Changing Palates is a new series on Your Glass or Mine, where I’ll chat with a wine professional about tips to help beginners and self-proclaimed winos (like myself) expand their tasting palates and explore new wines. Moving forward Changing Palates will occur the third Friday of every month.
On Friday, I attended a wine tasting event with Branwar Wines at Posh Liquors in downtown Houston. Branwar Wines is a local wine distributor here in Texas, with an impressive portfolio of wines from South Africa and other regions including, Chile, Argentina, Italy, Spain, and the U.S. I did some a lot of tasting that night :) However, I’m saving my review for #WineWednesday!
I must admit that as much as I love wine tasting, the geek in me also enjoys the educational part and talking with experts to really help expand my wine knowledge. Like I said before, I have the drinking part down, but I really want to be able to talk the talk. I had a great conversation with Warren Luckett of Branwar Wines who helped answer a lot of my questions about transitioning from sweet to dry wines. You know I’ve been secretly planning a wine-tervention for my moscato drinking friends.
Check out some of the tips from my chat with Warren that I had to share!
- Expand Your Sweet Tooth. For beginners, it’s really easy to start and get stuck on dessert wines. Moscatos and rieslings are like juice with a little kick to me. Their sweetness isn’t a big adjustment to our palates unlike the tartness of other wines like Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio, which is why many
peoplewomen tend to stick in that lane. If you’re ready to step out of your comfort zone, follow Warren’s guide below to transition out of dessert wines.
On the white spectrum (sweet to dry):
Moscato ->Riesling ->Pinot Grigio -> Chardonnay ->
Chenin Blanc -> Sauvignon Blanc
Basically, you want to work your way from left to right. Interestingly, he says that it’s easier to go the opposite way…from dry to sweet wines. So, if you’re just starting out, try not to start on the sweet side of the spectrum or you may never look back…lol.
If you’re looking to get into red wines, here’s where to start on the red spectrum. According to Warren, it’s best to begin with the lighter reds and then work your way up to the more full-bodied reds.
Pinot Noir -> Merlot -> Syrah -> Malbec -> Cabernet Sauvignon
- Explore. So, now that you have a little cheat sheet, it’s time to start tasting different wines. Let’s say that you want to start with pinot grigio. According to Warren, it’s best to try wines from multiple regions to determine which one you like the best. Maybe one week try PG from Sonoma and the next from Italy. Keep trying until you find one that you really like. For example, I really love New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, but I’m not a big fan of SB from California. Remember many regions make wine differently, so you may be partial to one than another. Different vines for different folks! Just keep tasting…
- Practice Makes Perfect. As I mentioned, our palates are more used to sweet things. I think another reason why people get stuck on moscato is because they have a hard time identifying the rich flavors in dryer wines. That’s a personal problem that I’m trying to overcome. Warren suggested getting a bottle of wine, reading the tasting notes and purchasing the fruits or whatever else is listed. Next, practice smelling and tasting those items. Then drink the wine. This will help you develop your senses, so that it’s easier to identify the aromas and flavors. Bomb, right?! I absolutely love this tip! It’s definitely a great way to expand your palate.
Hope you enjoyed these tips from Branwar Wines. If you have any questions for Warren, please leave them in the comment section.