Getting Started with Wine: Buy Smarter, Taste More | Gary Vaynerchuk | Skillshare

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Getting Started with Wine: Buy Smarter, Taste More

teacher avatar Gary Vaynerchuk, Wine Guru and CEO, Vaynermedia

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Wine Primer


    • 4.

      Tasting Notes and FAQs


    • 5.

      Sparkling Wine


    • 6.

      White Wine


    • 7.

      Red Wine


    • 8.



    • 9.



    • 10.

      Hungry for More?


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About This Class

Join wine expert, entrepreneur, best-selling author, and media guru Gary Vaynerchuk for a one-hour class demystifying his primary passion: wine.

In 10 bite-sized lessons, Gary breaks down

  • the essentials to tasting, selecting, and shopping for wine
  • the fundamentals of sparkling, white, and red
  • answers to FAQs
  • and recommended bottles for every palette and price

Whether you want to buy smarter, impress your friends, or host your own tasting, this class will help you enter the world of wine with confidence.

Note: You're welcome to approach this class with any wine that catches your eye! Alternatively, if you'd like to try the 3 featured wines, check out the Gary Vaynerchuk Skillshare Taste Along Kit for $39.99 (retail value $60) via Wine Library.

Meet Your Teacher

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Gary Vaynerchuk

Wine Guru and CEO, Vaynermedia


I have been an entrepreneur for as long as anyone close to me can remember. In high school I joined the family business, a liquor store called Shoppers Discount Liquors that my dad started. It wasn't long before I became obsessed with collecting wine. In 1997, I began to recognize the importance of e-commerce; shortly thereafter, was born.

I used the site to grow the store from a $3 million business to a $45 million business, and it was just the beginning. Armed with a Flipcam and a NY Jets bucket, I started Wine Library TV in 2006 to share my knowledge and passion for wine with a community that desperately needed a fresh voice.

