In this chapter you will learn the basics (don’t worry, it’s still a good amount of information. Basic doesn’t mean a little, boring or unimportant.) about red wine. Why it’s red, where the color, aroma and flavor come from and what foods pair best and why.
Red Wine 101
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There you have it! You now know more than most people, including people in the restaurant industry. (Sad, but true.) Now go out there and crush it! Sell more wine at work, gain a reputation for being able to guide your guest on their dining journey and make more money!
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Question 1 of 28
Malolactic fermentation is done to most red wines because:
Question 2 of 28
Let’s start with the lightest red wine and move to the heavier ones.
One of the most beautiful and expensive wines on the planet. Pinot is difficult to grow; the grapes are temperamental. This is one of the reasons whyPinot’s (at least good ones), tend to be on the pricier side. It takes a lot more labor and care to create an excellent Pinot Noir.
Burgundy, in France, has some of the most expensive real estate on the planet because Burgundy is one of the best places to grow Pinot Noir.
***When someone would like a glass of Red Burgundy, they are referring to a Pinot Noir that has hails from Burgundy.
When someone wants a white Burgundy, they would like a ______________, which was also grown within Burgundy.
Question 3 of 28
Please fill in answers below.
Pinot Noir is not very tannic, but rather high in acidity, which makes it an excellent choice for most food pairings. When in doubt, a Pinot Noir is the right choice.
Pinot Noir, (also known as Red Burgundy, a region in ) is a lighter style wine with aromas of
- Wet leaves
- Cherry pie
Look at all of these foods that Pinot Noir pairs beautifully with:
- Lobster bisque
- Filet Mignon
Pinot Noir is versatile! Don’t forget that. When in doubt, recommend Pinot Noir.
Insert true or false based on the clue given:
Pinot Noir goes well with duck:
Pinot Noir classically has aromas of Cola:
Pinot Noir classically has aromas of strawberry:
Pinot Noir is a very heavy and tannic wine:
Pinot Noir is a lighter style red wine:
“I am having the duck, my friend will be enjoying salmon, my mother the pasta and my husband the filet. What varietal of wine should I order for the table?”
“I don’t want a heavy wine. I don’t like a lot of tannins. What wine varietal should I order?”
Question 4 of 28
Pinot Noir is the varietal that is grown in ________________.
Question 5 of 28
Which of the following wines is VERY versatile for food pairings?
Question 6 of 28
Burgundy France grows some of the best Pinot Noir on the planet. One of our Pinot’s from Burgundy was priced at $1600.00 on our wine list. While that number is not monumental (I have seen a wine on a list in a restaurant for $75,000.00), $1600.00 is still a crap ton of money.
France is known for Burgundy (Pinot Noir), and Italy is known for its Chianti.
Chianti grows in Chianti, Italy, which is in central Tuscany. A beautiful old world wine, and on of Hannibal Lecter’s favorite.
Just like Red Burgundy is actually Pinot Noir, Chianti is from the Sangiovese grape.
The custom of naming the wine by the region rather than by the varietal is:
Question 7 of 28
Chianti is Sangiovese.
Chianti is in Italy.
Chianti is often refered to as “fruity”, but it is still a stronger, more intense wine. Some flavors you might notice:
As far as food pairings go, think tomato sauces and meat:
- Osso bucco
- Rack of lamb
- Roast beef
- Wild duck
- Meat pizza (meat and tomato sauce!!!)
Chianti is made from ______________________
Chianti is a strong and intense wine, but still classified as ________________.
Question 8 of 28
Pinot Noir is a very versatile wine, it goes with a ton of different foods.
Chianti goes most excellent with:
Question 9 of 28
Sangiovese is primarily:
Question 10 of 28
People love it. Maybe because it is so easy to drink?
It is fruity, without being too jammy. It’s structured, without being too tannic. It’s big, without being “too big”. It’s soft without being wimpy.
Merlot, typical to most red wines, has a lot of dark fruit aromas and flavors, along with some other notes. It tends to be medium bodied.
Merlot goes well with:
- *Roasts (even roasted turkey)
- Seared or blackened salmon
- Tomato sauces (especially with bacon)
Roasts are really Merlot’s good friend.
- Roast turkey
- Roast lamb
- Roast chicken
- Pot roast
- Roast duck
- Roasted tomatoes
No fish. No green vegetables. (As a great general rule.)
What foods does Merlot pair well with? (choose all that apply)
Question 11 of 28
Please fill in answers below.
Pinot Noir is a lighter style wine that is very versatile as far as food goes.
Chianti, which is made from the Sangiovese grape, goes excellent with meat and sauces.
Roasts are really Merlot’s good friend. Merlot = No fish. Merlot = No green vegetables.
Insert Chianti, Merlot or Pinot Noir to create the best wine pairing:
Question 12 of 28
Pinot Noir is a light wine that goes great with many different types of food.
Chianti, made from Sangiovese, goes excellent with tomato sauces and is a lighter and fruiter wine.
Merlot is medium bodied and goes wonderful with roasted foods.
One of the biggest red wines is Cabernet Sauvignon.
When you think of Cabernet Sauvignon, you should think big, tannic, serious, age worthy, and bold.
Cabernet goes great with steak. And ribs. And hamburger. And steak…
If Merlot goes great with meat, then Cabernet goes super-duper-uber great with meat.
