Educating your palate is easier than you think and will enhance your enjoyment of many different wines.
The white wines
- Chardonnay is a very versatile wine grape. Its flavour and aromas are easily influenced by where it’s grown and how it’s made. Fruit flavours range from apple and lime in cooler climates to tropical fruits in warmer places. When barrelled in oak, it takes on a richness characterised by honey and butter flavours. When barrelled in stainless steel, it often retains more mineral flavours and comes across as fresher on the palate.
- Riesling is a crisp, clean wine with green apple, pear and lime flavours. With age, Riesling takes on honey flavours and attractive oily aromas.
This wine pairs nicely with spicy foods, poultry and pork. Try it with Thai food.
- Pinot Gris is made from grapes that generally produce different styles of wine depending on where the grapes are grown and how they’re handled in the cellar. The Italian style (Pinot Grigio) tends to be fresh, crisp and refreshing.
Sample either style with seafood and pasta dishes, vegetarian food and poultry.
- Sauvignon Blanc is a fresh, crisp, aromatic wine with grapefruit and grassy flavours. Sauvignon Blanc is a food-friendly wine that goes well with many seafood, poultry and vegetable dishes.
The red wines
- Merlot is a soft, supple wine with nice fruit flavours of plums and blackberries and occasionally mint, chocolate and eucalyptus flavours and aromas. Typically, it is ready to drink earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon, which sometimes needs a few years for its astringent tannins to mellow.
- Cabernet Sauvignon is more assertive than Merlot, with greater ageing potential. It can have flavours of blackberries, plums and blackcurrants. Aged in oak, Cabernet Sauvignon can take on flavours of vanilla, cedar, chocolate, and coffee. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are very nice with meat dishes such as beef and lamb.
- Pinot Noir, a notoriously difficult grape to grow, made its mark initially in Burgundy, France. The grape continues to deliver single-varietal wines that are among the best in the world. Pinot Noirs are delicate wines that taste of red fruits such as cherries, raspberries and strawberries. With age, flavours and aromas become more complex, developing earthy notes like mushrooms and decaying leaves. Burgundy in particular is noted for developing these earthy flavours. Pinot Noir is a versatile food wine, great with poultry, salmon, meat and vegetable dishes.