WINE HOW TO FALL IN LOVE WITH By Kelly Cornett The one thing I will never know about wine is how it tastes to you. I study, read, and drink (a lot of) wine, but I will never tell someone what they should or shouldn’t like about wine. When I managed a winery tasting room, guests would often say they were nervous to do the tasting. These nerves stemmed from a misconception that there was a “right” and a “wrong” answer to tasting wine, and I knew that I could help. At A Cork in the Road, I get to empower people with skills to discover what they like and don’t like about the wines they’re drinking. With a little practice, you can figure out what flavors, smells and styles you prefer so that you can order, buy, and drink wines you like more often. If you free yourself of expectations that you should be drinking only the highest-rated wines or buying the most recognizable labels, you will start to define your own personal preferences. Here are some ideas to help you get started: YOU SHOULD LIKE HOW IT SMELLS. Grapes can produce smells of fruit, herbs, and flowers. Processing, aging, and bottling the grapes can produce smells of spices, oak, tobacco, leather, or even dirt. If you like fruit smells, try unoaked styles of Chardonnay or Grenache. If you want to smell flowers, try some French Viognier or some German Gewürztraminer. For earth and spice, try Tannat from Uruguay. IT SHOULD FIT YOUR BUDGET. There is no correlation between price and taste – let’s just get that out of the way. I get more excited by a $10 unexpected stunner than a $100 big-name label. Lately, I’ve been finding great bang-for-the- buck wines from South America, South Africa, and Spain. For example, try a Spanish Cava if you like bubbly or a South African Pinotage if you like big reds. YOU SHOULD LIKE HOW IT TASTES. Your tongue will tell you if the wine is sour, sweet, heavy, or light. Acidic wines will make your mouth water, and sweeter wines might remind you of honey or candied raisins. See if you prefer heavier wines that linger on your palate, like Spanish Rioja Reserva or Washington Syrah, or lighter wines that tickle your taste buds with a brightness of fruits, like Italian Barbera or Argentine Torrontes. IT SHOULD TASTE GOOD WITH YOUR FOOD. Matching wine with food is more about drinking and eating what you like than pairing it correctly. Essentially, it comes down to an enjoyable balance or contrast of acid and salt. For example, I have discovered that I like Riesling with Asian stir-fry, dry rosé with enchiladas, and Champagne with football tailgate food. REVEAL | Q3 2017 20 Kelly Cornett is the wine explorer and tasting event consultant of A Cork in the Road. She moved to Atlanta after managing a winery in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. While working in the wine industry, she has done everything from sorting grapes and blending barrels to hosting wine events for restaurants and retailers. Her social media tells stories of her wine adventures, and her custom-designed tasting experiences help people discover wine in an approachable way.