In the spring of 2009, my brother AJ and I launched VaynerMedia, a new breed of agency that would help Fortune 500 companie... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hey, guys. I'm Gary Vaynerchuk. I have been an innovator and a pioneer in the wine business from launching one of the first e-commerce wine businesses, to building one of the largest stores in the country, to becoming one of the first personalities. What I really care about though is getting people to try different wines. Because this beverage is the most fascinating, is the most complex, is the most ever changing, and is the most fun. In this course, I'm going to give you the foundational terminology and, really, the philosophical journey around tasting wine, so that you enjoy it more. I'm also going to really focus on the three categories that I think mattered most to so many of you which is sparkling wine, white wine, and red wine. What makes them different? What they bring to the table? How you can discover the nuances and the flavors that maybe have been avoiding you or things that you haven't discovered just yet. So, project for this class is to share tasting notes for a wine that you're tasting for the first time. We'll go through tasting notes for you and help you set up that execution, but this is an absolute creative venture that all of you should take and will became the foundation of the way you share your knowledge and passion around wine. The wines that are needed for this course are a Prosecco, a Sancerre, and a Cabernet that are provided by the Wine Library. Though, there are many other places you can pick up these wines on the Internet or local wine shops that will allow you to kind of go through this journey together. So to me, this class is for somebody who's just getting into wine or is maybe one to two years into their journey and is ready to take it to the next level. It's incredible that this beverage can and continues to be such a passion for so many. I just want to thank you for taking the course because I believe that this might become the match, the starting point to a journey that becomes one of the great passions of your life. One of the great hobbies of your life. One of the great experiences of your life. I'm excited to walk you through this world. 2. Assignment: So, the project for his class is to share tasting notes for wine that you're tasting for the first time. I will go through tasting notes for you and help you set up that execution. This is an absolute creative venture that all of you should take and will become the foundation of the way you share your knowledge and passion around wine. The wines that are needed for this course are a Prosecco, Sancerre, and a Cabernet that are provided by the Wine Library. Though, there are many other places you can pick up these wines on the Internet or local wine shops that will allow you to kind of go through this journey together. One thing that's really cool about Skillshare is that it's a tool that's going to enable you to review these wines with pictures, words, videos. This is a real creative opportunity. Knowing you're taking this course, you're probably damn creative, so knock yourselves out. The coolest part about this is this is a venture that should only take you 10 to 20 minutes to articulate your thoughts through words. I mean, that's including tasting the wine. So, in a world where time is the asset, it's a pretty good gig. The thing that I'm going to look for in the gallery is honesty. I really think it has to come from your soul. I don't want you to use the standard terminology or try to look like the Wine Spectator or Wine Library TV. What I'm looking for is that authentic voice, your true tasting notes even if they're quite basic, as long as they're coming from here, that's attached to here. I refer to it earlier, community. This thing brings people together. Wine brings people together. I implore you to read everybody else's comments, and reviews, and start meeting each other. As a matter of fact, throw in your Twitter handle at the end of it. Let's start all communicating around this amazing beverage known as wine. 3. Wine Primer: All right, let's talk about evaluating wine, right? This is what you're here to do. It's really the important part of the process if you ever want a wine nerded up. The thing that I really want you to pay attention to is a couple of things. I'm going to teach you how to evaluate wine but I don't want you to become too much of a wine snob, would take it too seriously. To take wine too serious defeats the point of all the pleasures that wine actually brings. Yes, there's a ton to learn. Everybody's always learning about wine forever. But the reality of the situation is this, wine is something that we need to enjoy. Evaluating is part of the process of really getting to know it and really ultimately allowing you to navigate through the wine world and find the best deals, find the best values. Learning about wine really becomes a money saver and becomes a journey play more than anything else. So, what do you want to do when you evaluate wine? Things that you want to breakdown into is looking at it, smelling it, and tasting it. Much like we do with food or anything else, that's how we roll but we probably we don't think about it. With wine, it gets a little technical into these three categories. Let's start saying, the thing that I really like to do a lot is really look at the wine. You're looking at it, you're looking at the color, but as you continue to go down the path, you start seeing what's a little bit more golden, what's a little bit more faint in red wines. Is it darker? Is it ruby? What's going on around the edges? The visual is a fun way to get into the mindset of about tasting the wine. Now, what we're going into next after you give it a good solid look is probably the thing I care about the most, more than actually drinking it because I'm a guy that really loves the anticipation and the wine world, the build up is the sniffy sniff aka smelling the wine. Now, here's what you want to do. You've seen this a million times. People tend to swirl which is the reason we like to swirl is we like to get oxygen in here to break up the wine and let all of us knows and the flavors come to the surface. Oxygen is your friend kids, say it with me, oxygen is your friends. So, oxygen is breaking down the acidity in a white wine and the tannins in a red wine letting the flavors come and surface to the top. Now, here's what you want to do. You need to get your entire schnozzle there if you really want to win. Like this, I want to make sure you guys are getting this. I'm talking full contact glass, I've got some on my lip, full contact and real inhales. Then, you swirl a little bit more. What you're doing there is a couple of things. One you're picking up on flavors, it's priming your palate. You start to salivate a little bit. Really, what it's doing is really opening up the opportunity for you to taste the wine even better. The nose, the sniffy sniff is a key component. If you take anything out of this class, anything, I can guarantee that the value that you paid for it will come in the form of you taking the smelling of wine dramatically more serious than the market does today. It will make your drinking wine experience a hell of a lot better. It will absolutely allow you to taste more and all those funky notes you hear like strawberries and chalk and things of that nature become more obvious on your palate because you've primed your nose. Now, let's give it a whirl. So, a whirl, a little more swirling and a little bit of a whirl is when you're allowing the wind to hit all of your mouth almost like listerine. First, I like to taste the wine straight, the way all of us would drink wine, just drink it. Cool. We all do that. It's how we work as humans. But if you really want to get into evaluating wine, tasting wine, what you really want to look for is finding all the flavors that you can around your palate. The way to do that is to swish it in your mouth almost like a listerine environment. Spit bucket. So, what happens is it's incredible to me and I'm hoping that you're tasting along right now how different the wine tastes when you go straight versus, and we all saw this in sixth grade health class, where they had the tongue and they split up the tongue and there's all different parts of it. In the back of my palate, I'm tasting a lot more acidity. In