon. Like Rieslings, Pinot Noirs tend to be light yet zesty enough to go with everything from fish to red meats.

7. Say you are hopeless, and can't navigate through a wine list no matter what. Then it doesn't hurt to ask for help! I believe most women are impressed by that anyhow - like asking for directions on the road. Again, the idea is to look good doing it. Call over your waiter - or in the finest places, the sommelier ("so-mo-YAY"), also known as a wine steward - and ask for a recommendation for a good, medium range German Riesling or American style Pinot Noir. Practice this - letting the names roll off your tongue like a native language, maybe even with a politician's wave of the hand. If you must, invite the sommelier to look over your shoulder and point out his suggestions on the list. Make it look like a conspiracy - like the two of you are cooking up something truly special.

8. Now I need to prepare you for two possible curves; because as in all things, not everything goes as planned. First, if your date happens to say she likes a very DRY white wine - as opposed to a slightly sweet Riesling - then the coolest, most food-versatile dry white you can possibly order is a Pinot Gris (PEE-no GREE) from Oregon or California, also known as Pinot Grigio (GREE-gee-o) when it comes from Italy. Secondly, if you happen to be in an Italian restaurant, the best possible red wine to order is a Chianti Classico (kee-AHN-tee CLASS-see-ko) - which, like Pinot Noir, is amazing with both fish and red meats, only even better in the context of ingredients like olive and truffle oils, balsamic vinegars, garlic, pesto, porcini, etc.

9. The waiter or sommelier will then wish to perform the serving ritual; which is when he shows you the bottle, opens it, and asks you to taste and approve it. There are few ordeals (like circumcision) worse than this, and so the least made of the entire rigmarole the better. So when he brings over the bottle, look him straight in the eye and ask, "Is this the wine we ordered?" This will make him read the label himself and tell you yes or no, and all you need to do is nod knowingly. Then you ask him to do this simple favor: "Please open the bottle and leave it on the table" (or in the ice bucket, if it's a white). Once he has departed, you can go ahead and do the honors for her and for you -- the proper amount to pour, by the way, is no more than half-way at a time -- before raising your glasses with an appropriate, or even rakishly clever, toast.

10. Finally, the finishing touch: how many women don't like chocolate, or sweets in general? Not many at all. So if you really want to make a mark, do not automatically order coffee with your chocolate desserts - but a small glass of Tawny Port from Portugal.

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