A New Yorkers Guide to Wine

November 11th, 2018

Enjoying a glass of wine is a great way to seal a deal, celebrate special occasions or to simply relax for the evening. We here at Stonehenge NYC enjoy wine so much that we're hosting a cooking with wine class this week! In preparation, we’re going to prove that you don’t have to be a wine snob or a sommelier to properly enjoy this timeless drink. Here are a few tips to get you started: Red or White? Wine most commonly comes in red or white. There are a few other categories, including rosé wines, sparkling wines, dessert wines and fortified wines but we’ll keep things simple. If you’re drinking wine on it’s own, you should simply pick one that tastes better to you. Red wines are bolder, less sweet and often produce a sensation of 'dry' tightness in the back of your tongue. White wines tend to be sweeter and more fruitier, but dryer options exist as well. shutterstock_249172333 Opening: There's no reason to dread the prospect of opening a bottle of wine. To the uninitiated, some openers seem clumsy and confusing. Breaking the cork can ruin your wine and embarrass you--but it only takes a little practice. The classic wine opener is ‘the waiter’s friend’. shutterstock_347413802 Use a small knife or better yet a foil cutter to remove the foil from the top lip of the bottle. Put the corkscrew in slightly off center, it’ll straighten out on the way down. There's no need to go all the way in--in fact it can make opening the bottle harder. It's best to stop when you can only see one twist of the screw. Simply use the lever on the lip of the bottle to pop the cork free. If that sounds hard you can always use a winged butterfly corkscrew. It's arms will raise up as you screw it into place. From there, you simply push the arms down and they’ll do the work of removing the cork. shutterstock_277123856 Glassware: Putting your wine in the right glass will make a difference when it comes down to creating the perfect wine tasting. The proper wine glass allow your wine to breathe and help the best aromas reach your nose.  White wines generally taste better when served in a glass that has a smaller bowl. White wine is best when served at a low temperature or even chilled. The smaller bowl keeps it cool and preserves the aromas to make sure they hit your sense the right way. shutterstock_305555135 Red wine should be served it in a glass that has a large bowl. The bolder taste of a red means it has a stronger scent of ethanol (that harsh, alcohol smell common in strong drinks). The large bowl keeps your nose at a safe distance. The wine itself is a bit more spread out, which allows the ethanol to evaporate more quickly.  shutterstock_141542731 Too compicated? Then don't worry about it and drink it out of whatever you want. Pairing: When you’re enjoying a fancy meal, you should be sure to select the right wine to compliment your dish. Reds pair particularly well with all kinds of meats. A bold red alongside a cut of beef or cured meat is excellent and a more moderate red will perfectly compliment chicken or turkey. shutterstock_705162280 White wines go great with fish, cheese, and all kinds of veggies. If you’re enjoying a something starchy or salmon you might even want to try a sparkling white. When in doubt, you can always ask your waiter, or consult a wine chart. To get the perfect experience follow a few simple steps. First, take a bite of your meal and start chewing. Before swallowing, take a little sip of your wine. If you’ve paired correctly, you’ll find that both the wine and the food just taste better together. Enjoyment: Why do wine glasses have stems? It's not just for looks. If you hold the glass by the bowl, your natural body heat will slowly but surely warm up your drink. Because white wines are usually served lower than room temperature this can gradually can have a negative impact on your enjoyment of the drink. This isn't as crucial with red wines, but it's still good etiquette. shutterstock_1036881205 There are many techniques for properly tasting wine, but we won’t go into them here. Simply take your time when sipping to properly enjoy the aromas and tastes. See what--if any--flavors you can identify. If you like the wine, try to figure out what about it you like. If it doesn’t do it for you, think about why. This will help you pick wine to your tastes in the future. Discuss the wine with your friends and pick out some favorites. Maybe your friends think this merlot has notes of dried blackberry where you primarily notice a hint of orange peel. Have fun with it. Congratulations, you’ve taken your first steps into the larger world of wine. Soon you’ll be visiting vineyards, identifying vintages and chumming it up with sommeliers. Keep at it any one day you’ll be a real expert. You’ll always know which wine to order, and how to bring out the best in any vintage. Also, don't forget to RSVP for our cooking with wine class!