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The Haskell's
Essential Wine Guide

 

Wine Pairing Chart Download

Use this next time you need a tasty combo in a pinch!

Here’s what we’ll cover

Wine Vocabulary

wine vocabulary

Types of Wine

types of wine

Wine Serving Basics

serving wine

Pairing Food & Wine

pairing food and wine

The Wine People

the wine people

The enjoyment of wine dates back to eons ago–5400-5000 B.C., actually. It remains an important part of our culture to this day, uniting all who choose to bask in its covenant. The ability to share, repeat, and refine the creation of wine spurred an explosion of grape agriculture across the globe.

Today, there are more than 10,000 types of wine grapes around the world. With more than 10,000 types of wine grapes and thousands of wines to choose from, one might think it should be easy to find a bottle you love. However, the vast selection can be intimidating to new wine enthusiasts. So, where does one begin?

This guide is the perfect starting point. We will explore the different types of wine, highlighting their unique characteristics, the proper way to serve them, and suggest some delightful pairings for each type. Also, check out our annual Haskell’s 100 list of the best wines we’ve tasted that year for our best recommendations.

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Chapter 1: Wine Vocabulary

First things first, let's cover some wine vocabulary to educate you for the rest of the guide. Some terms are easy to grasp, while others may be more specialized.

Acidity: A natural component in wine that contributes to its freshness and crispness. Wines with higher acidity are perceived as lively and vibrant.

Astringent: Typical of high tannin wines, this means the wine leaves a puckery, drying sensation in the mouth. Typical of young Cabernets, Zinfandels, and other reds.

Balance: When all the components of a wine (acidity, tannins, fruit, etc.) harmonize well together.

Berrylike: Describes a wine with a distinct fruity character. Common fruits are blackberry (typical of Zinfandel), cherry (common in Pinot Noir), and black currant (Cabernet Sauvignon).

Body: This describes the density or viscosity of a wine. The body of a wine can be thin, light, medium, or full. You can check the body of a wine by swirling your glass and watching how the wine clings to the glass – the more it beads on the side of the glass, the closer it is to full-bodied.

Bouquet: This is similar to an aroma, but not quite the same. The bouquet refers to the complex scent that a wine develops over time during the aging process.

Corked: This refers to a wine that has been affected by a cork with a moldy or musty odor, resulting in off-flavors.

Crisp: A wine with refreshing and zesty acidity.

Cuvée: Indicates that the wine is a blend of different grape varieties, vineyard plots, or barrels. Winemakers often use the term to highlight a special or unique blend that represents the best expression of their winemaking style or the characteristics of a particular vintage.

Decanting: The process of pouring wine from its bottle into a decanter, often to allow it to breathe and develop flavors.

Dry: A wine with minimal residual sugar, not sweet.

Earthy: Wine with flavors reminiscent of the earth, such as mushrooms, truffles, or wet soil.

Finish: The taste and sensations that linger in your mouth after swallowing the wine. A long finish indicates a wine with lasting flavors.

Fruity: Wine with dominant fruit flavors, such as berries, citrus, or tropical fruits.

Lees: The sediment of dead yeast cells and grape particles left after fermentation that, when left in contact with wine, can enhance complexity, add a creamy texture, and contribute to its aging potential.

Legs: The rivulets or droplets that form and run down the inside of the wine glass after swirling, indicating the wine's viscosity.

Left Bank: Refers to the western side of the Bordeaux region of France, separated by the Gironde River, and includes the sub-regions Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Graves, Pessac-Léognan, and Sauternes.

Nose: This is the total of all the aromas and odors that can be smelled.

Oaky: Refers to wines that have been aged in oak barrels, imparting flavors like vanilla, spice, or caramel.

Right Bank: Refers to the eastern side of the Bordeaux region of France, separated by the Gironde River, and includes the sub-regions of Saint-Émilion and Pomerol.

Sommelier: A wine expert or professional who helps with wine service and selection in restaurants.

Sweet: A wine with noticeable residual sugar, which gives it a sugary taste.

Tannins: Compounds found in grape skins, seeds, and stems that create a drying and astringent sensation in the mouth. They are more noticeable in red wines.

Varietal: Refers to a wine made from a specific grape variety, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, or Merlot.

Vintage: The year in which the grapes were harvested to make the wine. A “vintage” wine is one made from grapes that were all grown and harvested in a single specified year. A “non-vintage” wine simply means that it was made from grapes that were harvested in different years.

