Man in a basement with wine bottles

Wine literacy: learning to choose wine for a specific occasion

Fortunately, there are plenty of occasions to enjoy one of the most exquisite drinks - a promotion, a get-together with friends, a holiday, a date, the birth of an heir or just a lyrical mood... But not everything is as simple as it seems at first sight: a true wine connoisseur simply must know under what circumstances it is appropriate to drink, for example, a light red and under what circumstances - an aged white.

In order never to get into embarrassing situations related to this issue, we strongly recommend you to get acquainted with the main rules of wine drinking in certain situations. Well, let's get to it!


Wine at a picnic with friends

Given the fact that the beginning of a picnic usually falls in the first half of the day, and the fact that such events take place in an informal setting, it is necessary to choose a wine that can be drunk at a gulp, but it will not knock you down after one bottle, and only pleasantly cheers up and stimulates your appetite. In this case the ideal choice is a white wine, for which the grapes were grown in a cool climate and harvested before they were fully ripe.

The main advantages of this wine are its freshness and acidity, which has a refreshing effect. The producer does almost nothing to enrich the taste of this wine, that is why its price is quite low and it is as close to the wild as possible. This wine is almost colorless and has a very low alcohol content of 11-13%. In the aroma of such wines solo notes of citrus, green grass and the taste of green apple.

Above all, pay attention to the French Muscadet, the European Sauvignon Blanc and the light northern Italian Pinot Grigio wines. The latter must be drunk as chilled as possible, down to 8-10 degrees, when you can barely taste them. The wines listed above do not go well with fatty, hot meat dishes, but they are perfect with salads and cold appetizers. Also these wines, due to their simplicity, should preferably be drunk only young.


A romantic date in the countryside

If you're not going to have a noisy picnic with a fun bunch of drinkers, but a romantic date with a girl outdoors, we advise you to bring a bottle of wine that has been on the lees for several months or has gone through malolactic fermentation. These include a South African Chenin Blanc, a Chablis from France and an American Pinot Blanc.

These wines are quite soft and neutral, they have a pale yellow hue and often smell of peach, pear, walnut and even wet stone notes. It would be ideal if you chilled such a wine to 10-12 degrees for a picnic. By the way, this type of wine pairs perfectly with hot chicken dishes.


Wine on a beach vacation

Vacation on the beach is the same as a picnic, and therefore you can safely buy for such an occasion any not heavy white, and even better - pink wine. The latter is made by fermenting the juice of red grapes stripped of their skins. Some winemakers simply mix red and white grapes to produce rosé wine. This drink has an incredibly pleasant lollipop taste and is served chilled to 8-10 degrees. Producers of rosé wines are France, Portugal, Chile and the United States.


Getting to know your future mother-in-law

We are sure that you know very well that you can only make a good impression once, so for such an important event be sure to bring a wine that has spent some time in the oak or has matured directly in the bottle. It's not as straightforward as the picnic version, but it's still fresh, fragrant and "fruity".

The best choice for such an exciting event are wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux, and some from the New World - from the Semillon grape, for example. Again, it will be great if the wine has undergone malolactic fermentation or has been aged on lees before being aged in oak. These drinks have a golden color. They are served chilled to 12-14 degrees, perfectly accentuating the flavors of pasta, chicken and fish. These wines often have notes of cream, croutons and baked apples.


Celebrating a promotion

No less significant occasion is a promotion, in addition, such an event is usually attended by the big bosses. So without a bottle of white wine, which spent a couple of years in oak, you can't do without it. This wine has a rich golden color, its smell has notes of baked fruit and butter.

To celebrate your new social status, look for mature wines from vintages such as chardonnay and semillon, which are powerful and rich in flavour. They should be drunk chilled to a temperature of 13-15 degrees, taking small sips and savoring the tones that the oak wood has given to the wine.


A glass of wine in the middle of the working day

To take the edge off in the middle of a weekday, open a bottle of spicy white wine, flavored with hints of flowers, honey and tropical fruits. Ideal grapes include Argentine Torrontes, Gewürztraminer, Rieslings and Pinot Gris from the New World or Alsace. This wine can also be drunk chilled and pairs beautifully with Asian cuisine.


Wine with no particular reason

Sometimes you don't have to look for a reason to indulge. Just pour yourself a glass of light red wine, which is made from grapes with the finest skins. It has very few tannins and they are not thickly colored, but such a wine has a delightful aroma. This category also includes wines made on the basis of carbonic maceration, when whole berries begin to ferment from within.

One of the most popular wines is considered a young Beaujolais. Both white and red light fruit wines should preferably be drunk chilled to a temperature of 10-13 degrees.



In case you have to celebrate your birthday at a restaurant, first of all order a Merlot, Chianti or Pinot Noir from Burgundy. These wines are usually drunk in doses and in decent company, and they come with good appetizers. It is advisable to chill such wines to 14-17 degrees, and some are better to decant them. In these types of wine you can clearly detect notes of red berries and vanilla.


Golden weddings and similar important events

To celebrate an event of such importance, it is worth preferring a dark red wine made from grapes with thick skins - it allows the drink to live and evolve over the years. The best options in such cases are Uruguayan wines from "tannata", Italian "barolo" and "merlot", aged in oak. They have a rich, dark ruby color, and the taste is tinged with truffles, chocolate and even tobacco.


Really great wines, chosen for very important events, should be decanted - only in this way they will fully reveal their bouquet.

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