the middle of my tongue, I'm tasting a lot more apple. At the tip, I'm getting a little bit more of that chockiness, a little bit of that sugar. So, your tongue is picking up on different parts of the wine. One of the great things to do for a lot of my friends when they call me or text me, "I hate my wine, I'm like swish it see if you like it better," they either like it better or they like it less but it teaches them that there's an alternative. Here's some good news, the way to become a great taster is to test and taste and try more wine. So, the process a hell a lot of fun as well. So, again, to recap it. You've got a very hard core visual aspect but let's be honest, that's a little bit of a nerdy thing, it's fun to build up the anticipation. The sniffy sniff, key, the underrated aspect of tasting and evaluating wines in world. There's people that I mean, I've gone to a place in my career where when I smell a wine without knowing what it is, half the time 20 percent, 20 to 50 percent the time, I know what the wine is just on smell, that's how important it was for me and I think for anybody that's taking wine serious. Then, finally, thinking about, almost like exercising, when you're tasting and making sure the wine is hitting all of your palate, all of your tongue, your entire mouth, to open up all the flavors that a wine has to offer. Let's do a little terminology 101 just for kicks and giggles. I'm just not sure where everybody is vintage. If you don't know, it is the year wine is made. So, this is 2013, that's the vintage. As you progress in your wine drinking journey, things like acidity and tannin will become more obvious to you, you'll start tasting them. The acidies are not super complicated, when you drink a seltzer, you're tasting that sharpness, right? You're getting that fizz. Acidity has that dynamic on your palate. Then, the tannin structure is that bitterness that so many of you struggle with in red wine, that eventually becomes something you like palates evolve. If you're just starting out wine, recognize this, you'll be able to get through and you'll be looking forward to the acidity in tannins. Minerality is another thing that I think you need to start establishing and understanding for or try to discover. Minerality is a core component flavor profile in wines. It really comes down to, the best common terminology is really the way rocks, soil taste, soil a little bit in the red wines but rocks really truly chalk and rocks and things of that nature. So, if you're ambitious, if you're an explorer, I really do think licking rocks, I mean it or chiseling out a rock and eating a little rock dust is a very good thing for your palate because you can start picking it up on wines and it is a core foundational thing you'll start referencing and start looking for if you like the wines that I like in wines. You're going to hear it a million times. Oak really breaks down into wood. I think, it is in your best interest to go outside if you live in a suburb and look at a tree, take off a little piece and bite it. I'm not kidding, if you've not bit wood, if you've not licked a tree, you were not going to be able to pick up any oak flavors that are the backbone of wine. Wine is very often stored in oak casks for sometimes red wines for a couple of years and it's just extracting the nuances of that. The reason so many Americans love Cabernet and Chardonnay is because of oak, it's giving that smokiness, it's giving that creaminess that you see in wine. I'm going to talk to you about structure and finish in wines. These are terms are going to hear over and over as you explore your journey in the wine world. The structure is the way a winemaker puts together a wine. So, for me, structure is imperative. For you to evaluate structure it takes time, it's context. Did it have a lot of nice fruit in the beginning to welcome me to the wine. Get a taste anything in the middle, cut what we call a mid palate and then how does it finish? What's the last thing I taste? Did anything out balance each other, is the fruit balanced with the tannins, or is the fruit balanced with the acidity in a white wine? Because if the tannins are too bitter that I'm not going to like it, then you were not, definitely not going to like it. Is the acidity too much? Is the alcohol out of whack? Which that mix of hot and then I feel I'm taking a shot of bourbon with a little bit of grapes on top of it. These are the things we're looking for in that complete package, that is what structure is. Finish, a term that you'll hear at time from Asamaya or your wine nerd friends. Finish is the last thing you're tasting, and how long do you taste it? There are many wines that you can taste, and not this one. But there's many wines you can taste literally quickly where I said and not this one that you've stopped tasting it, is it? It's gone, you tasted it while I was there but there it is almost like water, you're just not tasting that much anymore. The more you can still taste that wine on your tongue, on your palate, the longer finish it has. So, the reason I'm pausing looking, I'm stunned this 13 other wine has this long of a finished speaks to a good quality wine may be of value in itself. So, a finish really is that last lingering flavor you got out of wine and how long you taste it, and was it smooth, or was it bitter? Very, very important. The finish is a massively important thing for you to pay attention to. I think, early on, even if you're beginning stages, probably the thing that most people can articulate in their wine journey. 4. Tasting Notes and FAQs: Let's talk about what tasting notes are and how to go about it. As you go through your journey, especially in a course like this, if you take another wine course in person or things of that nature, tasting notes become a foundational thing. Really, they're quite simple my friends, you write the name of the wine, and you write down what you're tasting. Not super complicated. What's more importantly though, is how do you go about doing it? As you start learning how things smell, how things taste, you need to be able to make the transition of being in your head to the paper, or to the computer, or to the computer. So, the way I think about tasting notes and the advice that I want to give you is, first, you have to start off with the truth. The truth is very important in this scenario. Meaning, way too many people try to force it. You want to be cool like all the other wine people and you just start rattling off words that you've read on a shelf talk or in a wine store. That is absolutely the last thing that you should be doing. The number one rule of tasting notes is to tell the truth, write down the things you taste. I broke out in the wine world because I didn't reference things like Big League Chew, and Skittles, and Rocket Balls. These were things I put in my mouth, these were not things that people were talking about in the wine world. They were my differentiator and they were there because they were true. When people were tasting a wine and I said that it tasted like a Whatchamacallit bar, they're like, "Holy crap! It does taste like a Whatchamacallit bar." Maybe not what the establishment was using to taste wines, but very much was real to me. It was the best connection point from my mouth to my brain, to the words that I wanted to share with people. So, really, what you want to do is, you want to wine and capture the things that are coming out of your mouth. Whether they're experiences, whether they're flavors, whether they're fruits and vegetables, whether they're scripters. At first, all of yours will look the same; red, smooth, cherries, bitter. They become very basic. But depending on your writing skills, your creativity, and definitely most of them all, completely predicated on the journey of you tasting wine, they will become more complicated, more complex, more fun. You're going to go through a fun place, it's going to be super fun at first, then you're going to nerd it out and get real serious about it, and then when you finally become comfortable in yourself, you really can enjoy it. One of the things that scares me is when people say, "What if I can't taste what I'm supposed to?" Or you're watching along right now, you're tasting wine, you're like, "Gary, I love you. I'm glad I'm taking this course, but I taste wine." I get it. What I don't want you to do, is force you into thinking you are tasting