Chapter 2: Types of Wine

Wines are defined by their types and regions of origin, each wine has its own distinguishing features. Broken down into the most basic characteristics, there are generally 4 categories wine can be placed into: red wine, white wine, rosé, and sparkling wine. Within these categories lie the different types that we will also get into.

 

Red Wine

Red wines can be bold, hearty, full-bodied, sweet, or dry. The grapes used to make red wine typically grow better in warmer climates, where they can ripen fully. The varying climates and soil types create different tastes. Here are some of the most common red wine types:

CH La Grand Roche Cabernet

CH La Grand Roche Cabernet ►

CH La Grand Roche Cabernet
$54.99

Cabernet Sauvignon

Like many wines, Cabernet Sauvignon originated in Bordeaux, France and is quite dominant in the Left Bank. It is a wine with a medium tannin and acidity rating, but it’s hearty and powerful. This varietal is typically oaked for 9-18 months, and can be aged longer once bottled. The Cabernet Sauvignon grape is grown in a variety of climates and regions around the world, so it’s taste varies. Generally speaking, it's full-bodied and carries notes of black cherry, black currant, blackberry, black pepper, tobacco, licorice, vanilla, and violet.

AguaribayMalbec

Aguaribay Malbec ►

Aguaribay Malbec
$12.99

Malbec

The Malbec grape also hails from the Left Bank of Bordeaux, France, and is considered one of the big varietals most commonly grown, but Argentina accounts for three-quarters of the world’s Malbec creation today. Crazy, right? Malbec is dry, medium to full-bodied, and medium to high-tannin and acidity. Malbec offers ripe berry treasure, which sommeliers may refer to as “jammy”–think plump cherries, blackberries, and succulent plums for good measure. But, a few Malbecs might lean a little more into oak aging, cocoa, coffee, tobacco, leather, and black pepper notes, which will give a smokey or spicy distinction to the wine. 

Frog’s Leap Merlot

Frog’s Leap Merlot ►

Frog’s Leap Merlot
$44.99

Merlot

Merlot is an easy drinking red for the average drinker–with tannins and acidity that ranks in the middle and medium dryness that isn’t too intimidating. You’ll taste sweet notes of strawberry, watermelon, cherry, raspberry, and plum when it is young, but you’ll notice more earthy notes when it is aged, like tobacco, leather, and coffee. If the Merlot is oaked, you’ll taste hints of vanilla. It is yet another grape varietal originating from Bordeaux, dominating the Right Bank. Though it is the third most common grape grown in the world today, France still produces most of the Merlot on the market.

Hawthorne Road Shea Vin Pinot Noir

Hawthorne Road Shea Vin Pinot Noir ►

Hawthorne Road Shea Vin Pinot Noir
$39.99

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir, originating from Burgundy, France, is a popular red wine among many wine enthusiasts, and it’s easy drinking for those stepping into red wines for the first time. It’s low in tannins and high in acidity. Although it’s easy to drink, it’s not as easy to grow Pinot Noir grapes. In fact, they’re one of the most difficult grapes to grow. It may be because of this struggle that Pinot Noir is held in such high regard and there are countless festivals centered around the grape worldwide. Those who make Pinot Noir call it red Burgundy. Pinot Noir is a dry, light- to medium-bodied red wine with tasting notes of cherry, cranberry, and raspberry. Sometimes, you’ll find it has a complex earthiness reminiscent of mushroom, tobacco, licorice, or clove.

Markham Syrah

Markham Syrah ►

Markham Syrah
$34.99

Syrah/Shiraz

It may sound like the name of your spunky aunt, but it’s actually delicious wine (or two). Syrah and Shiraz are full of flavor and best enjoyed when you get to know them a little bit. You may have heard of Syrah and Shiraz, but what exactly are they, and how are they different?
Just like other grape varietals, such as Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris, Syrah, and Shiraz are the same grape but have slightly different names because they make for different wines. Syrah is the name of the grapes and corresponding wines coming from France, so this is an Old World wine. Sometimes Syrah is produced in places besides France. 

However, in Australia–and a few other places considered by the wine community to be New World, like South Africa, Argentina, and the United States–it’s called Shiraz. The Syrah/Shiraz grape carries flavors of jammy fruits like blackberry, black cherry, blueberry, and boysenberry. Along with the big, jammy fruit flavors in the Syrah/Shiraz grape, these wines carry a variety of tasting notes as different as rich black olive, licorice, chocolate, and velvety smoothness. Think of Syrah and Shiraz as a family of very big-body, full, red wines. In general, Syrah wines will offer more tartness with the jammy fruit, as well as higher tannin texture. Many Shiraz wines offer a big, ripe fruit profile with a bit of that peppery spice, especially in the finish.

