thirsty keith
wine we drink & what we think
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Wine 101: The need to know info on wine!
Interesting information: We are born with up to 10,000 taste buds. The catch is that not everyone is born with the same amount of taste buds. So we all taste differently. Some things you can taste another person can not. So the taste of wine is generally subjective. Wine is not hard to learn about. First things first. Buy a bottle. Any bottle. Try it. Write down what you like about it. Then buy a different bottle next time. Take more notes. Or just enjoy it. This will develop your taste for wine. Not everybody likes the same kind of wine. That's ok. Wine is made all over the world. You will find a wine you like to drink. If not there is always beer!

Wine Tasting - Remember the 5 S's
1. See - the color of the wine. Is it inky (dark purple) or faded(brown)?
2. Swirl - the wine in the glass. This brings out the nose.
3. Smell - the bouquet. What flavors do you sense?
4. Sip - let the wine coat your mouth.
5. Swallow - pause & think. What flavors do you taste?
How long did the wine taste last (finish)?

Tip: A myth is that smelling the cork can tell you if a wine is good. No. The cork is a good indicator of proper wine storage. If there is leakage, the cork will show it. Otherwise, just place it on the side.

Wine & Food Pairing
A TK Rule of Thumb:
Red Wine: If it walked on four legs
White Wine: If it came from the sea

Tip: If it tastes good to you, drink what ever you like with your food

The Wine Glass
Makes all the difference. Make sure they are glass not plastic. Wine taste is altered by plastic. And bigger is better. Tulip or Bordeaux shaped glass is best if you want a multi purpose glass. No need to spend a lot of money on glasses. Plain rather than fancy. Forget those expensive crystal glasses you got for a wedding gift. They look nice but serve no purpose to the wine in the glass. 

 Stemless glasses work. Just don't hold on to them all night. The heat radiating from your hands will warm the wine. These glasses are good for drinking cognac from too.

Wine Storage
In a cool climate of 55 degrees with a humidity factor of at least 50%, so the corks do not dry out. Can you leave it your kitchen refrigerator? Yes. Some experts will disagree. Saying the colder temps and vibrations are not good for the wines lifeline. I have not found this to be true. The wine will age slowly or not at all due to the colder temperature.

Tip: How the wine was stored is the most important part in buying a good bottle of wine.

Wine Speak
I love wine speak. It's encrypting yet thought provoking & at times hilarious. But for the novice it can be intimidating. Keep it simple as your palate develops to distinguish between individual wine flavor characteristics. Do you like the year, style, region and grape? This is the easiest way to begin.

Tip: At a wine tasting never read the tasting notes before you taste. It will psych you out. First taste for yourself, THEN compare it to the written tasting notes. You might be surprised.

They come in all sizes, shapes, colors & mechanisms of action. Cool, instrument variety adds sport to cork removal. My favorite is the good old waiter's cork screw for about $3. In addition the Ah So cork pull is an important tool. It will help remove a cork if it breaks. The worst corkscrew is the one with an improper worm. It looks like a screw from your tool collection rather than a spring like shape (worm). This design is almost guaranteed to break your corks. Make sure no matter which cork pull you favor it has the proper shaped worm. This is most important for successful cork extraction.

Decanting wine is a great way for wine to oxygenate. Oxgen brings out wine flavor profiles. Try wine straight from the bottle and then 15 minutes after it is poured. You will tast a difference. But it is important to note that not all wines improve with decanting. Especially older wines that are fading. These will rapidly lose flavor with decanting. Also wines that smell musty or funky might improve from decanting.

Key Wine Terminology:

Red Wine Flavor Profiles:
Coffee & chocolate
Cherry, cranberry, blueberry
Raisin, plum, currant
White Wine Flavor Profiles:
Tropical fruits, banana, guava
White stone fruit: peach, apricot
Apple, pear
Citrus: orange, grapefruit, lemon
A Few Wine Terms:
Nose: The smell
Hot: High in alcohol taste
Inky: A dark red wine
Jammy: Thick dark fruit taste
Oak: Wood adds this flavor
Smoke: Degree of barrel toasting
Finish: How long the flavors last 
Thirsty Keith Wine Tips:

  1. A thirsty Keith rule of thumb: A red wine peaks five years post vintage date on label
  2. Never wear perfume
  3. Never smoke
  4. like what you drink
  5. Drink what youlike
  6. Store wine at 55º
  7. Heat destroys wine
  8. Cold preserves wine
  9. Try a different wine each time
  10. Drink wine, don't collect wine

11. There will always be another great         vintage
12. There will always be more wine to buy

13. Wine eventually turns to vinegar
14. Dusty bottles show improper storage
15. Not all wineries make great wine in great years
16. Not all wineries make bad wine in bad years
17. The atmosphere, music & company effect your taste
18. When ordering wine by the glass, ask for new bottle pour. It will be fresh
19. A high rating does not mean you will enjoy the wine
20. White wines can age well
A $3 corkscrew works best
22. Never use cooking wine
Rose is White Zinfandel