Searching for the best places for Wine Tasting in New York? You’ve reached the right place. Recent statistics show that there has been a rise in the demand for alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, whether online or in-store. If you are one aspiring wine enthusiast or wine connoisseur, scroll down below to find out more about how you can improve your wine tasting abilities in New York.
Wine Tasting Basics
But before anything else, let’s lay down the foundation and take a quick look at the basics of wine: the difference between the two most common wine types, red and white.
Red wine is produced by aging and fermenting the juice of dark-skinned grapes. The winemaker allows pressed grape juice to macerate and ferment with the dark grape skins during its production. The liquid is called “must”, adding color, flavor and tannin to the wine.
The alcohol occurs when the yeast converts the grape sugar into ethanol and carbon dioxide.
There are four distinct characteristics of red wine. Let’s take a look at each one below:
Red wine’s hue ranges from deep opaque purple to pale ruby, and as it ages, its bright color turns into a deeper garnet and sometimes even brown.
Red wines are processed with the skins, seeds, and sometimes stems of the grapes, this process is called whole cluster fermentation, and these elements impart tannins to the wine.
Tannins are polyphenols that give red wine texture, structure and age-ability. They are also the source of the drying sensation in the mouth. It’s the same sensation you feel when you drink black tea.
Tannins can be ripe, smooth and well-integrated into the wine; however, some are perceived as rustic or astringent.
Red wine has a wide range of flavors. Since there are different grape varieties, each type produces a unique aroma and characteristics.
For example, Pinot Noir has raspberry, cherry and forest floor notes. On the other hand, Cabernet Sauvignon has cassis, licorice, and wet gravel notes.
Acid is an essential component since it serves as a preservative and provides freshness and structure.
The acidity of the wine is based on its tart and sour attributes. These often balance against the sweet and bitter taste due to the tannin components.
Types of Red Wine Grapes
There’s a variety of red wine grapes, but these are the most common ones:
Cabernet Franc plays a massive part in the blending triad, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. These three red wine grapes make up most of the Bordeaux blend, the main red wine produced in the United States.
It has a variety of flavors that includes violets, blueberry, earth black olives and coffee, and on its own, it’s more earthy and tannic compared to Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is the main component of the great Bordeaux, and it’s the defining grape of Napa Valley. It has flavors that often include bell pepper, green olive, herb, cassis and black cherry.
Gamay is often drunk relatively young since it has a bright, fruity flavor. In addition, it has a wide array of flavors like strawberry, raspberry and cherry.
Grenache or Garnacha
Grenache or Garnacha makes some of the best wines in Spain and Australia. It offers spice and cherry flavors that are fruity, spicy and bold. But even with its high alcohol and low acidity characteristic, it’s softer and less intense than Shiraz.
Malbec is pretty famous in Argentina. It’s a spicy, tart red wine with sour cherry and spice flavors.
Merlot is a favorite of many because of its watermelon, strawberry, cherry and plum flavors. In addition, it’s one of the powerful wines that can age for more than a decade.
Mourvèdre or Mataro
Mourvèdre or Mataro comes from the Mediterranean and is quite popular in France and Spain. It has flavors akin to spice and cherry, making it medium-bodied and lightly spicy.
Considered one of the world’s great red wines, it’s the principal grape of Barolo, Barbaresco and Gattinara. It has flavors akin to plum, pie, cherry and tar.
Pinot noir is the main component of many champagnes and other sparkling wines, and it’s one of the grapes that winemakers love to hate. It’s the most demanding and least predictable of all.
It has flavor notes of tomato leaf, beet root, pale cherry, blackberry, cola and plum.
Sangiovese is the main grape of Tuscany. It’s famous for its light color and acidity. In addition, it has distinct pie cherry, anise and tobacco leaf flavors.
Syrah or Shiraz
Shiraz has a wide range of tastes depending on how it is processed. It can be light and fruity and dense and tarry. It has flavor notes of blackberry, boysenberry, plum, pepper, and clove flavor notes.
Zinfandel has been California’s main grape for multiple years, and now it’s being grown in other areas in Australia and Italy. It has flavor notes of raspberry, blackberry, black cherry, raisin and prune.
Types of White Wine Grapes
White wine is made from white wine grapes. Let’s take a look at each one below:
Chardonnay is versatile and famous, and it can grow all over the world. It has buttery aromas from malolactic fermentation, and they often taste like green apple, citrus, pineapple and papaya.
