Wine for your weekend: Tasting reds

Back in January, I wrote a two parts series on blind tasting whites. You can check out part 1 and 2 here and here.

This week and next I’ll be talking about tasting reds, starting with three classic wines: Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir. As a reminder, classic wines typify a style or region, meaning they are produced with seeming perfect consistency that the quality of the wine is standardized. Wine professionals, thus, often use classic wines for teaching about wine because the results can be replicated over and over and over.

When you taste classic wines, therefore, you can begin to memorize traits that will be consistent across all offerings in that varietal. That’s how sommeliers train for and pass blind tasting exams.

So let’s look at the profile of each.

Image result for zinfandel wine folly

Zinfandels are most frequently described as “jammy” with a full mouth feel that’s heavy on berries and fruit forward. That said, it is not overtly sweet.

Image result for cabernet wine folly

Cabernet is the “steak wine,” full bodied with enough acidity and tannin to cut through rich dishes and/or red meat. It’s fruit profile is a bit sharper, and it also trends dry.

Image result for pinot noir wine folly

Pinot Noir should be slightly less “intense” than the other two. Less full bodied, Pinot Noir is generally a “crowd pleasing” kind of wine because it’s well balanced. Also, it will likely have the lowest alcohol content of the three.

During our blind white tasting, four of us at the table went three for three picking the white varieties correctly. I anticipate the reds being slightly more difficult…though Zinfandel and Cabernet are frequently our preferred red wine picks. So hopefully we stand a chance!

Part two next week will feature the three wines we tasted along with our results! Stay tuned.

Wash your hands! Cheers!

Published by Kate

A former Wisconsinite, Kate now resides in southeast Minnesota with her husband where she teaches high school English and theater. She recently completed her master's degree in learning design and technology, and continues to study and advocate for arts integration in the classroom. A recipient of the RISE America grant for high school theater, Kate is working to innovate and expand theater opportunities for the students at PIHS. An avid distance runner, concert pianist, and want-to-be wine aficionado, Kate's blog "ink." is a passion project, embodying all the best parts of life: friends, food, wine, thoughtful conversation, style, and sass!

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