The Personalities of Wine
For too long Wine has been a mystery to the majority of consumers. People become overwhelmed with the numbers of choices and lacking the in depth wine knowledge to navigate the world of wine. They abdicate their freedom of decision making and either stick with the tried and true (ie what they always drink) or they listen to one of numerous wine critics assigning points or grades to the wines (ie are they good or bad in the eye of that critic). I want to change that. Wines are like people. You can’t rate people if they are good or bad barring absolute crimes (or in wine’s case, flaws). People are all different however they are special in their own way. Wines are the same and need to be appreciated as such. Just as all people don’t have to like everyone else, people also don’t all have to like every wine. Thus I have come up with (drum roll please…)
The Personalities of Wines
Just as there were different groups in high school, there are different groups of wines and once you find the group you like to hang out in it becomes much less stressful at lunch time. I am here to introduce to you the different groups.
Elegant & Floral
Romantic and exciting in a Breakfast at Tiffany’s sort of way these wines are the best at showing ripe raspberries, strawberries, rose petals, earth, and baking spices. Easily approachable but mysterious and sexy once you get to know them these wines are perfect with roasted lamb, grilled salmon, or sautéed mushrooms. Notable varieties are Pinot Noir, Gamay, Zinfandel and Sangiovese.
Light & Bubbly
Black gloves and caviar out or blue jeans and cheese at home, regardless of the location these wines will always be refreshing and fun. Available from bone dry to sweet, these wines are guaranteed to make anytime sparkle if you only want them to! Notable varieties are Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, Franciacorta, American and Australian Sparkling Wines.
Fresh & Grassy
The Feng Shui “when your orchid is in just the right spot on your coffee table” wines. When fresh cut grass, lemons, limes, grapefruit and passion fruit are your favorite clean smells these are the wines for you. Perfect with fish and pesto pasta they are light enough for any occasion but sophisticated enough to replace your coffee table book as decoration. Notable varieties are Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Semillon.
Zesty & Fruity
These are the summertime wines. They exhibit fresh notes of guava, melons, peach, raspberry, strawberry and citrus. These are the wines you can easily see with salads or light cheeses and are great for hanging out in the sun under umbrellas. Notable varieties are White Bordeaux, Dry Roses, Gewurztraminer, Muscats, Vigonier and some Rieslings.
Stone & Chalk
These are your diamond sharp, crisp edged wines. With notes of wet stone, chalk, and lemon zest, they get down to business and are very straight shooters. The “Give me a roasted chicken breast with herbs and a Chablis please, no need to check the menu, I’ve got a business deal to close” wines. Notable varieties are Chablis, Alsatian Pinot Gris, and Riesling.
These are the wines that are just screaming for alfredo or some other creamy goodness. With notes of buttered popcorn, marshmallow, vanilla, toast, and banana they are full bodied and robust but as comfortable as your favorite pair of slippers. Notable varieties Chardonnay or Fume Blanc.
Sweet & Luscious
Have you ever had that “kid in a candy store” feeling. These are the wines to replicate it with notes of honey, apricot, marmalade, fruit glacee, and other confectionaries. If you’ve ever uttered “I’ll have dessert as my first course” these wines are there for you. Notable varieties are Sauternes, Tokaji, Ice Wines, and Sweet Roses.
Spicy & Smoky
When you think of dimly lit jazz clubs and Cuban cigars these are the wines that come to mind. Toasty and warm with subtle notes of cherries, cigar box, tobacco, cardamom, and cloves, these are wines that ask “Do you mind if I smoke?” and you reply “not at all.” Notable varieties are Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Pinotage.
When you need a wine to really throw down these are the ones that stand up. With big, bold flavors of blackberries, cassis, currants, tea leaves, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and cloves these wines will complement the juiciest of steaks or just sock your taste buds. Lace up your gloves because these wines are heavy hitters. Notable varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Malbec, Shiraz, and Petit Sirah.
Gentlemen (and Ladies) Start your engines! Fortified to a higher alcohol level these wines come in a range of styles from dry and nutty to sweet and fruity. For when you feel you want that extra kick try these. Notable varieties are Sherry, Port, Madeira, Vin Doux Naturels, and Rutherglen Muscats.
These wines have no equal. They also don’t fit neatly into one of the above groups. They are truly one of a kind gems that you must try to find and taste.
You don’t have to pick just one! That’s what is fun about wine! Use your favorite wine personality to try wines listed that you’ve never tried but are similar to what you normally drink. The only question left to as is…