Becoming a wine expert is, to some extent, a lifelong process that is never complete. There is simply so much variety and complexity between different types of wine that it takes a great deal of effort to fully understand the different factors involved in wine tasting. However, if you are hoping to learn more about wine, or to become more involved with a drink that is really almost more of a luxurious hobby than simply a product to be consumed, there are many ways to start learning. Some people enjoy taking wine tasting classes, where they can learn from experts how to detect subtleties of taste. Others actually take entire vacations devoted to tasting wines at different vineyards around the world. But the simplest way to get a feel for different wines may actually be to head to the nearest Marks and Spencer.
For advanced wine drinkers who have practice and experience tasting a wide variety of wines, it can be possible to detect differences between wines produced at the same vineyard just a few years apart. But this is an ability that only comes with thorough tasting and a great deal of wine education – as well as some natural talent! If you are just trying to gain a more modest understanding of what differentiates one wine from another, one way to start is to get a feel for which types of wines are produced in which regions. While California, France and Italy may demand the most attention, there are wonderful wine producing regions literally all over the world, each with something different to offer. And many of these regions have wine that is available from your local M&S to be picked up, sampled or ordered online! Here are a few examples of some popular regions and what types of wines they are best known for.
Somewhat surprisingly to some people, Argentina is actually the world’s fifth most prominent wine producer, and supplies the world with a large variety of fine wine. Most specifically, Argentina has become known for its Malbecs – rich, dark red wines.
Australia is an interesting case, because it has no native grapes but is a region very suitable to wine production. For this reason, Australia has become the world’s fourth largest exporter of wine, and produces an enormous variety of types of wine. The most popular Australian red wine is Shiraz, and the most popular white is Chardonnay.
Chile is known for a wide variety of different wines as well, but perhaps most noteworthy are the Merlots and Sauvignon Blancs. There has actually been some historical controversy with these wine labels being misleading for Chilean wines, but the result is that the region has worked harder on producing fine wines of this authentic variety.