KSK Konnoisseur’s Klub: Wine Appreciation

02.20.15 3 years ago 93 Comments

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this is what came up in Getty Images when I searched for "fancy wine"

Bonjour, my “amis”, and welcome to the first edition of the KSK Konnoisseur’s Klub, or, for short, the, um. Um.

So okay maybe just don’t shorten KSK Konnoisseur’s Klub maybe just write it all out that works too.

Anyway, in an effort to better serve you, the Kommentariat, the staff at KSK thought we would share some of our passions with you so that you could learn new things and become more cultured individuals and no, this isn’t like Deadspin’s Adequate Man this is completely different, shut up.

To kick us off, as KSK’s resident Classy Individual* I thought it would be a good idea to introduce the unwashed masses to the world of wine appreciation. The world of wine is a sexy but intimidating one, like that teacher you had in 6th grade that you had a crush on. However, it is my goal to open this world up to you, the people. Wine appreciation has a reputation as a hobby that is only for the bourgeoise, and this could not be further from the truth. Join me as we delve into this wonderful world of alcohol together.

*citation needed

There are two main types of wine, and though there are other varieties, we’re going to start with the basics.


really good wine


Red wines are immediately recognizable by the fact that they are red. If you ever have trouble telling the difference between a red wine and a white wine, remember the old wine enthusiast’s saying: “If the color is light, that’s a white!” This particular wine is a “Cabernet”, which is actually the Belgian word for “cabinet”. In order to be classified as a Cabernet (pronounced like “cabinet” except with an “r” in there) a winemaker must age the bottle of wine in a cabinet for no less than 2 weeks before shipping it out. That is why you get a nice deep oaky finish with most Cabernets. Other well known red wine varieties include Merlot (pronounced murr-LOT) and Pinot Noir (pronounced PEE-not nor), and they all taste pretty much the same.

Contrary to popular belief, red wines only pair well with other red foods, including apples, turnips, and raw steaks. Most wine enthusiasts agree that the best match for a cooked steak is not red wine, but is in fact brown wine.


really good wine


White wines are normally lighter in flavor and more tart than red wines, and this is due to the fact that they are made by fermenting “white grapes”, which is what winemakers call lemons.

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A winemaker harvesting "white grapes" for use in a Riesling

This particular wine is a “Sauvignon Blanc” (pronounced n-DAH-muh-kung SOO) which means that it is made with lemons harvested from the small farming town of Sauvignon Blanc in the south of France. Similar wines can be (and are!) made elsewhere, though winemakers are not able to label to these wines as Sauvignon Blancs. These wines, generally produced in California and in towns in Germany are known as “Fauxvignon Blancs”, and most wine enthusiasts look down on these wines as inferior even though they taste identical to the genuine article.

Because they are made with lemons, most white wines pair very well with fish, or other lighter meats like chicken and pork.


Dessert wines are named for the fact that they are made from stomping fermented cakes and pastries. This is why they taste so sweet and are generally more inexpensive than standard red or white wines. Be careful though, they do have a higher calorie content!

Mead is also known as “honey wine”, and although delicious, it is very hard to produce! The process starts with a beekeeper who locks bees in a glass case full of red wine for a week. By the end of the week, the bees are all drunk and have to pee. The beekeeper then places the bees near a honeycomb where they pee alcohol-infused honey. A winemaker then mixes the honey with a bottle of shitty wine in a blender and sells it for 3 dollars per ounce.

Sparkling wines and Rosés are known as “blends”, which means that winemakers blend or mix other wines or liquids together to create them. Fun fact: you can make your own sparkling wines and Rosés at home, the same way the fancy winemakers do!

Sparkling wines are fairly easy to make. All you have to do to blend your own is to mix together your favorite variety of wine with a can of Sprite. Champagnes are slightly more difficult, and their price reflects that. Champagne must be made with Sprite produced in the city of Champagné, Mexico, the home of the only Coca-Cola factory that still uses pure cane sugar. Many bodegas carry Champagne Sprite, and with its increasing popularity, it can now also be found at Whole Foods and even at some larger convenience stores. Here’s what the finished product looks like!

rfd is good at wine


Rosés are a bit tougher. Known for their beautiful pink blush, Rosés are made with the expert care of master winemakers, and though you can replicate the effect at home, it is fairly difficult.

super really good wine




After reading the above, you might be tempted to attend a wine tasting of your own in an effort to show off your new knowledge! Wine tastings are a great way to try special wines that you may not normally be able to afford at a relatively low price among other like-minded wine lovers like yourself! Most established wineries offer tastings, and many boutique wine shops or liquor stores do as well. However, be advised that you will be amongst other wine lovers at these events, so etiquette is key.

At most wine tastings, you will be poured somewhere between 4 and 6 glasses of wine. If that sounds like a lot because you have pregamed the wine tasting, not to worry! Wine tastings provide tasters with complimentary buckets in case the taster gets too drunk and needs to vomit. As the wines are poured, take note of the aroma. Really get your nose into the wine, because it really makes you seem like you know what you’re doing. Hum quietly, but inquisitively. Shove your nose in there again.

After you’re done pretending you can detect the subtle notes of blackberry, raise the glass to the light and swirl it. This will aerate the wine, which draws the aromas out more. Try one more time to pick up those hickory and caramel notes, and don’t feel that bad when you can’t. Swirl it one more time, and watch the wine drip down the sides of the glass. These drips are known as the wine’s “legs”. Squint at them, purse your lips, and nod approvingly as if you know what you’re looking for.

Then drink the wine.

You’ll see other tasters spitting the wine into the vomit buckets. This is a sign that they hated the wine, and is massively disrespectful to the host. Endear yourself to the business by finishing each glass, and asking for seconds or thirds of varieties you really like. Remember, don’t be afraid to go overboard– you always have your bucket!

Be sure to make note of the varieties of wine that you like, and feel free to ask the host which wines they would recommend mixing together to create home blends or Rosés, so you can do your own tasting at home! In fact, let’s try it now.


Homemade Champagne

The nose is tart and effervescent, yet sweet as well. The taste is wonderful and citrusy; the lemon lime flavor of the Sprite matching very well with the sour flavor of the “white grapes” used to make the Sauvignon B:anc. This is easilly one of hte top ten Ghampagnes I have ever had.

you’re cute, haha

Homemade Rosé

The nose is robust and reminiscent of burnt lemons, and the taste is likg if somebody mixed pomegranite jouce that had been sitting outside on ha hot day with some wd-40 and then i had to drink it. it was okay, I guess, but now my mouth feels like sandpaper? i really shoudl call that girl from thje bar last night we raeally connected i think she was wso smart and she had o[inions on battletyoads for the arcade i hope shed idn’t give me a fake number oh man aww man fuck, man

i’mp retty sleepy guys ‘gnighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh


The really important thing to remember about wine is: fuck wine. Fuck wine in its stupid French face, goddamnit. My head feels like a fucking EDM warehouse party. Who the hell thought that yeah, stepping on stupid grapes we left out for months, yeah that sounds like a really fucking good idea, let’s all drink this and then create a fucking cargo cult around it and spend tens of thousands of dollars on fucking hundred year old grape shit water. Fuck.

Well, that’s it for this installment of the KSK Konnoisseur’s Klub. Make sure that when the winery owners come knocking wondering who vomited all over their tasting room, you tell them Adequate Man sent you.


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