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
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
REVEAL | Q3 2017
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.