Cooking Tips | 14 August 2015Sip + Savor Your Notes: Wine Journaling Share article facebook twitter google pinterest As wine lovers develop their palates and try new wines, there’s one great way to keep track of all the vino. A wine journal can capture the taste, thoughts and experiences associated with each new glass of wine. Carlo DeVito, author of Life by the Glass: A Wine Lover’s Journal, explains why a wine journal can help sippers of all stages: Now, there comes the question: Why a wine journal? Well, that’s simple. Because it’s fun! Much like a photo album or a keepsake box, a wine journal will help you record everything you’d want to remember about good wine, good food, and good memories. This is no stuffy wine journal. For all those who grew up coloring within the lines, I ask that you hold your breath. Many existing wine journals prompt you to simply paste down your favorite wines’ labels and store the journal on a shelf somewhere, never using it again. Boring! Wine is about so much more! So we’re going to do things a little differently. This wine journal is as interactive as the experience of drinking wine. Not only is there space for you to record the wine’s information, your tasting notes, and paste the label, but there’s also a section for you to write down your thoughts and memories of the experience without all the technical stuff. The book also gives some wine education along the way. Here are several tips for mastering the art of wine drinking: Varieties Versus Varietals There are two basic types of wines: blends, which are made from several different varieties of grape, and single grape wines. Single grape wines are often referred to as varietals, which is something that trips a lot of people up, because when you refer to a grape it is a variety. Grapes have varieties; wines are varietals. They are not interchangeable. It’s the difference between “green” and “greens,” or “your” and “you’re,” if you get the drift. If you refer to the grape, it is a variety. If you refer to the wine, it is a varietal. White Wine: The Big Three There are more than 200 grapes that are used to make white wines around the world. You don’t need to know even half of them. Maybe not even a quarter! But you need to know some. Get to know Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay and you’ll be well on your way to wine mastery. Riesling: The lightest of the big three. Aromatic, acidic, zesty, and refreshing. Sauvignon blanc: Has a lot of green apple and lemon flavors, but with a bit more body. Still zesty and refreshing, but can stand up to more flavorful, fattier, or more protein-packed foods. Chardonnay: The granddaddy of all whites. Chardonnays are usually considered the biggest of the whites. They can be very apple-y and floral if un-oaked. Oaked versions (wines that have been stored in oak barrels) can still exhibit some of these flavors and other tropical notes. They usually stand up to bigger foods like fish, poultry, pork, pasta dishes, and grilled vegetables. Photo from Rock Point Red Wine: The Big Three There are hundreds of red grapes that have been used in making wine, but there’s really only a dozen or so you should know and try. The rest can be difficult to find. Red wine’s taste highlights range from light reds with bright fruits like strawberries and young cherries all the way to full-bodied reds with dark fruits like stewed prunes and blackcurrants. Some wonderful tasting and pairing decisions await you. Pinot Noir: Lightest of the three big reds. Bright, ripe cherry is the most common fruit flavor. Pinot noirs are softer with fewer tannins than the other two main reds. Pairs well with fish like salmon, shark, and tuna, as well as with fowl, pork, and grilled vegetables. Merlot: A medium- to full-bodied wine, with nice notes of fruit up front and a well-balanced group of tannins at the end. Perfect with fowl, pork, veal, steak, and most pasta dishes. Cabernet Sauvignon: A big, fruity red with lots of tannins. This is the heaviest-bodied wine. Great with roasted meats of any kind, grilled vegetables, and spicy or robust pasta dishes. Buy from an Online Retailer In North America: Embark on a unique wine odessey! Life by the Glass is a handy reference guide and personal notebook that will help you to fine-tune your wine senses as you record ratings and observations of wines you’ve tasted. Enjoy pages of information on each wine–red, white, rose, sparkling, and dessert–and learn all about famous grapes and regions. As you taste, you’ll be able to fill out the journal pages for the individual wines being evaluated. Train your palate by learning how to read a label, follow a guide to tasting (sight, swirl, smell, sip, slurp), variety, appellation, old and new world, producers, pricing, and more. This 144-page journal is bound in softcover to last through many bottles of your favorite wines, and would make the perfect gift for any connoisseur. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.