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Become a Great Wine Taster

Lesson 14 of 21

How to Pair Wine


Become a Great Wine Taster

Lesson 14 of 21

How to Pair Wine


Lesson Info

How to Pair Wine

How do I pair wine? Um and the right answer is, you know, is there a right answer? Absolutely not. Um, this is one of the things I think that I really want you to come away feeling like it's totally up to you. E think that's super important, that there is no right answer as a similarly I used to have a have a customer. I liked a lot. He would come in and sit in the corner of the bar and have, ah, bottled moment shades of 1000 bucks, which I know it's egregious for a bottle of chardonnay. He would have $1000 chardonnay in a cheeseburger, and it was the best. And it made him happy. And that's all that matters. You could have a It could've been a $10 bottle of chardonnay and a cheeseburger. But, you know, the fact that was so expensive really highlights that. It just doesn't matter in terms of, you know, is the right answer. Am I doing this right? Am I Am I doing it wrong? You're only doing it wrong. If you're not having fun, if you're having fun, that you're doing everything right and th...

at's That's really the key. Um, thank you again. Who tells you who to vote for? Nobody who tells you what. Toothpaste to buy. Nobody what you had for breakfast. Nobody. You decide all those things, right? So why would you let anyone tell you, Like, what? How you're supposed to enjoy yourself? It's exact same principle. So with that said, there are there is no right answer. But there are some things that you want to think about it if you want to, you know, so it's It's about understanding how things play. If you add baking soda and water, what happens exactly? Yeah, it's sodium bicarbonate fizzes. If it's well made, those volcanoes, kids like certain certain things will actually happen. And so, um, some of the basic principles are in the case of this wine. Actually, everyone pick this one up. Uh, whatever glass you want, put in your mouth and swirl it around between your your cheeks and your gums. What's happening? It's drying it out. So I drink Red Ryan's. We don't do that like as a practice, but we're tasting. We're learning about them. That's a great thing to Dio, because that accentuates the tannin and this tannins, or what's drying us out. It's a tannic acid, and it's again the same thing that happens, like in the skin of nuts or on banana peels. When you do that, the next time you have that sort of like still slightly green, but and you can get in and you bite it to open it and drives you out. It's the exact same thing, and so it's creating a physiological response in your mouth feels dry. And so those tannins, what a great way to send them off on their merry way and just enjoy the flavor of the wine is to give them protein. So protein or fat and tannins they link up and they go, you know, happily off on their own. And you're left with the flavor, the protein, the flavor, the wine. So thus the pairing of, like bid big red wines and steak, for example. Right, So pardon fatty state fatty steak? Exactly. Totally. Um, so So there's that. And so if you've got, you know, chop steak in the form of a hamburger, is it likely to be a great partner into the chardonnay? Well, on paper, you know the chardonnay doesn't have the tannins to maybe deal with the fat and the protein that burger. But who cares? Right? So yes, you two and two makes four. But if you don't want to do math that way, don't do it. So that's That's one of the basic principles, and you can really tap into all these things it's worth playing with and seeing, like what feels right to you by thinking about the structure of the wine and think about the structure, the food and the structure of the wine. We're going to address more in the next segment when we get back into using the method to break down, to break down red wines and thinking about the structure, the food with structure, the food is what it's the fat. It's the protein in the case of a salad. What is it? Acid, right? The dressing in the case of vegetables, what is it like asparagus and artichokes? They have their own tannins to right. That's why artichokes in spirit is there such such tough partners wines because they make things better. And so you want to think about how do you put those things together? You know when you have butter on the table, do you put it on butter and just eat butter like I do sometimes. But now you put it on bread like there's there's something that works there. And so, um, you know when when you have in the case of a tannic food, like an artichoke or asparagus are you gonna wanna have it with a tannic red wine? No, it's gonna be a big mouthful of hateful tannins. It's gonna drive, and nothing's gonna taste good. And it's just gonna feel funny. It's gonna feel like our friend in the studio audience says after he stated 2000 lines in Italy, right, our permanent home audience. So it's there those things that you physiologically just wanted, like think about and play with. And so I just encourage you to have fun with it. Yeah, and feel like there are no hard and fast rules questions. I have a question from Susan, and this might be going back a little bit, but we touched base. She's saying. I've had trouble with corks crumbling on older bottles when using a corkscrew. Is there a better type to use or what do you at this point used to remove the cork that it's left. Are there certain type brand that you prefer? Yeah, I really like this group hole and thats whats called called scruple, and it's ah has, like a fork that goes over the bottle. And then, um, the worm or the screw goes down through this and you twist it and you just keep twisting it. Eventually it pulls the cork out. Um, in the case of really old bottles, a trick that we we sometimes use is to use, and also and also is the It's like the to fork prongs that you slide in and they actually go between the cork in the bottle on the inside, and so you can put that in there and turn and pull it out, or you can put that in and then use. It is like the super advanced secret. Some way trick is, you put the also in, and then you put the screw pull just the worm of the scruple through it. So you're holding on the outside and the cork there. The screw goes through the middle, and so it's pushing that while it's pulling in, you pull those things out together. Um, it's It works really, really well. And if you know, if you leave pieces behind, it's totally okay. Just like reach in there and fish form, right? Yeah. Importantly, by no means does it mean it's bad, right? Other questions? Yes, when you order a steak and it says it comes with some sort of wine sauce, would you recommend getting that wine or a different line to pair it with? That's a great question on, and I think it's probably worth if you want to. If you want to explore that and try to seek those synergies, that's a good clue that yes, those those synergies air there to be had. So if it's done in a cab earning sauce, a chardonnay is probably not gonna be the most center Just thing. I mean, they might like, Hey, the wine taste really great. And, hey, the food tastes really great, but there's no like real interaction. But, you know, if it's in a cabinet, saucy, I have a Karen Amy. Maybe they'll go off and do something really magical. You increase your odds of that happening. Could you talk about cocktail and wine together? Cocktail and wine together. So starting a meal with a cocktail? Yes. And then moving the wine. I'm just curious how that how that works. I actually sometimes bookend it, right. So, I mean, you know, what is it? It's it's It's just about enjoying our lives. And so, whatever. Whatever makes you happy is what you should do. And so I had margaritas last night, and, um, and then I went to an Italian restaurant, and we drink a bunch of Italian wine on be finished with another margarita. And for me, it's just you know what? What are you comfortable with? What? What makes you happy? What? What makes you feel good? Come, party is not a cocktail. I drink a lot of Campari and soda. Um, and I think it's just it's a great way to just, you know, it sort of stirs the appetite. You relax, put you in a good frame of mind, maybe more at ease to enjoy a glass of wine. So, yeah, I think that, um, cocktails that and of course, having ever increasing and meaningful part in our in our dining and it really enjoying Yeah. What else? I don't know if this has been talking about. We'll talk about in the future. But oftentimes I see people talk about the legs on the wine. Yep. Next episode. Okay. Coming right up. Perfect. I have a question from Anita. She says if you leave red wine opened in the fridge, should it be covered or with no lid? And if so, what kind? Definitely Stick the cork back in it. Sick. The court? Yeah. Or put the screw top back on it. Yep. Yeah, definitely perfect. Yeah. Any other questions from our in students? Now, I'm thinking about when I've made sangria in the past because I usually haven't really cared about the type of wine and it's been in the fridge for, like, up to two weeks up. So, um, what would be the best case scenario for making sangria? That's a great question. It's a question of thinking a lot about these days, actually, you know, practically it's great to use whatever you've got in the fridge. And, um, if you don't have something in the fridge, it's probably a good idea, not start with something that's really tannic, right? So, you know, like this Bordeaux, it's not gonna make the best sangria because we're talking about something we just want to pound and frankly, the tannins are going to get in the way. But if that's all you have in the fridge, you know, go for it when you have the fruit juices going to start to ameliorate those tannins and in the brandy and so on and so forth. But, you know, if you're starting from scratch, I would pick something red and something fruity and something not tannic. So, you know, Granoche from the south of France or from Spain, Um, or peanut Who are, you know, and something affordable. You know, all all you're looking for is free, juicy, easy red wine. At that point, you know, it doesn't Don't spend for it.

