Most men look at wine as a fruity drink. Those men would be wrong. Wine comes in as many forms as beer does, and women love it. The Mans Guide to Wine will teach you the basics of wine and maybe the next time you get that second date; you can woo appropriately with your cultured knowledge one of the oldest forms of alcohol in the world.

Some Background

The wine drink has been dated back to 7000 BC in China. In fact, it is one of the oldest forms of consumable alcohol in the world, second only to mead. From the first records of wine in China to the first winery in Armenia, wine is also one of the most popular beverage choices across the globe.

Wines are predominantly made of grapes, although you can make wine out of any fruit and even some plants. Your basic categories are Reds and Whites and Dessert, based on the color and residual sugar levels of the wine. White wines are made with white grapes such as Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Grigio which produce wines of the same names. Red wines are made of red grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. Wines can also be made through combinations of grapes or even blends of other wines.

Singular grape species or grape combinations are used to make dessert wines. They are defined by their higher residual sugar levels and higher alcohol content. They are called dessert wines because they are normally sweeter and are generally served after dinner. Dessert wines have several sub-categories, but in this article will all be considered one. Some examples of these wines are Ports, Ice Wines, and Sherry.

Dry, Sweet, Semi-Sweet, and Off-Dry

These are the four basic subcategories used to describe wines. Acidity and residual sugar levels give wines distinct textures like dry, sweet, semi-sweet, and off-dry. The higher the acidity level and lower residual sugar level, the dryer the wine. The lower the acidity and higher residual sugar, the sweeter the wine.

These sub-categories include different types of reds, whites, and dessert wines. A couple of examples of dry wines would be Chianti and Montepulciano on the red side, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Grigio in the whites, along with blended wines on both sides. They generally have higher acidity levels which give the impression of dryness when consumed.

Sweet wines are the polar opposite of dry wines. They have higher residual sugar levels and are commonly dessert wines. In my opinion, sweet wines should be chilled or over ice. in Upstate New York, sweet reds and whites are commonly used in wine slushies in the summer. Some examples of sweet wines are ports and ice wines.

Semi-Sweet wines are well rounded sweet wines. The acidity and residual sugar levels are closer together to present the sweetness of a sweet wine and the acidity of dry wines. Some examples of these wines are Gerwurtztraminer and Riesling in whites and Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache in reds.

Off-Dry wines are similar to semi-sweet. The Well rounded between acidity and residual sugar, but are opposite in the fact that they will present more characteristics of dry wines while providing some attributes of sweets. White wines such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc represent off-dry wines. Wines like Cabernet Franc and Burgundy represent off-dry reds.

What to Expect

Well, this finishes up part one of the Mans Guide to Wine. Next time we’ll get into regional wine, with an emphasis on New Mexico. If you have a region you want to read more about, or if you have anything else you’d like to know more about, let us know by commenting.

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