This is a typical white grape in France, and it produces dry, off-dry, sparkling and sweet dessert wines. It often has ripe apple, lemon drop, pear and honeydew flavors.
This white frape produces an intensely floral, spicy aromatic wine that often pairs with Asian cuisine and spicy food. It usually has lychee, grapefruit, flowers and talc flavors.
This is the most popular variety in Austria, with apple, peach, citrus and mineral notes.
Marsanne is often blended with other white grapes. It ripens well, making full-bodied, low-acid wines with marzipan, white peaches, and pear as flavor notes.
There are a lot of varieties, but one thing will stay the same, and that is the aroma or flavor notes of oranges and tangerines.
It’s almost similar to Chardonnay, but it’s lighter and elegant with green apple and citrus flavor notes.
Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio
It’s a light, food-friendly wine with citrus, fresh pear, and melon flavor notes.
Riesling has a broad range of tastes, from dry and stony to floral and sweet. It has green apple, citrus, apricot, peach and honeysuckle flavor notes.
It’s widely planted in southern France and has lime, citrus and stone fruit flavors.
Sauvignon or Fumé Blanc
It’s a chameleon grape that offers a broad spectrum of ripeness and flavor notes from grass, herb, citrus, pineapple and peach.
Similar to Sauvignon Blanc, it’s also a frequent blending mate. It’s low in acid and has flavor notes of fig, melon and light herb.
It’s intensely aromatic with flavor notes of flowers, citrus rind, apricot and peach.
Best Places For Wine Tasting In New York
Now that you know the different red and white wine grapes and their flavor notes. You may want to start exploring in-store or online wine products, and if you are in New York, you are in for a treat.
New York is the third-largest wine producer in the US, and its wines are becoming better in quality and quantity. So if you are visiting the state, you may want to drop by the following places to experience the best wine tasting New York has to offer:
1) Italian Wine Merchants
This wonderful wine store offers wine education and tasting experiences. They specialize in hard-to-source wines and provide very personalized service. You’ll find there everyday wines (ready to drink now), Wines to lay down (collectible wines), and Wines to impress. Their store is located on 108 East 16th Street (between Park Avenue South & Irving Place).
2) Despaña Vinos
Despaña Vinos y Más is a lovely wine boutique that offers the best selection of wines and spirits from Spain in the beautiful neighborhood of SoHo, NYC. Address: 410 Broome Street.
3) Chelsea Wine Vault
This great wine shop is located in the Chelsea Market—and it’s a great one-stop shopping venue for many gourmet food and wine needs. Where are they located? On 75 9th Avenue.
Check out this video to get a glimpse into this cool wine venue:
4) Jones Street Wine
These guys source wines from family producers practicing organic & biodynamic winemaking. We love that. While they push new wines forward, they also pay full respect to the classic wines. They’re located on 23rd Jones street in NYC.
This Wine store opened back in 2006 in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and its main approach is about food pairing and flavor attributes. They don’t display their wines according to where they’re from, but by “how does it taste?” or “how will it fit my food?”. Visit Pour on 321 Amsterdam Ave.
A few more of our recommended places to taste wine in New York are 67 Wine & Spirits, The Winery and Terroir.
You can also check out this list for more information.
If you want to explore a healthier option, there are also non-alcoholic options available.
Non-alcoholic beverages such as ready to drink aperitifs like the three spirits social elixir, hemp and adaptogenics from brands like Dram, Recess and Cloud Water, proxies from brands like Proteau and Acid League and mixers like tonics and sodas are now being sold online and in-store.
The options are endless if you’ve been a wine enthusiast for so long or just starting your journey as a wine connoisseur. There’s a wide array of wine products you can choose from online and in-store, and you have the freedom to enjoy them all.
“The Jaded Traveler”. Ron Rossi was born and raised in New York. A globalist at heart, Ron is a marketing director by trade, and has lived and worked around the world including Asia, Europe, Africa, and South America. Food is one of the best ways to learn about a country, a people and a culture. So, Ron is always looking for the best in mid-range to budget and street food. He is always on the hunt for a good meal anyone can afford. It is the food of the average citizen that excites him. And with having visited close to 100 countries on 6 continents so far, there have been some pretty good meals.