things because you want to keep up with the Joneses. Don't fake the funk. Keep tasting wines. Keep trying different flavors. It will come. It just will. Your palate will loosen up, you'll start contextualizing the flavors and you'll get there. If you can't taste it, don't worry, sit back, enjoy the wine, pour yourself another glass, and you'll get there. Let's tackle the issue that really pisses me off, which is this notion of, "I only taste red wine." The people that say they only drink red wine, 93% of them are just wine jerk offs that think that you graduate into red wine and that's where you really drink the good stuff. The people that are not taking this course, the biggest and best somolliers in the world, I would tell you probably drink more champagne and more Riesling than they do even red wine or at least a very healthy ratio. It's limiting yourself, it's limiting thinking, and more importantly, you're leaving yourself out of so many wonderful experiences. Only drinking white wine, it's limited thinking. It's allowing yourself to think that you're just a casual wine drinker and that red wines are too serious for you, they're too heavy. Don't limit yourself to any experiences, especially something like wine that's so easy as to just try, just try one sip of a red wine, every time you're out with your friends, or other people that drink red wine, or your spouse, or your partner. Just try one sip, you'll start to realize you'll really start enjoying it. Let's just get this out of the way, this notion of, "I only drink 90 plus scored wines." Is Ludicrous. One person, a human being, decided this wine was worth 90 points by their subjective radar and you're taking that person's point of view as your own. Which is fine. I know that we look at people's reviews on movies and a million other places where we have experts. But if you're a person that only drinks 90 point wine, do me a huge favor, go to your local wine shop, find a merchant, and ask them to give you six wines that are not scored 90 points. If you go over six, and they're the worst six wines you've ever had, move on your way. But I promise you, that will not be the case. What's with the ratings? This is probably the thing that most of my friends asked me when there were a hundred days into their journey. The answer is very simple. Wine is very subjective, much like art and fashion, it's no different than editors of Vogue, or the leading art, or the leading movie, Siskel & Ebert. We always, as human beings, want to find other experts and opinions to use as a North Star to navigate in a world that we don't understand. Ratings have a huge place in wine. Wine is very challenging. Not only are there a million different wines, they change each year. So, the multiplier of different wines, it's unlike spirits, when you have a Johnnie Walker Black, you know what that is, when you have a Coors Light, you know what that is. Wine keeps changing even when you know you had this Sancerre or the next year it could be totally different because it rained all of August. So, very challenging category and ratings have found enormously powerful place in the wine world, given that people need that North Star. To me, it's important I rate wine, I did for a long time, I get it. But I don't want it to be a crippler. I don't want you to only focus on 90 point scored wines and above. There are so many great ones. Plus, if you pay attention, the Wine Spectator, Robert Parker, and Stephen Tanzer, and all these, Antonio Galloni, all these great critics, they always disagree because we always disagree about anything that is subjective. So, taste, taste, taste, trust yourself. One of the things that I'm always concerned about is I hear from a lot of people, "I can't improve my palate, I can't learn more about wine because I don't have a lot of money." That is ludicrous. The quality of wine today between seven and $15 compared to 20 years ago is staggering. Science, technology have evolved tremendously. We know what the weather is going to be like so much further ahead. There's so much more science and technology in the wine world than there was even 20 years ago that is allowing for much better wine, much higher quality. I think a $12 a bottle, which is plenty of money, but at $12 a bottle for 365 days a year, you can learn everything about wine by tasting a ton of different stuff at a very affordable budget. So, I don't want money to be the excuse of you limiting your wine journey. The question of, "Should I spit wine?" Well, spitting wine is really designated in my opinion for people that are seriously trying to taste a lot of wines and don't want to get drunk. You can really get all the flavors without swallowing and you're still picking it up. Listen, 10, 15 wines, 20 wines, you can spit and get away with it a hell of lot better than taking 15 sips. So, if you're going to a wine tasting and you're driving, spitting is great, but if you're hosting the wine tasting, you don't have to spit, you're more than welcome. Depends on how tipsy you want to get. But spitting is completely predicated on saving yourself from the alcohol that is impacting you. You can taste everything prior to the spit because your palate and your mouth and your tongue are picking up the flavors. Now that we've laid down the framework of what is wine, how do I taste wine, what are the core vocab words? Things of that nature. We get to the fun part. Let's go evaluate some of the wines, specifically in the sparkling white and red categories where so many of you are going to be journeying through in the future. So, I'm excited because I'm thirsty and let's go. 5. Sparkling Wine: So, first, we're going to go into sparkling wines. What is sparkling wine compared to white wine, red wine? Enough carbon dioxide is introduced into the wine to create the effervescence, to create the bubbles. They have some of the greatest infrastructures and capabilities to pair with things like oysters and other shell and seafood. An amazing opportunity to pair with salads and just as a primer to your meal, like the opening aperitif. They're incredible, though I know a lot of you do that. So, what we have here is the sior Bepi V8 plus Prosecco. I'm a huge fan of this wine for a couple of reasons. I just like the way it tastes, to just be a little bit human, I love the bottle. I just think it's fun. A lot of people get a kick out of it. But, what I really like is the quality that we're seeing at $11-15 when compared to $25-40 champagnes, is quite an aggressive battle. If you were to taste 15 wines blind and then rate them in order, I promise you, a couple of Proseccos will break through. Bepis' making some tremendous sparkling wines in the region. Their V8 Plus is incredible. I'm super excited to give it a sniffy sniff and break down the taste and the profile of this wine for you. What makes the champagne a champagne is it comes from Champagne in France, period, end of story. What a lot of Americans don't know, unfortunately, and definitely not beginners, no matter where you are in the world, is in the Old World, Europe, specifically, wines were named after where they come from versus the New World, America specifically, what Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot, we name them after the grape. So, that's why Champagne has its name, that's the place in France that it comes from. That's really the only difference other than subtle things like, for example, Prosecco, which a lot of you have become big fans of. You like them because they're a lot less expensive 11, 12, 13, 14, $15 versus 20, 30, 40, $50. The thing that allows that is when the carbon dioxide is introduced in champagne, it is on a bottle by bottle basis and with Prosecco and other sparkling wines, specifically Prosecco, big tanks in bulk creates more efficiencies, drives down the cost, and creates a category of sparkling wine that is far more affordable. The thing that I would really recommend is to understand that they age for a very long time, I think, people drink their champagnes way too young. Another little fun fact is, when you look at a sparkling wine or champagne bottle, oftentimes you don't see a vintage, a year, on the bottle. Most of them are non vintages, which means the grapes are coming from different years. They're picking the grapes, putting them in vats and they're blending it keeping a base of the grape juice inside a tank, so they keep blending it, and