It’s Time to Upgrade Your Boxed Wine

Bodacious? Don’t know her. It’s time to get ~classy~!

Listen up everyone. We have a serious issue to address. For some reason we have been absolutely horrible to wine culture: Passing off a $10 bottle of Bodacious as a “good” wine. Then binge-drinking said wine. And…the entire existence of  *shudders* boxed wine. It is tragic. We need to stop.

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There is so much more to the art that is, as the Italians call it, ~vino~. Wine is an entire experience. A journey, if you may.

Now lets be real though. There is way too much about wine to know and realistically, we don’t really have the time or desire to care about every single detail. But lets cover some basics to help you seem like you actually know what you are doing when the server hands you the wine list, and hence, avoid embarrassing yourself in front of your cute date.

We’ll cover everything from what the heck a dry wine is, to confidently being able to say that you can taste the oaky, fruity flavour notes in your Chardonnay.

There’s more than just Red and White

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So you know the difference between a red and a white wine. Congrats, you are not colour-blind. But let’s dig a bit deeper into the differences between taste and texture of a few different types of “Reds” and “Whites” -because a difference does exist.

Red Wine

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For some reason, we are all terrified of red wine. But in fact, red wine is actually kind of healthy for you, and quite delicious. You can typically pair a red wine with red meats or a nice charcuterie board.

Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon

These are both full-bodied wines, meaning that they are rich in texture, taste, and weight. Merlot is a very smooth, dark wine, and has notes of cherry and plum. Cabernet Sauvignon is a bit more acidic, with riper notes of currant and pepper.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is most typically classified by its light, acidic taste. It is also fruity. And dry. Delicious.

White Wine

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White wine is also quite lovely, when treated well. It pairs well with seafood, and creamy sauces/cheeses

Chardonnay

Ah, Chardonnay. This is a very popular, and full bodied wine. It is both oaky and fruity, with fresh notes of apple and citrus.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc can be best described by its refreshing and crisp taste. It is acidic with earthy and herbal flavour notes, and typically has hues of green.

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is a very refreshing, almost oily, light-bodied wine -which can be contrasted with the full-bodied Chardonnay. It typically has a fruity, almost spicy taste.

And a thing about Rosé Wine…

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No, Rosé is not made with pink grapes. Rosé is a nice, light pink colour because the skins of the grapes are removed during the fermentation process. Now you know.

Just an FYI, this only skims the surface. Within each of these wine types, there are even more ways to break it down. Not only that, but there are more types of wine which we haven’t even discussed yet. But we’re not going to get that intimate with the vino.

HOWEVER, here are a few important variants you should know about:

Dry: A dry wine just means that there are minimal or no added sugars- so they are not very sweet. If you care about the full wine experience, try to order a dry wine, as this will make sure the lovely flavour notes are not sugar-coated (haha literally).

Oaky: Wine has something called tannin, which is a powdery substance found in ingredients such as oak, grape seeds etc. Tannin is what makes your mouth feel “dry” when you are drinking the wine.

Fruity: The fruity notes in your wine can vary according to different climates (warm or cold). After all, wine is made all over the world. For example, in warmer climates you will most likely get notes of more tropical fruits.

Taste the Wine

Believe it or not, wine was not meant for chugging the whole bottle before going out on a Saturday night. There is, in fact, a specific way to drink your wine to taste flavour notes other than “drunk”.

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Luckily, I visited Italy just to collect the best wine tasting knowledge for all you poor souls. SO, to fully embrace all that the wine has to offer, follow these steps:

1. See the wine

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First, observe the colour of your wine. If it’s a white, are there hues of gold? Straw? If it’s a red is it a deep, dark cherry colour? Or is it more of a bold red, like strawberries? Observing your wine will help you be more in tune with the fermentation process used to make your wine- In case you were interested in that.

2. Smell the wine

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Observe the scent of the wine by bringing the glass close to your nose (and smell it). Then, give the glass a twirl to release the flavour notes. Smell it again. See if there is a difference: are there fruity notes? Earthy ones?

