First order of business, I’m not a sommelier. I’m a wine enthusiast and wine drinker that happens to live in the Temecula Valley of Southern California where wine is big business. While not as well-known as Napa, Temecula Valley just celebrated its 50th year as wine a region. We currently have over 40 wineries in a small area with more opening all the time, and it’s a great destination because of year-round sunshine and warm temperatures.
So, let’s do the reds first. First up, Pinot Noir – Pinot Noir is a lighter bright colored red wine that’s very easy to drink and it’s a great beginner red because it’s very non-offensive. It’s usually dry but with not a lot of tannins. Tannins are that chalky, bitter, dry texture feeling in your mouth and on your tongue. It almost kinda sucks your mouth closed. Tannins come from the grape seeds, stems, but mostly from the skin.
Pinot Noir isn’t too heavy or too spicy, and it’s got flavors of strawberries and raspberries which makes it really approachable, even for non-wine lovers. It’s a great table wine that should please just about anyone, so if you’re asked to bring a bottle to a dinner party, Pinot Noir is a great choice. Pinot Noir grapes do best in colder climates so look for a bottle from Germany, North Italy, New Zealand, Washington, Oregon and California. A decent bottle should go for about $15-$30.
Next up, Cabernet Sauvignon – Probably the most widely grown grape in the world because it’s so versatile. This wine has a lot deeper and darker color, and it’s usually a bold wine with lots of tannins. This makes it really dry and a little bit bitter, but also well rounded and full bodied. Cabernet Sauvignon grown in warmer climates like California have flavors of darker black berries and deep red fruits like plums. You should expect to pay around $20 and up for a good bottle from Italy, Australia, Argentina or Washington State.
Next we have Merlot – Merlot has a really velvety and soft texture, similar to Pinot Noir. It’s used a lot as a blending grape to smooth out some other grapes. Depending on the climate where it’s grown, Merlot is a bold, but juicy wine with smooth texture and some tannins but lower acids than Cabernet. Flavors are dark red berries like black cherry, blueberries and red currant. Since Merlot is grown all over the world like Cabernet, you can find good bottles from $15 and up.
Now on to the white wines starting with Chardonnay – Now, I have to admit, Chardonnay isn’t one of my favorites, but it’s grown all over the world and the flavor can change depending where it’s grown. Colder climate Chardonnay will have flavors of pear, green apple, lemon & lime. Warmer climate Chardonnay’s will have more of a pineapple, citrus and mango flavor. One of the main scent and flavor profiles of Chardonnay is oak. Using oak barrels gives Chardonnay its distinctive buttery, vanilla flavor that I’m personally not a fan of. However, you can get un-oaked Chardonnay’s that use stainless steel barrels and I’ve heard there’s a “new-age” Chardonnay that’s more crisp and a lot less oaky and buttery.
Next up is one of my favorite white wines, Pinot Grigio & Pinot Gris – This wine is affordable, crisp, fruity, easy to drink and goes really well with lots of different food. Personally, I like my Pinot Grigio served a little colder than normally recommended because it’s so refreshing. This also makes it a great day-drinking wine when it’s really hot out. So, there’s two similar wines here… Italian Pinot Grigio is really light, clean and refreshing wine with a green fruit, green apple and lemon/lime flavor. The French Pinot Gris is more rich, floral and spicy. Both Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are super affordable and you can find good bottles from Italy and California for about $20 a bottle.
Last up is Sauvignon Blanc – Like Pinot Grigio, it’s crisp, acidic, refreshing, fruity and very approachable. This also makes a great day-drinking wine when served really cold. The grapes themselves tend to like colder climates better, so look for bottles from New Zealand, Italy and California. Some of the common flavors are white peach, green apple and pineapple. Prices range from $15-$20.
Guys, I’d love to hear from you, so leave me a comment on what types of wine you enjoy. I’ll see you next week in another video.