blending it, and blending it. When you get into hardcore champagne, you do see vintage wines, 1990, 1999, great years where you can really enjoy the wine just from that specific vintage, but much more than red wine and white wine, you see wines whose sparkling wines that are non-vintage. The reason we even got to sparkling wine was a lot of the white wines in the early days, pre science and technology, were very high in acid and this was a way to kind of tone that down. So, many of the white wines were almost undrinkable. This method allowed people to consume it, it took out the edge and made a lot of the wines a hell of a lot more drinkable, definitely more enjoyable, and out of it was born this incredible category of beverage. Necessity creates tremendous innovation. I'm very thankful for all those crappy white wines, hundreds of years ago, that created this amazing category. So, about serving sparkling wine, one of the things that a lot of people, the colder the better for a lot of people that's number one. So, in general, getting a little bit colder fridge, ice dynamics matters. When you choose to opening it, a little fun fact, if you're always scared to open champagne, it's because you're probably going straight up which allows it to pop, just a little tilt, call it two O'clock and popping it, will save you spilling any of your beverage, and will make you look cool. As you could tell, I'm using a white wine glass here instead of a flute, you're more than welcome. This is an ongoing debate in the wine world. There are some subtle benefits, no question, from the oxygen hitting the sparkling wine in its world. I don't love to get hung up on glassware. I don't want to bite too much into it, but serving it cold, popping it with this tilt, trying to pour it with the tilt of the glass as well, so you don't bubble it up too much because, of course, serving tactics in a champagne glass for sure. If you're lucky enough that you can afford different sets of glasses, knock yourself out, I'm not against it, it's a major prerequisite. You're talking to a guy that's very comfortable in drinking wine out of a Dixie cup. Let's evaluate the wine. So, first like we said, we're going to look at it. Again, because this is a course, I kind of talked about the evaluation visually, it's when you can line out 15 Proseccos and look at them contextually, what you can say, oh, this is dark or this is lighter, it starts getting a little bit more interesting. Now, the part I really do care about, let's go into the sniffy sniff. So, first thing comes across is a huge component of almond paste, that's right, almond paste. I get a little nuttiness continuation of the almond. I get a little hint of mini pear and almost like, gosh, I don't remember, those jelly candies that have sugar on it, you know what I'm talking about right? Like just like jelly kind of candy that has some sugar on it, the yellow one, I get a little bit of that. Let's give it a whirl. Yeah. White flat peaches, you know those weird white flat peaches you see in fancy places, white flat peaches, a beautiful, beautiful flavor profile of Acacia flowers, really intriguing acidity, but not too much, so just like a spritz, almost like a Bellini, which is really delicious, very smooth, incredibly long finish. I'm still tasting a little bit of crushed rock on top of that white peach and huge complexity. Just to give you context as I'm running through his terminology about smooth, just the way it feels on your mouth. There's a creaminess, there's a smoothness versus kind of that jagged, rigid, kind of bitter or sparkling sensation, though you can get smoothness in the sparkling wine because the more it comes to your palate, the less the bubbles are bouncing, and now you just get into the flavors and it could be smooth. As I taste this wine, what's lingering is almost like a walnut component, though it tasted like almond paste on the front palate, there's a walnut component that I'm still tasting right now as I was talking about the finish though. You're only going to get so much for wines and teens. This doesn't have the longest finish. One of the big difference between a $50 champagne that I would adore and this wine is that I'd still be tasting that champagne right now versus this kind of fading away at this point of me talking. When you pair wines, you can really go with opposite or matching tastes. It just depends on what your palate enjoys. Well, you don't want this conflicting tastes, right? Don't forget palates are very personal. There's a preference scheme here, so don't get caught up of anything, no matter what I said here, please don't try to form into me, just try to find yourself. So, a delicious wine and then a screaming value, but there's an enormous array if you're unable to find this a Proseccos, Nino Franco comes to mind. Just incredible array of $12-17 Proseccos in the marketplace today that bring outrageous QPR, quality price ratio, comparative to the rest of the sparkling wine world. 6. White Wine: Let's talk about white wine. Let's talk about the category as a whole. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, all these incredible things. What I'm very fascinated by is that 93 percent of you are going to start with white wine in your lives. White wine becomes everybody's first love. It becomes the entry point to people drinking wine, and why is that? Unlike red wines, white wines are not as bitter. They don't have those tannins. They're more structure of acid. Acid is covered much better with fruit than the tannins that we see in red wines. So, it's a very safe place to start. It's also a category that makes incredible value between 10 and 20 in today's world. But there's a ton of wines even between six and $10 that are incredibly solid for white wines. Also, they are very, very easy to drink by themselves, along with other foods. Red wines outside of Beaujolais and some other things of that nature, tend to be predicated towards dinners and meals. The flexibility of a white wine compared to a red wine is extraordinary. Obviously, everybody's different, and you can do your thing. But the opportunity to drink by itself, drink with the first course, drink with the main course, there's a flexibility component to white wine that I think makes it special. If you're in spring and summer weather, please make a disproportional investment to exploring white wine. When we talk about serving white wine, I always get a little bit funky on this, because I'm in a very small minority. But hey, this is my course. I'm a big fan of white wine at room temperature. I think way too many of you get these wines way too cold, and then you're spending nice 20, 30 bucks and you can't taste it. If you're getting these wines ice cold, you might as well buy a six-dollar wine. Let's not forget what we did with our Natty Light and our Black Label and our Busch beers. We got some ice cold because they taste like crap, that's what you did. You've got them as cold as possible because you didn't like the flavor. That's what's happening in wine. A lot of people really like the way a cold white wine taste on their palate specially when it's warm outside. So, do your thing. But, if you're having a very high-end dinner, and you've got a $50 bottle of white wine, the less cold the better in my opinion. You're just getting a lot more flavor on it. Pop it. You don't really need it to breathe some high end Chardonnay 16 or $200 white Burgundy's can benefit from a little bit of variation especially if they're older and a little funky. If the wines within the five or six years that the label shows, I think a pop in poor is super appropriate. So, one of the ways to navigate vintage that has always been a challenge. People are very much crippled when they've come to the wine shop and say, "Is this a good year?" I don't know if you've heard about this new thing but it's called a cell phone. Really cool thing. It's got a lot of information in it. It's basically a computer. The ability to type in vintage chart in Google cool new site and see what years are better than others. It's probably a good hack for a lot of you as you navigate through a wine store if you care to go there. If you're spending over $20 on a bottle of wine, you probably more often than not want to be in a good vintage zone. I decided to pick a sunset for this video because I think that it is a category that brings me the most complexity dollar for dollar