Markham Zinfandel

Markham Zinfandel ►

Markham Zinfandel
$34.99

Zinfandel

While it’s true that Zinfandel has strong modern-day ties to the United States, California in particular, it is believed to have originated in Croatia. It is a versatile red wine that can exhibit a wide range of flavors and characteristics depending on its style and origin. Zinfandel is generally a medium-bodied wine and is known for its ripe and jammy fruit flavors, often featuring notes of blackberry, raspberry, and plum. It often has a touch of spice, too. 

White Wine

White wines are known for their wide range of flavors, aromas, and textures, offering a refreshing and crisp profile. They are typically made from light-colored grapes, with the skins removed during the winemaking process, resulting in a paler color compared to red wines. White wines can exhibit diverse notes of citrus, tropical fruits, apples, pears, and floral undertones, often showcasing a balanced acidity that contributes to their lively and vibrant character.

1881 Cabernet

1881 Cabernet ►

1881 Cabernet
$59.99

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is the most popular white wine in the world because, although it originated in Burgundy, France, its grapes can be grown almost anywhere. It can be dry, full-bodied, crisp, or velvety. A young Chardonnay will feature notes of citrus, lemon, and apple, but a ripe Chardonnay will carry notes of pineapple, guava, and mango. When oak-aged, you’ll get notes of grass, cinnamon, wood, oak, vanilla, toast, butter, smoke, and marshmallow. 

Terraces Chenin Blanc

Terraces Chenin Blanc►

Terraces Chenin Blanc
$27.99

Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc, a diverse white wine grape with roots (literally) in the Loire Valley of France, has earned acclaim for its versatility in producing a wide array of wine styles. The winemaking process for Chenin Blanc involves both dry and sweet versions. When crafted into dry wines, fermentation in stainless steel or oak barrels preserves the grape's natural acidity, resulting in wines with zesty citrus flavors, green apple, and sometimes subtle floral and honeyed notes. On the other hand, when the grapes are left to develop botrytis (noble rot), they yield lusciously sweet and complex wines, boasting flavors of ripe stone fruits, honey, and an enticing richness. The grape's adaptability enables it to produce everything from bone-dry and refreshing whites to opulently sweet dessert wines. 

Cavatina Moscato

Cavatina Moscato ►

Cavatina Moscato
$14.99

Muscat (Moscato)

Muscat wines are generally on the low side in acidity, tannins, and alcohol. Clean to syrupy, golden sweetness is the name of the Muscat game. Sometimes, they’re a bit dry, but there’s no need to be ashamed if you like them really sweet. Like many grape varieties, Muscat wine’s humble story begins in France—the Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains grape family, to be precise. These small grapes have grown in the Southern Rhone Valley of France. These wines are intended to be enjoyed in their youth to preserve their vibrant fruitiness and floral aromas.

Pro tip: Don’t confuse Muscat and Moscato for the dry, savory white wine Muscadet. They are totally different. 

Four Graces Pinot Gris

Four Graces
Pinot Gris ►

Four Graces Pinot Gris
$21.99

Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris

If you’ve ever stood in the wine aisle, perplexed by the difference between Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris, you’re not alone. Many people don’t understand why or how they’re different and why their names are so similar. It’s pretty simple, actually. Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are made from the same grapes, but the names are different depending on the fruit’s place of origin. Pinot Gris originated in Burgundy, France. The name Gris (French for gray) represents the dusty gray, brown, and pink color of the grapes when they ripen. In Italy, the same grapes are called Pinot Grigio. Although both wines are made using the same grapes, their location’s climate and soil differ, creating different flavor profiles. Pinot Grigio is a dry wine with notes of green apple, lemon or lime citrus. It’s both crisp and refreshing. Pinot Gris is rich and zesty with notes of pear, honeysuckle, white peach, ginger, and spice.

