Decent quality wines have this crazy ability to transport you to the time (and place) they were made. While many other food products can do this, even the novice can quickly identify regional differences in wine. For this reason, wine is one of the few agricultural products that reveals its environment, or terroir. Of course, not all wines have this ability. There are many wine products that are made in such a way that will remove all but hints of their origin. For some wine drinkers, this is the real difference between a good and a great wine.
1. It’s an acquired taste
I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that wine isn’t naturally sour and sometimes bitter in taste. In truth, it’s this balance of fruitiness, acidity, bitterness, and body that makes wine such a subtle-yet-captivating beverage. More than likely, if you’re into wine, you’ve become increasingly welcome to the idea of drinks that are well beyond most western palates - from oolong tea to Junmai Daiginjo (sake).
2. It’s good for you in small doses
While having a glass of wine isn’t like an hour at the gym, wine has been shown to have benefits in small amounts. By small amounts we mean, if you’re a woman you can only have a glass a day, and men should have no more than 2. With low intake such as this, long term studies have shown that wine drinkers have the lowest mortality rates (even compared to non-drinkers). If that’s not enough reason to love wine, I don’t know what is.
3. Zillions of aromas and flavors
If you taste a glass of Chardonnay grape juice, it tastes nothing like the wine! During the process of fermentation, chemical processes occur that create aroma compounds. There are hundreds of these compounds found in wine and many of them are identical to flavors and aromas in other foods. When you learn how to taste, you not only improve your ability to identify quality wine, but it improves your ability to taste overall. Most experienced wine drinkers have much more sensitive palates than the average.
4. No matter how deep you go, there’s more to know (and that’s not a bad thing)
As much as wine can be simple to learn when you’re starting, it is a deep topic. The true aficionados have long known that it is an impossible feat to know all that there is to know about wine. Each bottle is an opportunity to delve into a cultural tradition and history. Each wine variety is a small piece of the earth’s geology and biology. If you hope to never stop learning, then start drinking wine.
Image credits: Leonardo Sanches