A beginner’s guide to wines, a post that lots of my friends have requested. Although this post is just about my favorite wines and why I like them. I thought today would be a good time to post this since December is usually full of pre-Christmas parties and wine 😀
If I have to choose a bottle for just a casual social evening, I usually go for whites. Most of my favorite whites come from Germany and if not from there, then most likely from France. And because I’m not a big meat-eater, most of my fancier dinners are easily accompanied by a nice white wine. When it comes to whites, my favorite grapes are Gewürztraminer, Riesling and Müller-Thurgau (the latter one also known as Rivaner). These are all quite light and sweet, easy to drink yet very aromatic. They also come in different variations and there might be huge differences among the same grapes. Especially Rieslings can be very expressive as well. And in my opinion, the best Rieslings come from Mosel (which is one of the wine regions in Germany). I also might go for Muscat, especially Muscat Ottonel, and I prefer it sweet.
A good red wine is perfect for a dark autumn/winter night, accompanied by a nice dinner (especially steak) or a cheese platter. Yum! Earlier I used to always choose a Spanish or a German red but recently some of my friends have introduced me to some great Italian and French red wines as well.
When it comes to Spanish reds, I prefer full-bodied and high tannin wines from region called Rioja. Tempranillo is probably the most well known grape from there. However, I could also choose a ligher and fresher Garnacha, which is known as Grenache in France.
Of German reds, I prefer Spätburgunder (known as Pinot Noir elsewhere) and Dornfelder. When Riesling is the most popular white wine in Germany, Spätburgunder is the number one in reds. The traditional German Spätburgunder is lighter-bodied and low tannin. However, many wine producers want to make more international full-bodied and intensive versions which are more similar to the French Pinot Noirs.
In simple terms, port wines can be categorised to Ruby and Tawny. Ruby Ports are the most affordable ones and they are meant to be consumed young. They are usually more fresh and have fruity/berry aromas. Tawny Ports on the other hand spend more time in the oak barrel and have a nutty character as well as richer flavors. I personally like Tawny Ports more than Ruby Ports.
Wines differ significantly as to their vintage years (in Europe for example some summers can be very hot and dry, some cooler and more humid). Also, some people might like their wine sweet, aromatic and light-bodied while some might prefer dry and more intensive wines with full body. I’m lucky that couple of my best friends work for Alko (alcoholic beverage retailing monopoly in Finland) because they truly know and continuously learn a lot about wines and gladly share their information. In addition, I’ve always wanted to visit a vineyard but never have so I’m more than excited to spend two nights in Hunter Valley wine region during my stay in Australia and learn more about Aussie wines. And before that I get to spend a few days in Austria where alcohol is so cheap and wine is everywhere haha.
Happy December xx