Five things every man needs to know about wine

Categories: Swirl Girl, Wine

giamatti-sideways-wine.jpg
Men: You don't have to get Sideways, but you should be able to navigate a wine list.
True story: We recently made the acquaintance of the creator of a local website dedicated to all things male. After we inquired about the topics typically featured on the site, the author responded with something along the order of "You know...guy stuff. Bars, sports, beer, things like that." Intrigued, we pressed further. "Ever write about wine?" we inquired. The tart reply: "Well, no. I couldn't post anything like that. Guys don't really want to read about wine." Um, really?

We hope to hell that's not true. In fact, we're sure it isn't. What it may be, however, is a certain reluctance on the part of some men to admit out loud that they, on occasion, actually want to learn about and -- dare we say it -- drink wine. Hey, we're not saying that the average Joe wants to start memorizing vintage charts and spouting off trivia about the terroir in Alsace. But is he interested in having enough basic wine knowledge not to look like an idiot at a business dinner -- or worse, a date? Absolutely. To those gentlemen, this post is for you: the five essential kernels of wine wisdom every man should know.

wine-corkscrew.jpg
5. How to open a bottle of wine
A proper man should be able to open a bottle of wine with an actual corkscrew, not one of those ridiculous Rabbit gizmos. Because what are you gonna do if that thing ever breaks? Break the bottle open over your head? We thought not. Opening a wine bottle the old-fashioned way is not that hard. It does, however, require a decent-quality corkscrew, which is to say, not one that you got for free somewhere. A waiter's corkscrew (you can scoop one up for about ten bucks) works great and has something called a double-hitch, which makes breaking a longer cork as you try to pull it out damn near impossible. Use the serrated blade to cut the foil capsule, placing the bottle on the table or counter for support as you spin it around. Once the foil's off, use your index finger to plant the tip of the corkscrew in the center of the cork. Now turn and press the corkscrew firmly downward until the worm (yeah, that's what it's called) is fully inserted and the hitch -- that little lever thingee -- is resting against the lip of the bottle. Hold on to the neck of the bottle with one hand and just lift the handle of the corkscrew with the other until the cork is removed. (Note: If this still seems intimidating, you can find all kinds of wine bottle-opening videos on YouTube.)

champagne-pour.jpg
4. How to open a bottle of sparkling wine.
Let's be clear: The only time it's ever appropriate to crack open a bottle of bubbly and spray everyone within a six-foot radius with its contents is inside the Super Bowl winning team's locker room. And even then it looks kinda ridiculous. So don't be that guy, all right? Do this instead. Locate that little tab that's poking out of the side of the foil, near the top of the bottle. That's what you pull to get the foil started. After removing all of the foil, it's time to take the wire cage off. While you're doing that, remember to keep your hand covering the cork, because that thing can fly out at any point after the foil's off. With the cage on the counter, you're in the home stretch. Drape a dish towel over the cork and get a good, firm grip on it, then turn the bottle clockwise until you start to hear a hiss. The cork should remain in your hand and never, ever fly across the room; your goal is to avoid that loud, obnoxious pop at all costs. Keep it classy.

grapes.jpg
3. Knowledge of at least two go-to wines
Every man should have at least a passing knowledge of no fewer than two (different) wines. Ideally you'd have a go-to white as well as a red, but if you're partial to one particular varietal, then just go deep with that one. The idea is to be comfortable with a handful of wines so that you can comfortably order one in a restaurant or purchase a bottle as a gift without breaking into a cold sweat. Huge bonus points if you've got a dessert wine and/or a rosé in your bag of tricks. Trust us: Chicks will go crazy for you.

Tags:

Men, wines

Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
12 comments
Dude who likes wine
Dude who likes wine

And if you truly want to learn more about wine, The Wine Bible is an excellent starter resource.

I also like to keep the bottle of champers resting against my leg as I twist for more support.

Sucks
Sucks

This article sucks

Elizabeth DeHoff
Elizabeth DeHoff

Yeah, a man who automatically turns up his nose at rose wine (or a woman who does so, for that matter!) loses a point or two on my list. Same for a man who shows no interest in learning more about wine in general, such as, oh, how to open the bottles.

I recognize that I'm way more into wine than many of my dates are likely to be, but I appreciate a man who is open-minded and wants to learn. I'm willing to do the same for him when it comes to his hobby -- golf, tennis, whiskey...

Kevin Burke
Kevin Burke

Anyone who has worked as a Somm would know that for Champagne service you don't want to remove the cage from the bottle, it leaves the cork uncovered for that split second where the close to 100PSI pressure in that bottle could potentially create a missile. After twisting the wire loop exactly 6.5 times leave the cage over the cork, and while maintaining a firm grip on the assembly, rotate the bottle.  It gives you a significantly more control.