Class Description

Do you cower when presented with the wine list? Feel at a loss while walking the wine aisle? You are not alone! Many of us struggle to differentiate between the subtleties of the world’s oldest beverage. But wine is not destined to be difficult! Join Master Sommelier Richard Betts for a fun and informative guide to buying, tasting, and enjoying wine.

Become a Great Wine Taster is your guide to wine varietals, trends, and tastes. You’ll learn Richard’s “wine is a grocery, not a luxury” approach to wine while exploring the differences between regions and the history behind them. Richard will teach a simple method for looking at, smelling, and tasting each wine so you understand the nuances and the provenance of the drink in your glass. You’ll study the important factors and features of winemaking by exploring ideas through related varietals. Richard will discuss:

  • Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc – the impact of climate and oak
  • Riesling, Viognier, Gewurztraminer and Zinfandel – balance, sweetness, and alcohol content
  • Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio, Gruner Veltliner, and Chenin Blanc – important grapes, small subtleties
  • Cabernet Sauvignon and it’s subjects – regional expression of the ubiquitous reds
  • Pinot Noir – temperamental grapes and growing in France, California, Oregon and Australia
  • Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo – wine production in Italy and Spain
  • Syrah/Shiraz, Grenache and friends – blends and winemaker’s intent

You’ll also learn about the unique ways we modify wine, like making it sparkle, heating it, turning it into Port, and so much more! This class will help you get more comfortable with wine, remove much of it’s mystery, and show you how to integrate it into your everyday life.

Pair your appreciation for wine with knowledge in this accessible and educational class. Join Richard for Become a Great Wine Taster and never fumble over wine selection again.


a Creativelive Student

This course was amazing. As someone who felt really intimidated by wine before, I finished the course feeling a lot more confident and excited to try out my new wine knowledge. Great instructor with great content. Would definitely recommend!


Good course, needs to identify wines to set up tasting. It was fun to do with friends. Perfect to watch in the segments.


Fabulous! I've passed the Introductory Exam for the Court of Master Sommeliers, but, never ginned up (pun intended) the deductive tasting. This did it. There are several of us who purchased this course and are doing out best to re-create the tastings and memorize the map. Thanks so much for the class and for Richard Betts.