Sittman Riesling

Sittman Riesling ►

Sittman Riesling
$12.99

Riesling

A celebrated white wine variety originating from Germany, Riesling has captured the hearts of wine enthusiasts worldwide with its diverse range of styles and exceptional aging potential. The Riesling grape is known for its naturally high acidity, which lends vibrancy to the wine. The winemaking process typically involves fermentation in stainless steel tanks to preserve the grape's delicate fruit flavors, although some producers may use oak barrels for added complexity. The flavor profile of Riesling can vary widely, from bone-dry to lusciously sweet, offering an array of aromas including citrus, green apple, peach, and floral notes. In the sweeter styles, you may find honey, apricot, and tropical fruit flavors. Its hallmark characteristic is the interplay of sweetness and acidity, which creates a harmonious balance on the palate.

Tobias Sauvignon Blanc

Tobias Sauvignon
Blanc ►

Tobias Sauvignon Blanc
$22.99

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc grapes may have originated from Bordeaux, France, but they’re grown all around the world now. Since the grape is grown in various regions, picked at different times, and produced differently, you’ll find a range of flavors when selecting bottles. Flavors in a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc will range from zesty lime to sweet peach depending on the grapes’ ripeness when picked. You’ll also pick up flavors of green apple, guava, nectarine, and passion fruit. In terms of aromas, you may smell notes of bell pepper, jalapeño, grass, basil, and celery.

Rosé

Contrary to what you may have heard, Rosé IS NOT just red and white wine mixed together–in fact, making rosé that way is so frowned upon that it's illegal to call a red and white wine mix "Rosé" in most of France. Rosé is a bit different in that there really aren’t specific “Rosé” grapes like there are red and white grapes. Instead, Rosé is typically made with red grape varieties like Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Zinfandel using a process that involves very minimal contact between the grape juice and the grape skins, which is where most of the color and tannins in red wines come from. The beautiful blush color of rosé comes from that brief contact with the grape skins during the winemaking process. Because of these distinctions, rosé wines are best classified as being dry, semi-dry, or sweet.

CDR Rose Louis Bernard

CDR Rose
Louis Bernard ►

CDR Rose Louis Bernard
$18.99

Dry Rosé

Many of the grape varietals that produce dry rosé hail from the Côte-du-Rhône wine region of France, specifically, the Tavel Provence. Dry rosé wines have minimal residual sugar, and they are crisp and refreshing due to their higher acidity. Many find them more delicate and lighter in body than sweeter rosé wines, showcasing vibrant fruit flavors, like strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, and citrus. 

La Crema Pinot Noir Rose

La Crema Pinot Noir Rose ►

La Crema Pinot Noir Rose
$27.99

Semi-Dry Rosé

Semi-dry rosé wines have a slightly higher residual sugar content than dry rosé wines, offering a touch of sweetness that balances the wine's acidity, resulting in a more rounded and approachable taste. Semi-dry rosé wines can display a broader range of fruit flavors, including berries and stone fruits. Because “semi-dry” encapsulates a wide variety of grape varietals, it is hard to pinpoint where the majority of semi-dry rosé comes from, but it is common to see them come out of the Loire Valley and Provence regions.

Bartenura Sparkling Moscato Rose

Bartenura Sparkling Moscato Rose ►

Bartenura Sparkling Moscato Rose
$19.99

Sweet Rosé

Naturally, sweet rosé wines have a higher residual sugar content because it’s bottled and distributed before all the grape sugar converts into alcohol in the fermentation process, giving them a noticeable sweetness on the palate. They can have rich and ripe fruit flavors, often with prominent notes of ripe strawberries, cherries, melon, and sometimes tropical fruits. 

Not surprisingly, it is most commonly produced in the United States because we did what we do best: make things sweeter. The most common sweet rosé wine is White Zinfandel, which was actually created on accident by Sutter Home wine producers in the 1970s. They were trying to create a more intense-tasting Red Zinfandel by removing some of the liquid shortly after beginning to soak the grape skins to create a more concentrated flavor. Instead of wasting the pinkish liquid that they drained, the producers decided to bottle it and sell it to the public. As they say, the rest is history!

Sparkling Wine

We’ll keep this somewhat brief since you can head over to our Full Guide to Champagne and Sparkling Wine for a comprehensive look into the world of bubbly. Before we dive in, let's cover a few more vocabulary words specific to the flavor profiles in the sparkling wine category:

  • Brut nature/extra brut: bone dry
  • Brut: dry
  • Extra-sec/extra dry: medium dry
  • Sec: slightly sweet
  • Demi-sec: sweet

There is one thing that all sparkling wine has in common: the bubbles, which are created through a double fermentation process: first, to create the still base wines, and second, to produce carbon dioxide gas that dissolves into the wine, creating the bubbles and that lovely cork “pop” we all love.