It’s big bold tannins stand up to heavy/fatty meats.
We have covered a lot of wine aromas for Merlot, Chianti, and Pinot Noir. You will find a lot of the same aromas in Cabernet. Click on the aroma’s that you would guess could most likely be found in Cabernet Sauvignon:
Question 13 of 28
If you guessed fall leaves, earth floor, blackberry, cherry, leather, plum, tobacco and chocolate, you are very clever!
Lemon, tangerine and peach are also found in wines, but they are more white wine characteristics than red.
Which of the two wines that would go excellent with grilled or roasted meat?
Question 14 of 28
Which of the following wines is the lightest and most versatile for food pairing?
Question 15 of 28
Which one of the following wines is the biggest?
Which one goes excellent with meat?
Question 16 of 28
While Cabernet Sauvignon may be a big, tannic wine, Zinfandel is a big, jammy wine.
When I say jammy, you should think of opening a jar of Smuckers jam. That jar is full of intense cooked fruit flavors, and when you taste a Zinfandel, you will taste those types of flavors as well.
Zinfandel’s have a heavy mouth feel, they are full bodied. But, while Cabernet is mouth puckering tannic, Zinfandel is more on the peppery side.
Since we are talking about fruity, jammy, peppery wines, we should also mention Shiraz, which is grown famously in Australia.
Both Shiraz and Zinfandel are:
- full bodied
- high in alcohol
- ***have a smoked meat aroma
Therfor, both Zinfandel and Shiraz pair well with the same types of food.
Think outdoor barbecue.
- Grilled meat
- Barbecue sauce
- Smoked meats
***AVOID peppery foods; foods with heat. Because of the high alcohol content of the wine, pairing peppery food with them will make for an overwhelmingly hot mouth experience. We are trying to accentuate food and wine, not create a bomb.
Pick the two wines that are similar in style and flavor:
Question 17 of 28
Which of the following wines usually has a distinctive “smoked meat” aroma?
Question 18 of 28
Both Shiraz and Zinfandel:
Question 19 of 28
Both Shiraz and Zinfandel have peppery notes to them, they go excellent with grilled meats and BBQ style foods.
But they are a horrible match for ___________ .
Question 20 of 28
Which of the following two wine varietals are the least full bodied and intense?
Question 21 of 28
Remember how Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are actually the same grape, they’re just stylistically different?
Pinot gris is from France and tends to be spicy, rich and full bodied, whereas Pinot grigio is from Italy and is stylistically lighter and crisper. When a producer makes a Pinot gris/grigio they typically call it by the name that best represents their wines flavor profile.
This is the same with Shiraz and Syrah.
Shiraz and Syrah are wine made from the same grapersonalities.
Please fill in answer below.
Shiraz, from Australia, tend to be much more in-your-face jammy and fruit forward. After all, Australia is considered world and their wines tend to be more fruit forward and jammy.
Syrah, from France, tents to be more smooth, subtle, earthy. After all, France is considered old world and their wines tend to be earthier and more layered with unique, of-the-earth aromas.
Question 22 of 28
When in doubt, recommend ____________ for a safe, relatively foolproof food pairing recommendation.
Question 23 of 28
“I can’t drink red wine. It gives me headaches from the sulfites”. (Read below to de-bunk this statement.)
“Contains Sulfites” must be stated on a wine bottle if there is 10+ ppm of sulfites in the wine (not a lot). Sulfites are produced organically when making wine and are usually added by the wine maker as a preservative. Without some preservation the wine will turn to vinegar much quicker, and that is a bad thing.
Allergies to sulfites affects about 1% of the population; usually people that suffer from severe cases of asthma.
The following is a list of wines that contain sulfites from HIGHEST SULFITE CONTENT to lowest sulfite content.
- Sweet, white dessert wines
- Semi-sweet blush wines
- Dry white wines
- Dry red wines
- Organic wines
So, if you have a guest that claims sulfites give her a headache, which of the following wines would be your best recommendation to her?
Question 24 of 28
It’s a place in France. It’s a wine made there. It’s a blend of 5 wine varietals.
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Cabernet Franc
And a little:
- Petit Verdot
It is usually heavy on the Cab or heavy on the Merlot, one or the other.
Bordeaux wines are:
- Age well.
- Old World.
A Bordeaux can only be a Bordeaux if it comes from Bordeaux, France. But, many countries make Bordeaux style wines. Why wouldn’t they? Bordeaux is the s***.
In California, a wine must be at least 75% of one particular varietal to be called that varietal. Bordeaux style wines, by nature, are a blend and do not qualify to be named by a specific varietal. In California, many wine producers were making Bordeaux style wines, but were at a loss as to what to call it. They wanted to create a recognizable name for their high quality Bordeaux blend wines.
They held a contest to come up with a brandable name.
Meritage won; it’s a blend of two words:
Meritage (rhymes with heritage).
So, a Meritage is the same blend as a ________________ and Shiraz is the same grape as _____________.
Question 25 of 28
Bordeaux is a wine blend from:
Question 26 of 28
Shiraz and Syrah are the same grape varietal.
Syrah is an old world style, it is more subtle, smooth and earthy.
Shiraz is a new world style, jammy and fruit forward. Shiraz is classically grown in:
Question 27 of 28
I am going to order your most spicy dish. What wine should I drink with it?
Question 28 of 28
Which wine is closest in flavor profile to a Shiraz?