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Dr. Vino's Verdict

How to Talk to a Sommelier

© Dale Anderson

Ever wondered where the experts stand on the best wine practices and controversies? In this series, wine blogger, teacher and author Tyler Colman (a. k. a. Dr. Vino) delivers a final judgement.

Don’t you think wine style is more important than grape variety? Consider Pinot Noir: Many of the finest examples from Burgundy are light in color, high in acidity and rely more on minerality than fruit, while some critically acclaimed California Pinot Noir is dark, lower in acidity, fruity and higher in alcohol. So ordering a Pinot Noir won’t necessarily get you the kind of wine you want. Same for whites: Saying “Chardonnay” can result in anything from lean Chablis to buxom, oaked-up New World versions. Instead, tell the sommelier what style of wine you want to drink. For example: Rich or lean, round or zippy, fruity or mineral-driven, modern or traditional.

Related: More from Dr. Vino
Wine 101: Pinot Noir & Red Burgundy
Wine 101: Chardonnay

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