Pere Mata Cupada Cava

Pere Mata
Cupada Cava ►

Pere Mata Cupada Cava
$19.49

Cava

Cava, Spain's renowned sparkling wine, is a delightful bubbly option. Crafted primarily in the Penedès region using the traditional method (Méthode Champenoise), Cava undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle, resulting in its signature fine bubbles. The grape varieties used to make Cava include Macabeo, Xarel·lo, and Parellada, which form the backbone of the blend, along with other permitted grapes like Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. This combination contributes to Cava's unique flavor profile, characterized by crisp citrus notes, green apple, delicate floral hints, and a subtle yeasty aroma due to the extended time spent on the lees during aging. 

G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge

G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge ►

G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge
$75.99

Champagne

First and foremost, it's important to understand that all champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is champagne. They may both have bubbles, but true champagne only comes from the Champagne region of France. As we know, the French don’t mess around when it comes to their wine. Similar to the laws they have in place over the classification of rosé, it is actually illegal to label sparkling wine made outside of the Champagne region as champagne in France. This means that there are only a handful of grape varietals allowed to be used in champagne production–Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay most commonly. There are also rules for the techniques used in making “true champagne.” The Méthode Champenoise is the traditional French method used to make champagne. After the base wine undergoes its first fermentation, it is bottled with a mixture of yeast and sugar in a process whereby wine undergoes a second fermentation process in the bottle to produce carbon dioxide that gives champagne its soft, delicate mouthfeel. 

Champagne has a distinctive flavor influenced by the chalkiness of the soil in the Champagne region, giving it that hint of minerality, but they can range all the way from brut nature to demi-sec. Most bottles will have this on the label though so you can generally know what to expect. Due to a number of factors, a bottle of true champagne can cost a pretty penny, but the care used in crafting each bottle of champagne makes for a truly decadent experience. 

Santa Margherita Prosecco

Santa Margherita Prosecco ►

Santa Margherita Prosecco
$24.99

Prosecco

Say you’re not willing to splurge on a true champagne–that is absolutely okay! There are plenty of other sparkling wines to choose from, like prosecco! Reigning from the Veneto region of northern Italy, prosecco tends to be a bit more affordable simply because of the ability to keep up supply, and the less rigorous production/fermentation methods used. The main grape variety used for Prosecco is Glera, which imparts fruity and floral aromas to the wine.

Chapter 3: Wine Serving Basics

While the quality of wine largely relies on how it is made, the art of aging wine is not something that should be glossed over, and there are certainly things we can do as consumers to ensure that we are making the most of every bottle. Here, we will dive into everything that happens after the wine is bottled, and how best to serve the different kinds of wine to help them reach their full potential. 

Aging

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be a wine pro to age wine properly. When most people think of a “wine cellar,” they think of an extravagant setup with copious amounts of space, but you can easily start and stock a small-scale “wine cellar” in your home. Even if you’re not interested in starting your own collection of wine, you should still probably know how to store the bottles you have on hand properly to keep them fresh.

wine storage

The aging potential of a wine is influenced by several key factors, which collectively determine how long a wine should be aged before it reaches its optimal drinking condition. These factors include: 

While there are several factors that help determine the aging process of any given wine, there are some general timeframes that most wines in a certain varietal should be enjoyed within:

Red

White

Rosé

Rosé wines are generally meant to be enjoyed relatively young, and they do not typically improve with extended aging. Unlike some red and white wines, rosés are made to highlight their youthful freshness, vibrant fruit flavors, and crisp acidity. Most rosé wines are released shortly after the vintage and are best consumed within the first year or two of their release to capture their primary fruit characteristics.

As rosés are made from red grape varieties with limited skin contact during the winemaking process, they have less tannin and structure compared to red wines. This lack of tannin means that rosés do not have the same aging potential as some red wines. Of course, there may be some exceptions for certain high-quality and age-worthy rosés made using specific winemaking techniques. If you’re looking for a general rule of thumb, drink rosé wines while they are young to fully appreciate their vibrant and lively character.

Sparkling Wine

chilled wineTemperature

The serving temperature of wine plays a crucial role in enhancing its aromas, flavors, and overall enjoyment. There are three main temperature ranges to pay attention to: chilled (40-45˚F), cellar-cooled (46-55˚F), and almost room temperature (56-65˚F). NOTE: Household refrigerators are generally set at 40°F, which means that it will take a bottle about 3 hours to chill. Leaving wine in the fridge for a long period of time can cause the cork to stick and the wine to oxidize. Never chill wine in the freezer or store wine in the refrigerator, chill wines on the day you intend to serve them. To chill wine quickly, place the bottle in a bucket of water and ice for about fifteen minutes.

