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The Wine Guide: Details on Tastings, Types, Cost & More

BY: GROUPON EDITORS | 11.22.2017 |

Wine is intimidating. The cult of snobbery around it is so pervasive in pop culture that you can end up feeling like you need a wine guide just to walk into your local wine bar. But all that anxiety is really just in your head! A good glass of wine can feel as unfussy as a PBR if you arm yourself with just a little information.

Instead of hyperventilating over your word choice when you try to describe a chardonnay or panicking when you realize you have no idea what a carménère even is, relax! Our little wine guide will answer all of your burning questions about wine pairing and even wine prices, giving you the confidence boost you need.

Types of Wine | Food Pairings | Wine Cost | Wine Terminology | Wine Deals Near You | Our Best Wine Deals | Wine Tasting Video 

THE MOST COMMON TYPES OF WINE


There might be dozens of types of wine, but there's a handful that are typically among the most common, so we broke them all down for you below:

Wine Type Red or White? Notable Growing Regions Flavor Profile
Cabernet Sauvignon Red Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sonoma County Ranges from vegetal and minty to jammy
Merlot Red Bordeaux, Napa Valley, Chilean Central Valley Full-bodied with plum and blackberry notes
Pinor Noir Red Burgundy; Willamette Valley, Oregon; Walker Bay, South Africa Fruit-forward with cherry, raspberry, strawberry, and blackberry flavors prominent
Chardonnay White Burgundy; Adelaide Hills, Australia; Central Coast of California Range from citrusy and crisp to buttery and oaky
Sauvignon Blanc White Bordeaux; South Africa; Marlborough, New Zealand Lime, green apple, and flowery peach notes
Riesling White Rhine Valley, Germany; Clare Valley, Australia; Finger Lakes, New York Crisp, citrusy, and often sweet or semisweet
Rosé Rosé Provence, France; Rioja, Spain; Sonoma County, California  Red fruit, melon, rhubarb (varies greatly by region and grapes used)
Sparkling White or rosé France (Champagne); Spain (Cava); Portugal (Espumante) Ranges from crisp and dry to subtle and sweet (varies greatly by region and grapes used)

HOW TO PAIR WINE WITH FOOD


To pair wine with food, consider three main things: the course you're pairing it with, the main flavors of the dish, and what you like. Often, sparkling wines and rosés pair with appetizers, whites pair with seafood, reds pair with red meat, and dessert wines are obvious. But here are a few more tips to help you decide:

  • Save sweeter and lower alcohol wines (e.g. riesling, zinfandel) for spicy foods to help balance the heat.

  • With lighter meat like pork and chicken, pair your wine with the sauce (e.g. a bold red with a barbecue sauce, chardonnay with a light leek sauce).

  • When in doubt, always fall back on what you actually enjoy; don't get a malbec you hate just because it's supposed to pair well with a dish!

HOW MUCH SHOULD A GOOD BOTTLE OF WINE COST?


Wine prices may vary, but the sweet spot for most casual drinkers is around $15. Less than that, and it's not that you won't be able to find wines you love, but that it will be harder.

  • Many experts say that you shouldn't pay more than $25 per bottle because you're more likely to be paying for the prestige of the label or region than the actual quality.

  • Save even more by buying in bulk or subscribing to a wine club that'll ship bottles directly to you.

WHAT ARE SOME COMMON WINE-TASTING TERMS?


Wine-tasting terms vary and you shouldn't feel compelled to stick to them, but knowing a few can help give you a handle on describing your favorites. Check out the most common terms below:

  • Balanced: no note of the wine (acidity, sweetness, etc.) stands out above another

  • Buttery: a rich, creamy mouthfeel

  • Crisp: a delightful sense of acidity (think Granny Smith apple)

  • Dry: the opposite of sweet in wine terminology

  • Jammy: rich fruit flavor often without the drying sensation associated with tannins

  • Oaky: notes of oak from the wine's barrel as well as other flavors like vanilla or nutmeg

  • Spicy: strong sense of flavors like pepper or cinnamon (think malbecs and syrahs)

FIND WINE DEALS NEAR YOU


Click one of the boxes below to see wine deals near you:



THE BEST WINE-TASTING DEALS ON GROUPON RIGHT NOW


Now that you know a little about what kinds of wine are out there and how to describe them, you're ready to head to a tasting! Check out some of our top deals right now:

Napa Valley: $41.50 for a chocolate and wine package for four at Vintage Sweet Shoppe in Napa

Portland: $28 for a wine-tasting package for two plus $20 in wine credit at Naked Winery in Hood River Valley

Chicago: $19 for a wine flight and cheese for two at The Vino Cellar in Lombard

Finger Lakes: $12.50 for a wine, chocolate, and cheese tasting for two at Deer Run Winery in Geneseo

Detroit: $25 for a wine tasting and vineyard tour plus wineglasses for two at Rove Estate Vineyard and Winery in Traverse City

Los Angeles: $35.50 for a wine tasting and cheese platter for two at Orange Coast Winery in Newport Beach

LEARN MORE WITH OUR WINE-TASTING VIDEO


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