3. Chew the wine

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Now that you have used two of your senses, it is time to taste the wine. Take a sip and “chew” it around in your mouth. This way, you can observe the different tastes in the different places of your mouth. Try to observe the freshness in the side of your mouth. That sensation comes from minerals which are in the soil where the grapes are grown.

4. Drink the wine

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This is now a great time to swallow the wine. Obviously.

Now, hopefully you have developed somewhat of an appreciation for the art of vino. Next time you go out, you can impress your date by ordering a bottle of wine like a pro (or to just sound like a pretentious a**hole, whatever you’re into really).

So go celebrate your new knowledge with a charcuterie board and a nice bottle of Merlot with some friends.  Cheers! Saluti! Prost! Skål!

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XOXO

Olivia & the Zillennials

No, You can’t Order a Jäger Bomb at a Restaurant: the Ultimate Guide to Ordering Drinks

Once college is over, you have to start ordering “real” drinks everyone.

Let’s face it – it can be hard to read a room sometimes, especially when it comes to ordering drinks. Being in a “professional” or “fancy” setting just makes it worse, especially with your nerves already at a peak. Do you order something sensible? Do you get what the boss is getting? So many thoughts going into what should be one simple decision. You are absolutely craving a Jäger Bomb to ease your nerves, but you know that’s probably not appropriate. You decide to order something practical, and go for the Jackson Triggs white wine. Well, let’s state this lesson early – you should NOT go for either! In my opinion, ordering drinks in formal settings is all about balance, and although mine may not be the best advice, at least it is some sort of advice (I mean, I did work one shift as a bartender). Nonetheless, here are some of my best drink ordering recommendations in order to not embarrass yourself in front of your coworkers and/or boss! 

Wine

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Wine is an easy go-to for any dinner occasion, but beware, your wine choice may say something about you, so choose carefully! Choosing an expensive red wine may come off as bold, and show that you are a bit stuck-up (again, this is just my opinion). Ordering a lighter, white wine comes off as more casual, and easy going (even if you are a serious wine fanatic). ALSO, it won’t stain your lips or teeth dark red, which is a huge plus. One more thing, try to avoid the cheapest and most expensive options – something in the middle shows that you aren’t a cheapo, but you aren’t going to grab the bill for the table.

My Go To: Even though I do love a nice glass of prosecco, I typically go for a mid-priced chardonnay. This helps me come across as easy going and sophisticated, but not too pretentious.

Beer

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Beer can be a tough thing to order in a more formal setting, but it can also be an opportunity to showcase a bit more of your personality. In these situations, avoid at all costs any brand with a ‘cheap’ or a ‘college’ affiliation. You want to show that your palate is more developed than simply whatever will get you buzzed the fastest (even if that is your goal). Opt for beers that stray away from the big name brands and have flavours that pair well with the food you have ordered.

My Go To: I leave it up to the server! I like to ask if they have any local craft beers on tap and if they would recommend anything. Not only does this allow you to make a personal connection with the server, but it shows the other people that you care about getting something local, that will pair well with your meal. Overall it makes it seem like you know what you’re talking about, even if you don’t!

Cocktails

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WE ARE TREADING INTO ROUGH WATERS HERE. Ordering a cocktail can make you look either sophisticated or trashy based on what you order. A good rule of thumb is to avoid any cocktail that has any type of sugary substances in it. Save those drinks for the club. Instead, any simple drink with a basic hard alcohol should be good to go. Martinis and lightly mixed drinks are definitely a crowd pleaser.

My Go To: A simple gin and tonic. It shows class, simplicity and that you are not too serious. It  may even show that you have a more refined taste, which will impress the people around you. Literally,  you cannot go wrong with a nice G&T.

Not in the mood to drink

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It’s completely fine to not order an alcoholic beverage if you are not in the mood! Plus, you will save a few dollars in the process! BUT, whatever you do- do NOT go for a sugary soda. You are not 10 years old. Instead, opt for some sparkling water, and ask for a lemon wedge. That way, it gives off the sophistication of having a cocktail- but really, it’s just Perrier. What a revelation!

Well, there you have it, all my advice for how to impress people on your next dinner date or at drinks with work. Goodbye Jäger Bomb, and hello Chardonnay. 

XOXO

Aidan & the Zillennials