Here are general guidelines for the recommended serving temperatures of different types of wines:

Red

Most red wines are best enjoyed at almost room temperature or cellar-cooled. Chilling can dull the flavors, especially in aged wine.

Cellar-cooled: Lighter-bodied red wines like Beaujolais Nouveau and Pinot Noir are best served between 55-60°F. The slightly cooler temperature allows their fresh and lively fruit flavors to come out.

Almost room temperature: Medium-to-full-bodied wines like Amarone, Barolo, Brunello, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandel, and Rioja are all best served between 60-65°F to reveal the complexities of the wine.

White

While cooler temperatures can dull red wine, the opposite is true for white wines. Most white wines are best served chilled or cellar-cooled.

Chilled: Lighter-bodied wines like Gewürztraminer, Muscat, Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc are great when served between 45-50°F for their crisp, refreshing, fruity, and floral notes to truly shine.

Cellar-cooled: Medium and fuller-bodied white wines like Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Falanghina, and Viognier do better between 50-55°F to showcase complex, aromatic, or oaky characteristics.

Rosé

Rosé wines are best served slightly chilled, typically between 40-50°F. The cooler temperature accentuates their refreshing fruit notes.

Sparkling

Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, and other sparkling wines are best served well chilled to around 38-45°F. The colder temperature preserves the effervescence and crispness of the wine.

Selecting a Wine Glass

Now that you know which temperature to serve your wine at, which glass is best for each type, and does it matter? In short, yes, it matters, and no, it’s not overkill or just for looks. There are arguably four main types of wine glasses to suit different kinds of wine, and some of those have three or four subtypes. Depending on what you’re drinking, you want different shapes of wine glasses to highlight the features of each different type of wine. 

wine glasses

Red Wine Glasses

The bulbous shape is often the identifying factor of red wine glasses. They are quite large to enhance the bouquet and flavor of red wines, but that does not mean that they should be filled to the brim. The general rule of thumb is to fill it ⅓ of the way because the whole point of these large glasses is to allow the wines to breathe! There are two main subcategories of red wine glasses named after two major French wine regions, but they largely have to do with how tapered the rim is.

Bordeaux (claret)  wine glass: These glasses were made for, you guessed it, Bordeaux wines! But, you don’t only have to use them for Bordeaux wines–they are great for any bold reds that need to “breathe” more, but red Bordeaux wines tend to have these characteristics. In simple terms, they are big glasses made for big wines. Their size and slight taper allow you to swirl the wine which will release subtle aromas. A less tapered rim also directs the aromas toward your nose more effectively as you drink, and they are typically taller to ensure the wine hits the back of your mouth directly to maximize flavor. Use a Bordeaux wine glass to serve Amarone, Brunello, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Syrah/Shiraz, and Zinfandel. 

Burgundy wine glass: Compared to the Bordeaux glass, the Burgundy glass is shorter and much more bulbous. It is intended for the slightly lighter and aromatic red wines produced in the Burgundy region. The shape allows for you to get a good swirl, resulting in more aeration, and for the flavor to be dispersed on the tip of the tongue when you sip. This is important in order for the wine's delicate nuances to unfold, emphasizing its floral and fruit aromas. The best wines to pour into a Burgundy glass include lighter varieties such as Beaujolais Nouveau, Barolo, Pinot Noir, and Rioja.

White Wine Glasses

White wine glasses, typically seen as the “universal” wine glass, are more straightforward than red wine glasses. The difference lies mainly in the bowl where it features more of a U-shape upright design. This is simply because white wines do not need to be aerated like red wines do. White wine glasses are designed to enhance the freshness and aromatic qualities of white wines. The narrower bowl helps preserve the wine's delicate flavors and maintain its crispness and acidity. You can use a standard white wine glass for most white wine varieties.

Champagne Flutes

Champagne flutes are long and narrow glasses with a tall, slender bowl. The shape encourages the formation of bubbles and preserves the wine's effervescence. Champagne flutes are designed to showcase the lively bubbles and lightness of sparkling wines like Cava, Champagne, and Prosecco. The narrow shape helps retain the wine's carbonation.

