Before COVID-19, I’d buy a bottle of wine based on the price and how much I liked the label. Wine isn’t the first thing you go to if you want to turn up, but since quarantine, sipping from a stemmed glass during a digital meet up or virtual happy hour has become commonplace. Thankfully, getting a wine education has given me a way to learn about places I can’t travel to. It has also allowed me to level up my wine game.
I reached out to a Black female wine expert to learn more about different types of wines. I wasn’t trying to get bogged down with all the facts about wine varieties (there are over 10,000), but I wanted to know the basics, and I wanted to know what to buy when I was feeling poetic and sultry like Solange or more savage like Rihanna.
The main character in the Netflix film, Uncorked compares types of wines to different styles of rappers to make wine talk more relatable. He does this for the customer in the movie and the audience watching. According to wine expert, Lenya Wilson, just like a person, a wine has a personality. So, I asked her. “What kind of wine would you describe as a Michelle Obama?”
“She is more like a full-bodied red because she is strong but also a bit sweet. So, I would say she is a Cabernet Sauvignon.” And, Kerry Washington? “Oh, she’s definitely a French Rosé, something expensive and high end.”
How to Determine Your Own Wine ID
If you want to broaden your wine horizons, you may want to determine which types of wine best suit your personality. Here are some ideas:
Sensitive and sweet. Wilson says “if you like sugar in your coffee or tea, then you will probably like sweet wines.” Sweet wines are from red grapes like Zinfandel or Shiraz that come from warm climates like southern California, South Africa, or Sicily. And, of course you could pick up a Moscato from Italy or a Riesling from Germany.
Tart and tell it like it is. You are someone that has an aversion to wine flavors that, for you, taste way too sweet. Tart wines come from white grapes like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, and grow in cooler climates like Canada, New Zealand, and the mountains of France.
Relatable but a bit reserved. You can drink red or white, but you like wines that are on the dryer side and not too many bubbles - unless it's champagne and you’re celebrating. You’ll like a red dark inky Malbec grape from France or Argentina, or a Pinot Grigio grape via a white from Italy.
Bad and a little bougie. You might like sparkling wines or like to play, slay and “Rosé all day.” Rosé wines are made from a special process where the skin of the grapes are removed and the skin makes contact with the juice for a short time to give the wine a pinkish color. Rosé wine is made from different types of grapes, that go from dry to semi-sweet. France is renowned for the best Rosé, but the McBride Sisters make a Rosé under their Black Girl Magic label that Wilson gives a 5-star review.
The discount diva. Your goal is to find a good tasting wine at a low price. Since Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are the most common grape variety, you can find them anywhere for a great price, and you are not too high on your horse to enjoy a sweet white Zinfandel instead of a dry Rosé.
So, the next time you get ready to pick up a bottle to pair with a nice dinner at home or for a virtual happy hour with your sister friends online, check its ID to make sure it fits your mood. Knowing where your wine came from could be a great conversation starter in a Zoom meeting, and it might even give you a good idea of where to visit once it’s safer to sip during your next girl’s trip.