# 1 Term To Know
Terroir: It's a noun that's used almost an as adjective to describe the presence of the essence of a place in the wine. It's a reference to the land and nature the wine was grown in. For example, the environment where the grapes were grown could be rocky or soil and both would affect the taste differently. If it's from an area with a lot of slate, it might have a high minerality. If you noticed a minerality (non-fruit, non-herb, non-spice notes — like the smell of fresh dirt after rain) in your wine, you might say "this flavor reflects the terroir".
What's A Note?
Clearly a concept that I struggled with, a note is a taste or aroma found naturally in the wine. You can pick up on pleasant notes like melon, citrus, pear, and flowers. Or you can pick up on unpleasant notes like cat piss, wool, and rotten soil. None of these things are in the wine. It's just the images and senses that are triggered due to the acidity and sugar content.
When someone says that the wine is "corked," it means it's been contaminated with cork taint and the wine is ruined. It's actually a fairly rare occurrence but is often brought into question when someone can detect or smell a certain funkiness such as cardboard, basement floors, rotten wood, or cat piss. Typically, people tend to blame local wines as being corked — however, it's actually their chemical-free, organic process that can make it taste funky, when in-fact they're actually just fine.
Seven Noble Grapes
A lot of people might tell you that in order to get the gist of wine, you've got to get the gist of the grapes. It's not exactly true, and there's always a rotation of what's in, but some of the basics are good to know. Noble grapes are a term we've given to describe the most quality grapes that produce popular wine. These wines are all known for the specific regions they grow in, despite the fact that they can be grown elsewhere, too. They're coined "noble" because they're the wines that grow the best in their regions. For white wines, they are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling. For red wines, they are Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Syrah. Though there are upwards of 20 noble grapes, remember these core seven.
Where Does Wine Come From?
What Are The Most Popular Types Of Grapes In America's Restaurants?
White: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Riesling.
Red: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Zinfandel.
If you've ever panicked over what to order at a fancy restaurant to best suit your meal, here's a rough idea of what wines you should pick based on what food you're ordering:
Red wine: rich fish, red meat, barbecue, cured meats, sweets.
What Are Tannins?
Tannins are naturally occurring compounds that are concentrated in the skin of fruit — they're a textural element that makes your mouth feel dry in the presence of some wines.
Dry Versus. Fruit Forward
When grape juice is in the process or fermenting, the yeast is eating the sugar. Dry wine is grape juice that's been left to ferment long enough for the yeast to eat all of the sugar. Fruit forward wine is created when the fermentation is stopped just before the sugar is all gone, thus leaving residual sugar.
The best way to understand these terms is to drink wine. There will be a lot of trial and error but keep your mind open and try everything. Take notes of what you like and be sure to add the types in flavors you pick up on for each wine. The more you understand the types of flavors your mouth is in favor of, the more easily you can order for yourself. Be humble, ask questions — it's the only way to get answers.