What’s Your Wine Style?


Happy Wine Wednesday!

Yesterday, I received my Food & Wine Magazine for July:


The blonde on the cover is Jamie Malone from St. Paul, current chef at Sea Change in Minneapolis. I love when locals earn these accolades! I haven’t been to Sea Change yet. Have you? It’s not a brand new restaurant, but the fact that it’s seafood focused makes it a little difficult to venture there with my husband. I’ll have to check to see if they have any food for carnivores. Otherwise, it might be a girls’ night destination.


However, this isn’t a Twin Cities Restaurant Impression post. It’s Wine Wednesday and an article in this month’s Food and Wine Magazine intrigued me. When teaching at Wine Tastings, I find that people usually follow a general progression across the spectrum when they try and learn to enjoy new wines. We often start at the sweets and slowly work our way to the fruit forward reds. Somewhere after that comes the appreciation of more earthy and acidic wines.

But this chart got me thinking more about that.


(source: FoodandWine.com)

Unlike most people, however, when I first started drinking wine, I started with the reds. {Unless you want to count the Boones Farm I drank my first year of college. Yes, that is now in print.} Thanks to my friend Sally, I was introduced to the fruitier, mellower, more approachable Lambruscos, as well as Zinfandels. {I’m talking the red kind, of course. None of the silly pink stuff!} I did drink an occasional sweet Riesling from time to time. And if I was in a restaurant, as a new and young wine drinker, I knew that ordering Merlot was a safe bet without showing that I really didn’t know anything about wine. {And it still is. Merlot is a pretty easy-going middle-of-the-road wine that can go with most foods.}

When I became a Wine Consultant, I tasted different wines extensively because I had company. I also had focus. When we met for “classes” {aka drink wine together and discuss} and when I did Tastings, I was really focused on the wine, unlike when I’m out having dinner when I’m focused on the conversation. I concentrated on the color, the body, the aromas and the flavors. Tasting wines side-by-side or one after another in small quantities allowed me to understand the differences and nuances in different types of wine.

What I learned in the those first few months was that I enjoyed fruit forward reds with a hint of vanilla. This almost always meant a New World wine. {Read: Not European.} However, with such extensive tasting, fast forward almost ten years later and I’ve found that my palate range has grown. I’ve learned to appreciate many different varietals for what they are, rather than favoring just a few. Now I often find wines with too much vanilla and fruit-forwardness to be a bit “generic”. They lack character and uniqueness. I still like my zins, but they have to have to have some complexity and heft.

But this is what I’ve come to discover over time. You, however, may be able to determine what you like more simply. Read this article from Food and Wine that corresponds with the above chart to discover on what part of the spectrum you fall. Do you like light or rich wines? Do you want something rounder or tangier? What foods do you prefer? I think it’s genius. You might, too.

What types of wines are your favorite?

Are you willing to try something new?



2 responses »

  1. Great post Carrie. Love learning about your wine journey. And by the way…wasn’t it mandatory that every college student drink some Boones Farm wine? I am sure it was where & when I was in school.

  2. Pingback: Spooning the River… | Season It Already!

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