People are funny about wine.
I’ve sat through hour-long conversations about the intricate variations in Diet Coke at different fast food outlets, but the same friends won’t consider why a Pinot Noir tastes different from a Shiraz.
Why do people consistently order the house “white”, “red” or “rosé” without a second thought?
The point of learning to taste wine isn’t to join some pretentious £100-a-bottle-quaffing club; it’s to learn a little about grapes and styles so you can pick a glass or bottle that you will enjoy drinking. Someone once said to me that they began to study wine so that when they went for dinner, the wine list would make just as much sense as the menu. I love this theory. Why do so many of us agonise over food and cocktail choices, but always pick the third bottle from the top?
Sure, you could study wine for decades – and people do – but it takes no time at all to learn a little about the grapes and regions that pop up on pub and restaurant menus the world over.
As a start, Berry Bros & Rudd (the quintessential London wine merchant) have a fabulous page with information about over 100 grape varieties, where they are grown and what they taste like. Why not look up the last glass of wine you drank?