The hit comedy film Sideways is about a road trip in the Port wine country of sunny California where the two main characters, Miles and Jack, taste copious amounts of red wine while dealing with major life dramas. It’s a hilarious film that touched so many people with its dark comedy and truly moving portraits of people dealing with love, pain, and wine-tasting.
But perhaps the greatest thing about Sideways was how it inspired so many people to go out and become connoisseurs of fine wine! According to the Internet Movie Database, the movie made so many of its fans want to buy Pinot Noir (a dry red wine) that sales significantly increased in the US and UK during and after its release. Talk about the effect of movies on people! If you want to learn a bit more about red wine, dry red wine, and its other variants but feel clueless as to the whole thing, here’s a quick wine guide; a red-wine-for-dummy guide if you like!
Red wine is so colored because of the grape skins involved. There are a multitude of grape types, each as diverse and colorful as the next. You have purple, maroon, deep red, light red–the list goes on. Each variety brings a unique shade of red to red wine and the various colors you can see in wine stores are a direct result of the many grapes used in worldwide wine-making processes. An individual wine’s color depends largely on what type of grape was used to make it and how long the skin was left in with the juice before being extracted.
There are many different types of red wine but they are usually judged by their “body.” For example, a light-bodied wine is not too demanding on the mouth and taste buds. It goes well with food that is flavor intensive. A good example of this kind of wine is the French red wine Beaujolais Nouveau. On the other hand, there is the medium-bodied red wine which is a slightly heavier wine (e.g. Shiraz, Merlot, etc.) but not as heavy and as powerful as a full-bodied wine like French Bordeaux wines and Italian red wine like the Super Tuscans. Full-bodied wines are denser and have a higher alcohol content.
You may have noticed at some parties, tasting events, or formal gatherings that red wine is served in a particular glass. It is said that an oval or egg-shaped glass that narrows as it reaches the top (compared to a slim, tall glass) is the best way to appreciate red wine as it allows the wine to breathe and swirl better. The best temperature to serve red wine is 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. Serve it too hot and the alcohol can be overly emphasized; too cold and it will taste bitter.
There are a number of red wines available from all over the world from dry red wine to full-bodied wine to age-old wine. There is really no such thing as the best red wine–what is tastiest to you should be considered the best. But then there are many red wines that come highly recommended like Californian red wine, Australian red wine, and then of course, every other kind of wine throughout Europe, like Spanish red wine and the ones previously mentioned. In time, you will be able to determine exactly what your type of red wine is. For now, why not sample the many great tasting wines out there like Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc… ?
Red wine 101 these days will tell you that red wine or dry red wine is actually good for you. There have been recent studies by scientists in the UK that suggest a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon-derived wines will do the heart very good. So, if you’re looking to spice up your meals or simply want to develop a healthier diet, red wine or dry red wine may be just the thing for you. Hopefully, this has been enough information to whet your appetite. Happy wine drinking!