ratio ROI, return on investment. If I figure this wine is one is a $20 bottle of wine and taste the way it does. Blows my mind. This is the Hubert Bouchard, 2014 Sancerre, a very legendary winery in Sancerre on its fourth generation of wine making. A lot of history, a lot of great wines. Has been a winery that I've followed for the last 20 years and especially have enjoyed over the last half decade. I think it really elevated their quality, and I'm excited to assess this wine for you. Let's get into tasting it. First, let's look at it. This is a little bit lighter the most Sancerre which then alludes to just teach you. Oh, this might not be as heavy. This might not be as intense. Let's see if that's true. Let's give it a sniffy sniff. Incredibly vibrant knows, first thing I think of is apricots, and almost like a peeled oranges potpourri. There's a fragrance plate here. There's a little perfume esque kind of component. Then weirdly I mean this is going to be very specifically to me. So, I apologize but this is what I want to move towards and I'm glad I got lucky because here it is. When we first came to America my grandmother would take my bed sheets and air them outside. That's what this smells like. It smells like my bed sheets from 1984 to 1987. Sorry, I know that's not going to map for everybody. Let's give it a whirl. The first thing I note is the acidity. It's literally immediately and I'm salivating right now because of it. I feel like I took a lemon and squeezed it directly into my mouth. This might have enough acidity to even scare a couple of people off. It's a big boy wine that way. Then it kind of curtails and gets a little bit creamy. What I would almost call like almost a socky like component. Very cloudy alcohol based. Not too much heat. Don't worry about the alcohol but there's that mid palate for sure and then it finishes quite creamy almost like Mott's apple sauce on the finish. Very much an apple component, but more like the sauce than the actual fruit. Let me go through one more time. Yeah. I would take a really solid socky. I would take a scoop of Mott's apple sauce, throw in there and I would take a whole lemon cut in half and triple squeeze it into it, blend it, drink it. That is with this Sancerre taste like. It's very well structured. To me the only thing that's running through my mind is damn it. I really wish I had some lobster right now because I think this would be an incredible pairing for a beautiful Maine lobster. Long finish, great structure. Again, a $20 wine in most markets which is where Sancerre tends to fall into 20 to 30 category I want you to explore because I think for a lot of Chardonnay drinkers you might be getting tired of that buttery Ochi thing. As we become more lean food. More kind of farm to table. There's kind of a lighter feel to this wine. I think it brings a ton of complexity there's a lot of different flavors as I'm talking to you my God I wish I'd told them about the Asian spice in the mid palette. There's a ginger thing that I'm tasting right now. So, this is going and going and going. A lot of flavors. You know one thing I noticed I recognize that I didn't refer to was there was no oak reference to this wine. Because there is no oak in this wine. It's clearly done in stainless steel or if it was an oak completely get lost. But this looks like a stainless steel plate. Oak is something you're going to pick up the woodenness, the oak in a lot of Chardonnay based wines especially in the New World California, Australia, places that nature. So, just wanted to throw that out there because I know it kind of set it up in the beginning of course and you didn't hear it here it's because it doesn't have it. Sticking on that oak thing just for kicks and giggles. If you're looking to or if you're watching along right now but you happen to have a Chardonnay, we are really tasting in oak. How you can really dissect it is, you're going to taste a woody flavor, you can taste a buttery flavor, almost like a popcorn like thing. Maybe a little bit of Caramello as well. So, look for those flavors that you're watching this right now with an oky wine in front of you. You know just take a break here. I'm sure as I taste this wine, you going to see different versions of me swishing and tasting and things of that nature. I'm cognisant of that and want to make sure that I break down that. You know for me I will swish it more. Completely based on am I taste it? The more it break down, the more I switch it up. I can get more flavor out of it. I can get more to the bottom of it. I don't know what's going to happen with this red wine but sometimes I don't need to switch a whole lot because I'm getting what I need out of it. Sometimes I'm trying to break it up a little bit to get other things I'm in subconscious mode. To me the opportunity to break it down in your mouth as much as possible is a smart thing to do. It gets a whole different little flavor. I just switched just a little bit more. The lemon popped a little bit more. So, it's an intriguing point of view for me. So, the mouth control, the things you do with wine in your mouth is absolutely a variable of how you're going to taste it. If you find yourself already used to Sancerre and looking for some alternatives, I highly recommend paying attention to what's happening in New Zealand where there are [inaudible]. I've long been on the record of not being a fan of California's pseudonym Longstone over the last three to four years. Some of those have evolved in my opinion and have become better values as other categories have gotten more expensive, and California has dropped a little bit and are price on Sauvignon Blanc. Then if you want to go a little bit heavier, the Chardonnays of white burgundy I think are just absolutely incredible. I'm an enormous fan of Albali which is an incredible white wine from Spain. I think there's an incredible value in Soave in Italy and I highly recommend you pay attention to the fine wines from different parts of the world like Torrontes coming out of Argentina. All incredibly interesting white wines if you want to go in a different direction than the Sancerre. 7. Red Wine: Let's talk about red wine. Big, big fan of red wines is hold, they're bigger, they're bolder. They are absolutely the dinner wine for so many. As you start getting into meats, or heavier dishes, more complex fishes, red wines are tremendous complements. So, many of the world's most iconic wines from Burgundy, to Bordeaux, to California Napa come in red wine form. Cabernet, kind of the king of all red wines for so many, Pinot Noir, definitely a nerdier, more complex wine for so many, and then you get into Malbec, and Shiraz Syrah and so many other grape varietals. Zinfandel, Merlot, really fun category, tons of wines to explore. The thing that red wine comes with is a lot more complexity and tannins. The skins of red grapes create a heavy bitterness that need to be integrated with the fruit. For so many of you red wines will be a category that are too bitter, or too tanner, or too complex for the first one, two, three, four years of your career. I highly recommend that if red wine is not part of your rolodex, that every time you're lucky enough to be out with somebody who's drinking red wine, if you can ask them to pour you a little bit, because you don't like it, remember. But, as you start building that coat on your palate, over time it will chip away. Ninety eight percent of people that sort of saying they don't like red wine, won't go into red wine eventually get there. So, it's an incredibly interesting category. The skins of the red wine grape are the things that bring it so much complexity, brings that tannins, and is the real differentiator from the white wines that we talked about earlier. If you don't know what tannins are, if you think about a plum, we think about how the skin tastes of a plum versus the plum inside. Those are kind of the components that you're looking for, those are tan flavors. That is a very strong component. You will hear tannins, a wine being tannic. There's huge terminology around the red wine culture. In a red wine environment, more than a white wine environment, there were maps to that world. Old versus new wine super interesting in America because most of us don't have cellars. We drink our wines too young. In the old country, in the old days, everybody had a basement, and everybody was storing wines, and it was