Offdisc is more or less right. 95% of Roses are a by-product of score-whore producers trying to concentrate the grape juice contact.  Saignee-style roses are insipid and boring, they shouldn't be drunk because they're crappy wines. Seek out Domaine Tempier from Bandol for great Rose, or Bedrock for a domestic producer.

Weege
Weege

I am definately a sports hound/junkie. I spend my time in sports bars, not clubs, drink beer and vodka, but I always keep a "wine key" in my car. Why? Because you never know when your going to need it. And all those fancy bottle openers are for pansies.

offdisc
offdisc

OMG -- first you start off all condescending towards men and their reluctance to admit out loud that they drink wine, then you proceed to give such terrible advice that any man who follows it should turn in his "knowledgeable man" card (but he can keep his 'douchebag' card, because that's what you've made him!).  Where to begin: OK, yes, many men do not give a crap about wine -- these men being the ones who enjoy blogs about beers, bars & sports. Give the author some credit about knowing his audience. The metrosexuals (is that even a term anymore, or have they all fallen into the 'douchebag' category by now) who like drinking wine with their 'ladies' are NOT hanging otu in sports bars, downing a beer while their eyeliner leaks down their cheeks.

But the bigger flaw is the suggestions! Rose?  Rose??? Get off the 'I'm drinking the retro wine to be cool & different' bandwagon. Rose was considered garbage for years, and is still just that!

But when you suggest "$50 is going to get you a highly drinkable wine" you show your true colors. Any sommelier will tell you that price and quality have little to do with each other -- the price is determined by demand and tarriffs. High demand doesn't even signal quality, just a mention in Wine Spectator to drop the tailgate for every d-bag to jump on the wagon. Look how popular Zima was with that same crowd and I rest my case.

Don't use 'rabbit'-style corkscrews? But than you suggest a waiter's screw, which has just as much chance of breaking?? Real men know how to open a wine bottle with a car key! Or a butter knife in the case of champagne.  BTW, the 'pop' is fine, as long as the overflow is contained.

simoney
simoney

Hi Kevin,

Do you guys have the Bedrock Rose at C & G right now? Would like to taste it and hasten to guess a little less money than Tempier?

Dude who likes wine
Dude who likes wine

Dude, roses are not all crap.  Get yourself a JK Carriere rose to see how roses can be excellent, particularly for hanging out in the summer on your deck.  A rose is merely a red with limited exposure to the skins so that it's lighter and has less tannins.

And I agree with the writer in that a $50 wine AT A RESTAURANT is drinkable.  You can find much more drinkable wines in a liquor store at 1/3 to 1/2 that price, but with the up to 3X markup at restaurants, you're essentailly buying a bottle you can pick up for $15 at a liquor store.  There are of course exceptions, but the majority of bottles at $30 or less in a restaurant will be crap.

Oh, and I've never broken a waiter's corkscrew.  Perhaps I'm just not as manly as you.

Nole
Nole

On the contrary dude.   Roses are pretty trendy right now. 

Mantonat
Mantonat

I think it's pretty funny that you seem offended by the stereotyping of men, but then you go on to say that all rose wines are garbage. Are you just afraid of being seen drinking something pink? There are some excellent roses out there and at decent prices too. Head over to Little Raven Vineyards on the Riverfront Plaza and get some rose education from the proprietor there. I think Kendra also had a recent blog post on rose right here in Cafe Society.

The fact is that many men enjoy wine, but few will admit it to their buddies unless they are rich and collect wine as a status symbol. I've enjoyed wine-based vacations to Sonoma with my wife, but I can't picture doing the same thing with male friends despite the blueprint created by Sideways. Maybe next time I get together with the guys for a big sports event or camping trip, I will break out a case of the pink stuff and yell "shut up and drink!"

offdisc
offdisc

Nole -- you made my point. Thank you.  "Trendy" doesn't equal good, just means you're on the bandwagon.

"Dude" -- Swril was talking about ordering wine for dinner in a restaurant, not sipping on your back patio. Time and Place for everything.  You like rose at home, cool. As for the $50 comment, you misunderstood. I didn't say "buy cheap"; I said that "price doesn't equal quality", thus not EVERY $50 bottle will be drinkable. It's not a defining line between crap and gold, it's simply a price point to get unknowing people to buy above. You have a load of crap wine in your restaurant? Price it at $65 and watch it fly off the shelves! (And I agree that under $30 is like drinking Ripple.)

Elizabeth DeHoff
Elizabeth DeHoff

Agreed -- Beringer White Zinfandel is not Rose de Provence, and we Americans tend to toss them all into the "pink wine" category, which is a mistake. Educating my friends and family about rose is very important to me, and any man I date needs to be open to that -- at least for one or two tastings.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...