Dessert Wine Glass

Dessert wine glasses can vary in shape, but they are typically smaller than standard wine glasses. Some dessert wine glasses have a tulip shape, while others may resemble smaller versions of red or white wine glasses. Dessert wine glasses are designed to serve sweet wines like Port, Sherry, and late-harvest wines. The smaller size encourages sipping and savoring these sweet and often intense wines.

Now that you have your wine in the proper glass, see Jack’s tips on tasting/grading wines:

Simplified Serving Tips

  1. In general, serve white wine before red.
  2. Serve your light-bodied wines before your full-bodied wines.
  3. Good wine should be served before great wine.
  4. Young wine should be served before old wine.
  5. Be sure to serve your dry wine before sweet. (Exceptions – for a first course of foie gras, serve a late harvest Sauterne or Gewürtztraminer.)
  6. You can cleanse your palate before drinking a different wine by rinsing your mouth out with water.
  7. A lighter dish should be served with a light-bodied wine, and a heavier dish should be served with a full-bodied wine.
  8. White wine for fish, shellfish, white meat, poultry, and veal.
  9. Red wine for dark meat, chicken, duck, tuna, and salmon.
  10. Is your dish made with cream sauce? Choose white wine.
  11. If you’re cooking a dish with wine, drink the same wine you cooked with.
  12. Sparkling wines can be enjoyed at any time during the meal.


READ MORE: How to Host a Private Wine Tasting in Your Home

Wine Recipes

Almost everybody loves a good Sangria or punch!

Fritzy Spritzy Sangria
Vivian’s White Sangria

Switch it up with a Sparkling Sangria

2 bottles of Casa Farelli Prosecco
1 cup brandy
1/2 cup Gran Torres orange liqueur
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1 orange, thinly sliced
1 pint raspberries
1 lime, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Instructions: simply place all ingredients in a large pitcher, mix well, and enjoy!

Here are more refreshing, fruity wine cocktails.

Cool Off With Sweet Italian Red Wine Ice Cream

6 large egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweet red wine, such as Red Moscato
Instructions: In a heatproof bowl, mix the egg yolks. In a saucepan, combine the cream, milk, and sugar, and bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, about 4 minutes. Gradually whisk the hot cream into the egg yolks; return the mixture to the saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Do not let the custard boil or it will curdle. Strain the custard into a bowl. Stir in the red wine. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 1 hour. Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Cover and store in the freezer until serving time.

See more wine ice cream recipes here.

Test Your Baking Skills With Italian Wine Cookies

1 cup oil
3 1/4 cup flour
1 cup red wine
1 cup sugar
1 heaping tbsp. shortening
Instructions: blend ingredients together and knead. Shape into a ball. Sprinkle flour and roll out dough. Use cookie-cutter designs or make them into small pretzel shapes. Dip one side in sugar. Place sugar side up on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350° for approximately 10-15 minutes, or until lightly brown underneath.

Try our other wine dessert recipes, too!

Chapter 4: Pairing Food & Wine

There are a couple important things to remember here. First is that the “best” wine pairings are very subjective, but if you’re looking for ideas, we’ve got them! Second, pairing wine with food doesn’t have to be reserved for fancy occasions. There are plenty of wines to pair perfectly with casual-fare to enhance any meal. 

food pairings

Red

Red wines tend to pair well with richer and heartier dishes because their robust flavors can stand against a heavy meal without being overpowered.

 

Amarone
Pair with: Osso buco, aged cheeses (Parmesan, Pecorino), hearty stews.

Barolo
Pair with: Truffle risotto, grilled steak, aged cheeses.

Beaujolais Nouveau
Pair with: Charcuterie, roast turkey, light pasta dishes.

Brunello
Pair with: Roast pork, grilled lamb chops, wild game dishes.

Cabernet Sauvignon
Pair with: Grilled or roasted red meats (steak, lamb), hearty stews, aged cheddar or blue cheese.

Malbec
Pair with: Grilled meats (beef, pork, game), empanadas, spicy barbecue dishes.

Merlot
Pair with: Roast chicken, pasta dishes with tomato-based sauces, mushroom risotto.

Pinot Noir
Pair with: Roasted poultry (chicken, turkey), grilled salmon, earthy mushroom dishes.

Rioja
Pair with: Spanish tapas, grilled lamb, paella, chorizo.

Syrah/Shiraz
Pair with: Barbecued meats, lamb chops, spicy Indian or Moroccan dishes.