sacrilege to drink a wine within the first five to 10 years of it being alive. Ninety nine percent of you will drink most wines within the first five years of it being alive, which has changed the complexity and the way people make wine. The biggest difference with old wine and white wine is an older wine, there's a cork. There's a little bit of oxygen getting all the way through I mean microscopic. It's chipping away, and it's aging the wine. It's, chipping away and getting more flavors to come to the forefront. So, you're just tasting a different wine. A wine tastes very different two years after it came out, as it would 10 years after sitting in a cellar. Much like white wine we talked about earlier, vintage very much matters and it's probably taking dramatically more serious in red wine. Every vintage of every wine is a completely different wine, just completely different wine. Really even at every price point, every vintage is different wine. What's a little bit different now, is people are farming very smartly and when they have a challenging vintage they're being a little bit more strategic. But vintage is the variable, an equal variable to anything else in a bottle of wine and tends to be the normal variable in a world where the vendor stays same, the winemaker stays the same, the owners of the winery stay the same. The vintage is the biggest variable in that equation. It's about serving red wine to me room temperature is very acceptable. Some people like it a little bit 56 degrees, kind of a little coolness to it. A wine that needs to breathe. What the tannins in red wine do, is they make it bitter. So, the air, the oxygen coming in really opens it up and allows you to really taste the fruit. Think of it as a coat. It's almost like a wax coat underneath the actual flavors underneath. So, you need that oxygen. It's why, big, round, open circumferences on red wine are very common, oxygen getting in there. That's why you're swirling letting oxygen get in there, and you're starting to get away from that bitterness, and you start getting into that red fruit, that chocolate, those kind of flavors that so many people adore in red wine. Room temperature, one hour breathing is very acceptable. I'm a big fan of opening a bottle and just letting it sit on your counter. As a matter of fact, a little fun fact, a little trick. If you know you're drinking a red wine, if it's a Friday morning you're going to work and you know you're having some friends over for a nice Friday dinner, and you know you want to have a red wine, you just pop just the cork, it's a smaller circumference. You're not pouring it in here, and you just let it sit there the whole day. And when you pour it there's more flavor, more opening up. Definitely once you pour it into your glass really using oxygen much more. For me, the timing between pour and taste in a sparkling wine, tends to be for me 40 seconds. In a white wine, maybe a minute to two. In a red wine, sometimes as much as five minutes. I'm talking, I'm smelling, getting a lot of nose prime in my palette. I'm swirling, I'm swirling, I'm swirling because I want to break it down, I want to let my first experience with the wine be the biggest essence of that wine. We've decided to focus on Cabernet for this course, because I do think it's kind of the mothership of red wines. But, we decided instead of California, to go to Argentina. Really predicated on the value. What I really want to do is, I always worry that people think they need to spend a lot of money for red wine to get something of great value. The Maipe is a great example of that. Now, being the case, and I decided to use it as my muse in this course. Let's get into this wine. Maipe, 2013 reserve Cabernet. It's a $13 bottle of wine, aged for 12 months in oak. It's at the foot of the Andes in Argentina. The Jacana family that owns this Maipe wine, and have been making great wines in the region for a very long time. I'm just an enormously big fan of this producer, and I'm excited about tasting it for you. Looking at it you see very deep color, probably darker than I see in most $12-13 wines. Almost gives me the color of a $20-30 wine. That's something that Maipes, but Pinot Noir can be $80 and it's light in color. I'm talking about a Cabernet, in the context of Cabernet. On the sniffy sniff. I get a really interesting hint of strawberries, and cherries, what I would call red fruit, over dark fruit. I often talk about red fruit, versus black fruit. Red fruit being cherries, being strawberries. Black fruit being blueberries, blackberries. So, I'm getting a little more of a red fruit thing. I'm getting a little hint of oak, and I'm getting a lot of chocolate powder on the nose, on the initial palette attack, the initial flavor. There it is. There's initial flavor, there's a mid palette, and there's a finish. Think of wine as you taste it, almost like music. Sing with me. I'm going to taste this one again in a do, do, do, manner. Most important after you drink it, or spit it. Breaking it down to that crescendo allows me to think about the initial attack, the mid palate and the finish. Why is this important? As you become more complex in your wine drinking journey, the middle palette helps you understand how long do you think the wine is going to last. Because that's kind of a structure, its kind of the guts, it's almost like your core and working out. The finish is really a great indicator of how people are going to like it, how are they going to drink it, what are they going to think of it? An the initial attack, is really the entry where it's a first impression. That complex, that puzzle, is really how I think about the overall wine. Let's give it a whirl. This is back to being a complex complete wine. This has bitterness right now, especially actually as I'm talking. It's more dry, chalky, it tastes almost like charcoal-like component on the finish. But it started heavy with a lot of things like teaser on the nose. There's a lot of red fruit, and there was a little hint of chocolate. Though on the palate, I did taste a little more dark fruit. So, there was a blackberry component that I didn't get on the nose, on the palate. Very smooth but very dry. Almost typical to drink by itself because you pucker up so much. At this point, I can feel my natural tendencies. I was looking for the water, because it's really a dry great wine. But, what that makes me also understand is like my God, with a rib-eye, with big meals, or oily fatty foods this would be a tremendous compliment. Beautiful structure sour cherry, more than kind of ripe cherry, and I enjoyed the complexity. Again, I really want to stress this point home. $10 to $20 is an incredible category today in the wine world. This to me is a textbook example of a wine that brings an awful lot of value. I would argue most $25 don't bring this value at this $30 price space. So, great job by Maipe, and a great Cabernet for so many of you. So, obviously we focused on a Cabernet but so many other categories that I highly recommend you explore is Pinot Noir, both from Oregon, and from Central Otago, New Zealand and definitely from the old world in Burgundy, where the best Pinot Noirs are made by most people's standards. Also tremendously big fan of Rioja from Spain, and I highly recommend it. The super tough skins are tremendously exciting in fine wines from Tuscany in Italy, but for me Piedmont is really the region the Barolos, and the Dolchettos are incredibly fascinating wines made from the Nebbiolo grape. California Napa Valley Cabernet, a signature. For me, Washington Shiraz Syrah is extremely intriguing, and the Australian Shiraz's bring such great value. Those are some signature things that you should absolutely explore and try out. 8. Shopping: Wine stores can be very intimidating, especially when there's lots and lots of bottles. So, what do you do? There's two core things that I'm very passionate about. One, finding the merchant that runs the store or the wine person, and establishing a relationship. Telling them the kind of things you wine, buying two or three different wines, coming back and saying this was the one, whether you take a picture of it. Now that we have phones, people used to bring in the corks and the labels. This was the wine I liked. Then allowing that person to basically decide off of this red wine, I'm going to recommend that wine. So, the number one way, hand's down to navigate through