Ignorance Is Not Always Bliss Part I

So I’ve wanted to write this series for a while. I feel like one of the biggest problems people have with wine is that they have no idea what kind of grapes they like because there are so many. That is, essentially, the coolest thing about wine. The diversity, the choices. But lots of choices can be overwhelming. For example, when you go grocery shopping and finally get everything put away and realize you want to make something to eat. Well, you just went grocery shopping so you’re fully stocked. What do you pick? I usually end up staring blankly into the refrigerator for a while before I realize that I can’t choose. I want to try a little bit of everything (By the way I saw a commercial the other day making fun of this so it must be a serious enough problem). Wine is a bit like that. So this series is going to tackle different grapes and what these grapes provide for a wine. I hope this helps because a little bit of knowledge can take a lot of uncertainty out of the choice.

Vinis Vinifera: I like to give a little bit of background so your knowledge of a subject is a little more well-rounded. Now almost all of the world’s wines are made from the vine species Vinis Vinifera and all of the world’s greatest wines are made exclusively from this vine. There are over 1,000 different grape varieties but for the most part a few dozen or so are the “mainstream” grapes that you will most likely see in liquor stores and wine shops.

Cabernet Sauvignon: I wanted to start with red grapes because they are simply, in my opinion, they make the most complex and sophisticated wines.

The Facts: This grape often gives off rich aromas and flavors that can range from black cherries to briery berries. Cabernet Sauvignon has great aging potential and has an affinity to oak. It is one of the most widely recognized red grapes out there and is so for making huge, sometimes overwhelming wines and because it is so resilient to rot and frost. Usually paired with deep meaty dishes, like steak or hamburgers, and isn’t usually drank by itself. Except I do it all the time. *NOTE: Will most likely stain your teeth purple*

My Opinion: A great wine to have for lovers of reds. If you are trying to get into reds or get someone else into reds, this is not one of the wines I would suggest. It is great when used in blends or by itself. A very complex wine that will definitely change as it has time to breath. Best to decant for at least a half hour before drinking but it isn’t vitally necessary. I would really only suggest this wine to lovers of complex wines or if you’re having it with food. The tannins in it, due to the fact that it is such a thick-skinned grape, will give you a nice swift kick in the cheeks and tongue but give it a couple chances. Your taste buds will go through shock with it but once they get used to it, so will you.

Stay tuned for the next parts where I will cover more red grapes that are used in blends, rosés, and sparkling wines.

Ryan Evans – Wine Editor/ The Wine Guy

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1 Response to “Ignorance Is Not Always Bliss Part I”


  1. 1 Paul Stonier December 1, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Cab Sauv’s are generally nice, but you have to be careful of getting too much oak. A wise man described oak as makeup for wine, whereas the terroir should be the star of the wine.

    Ever have a wine with Petite Verdot?


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