I was asked to teach a class two Sundays from now, and was trying to decide what I would go over.

    Where does one begin when just being introduced to wine? I asked myself a few questions that I asked when I first started. I’m going to tease you with answers now, but if you are in San Francisco on the 18th I will go into far more detail at the class. One thing we will be doing in particular is tasting various Chardonnays to compare the different styles. Crisp and clean vs. Oaky buttery.

    Red and White wines. What are the differences between them?

    Red wines are typically built for longevity with tannins that help keep them fresh over the long haul. White wines are more made to be consumed young.

    Old World vs. New World.

    Old World are the old countries that have been making in the same manner for ages and have a decidedly different approach to wine making then countries like USA and Australia. The United States tends to want big fruit forward wine with a drink now mentality, whereas France and Italy tend to lean towards earthy, higher acid and better aging wines.

    How does grape juice become wine?

    The sugar in the juice gets converted into alcohol by yeast

    What makes a Chardonnay buttery?

    A bacterial process that converts malic acid into a creamier lactic acid.

    What is “corked” wine?

    A wine contaminated and spoiled by a compound called 2,4,6 trichloranisole  (TCA for short.) It has a wet, moldy, cellar smell.

    Why does one decant?

    Three main reasons (there are others). 1. There is sediment in the bottle from extended aging, and you wish to remove the sediment. 2. The wine is young and you need to add oxygen to the wine to soften the wine. 3. You have no idea what decanting does, but it totally makes you look cool and in the know.

    What is terroir?

    The word terroir is derived from terre (land in French,) and is used to describe a specific vineyard site that has a unique ecosystem of land and weather.

    Why is wine so fricken cool?

    Soooo many reasons its ridiculous.

    You can impress a date for one. I’ve saved many people from making a horrible wine choice because of my knowledge of wine. If you can get the basics down you can make an educated decision as opposed to which label looks prettiest.

    It brings a meal to new heights if paired well.

    It promotes conversation and takes the unease out of the air.

    I love it.