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Wine Drinking For The Novice

I don’t enjoy drinking. I was that party pooper who prefers water or orange juice at a party where everyone else is getting slammed. On the rare occasion where I wanted to fit in with the “cool” kids, I’d settle for a glass of wine.

I knew nothing about wine varieties and their taste profiles. I just ordered a “nice” glass of wine. But now that my wine vocabulary has improved, I can do better than simply ask for a “nice” red or white wine. I can tell you that I like a light, off-dry Semillon or a Riesling. On the top of my list is a fruity Moscato.

It’s ok if these names mean nothing to you. They were strange to me too. You’ll find out what these are in a bit. First, Let me tell you how I started enjoying wine.

It began with this blend:

I tasted this fruity, sparkly sensation at a dinner event, organized by Mma Austra, my Naija/Britico/Aussie sister. My first glass turned into a second glass and like a greedy child who just discovered delicious candy, I wanted more.What was that bubbly explosion in my mouth and where could I get a bottle or a dozen?

That variety of Moscato is produced in Hunter Valley, one of Australia’s major wine regions, popular for its wine culture and wine tasting tours.I was first on the roster when Mma Austra suggested a trip to the wine valley, as I like to call it. There are several vineyards and a LOT of wines. By the time you’re done with the tour, you’ll know a thing or two about wines and wine drinking etiquette.

I’ve been to Hunter Valley twice. The first time was for the experience.

Ivanhoe Vineyard

Someone should have warned me that wine tasting is not wine gulping. It’s a slow twirl, a sniff, a sip, then a deliberation on the combination of flavours. I guzzled each glass of wine.

Bad idea!

There was a reason we had a dump bucket and a vase of water.

My second trip was better. I was a more discerning wine taster with an idea of what I was spending my $$ on.

Irongate Vineyard

Apart from wine tasting, I got a crash course on wines.

Like the different categories. Red wine. White wine. Rosé. Sparkling wine and Desert wine

Know your wine glass
I bit my tongue trying to pronounce the names of wine grapes.  Like these popular red wine grapes:
Cabernet Sauvignon
Pinot noir

or these white wine grapes:

Sauvignon Blanc
It helps if you know a bit of French. I mentioned that I like a Semillon, a Riesling and a Sparkling Moscato. These are all white wine varieties.  You can read more about wine grape varieties here.
I found out that wines are either named after their grapes. Merlot. Or named after the region where the particular blend is produced. Champagne.


Did you know…Only sparkling wine from the Champagne region in France is Champagne. Other sparklies made outside of this region are technically just sparkling wine.


What is a meal without wine?

This handy chart is great for ideas on wine and food pairing.

To wine well, you have to talk the talk.

Finding the right words to describe wine is a skill. Tannin. Body. Acidity. Dryness. These are just a few words used to describe taste. Tannin is the astringency or bitterness of the wine. It comes from the skin of wine grapes. Body refers to the richness or fullness of the wine. Dryness is simply the level of sweetness while acidity describes how tart the wine is.

Check out this link and this link for a list of wine words.

Some pictures from the tour:





A glass for inspiration
Writing with a glass of off-dry Semillon

That’s it! My crash course on wines. I meant to write this a while back but my biggest challenge was how to condense everything into a concise and interesting post. There’s so much information available.

This link is a good place to start if you’re fascinated by it all as I am.

Thank you for reading. I hope you learned a thing or two about wines.

Happy wining!

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  • Reply Skinny Efik Gal

    Nedu!! So you know what to buy when I say I want to drink wine eh? Thanks for reading.

    March 11, 2016 at 2:25 am
  • Reply Skinny Efik Gal

    Hi Nedoux, I thought I liked red wine too but I prefer the less acidic and fruity wine varierty of white wine. There are some desert red wines that are also nice.

    Thank you for the compliment. I'm glad I was able to make this post engaging and easy to follow. Thanks for stopping by as always

    March 11, 2016 at 2:24 am
  • Reply Nedoux

    Hi Rosemary,

    Hmmm, this was such a nice cultured post, I enjoyed reading it very much. It's always nice to broaden one's knowledge of posh lingo. Lol

    Hahahaha! @"There was a reason we had a dump bucket and a vase of water." I can imagine, from all the bouts of accidental drunkenness.

    I barely drink but I love the taste of red wine, so all I know about differentiating wines is by their colour and age. I learned a lot from this. Thank you for sharing.

    You possess the skill of teaching in an engaging manner. Well done!

    Enjoy the rest of the week.

    March 3, 2016 at 5:00 pm
  • Reply Ned

    I sure did learn a thing or two. Thanks for the links too 😊

    February 17, 2016 at 9:55 pm
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