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Wine Tasting 101: Delicious Wines

The Martha Stewart Show, September 2006

Understanding all the nuances of wine may seem like a daunting task, but it actually isn't difficult at all. On the most basic level, wine tasting is highly subjective -- you drink what you like. Almost everyone is endowed with the necessary tools for appreciating wine: sight, smell, and taste. But to help you understand wine's true character, these are some things you should know:

General Rules
The variety of grapes used in a wine -- Chardonnay, Merlot, or Zinfandel, to name a few -- determines the wine's color, aroma, and taste. Experiment with different varietals to determine your own tastes.

- The deeper the color and aroma, the more full-bodied the wine. For example, a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon is more saturated in color and has a richer, fruitier aroma than a lighter-bodied Chianti (made from Sangiovese grapes), which has a lighter color and a brighter and sharper aroma.
- Wines should appear clear and have a brilliant color without cloudiness or haziness. Lack of clarity indicates a flaw in the wine-making process.

The following wines were sampled by Martha and Julio Iglesias; you may like to try them.

White Wines
Patricia Chardonnay 2002 from Australia
Retails for about $30
100 percent Chardonnay with a bright-gold color and a fig bouquet
Serve with grilled foods and mushrooms

Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay 2004 from Sonoma, California
Retails for about $30
100 percent Chardonnay with a white color and a pear, apple, and hazelnut bouquet
Serve with seafood and creamy dishes

Red Wines
Marques De Caceres 2002 from Spain
Retails for about $12
85 percent Tempranillo, 15 percent Grenache, with a ruby red color and a cherry, berry, vanilla bouquet
Serve with Mediterranean foods, fried foods, rice dishes

Chateau Lynch-Bages 2002 from Paulliac Bordeaux, France
Retails for $45 to $55
Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, Merlot with a red color and a cassis, black currant bouquet
Serve with braised meats, heavy pasta dishes

For a complete list of wines and foods you should pair them with, download Martha's Wine Glossary.


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