One aspect of wine appreciation that can be very confusing to newcomers is the notion that a beverage made from grapes will typically smell and taste like fruit other than grapes.
Especially for one raised on Welch’s grape juice, the first sip of wine can be a daunting experience. There’s no grape flavor, even the small amount of alcohol can seem harsh at first, and there’s little, if any, sweetness. That last factor can be particularly off-putting to the Soda Pop Nation.
As a result, wine falls into the category of “acquired taste.” It’s rare to find a young twentysomething who enjoys wine on a regular basis.
Part of it is social. We don’t start attending lavish dinner parties until we’re “coupled,” and corporate banquets with free-flowing, high-end vino are populated mainly by executives with years on the job.
Part of it is economic. Wine – good wine, that is – costs more than beer. And since the beverage selection for frat parties is more about quantity than quality, the keg is king.
But even when one sets the social and economic aspects aside, wine remains an acquired taste because it’s so darn complicated. It sometimes seems as if each answer about wine begs another question.
White or red? Dry or sweet? Light or full-bodied? And that doesn’t even begin to address the dozens of varieties one could encounter.
Because of all the variables, the best quality that one interested in wine could possess is an open mind. Forget about Welch’s. Forget about grapes. And open your mind to all the aroma and flavor impressions that wine offers.