One of the questions most asked in wine conversation around the globe is the following – What do you like better…red or white wine? The thought of reducing the complexity of wine in general into the two such simple categories in this question is mind boggling. At last estimate, there are over 10,000 different varieties of wine grapes in the world. Although many of these varieties have been developed by man using grafting and other methods to produce new hybrids, it does not lessen the wow factor! Certain types of grapes, both red and white, are popular in particular countries, and are used to produce wines that are considered representative of those countries or regions.
That being said, let’s get back to our question…red or white? Everyone will have an answer based on their experience, from preferences with food, the kind of buzz they get, to even allergic reactions to one or both! Then along comes the wine loving snob like me, whose answer is – I enjoy both almost equally!
In my case, I actually prefer white wines at about 60% of the time. When I am NOT eating and just want to drink a nice glass of wine to unwind, I choose white. A nice buttery, oaky chardonnay works for me, with a comparatively high alcohol content which I find adds to its structural robustness. As a Certified Sommelier, my nose has become quite adept at identifying the amount of alcohol in a wine, even before I taste it. Being a Sommelier does not make one any smarter regarding the basics of wine drinking and choosing. It does teach one how to go about identifying wines, grapes, and regions and affords deeper understanding of one of the most complex subjects imaginable. Today’s Intermediate Sommelier class would have been the Master Sommelier Class just 25 years ago. This might give you an idea how fast it is growing in complexity.
There is no need to become a Sommelier if you are not going to use the certification for your employment. Instead just keep choosing what varieties you prefer and drinking for your enjoyment!
When I am having dinner, and in my opinion Wine is Food, I start with white wine for the same reasons stated previously, and then choose an appropriate red depending on what is for dinner, or another white wine. I try to keep things in perspective when it comes to cost and the correct pairing of wines with food. Don’t get caught up in what society says regarding serving red wine with meats and white wine with fish. That is another entire article I could write. Do what is right for you and your guests, and keep asking each other – What do you like better…red or white wine?
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