Zinfandel
Pair with: Barbecue ribs, pizza, burgers, spicy sausages.

White

White wines generally go well with lighter and more delicate dishes due to their fresh and crisp characteristics.

Chardonnay
Pair with: Roast chicken, creamy pasta dishes, lobster, buttery seafood (e.g., crab), dishes with a touch of oak (e.g., grilled salmon with dill).

Chenin Blanc
Pair with: Spicy Asian cuisine, grilled shrimp, roasted chicken, pork dishes, dishes with honey glaze or sauce.

Falanghina
Pair with: Grilled fish, seafood risotto, pasta dishes with tomato and basil, white pizza.

Gewürztraminer
Pair with: Spicy Indian or Thai curries, Asian stir-fries, aromatic cheeses, ginger-infused dishes.

Muscat
Pair with: Fruit desserts (e.g., peach cobbler), spicy Indian dishes, foie gras, light salads with fruits.

Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio
Pair with: Light seafood (e.g., oysters, grilled prawns), chicken piccata, pesto pasta, caprese salad.

Riesling
Pair with: Spicy Thai or Indian cuisine, sushi and sashimi, grilled pork chops, apple or pear desserts.

Sauvignon Blanc
Pair with: Goat cheese salad, grilled asparagus, seafood ceviche, light and fresh vegetable dishes.

Viognier
Pair with: Spicy Cajun dishes, Moroccan tagine, smoked salmon, roasted butternut squash.

Have a sweet tooth? Here’s everything you need to know about pairing white wine with chocolate.

Rosé

Rosé wines are incredibly versatile and can pair well with a wide range of foods, but the sweetness level of a rosé wine can significantly impact its food pairing options. Here are some suggested pairings for dry, semi-dry, and sweet rosé wines.

Dry
Dry rosé wines are versatile and can pair well with a wide range of foods. Pair with: fresh vinaigrette salads, seafood, roasted poultry, Mediterranean cuisine, and light appetizers like bruschetta.

Semi-Dry Rosé
Semi-dry rosé strikes a balance between dry and sweet, offering a lot of flexibility in pairing options. Pair with: semi-spicy dishes like mild curries or fusion cuisine and grilled meats like pork chops and lamb, adding a touch of fruitiness.

Sweet Rosé
Sweet rosé wines pair best with foods that can stand up to their sweetness or complement their fruity profile. Pair with: spicy and spicy-sweet dishes like spicy glazed chicken or Korean BBQ. It is also great for lighter fare like soft cheese trays with fruit, but sweet rosé’s match made in heaven are really fruity desserts like tarts and pies.

Sparkling Wine

Really, sparkling wines pair best with celebrations! If you’re looking to pair a great everyday bottle of bubbles with a dish though, we’ve got some suggestions there too.

Cava
Pair with: Spanish tapas, seafood dishes like calamari and shrimp, sushi and sashimi, and soft cheeses.

Champagne
You may be tempted to bust out a bottle of champagne for a mimosa brunch, but we’d recommend saving your nicer bottles of bubbly like champagne to be enjoyed on their own. Pair it with oysters and shellfish, light poultry dishes, hors d'oeuvres, and creamy dishes like a lobster bisque.

Prosecco
We think prosecco is the perfect bubbly option for mimosas and recommend using a brut/brut nature option so it doesn’t get too sweet when topped off with orange juice (or another mixer). When pairing with food, though, prosecco is great with light pasta and risotto, prosciutto and melon, or a nice crumbly appetizer like bruschetta and crostini.

Chapter 5: The Wine People

We’re Minnesota’s “Wine People” for a reason. We understand that wine is a celebration of the people and the history in each bottle. We’re proud to have been Minnesota’s family connection to the world of wines and spirits since 1934. Our founder, Fritzi Haskell, was the first person to ever introduce the US to French wines when the 18th Amendment was finally repealed at the very first Haskell’s location on 7th Street in Minneapolis. Since then, we have enjoyed many Minnesota milestones that would make our founder proud as the wine and spirits vendor of the Twin Cities, but our greatest pleasure comes from serving our valued customers. 

By shopping at Haskell's for your wine, beer, and spirits, you’re not only supporting the local economy, you’re able to shop a vast selection of international and Minnesota favorites. We understand that every sip is an opportunity to savor a moment, celebrate an occasion, or unwind after a long day. No matter the occasion, big or small, trust Haskell’s to get you what you need, hassle-free, every time.

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