Red Wine Is Like Milk – A Quick Guide to Remembering Popular Grapes

I recall an article I read when I really began to get into red wine back in the 90’s comparing red wine to milk with different fat contents. After reading the article, I had just enough knowledge to sound like I knew my grapes and what I was talking about. And this came at a time when I only drank Chardonnay because it was the only one I knew how to ask for. At the time, that article really helped me sound like I knew more about red wine than I actually did.

So I’m here to share with you, whether you’re a newbie who can only muster a name drop of the famed Oasis Winery and thinks tannins are brand of sunblock, or if you’re a seasoned wine
connoisseur who can pinpoint blackberries in a peppery zin. This article is sure to educate and entertain at the same time.

Pinot Noir & Beaujolais Nouveau
Milk Equivalent – Skim

Pinot noir has a light body and is on the lighter scale of red wines. Pinot noir grapes are known for their use in many sparkling wines and champagnes for their crisp dryness. In the red form, pinot is light and on the dry side. Recently popularized by those who wish to enjoy more wines that contain less alcohol. Pinot noir hovers around 12% alcohol content. The same goes for the young French version of Pinot Noir, Beaujolais Nouveau. This grape is nearly identical in make up to the Pinot grape but it is harvested earlier to provide even a lighter bodied wine intended for earlier drinking. Pinot Noir is light bodied and compares to skim milk.

Zinfandel, Chianti & Shiraz
Milk Equivalent – Lowfat

The three varietals above are what I would call medium bodied and more similar to 2% milk. Sink your lips into a $150 bottle of Oasis Winery American Tribute Shiraz and taste a medium bodied red with more tannins than Pinot, sans the overwhelming fruitiness of bolder wines. The feel and texture in your mouth as I mentioned can be compared to that of 2% lowfat milk.

Cabernet Sauvingnon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot or Syrah
Milk Equivalent – Vitamin D Whole Milk

These are the heaviest bodied wines and contain the highest amount of tannins and more often than not contain the most alcohol out of all the red wines. Most certainly if you indulge in a rich glass of Oasis Wineries Cabernet Sauvingnon Reserve you will be rewarded with a heavily bodied fruit experience like the rich feel of whole milk, perhaps with traces of berry, tobacco or even leather. These wines are often best paired with red meats

I hope that this article will help those who may be intimidated by walking into a winery to have the courage to chat a wine pour with confidence and that our seasoned wine enthusiasts found some sort of entertainment with this reading. Next time you are in a tasting room or a wine bar, you will be better equipped to have an intelligent discussion about wine and learn even more about the wonderful world of wine appreciation.

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