How to Drink Red Wine: 5 Beginner Tips

Drinking red wine is fun and should be enjoyed. People all over the world enjoy drinking red wine, either on its own or with their food. Red wine is called “red” because of the red grapes it is made with. It is always nice to use a good wine glass to complement it. It is best to use a red wine glass instead of one that is used for white wine, as it can make a difference.

If you are pretty much a beginner (and even if you are not), let’s take a look at five tips on how to drink red wine:

1. Choosing Red Wine

Buying a good red wine mainly depends on your tastes. Some have higher levels of tannins, others have higher alcohol content. It’s all about choosing your own sweet spot. It is also possible to pick a good red wine that isn’t too expensive. Red wines are heavier-bodied than white ones.

A Shiraz is a good full-bodied red wine. In terms of acidity, Pinot Noir is one that generally has a good balance of tannins and acidity. In terms of alcohol, Zinfandel tends to be one of the strongest. A Merlot is a popular choice  that fits many situations. Experiment and find what you like.

2. Serve At Room Temperature

It is important to store your red wine properly, such as a cool, dark place. Some red wines are actually meant to be chilled. Generally though, red wines should be served at around 16 °C. If it is chilled, then its flavours may be not come out properly. If it is too warm, then you will get a strong alcohol taste and not fully appreciate the flavour of the wine. You could place it in the fridge for 15 minutes before serving.

3. Wine Glass

Use a good red wine glass. They are different from white wine glasses. Pour the red wine so that it fills about a third of the glass. Hold the glass by the stem, otherwise, the warmth from your fingers can alter the flavour of the wine. Before you take a sip, swirl it in the glass. This helps to bring out the fragrance and flavours of the wine.

Remember, smell and taste are closely linked. You will eventually learn to distinguish individual flavours. You may be able to spot a fruity flavour or perhaps a smoky one, depending on the wine.

4. Sip Slowly

You don’t want to dunk it down your throat at lightning speed! Take your time. Sip it slowly. Just take enough so that you basically cover your tongue. Then, swish it around in your mouth making sure to coat your entire palate. You can hold it in your mouth for around 10 seconds before you swallow.

Remember, this is a way for you to learn about and appreciate the red wine on your own. When you are out with friends at a fancy restaurant, you may not want to be gargling, audibly swishing, drooling or spitting out the wine while holding it in your mouth for 10 seconds!

5. Food Pairing

Wine and food go together like a hand in a glove, but only if know what you are doing. A Cabernet Sauvignon is good with red meats such as roasted beef and lamb. You will enjoy a Cabernet Sauvignon with a steak as well. Merlots are great with lighter meats like duck, turkey and chicken. Dishes that are salty also go well with a Merlot.

Enjoy Pinot Noir with mild cheeses and mushrooms. Red Zinfandels are good with spicy food. Enjoy experimenting with red wines and food pairings. It comes down to personal taste as well. Even if something isn’t thought of as right, if it works for you, just enjoy it.

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