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RAMBLING VINES TEXT BY BRITTANY EDGREN SiG MT 22 One of life's greatest mysteries… How do I know if I am drinking good wine? e question I am asked daily and a question that I am still asking myself, to be honest. What should I be tasting in a good wine? Is all good wine expensive? Does it need to be from a reputable wine region? Who has the authority here? e answer? You! I know, I know, another ambiguous answer in the mysterious world of wine. You might be asking yourself, "How could I possibly know the answer? I know nothing about wine!" Well, truth be told, wine is 100% a personal preference so there is no hard and fast rule about what makes a good wine, and contrary to popular belief, a good wine does not need to be of a certain age, from a particular vineyard, or even sold at a high price point. A good wine just needs to suit your likings. I have listed the five basic characteristics you will find in every wine. Study these, memorize these, write them on your forehead. Start to dissect the wine that you drink focusing on these qualities. Take note of the characteristics you like and dislike. Is the wine too sweet? Are the tannins just right? How about the acidity? As you start to define your preferences, you will have a beer shot at selecting a good wine, every time. Sweetness: is is the taste of sugars present in the wine. e winemaker will oen note this on the label. Wines with no detectable sugar will be labeled dry, wines with a tiny bit of sugar will be labeled off-dry (most wines you drink will fall into one of these two categories), continuing on to medium-dry, medium-sweet, and sweet. A Cabernet Sauvignon is a good example of a dry wine while Tawny Port is a good example of a sweet wine. Acidity: For most people, acidity is detected on the sides of the tongue. It gives you a sharp tingly sensation and makes your mouth water. e more your mouth waters, the higher the acidity in the wine. A Sauvignon Blanc is a good example of wine with high acidity. Tannins: Tannins are extracted from the grape skins so you will find them in all red wines, some rosés, and the occasional white. Tannins make your mouth feel dry and rough. e dryer your mouth, the more tannins… think of a big, bold Syrah. Alcohol: Higher levels of alcohol trigger a hot, burning sensation in your mouth and the wine may feel heavier when drinking. At lower levels of alcohol, the wine can seem watery. A Zinfandel is a good example of a wine with high alcohol. Body: is is the overall impression created by the wine in your mouth, and a combination of all the factors listed above. For example, a full-bodied Malbec will have high alcohol and tannins which give the sensation of full body. Contrarily, a light-bodied Pinot Grigio will have lower alcohol and no tannins. Going beyond the five characteristics above, a good wine also has a story to tell. What was the wine's journey before it made it to your glass? Who picked the grapes, how were they fermented, who is the winemaker, etc.? Searching for wines with a unique story can elevate an average wine to a great wine. Now let the research begin! Happy Drinking! Learning to Drink Wine 412 Central Avenue • Downtown 406.952.0342 S UMMER IS BREWING! S MT

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