a wine store consistently of what wine should I drink, is establishing a relationship with the merchant or the wine expert within that organization. What's the other one? Follow me here a little bit. The other one is the classic thing that so many people need to learn, if even though I talked about don't follow the scores, don't follow the ratings, shelf talkers are found throughout score doors. Now, you can look at the score, and you can go very basic like, "Ninety-one points, this is good," or you could really read the description. As you start building out your descriptions, and that's why we're here, you could start matching up the things you like to the descriptions of the wine. Reading shelf talkers is an absolute great way to navigate through a store. What should you not do? Here's the one thing you should not do. Here we go. Here we go. Boy, do I love this label? It's pretty. This is the scariest thing that happens, and I know a lot of you just laughed, a lot of you just laughed. Eighty percent of you just laughed. It is a stunning amount of people out there right now who are buying wines completely predicated on the label. My friends, there is something called marketing. There's marketing departments and designers that are knowing of these dynamics, and are completely designing backwards to get you to buy that wine. So, relationship, education, and reading, cool. Getting tricked by a pretty picture, nay. There's something very fascinating about this shelf right here, which is the shelf that wine library uses to recommend. Its favorite wines perception. This wine and this wine, roll with me here, and this wine, and this wine, and this wine. The key recommendations, all of them have a screw top. Way too many people haven't realized over the last half decade, the screw tops are now being put on top of the best wines in the world, not just the cheap wines. Because they don't ruin the wines, the corks can't get tainted. So, if you're worried about screw tops, stop. The one tip I have, if you're hosting a party, or you're buying gifts for the holiday season, is to buy wines in the $12-18 range. That's it. There's a million things I could tell you. I told you to find a merchant, look for scores. But when you get by 90 points scored wines for $13.88 a bottle, you're talking about enormous values in today's market. Twelve to $18 is the sweet spot if you want to serve quality wine, and is a general statement, but is a sweet spot if you want to serve wine for the holidays. If you want to buy a gift for someone, and you don't know what they want, which is so common, besides talking to the merchant, there's a specific question you should ask them. You should ask them, "What is the most popular wine in the $40 price range?" and not," Hey, now what do you want to sell? What is the biggest selling wine you have in the $40 price range?" You're using the collective of what people are actually buying to navigate you through that decision. When you go into a wine store, they're laid out in all different ways. This shop is laid out by varietal and region. In California, they are broken down by Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, the grape. But, they're also broken down by what region, Australia, Spain, Italy. So, usually, it's broken down by region, or grape varietal. Some new wave shops are breaking down between light, and sweet, and dry, and full-bodied. There's a couple of basic ways to go about it. This shouldn't be a real issue in your navigation. Every label is different, and so depending on the part of the world it comes from, it's going to navigate a little bit differently. I'm just going to pick this right here. You're looking for the name of the wine. You're looking for the year it came from, and you're looking for the grape varietal or the region. This is a Tempranillo, that is the grape, and other places you'll see something that says Chablis, which is the region it comes from, but the grape is Chardonnay. So, you've got to be a little bit educated. But, the core things you're looking for is the signature name of where it comes from, the year it came from, and what's the flavor. Sometimes the flavor is the grape, sometime the flavor is the region, and then on the back of the label, it breaks down the grape. In this scenario, it said the grapes, so that was easy. But, I'm going to show you one that's the region to just explain what I mean. So, right here, you see the producer, and that's easy to understand. You see the year, and that's easy to understand. But then, you see Chassagne-Montrachet, very intimidating kind of word and things of that nature. If you're educated to know that all white Burgundy is made of Chardonnay, then you know it's a Chardonnay. It doesn't say Chardonnay in the back of the label. I'm going to grab a different one just to show you. Sometimes it does. Sometimes they'll say it's from Bourgogne. But, knowing that's for the American market, they probably added the word Chardonnay. So, there is a little bit of knowledge that has been in the wine world. It's just the way it is. But for the most part, most wines like everything else I showed you, will have the producer, will have the vintage, and will have the grape varietal. If you look at a label, I'm just going to pick another random one for kicks-and-giggles, and you don't see the grape, you see the producer, Marc Colin. You see it's 2013, but you see it's a Saint-Aubin. What's a Saint-Aubin? What's in it? All the information in the world. If you Google Saint-Aubin, Saint-Aubin from Wikipedia will show up first. They'll tell you what grape it is, again, Chardonnay, a White Burgundy Chardonnay. You can do that for all our parts of the world. When you go to a wine store, have fun. Relax, they're not trying to steal your money. Wines are made better than they've ever been made before, it's tough to make a big mistake. Try all different things. Try a couple of recommendations from the merchant. Try a couple of the wines that are rated 90 points. Try a couple of wines you've never seen before. Try a couple of favorites. Just keep navigating, and don't cripple yourself with figuring it out. 9. Closing: All right. Now, you've watched me taste, but the best part about wine is tasting it yourself. So, let's get out there, pop a bottle, but actions speak louder than words. Get in the comments section and leave those reviews, and make sure you share your tasting notes. Sharing is caring. If you're a little further along in your wine journey, let me leave you with this one strong tidbit. Please keep trying different kinds of wine. Please continue to explore. I've been doing this for 25 years. A disproportionate out percentage of my life and I'm still learning every day because I'm tasting new things, I'm tasting new things, let me say one more time, "I'm tasting new things." So, you never had a gewurztraminer or a wine from the Sicily region in Italy, please keep pushing your boundaries to trying new things. For all of you students that want to take this further, great news. I put out 1000 episodes of Wine Library TV. Go to YouTube check it out. Jancis Robinson, one of the incredible authors and thought leaders. Jancis Robinson, sneak her out, read her books, incredible. Robert Parker, a wine spectator. Two of the great authorities of all time. And going to Instagram and checking out the hashtag wine, or other wine terminology, Pinot Noir or Cabernet and finding 20 to 30 people to follow consistently that are putting up notes and comments around the wines that they're drinking. Look, I've been known to throw a right hook. Check out @WineDeals, the Instagram handle where we give away the best wines at the lowest prices because Instagram is where all of your attention is going, and that's a wrap. We drank our wines. We learned some terminology. We share some moments. Had a lot of fun. This brings back tremendous memories, but more importantly, I feel very empowered because I hope I've started you on a journey that has brought me so much happiness, so much happiness, really, incredible amounts. I thank you for your attention. I know there's a million things you could be doing, but thank you so much for taking this course, my course. Thank you so much for supporting Skillshare, which I'm super passionate about, and I hope that this becomes the foundation, the spark, that allows you to explore one of the greatest worlds in our society. 10. Hungry for More?: