What is a wine geek? And why are they different (and much more tolerable) than wine snobs?
Wine Geek (wīn gēk)
A person with an eccentric devotion to alcoholic drinks made from fermented grape juice.
A wine geek doesn’t “only drink Pinot Noir” nor do they limit themselves to blue chip wines. A true wine geek has boundless enthusiasm for finding all kinds of wine–from undervalued gems to wines from a unique origin. It’s nice to have a wine geek close by because they love to introduce their friends to new wines (means more for you!).
We’d like to pay a little homage to all the wine geeks out there.
Wine Geek Poster
How to Choose Wine Like a Geek
Pay attention to the characteristics below in order to know what a wine will taste like before drinking it! You can usually find all of these characteristics on a wine’s tech sheet.
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- The most important indicator of flavor/style. Every country has a different tradition of winemaking resulting in different fundamental flavors. Check out our article on wines from the New World vs Old World to find what flavor profile you like.
- How ripe were the grapes when the winery picked them? The weather each year affects the harvest on all agriculture from wheat to grapes. The “Brix level” is how most wine geeks generally measure ripeness. (for example 25 Brix is very ripe for Napa Cabernet and 19 Brix is underripe )
- Oak Aging
- Want a wine with vanilla and clove flavors? You might start by looking for a wine with more oak aging. Wines with only 6 months of oak aging have much less vanilla.
- (pH) Acidity not only indicates how long a wine will cellar, it also tells you how tart it tastes. A lower acidity Chardonnay with a pH of 3.7 will be much more smooth and round than a Chardonnay with a pH of 3.2
- On the topic of smoothness, malolactic fermentation (a special kind of post-alcohol fermentation that changes the type of acid in wine) makes a wine taste smoother. MLF is easiest to identify in Chardonnay as a creamy oily feeling on the middle of your tongue.
- Residual Sugar
- (RS) It’s not uncommon for a wine that is technically ‘dry’ to have a little RS. RS adds texture, body and weight to a wine. Think of RS as the winemaker’s equivalent to MSG. Examples of wines with RS that taste dry? Apothic Red and Mollydooker “The Boxer”.
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We’d like to personally thank Joslyn Baker, Joe Herrig, Barbie Jean H. Messa, Kyle Naismith, Rachael Swift, Michael Davolio, Mira Selm, Richard M. Esper, Rina Bussell, Jerry Pierson, Helene Kremer, Vermont Wine Media, Peter J. Rockwell, Jeff Pinhey, Rocky Mak, Jane Clare and Zach Moss for their hilarious contributions. The original inspiration for this design is from 8 Signs That You Might Be a Wine Geek.