[an error occurred while processing this directive] Wine Tasting and Selection for Beginners - Steven and Chris

Wine Tasting and Selection for Beginners


Wine snobs can make selecting a bottle overly complex, but fear not! Cocktail Deeva Dee Brun dropped by to share the basics so we’ll never be intimidated by the wine list again!

Wine Bottles
Photo Credit: iStock.com


Body: This is the impression of weight on one's palate: light, medium, and full are common body qualifiers.

Tannins: In grapes, tannins are found primarily in the skins and pits. Tannins are astringent and provide structure to a wine; over time tannins die off, making wines less harsh.

Dry: A wine containing no more than 0.2 per cent un-fermented sugar.

Sweet: More than 0.2 fermented sugar.

Varietals: Types of Wine


Cab Franc: Goes well with pasta or a steak

Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine is often considered one of the world’s best varieties. It’s often a blend of Cab Franc and Merlot and pairs wonderful with red meat and Sunday night television.

Pinot Noir: One of the hardest wines to grow and rarely blended. People often refer to this wine as being fresh and delicate. Generally has a fruity nose and the tannins are soft, which makes this red a much 'easier' drinking red. However unlike Merlot, it has body to it.

Blended: A process whereby two or more grape varieties are combined after separate fermentation.

Merlot: This wine is generally called "easy to drink".  I myself call it "red water". If you are thinking about getting into reds you can start here but don't stay too long.

Shiraz/Syrah: This wine pairs well with meat! Beef, especially and dill pickle chips! This wine is often described as peppery and berry filled. Notes of black berries and spice are often used in the making.


Sauvignon Blanc: Green shinned grape wine originating from the Bordeaux region of France. Generally lighter on the palate than a Chardonnay. To me a good “Sauv” is like the little black dress of white wines, always a crowd pleaser. Pairs great with fish, poultry and salad.

Chardonnay: Considered a "wider-bodied" wine, meaning the weight on the palette. It is now being made less oak-y and even un-oaked, which is my favorite kind. This wine goes great with fish chicken and salt and vinegar chips.

Riesling: Generally a slightly sweeter wine originally from Germany but now made all over the world. It is a lighter wine with some acidity to balance the sweetness.


Sparking Wine: Is simply wine with carbonation to make it fizzy. This can happen in two ways:
1) One from fermentation
2) Carbonation
When people think sparkling they usually think white or rose but you can also get faboosh sparkling reds.

Champagne: Can only be called Champagne if it comes from Champagne France. Carbonation is created naturally from fermentation.

Prosecco: This is a sparkling Italian wine that is a great wallet-friendly option for some bubbles at any occasion. Perfect for Mimosas!

Sweet Wines

Late harvest Riesling: Just like it sounds, grapes left on the vine longer. It's a sweeter wine, great with dessert, cheese.

Different Glasses for Wines

Red glasses are wider and have bigger bowls for aeration.
White wine glasses are more petite, with narrower bowls.
Champagne flutes are tall and narrow to preserve the bubbles.

image of Dee Brun's list of favourite wines.
Credit: Cocktail Deeva's website.


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