Techniques revealed to become a 'One minute wine master'

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image courtesy of Sterling Publishing

 If you are having a dinner party this weekend or have a date you are trying to impress, you might want to brush up on your wine knowledge, fast. What wine goes with this food? Will this wine be too dry or perfumed?
You might be thinking there’s no chance, you’re stuffed. Believe it or not, there’s theories out there to say you can become a master of vino in just one minute. We’ve found the book to prove it.

‘The One Minute Wine Master’ (published by Sterling Publishing) is the fun guide written by Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan MW that tells you how to become a master of wine in 60 seconds! No fuss, no fancy words, just a quick and easy test to lead you straight to the wines image from jennifersimonetti.comyou’ll love.

Jennifer is quickly becoming one of the most popular experts on wine, being one of only 6 women to gain the coveted Master of Wine title, the highest wine title in the world. She has trained thousands in the wine industry, as well as judging in international competitions and appearing as a frequent guest on US TV and publications.

Here is an excerpt from her book which details the questions the guide asks you and why it does work. Ask yourself these questions, you might be suprised how it affects your wine tastes. 

(Please note, later in the book Jennifer discusses wine tastes according to the seasons. Depending on how you answer the quiz questions, you will be placed into a season category; Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter. This is why the seasons are mentioned in the article below.)

'The questions in 'The One Minute Wine Master Quiz' are seemingly unrelated to wine. However, each question relates to something specific in wine and to your palate’s reaction to those elements.
Combining all of these reactions helps create a picture of your wine style. Let’s take a closer look at each question to see what your answers suggest about your preferences in wine.’

This question addresses your tolerance for bitterness. Have you ever tasted coffee or black tea without any milk? Both coffee and tea have a chemical in them that can make them taste bitter.
This chemical is called tannin and it creates a drying, bitter, and sometimes astringent sensation in your mouth. Tannin is also found in some wines, especially red wines.

People vary in their tannin tolerance. To some, black coffee can taste slightly bitter. To others, the bitterness is overwhelming and tastes very drying and astringent. When milk is added to black tea or coffee, a chemical reaction takes place between the protein in the milk and the tannin, which makes the coffee or tea softer on your palate and less bitter. Offsetting bitterness is one of the main reasons milk is added to these beverages in the first place.

Out of all The One Minute Wine Master categories, 'Springs' are the least tolerant of bitterness. They will put the most milk or cream in their coffee or tea to reduce its bitterness. 'Winters', on the opposite end of the spectrum, generally take their coffee or tea with no milk or cream.
Winters have the highest tolerance for tannin, bitterness, or astringency. Not much tastes too bitter for them. Summers and Falls fall between these two extremes. Summers are closer to Springs than Fall, so they are more tolerant to liking tannin than Springs, but less so than Falls. Falls can handle more tannins in their wines than Springs or Summers, though not as much as Winters.

This question addresses your tolerance for bitterness and sweetness. Sugar does not react chemically with bitterness the way milk does in coffee or tea. Although it doesn’t take tannin away, sugar masks bitterness so the beverage may seem less bitter to you.
It distracts your palate from the tannin by giving it something sweet to focus on.

People also vary in their tolerance for sweetness even in the complete absence of bitterness. Springs tend to have a higher tolerance for sweeter wines. If you need two or more teaspoons of sugar in your tea or coffee, chances are you have a higher tolerance for sweetness and a lower tolerance for bitterness.

This is not to imply that all Springs prefer sweet wines. You may prefer dry wines that also have crisp acidity and a refreshing palate. However, Springs’ taste buds have a higher tolerance for sugar than the other season’s do. If you take your coffee or tea with no sugar, you may have a low preference for sugar in your beverages. This could also mean you can take bitterness.

Winters have the highest tolerance for bitterness of any season. Again, Summers and Falls are somewhere in the middle, with Falls leaning toward Winters and Summers leaning toward Springs.

Most people love the flavor of chocolate, but as we discussed in previous chapters, flavor has more to do with your nose than your tongue.

The level of cocoa in chocolate, however, is what can make it bitter. Taste baking chocolate alongside a milk chocolate bar and you will see what I mean. Dark chocolate, like cooking chocolate, has more cocoa in it and there¬fore more bitterness and less sweetness. If you prefer dark chocolate, your tolerance for bitterness is probably quite high, which would lean you more toward Fall and Winter.
Springs do not prefer dark chocolate or even semisweet chocolate because they find them too bitter. Their bitterness receptors are much more active than, say, Winters’. Winters have a high level of tolerance for bitterness and neither black coffee nor dark bitter chocolate are unpleasant to their palates.image from shutterstock

So does that mean if you like milk chocolate you are middle-of-the-road? I’m afraid it’s not that simple.
Milk chocolate has less cocoa powder and lots of sugar to mask the bitterness. Springs may like milk chocolate, but it may have more to do with the sweetness of the chocolate and flavor rather than the percentage of cocoa. Sweet milk chocolate and white chocolate are the preferred chocolates of Springs.

White chocolate is actually not chocolate at all because it has no cocoa in it. It’s just cocoa butter, all creamy sweetness and no bitterness. Springs do not like dark, bitter chocolate. There are some dark chocolates with a ton of sweetness to compensate for the bitterness, but I’m talking about really dark chocolate here.
Perhaps it’s time for a taste test! You may never have analyzed why you like chocolate before, so you may not know. For now, just know that if you are a dark chocolate person you can take bitterness. And white chocolate? Not so much. 

Pretty much everyone can tell the difference between skim milk, whole milk, and heavy cream, right? In the same way, one can perceive the body, weight and texture differences between light-bodied, medium-bodied, and full-bodied wines. Similar concept.
Different grape varieties have different bodies and textures. For example, in general, Riesling is a light-bodied white wine, while Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied red wine. Winemaking styles as well as climate can also have

There are no spices added to wine (except around the holidays in recipes for mulled wine).
When you hear wines described as having aromas of spices such as black pepper, cinnamon, or nutmeg, it doesn’t mean the winemaker added them in the winemaking process.

Those aromas are reminiscent of these spices and come from chemicals found in the grape or from the barrels the wine was fermented and/or matured in. However, this question is getting at your tolerance for alcohol more than at your enjoyment of spice (though it does that, too). High alcohol creates a ther¬mal reaction in your mouth, which makes it taste “hot.”
In chapter 3, I mention the story of my first taste of whiskey and how it felt like a fire in my mouth. The same reaction happens with spice. If you have ever had super-nuclear-hot buffalo wings, you know what I mean. Your mouth is on fire, you feel the heat, and you start to sweat, maybe even tear up. Wine never gets that hot, but high alcohol in a wine does register as heat. Some quiz takers have said “Well, I can handle hot foods; does that mean I should put down medium to extremely hot?” Not necessarily.

You should answer this question based on how you prefer your food in general. If you need your food to be extremely hot in order to enjoy it then, yes, put down extremely hot as your answer. But, if you only order the extremely hot wings in front of your friends because you think it shows you can “take it,” then I would consider revising your answer.
Those who do not tolerate spice well also generally do not prefer high-alcohol wines. It registers on their palates as too much heat, which makes it impossible for them to enjoy the wine. Those on the other end of the spectrum, who like it “the hotter the better,” enjoy the heat of high-alcohol wines and don’t think twice.

This may seem like another odd question since you don’t drink perfume. The purpose of this question is to identify the types of aromas you are attracted to. Perfumes and colognes are combinations of aromas from many things.image from shutterstock
Most are a combination of different categories of scents—floral, sweet, candied, fruity, spicy, or woodsy. However, there are many perfumes and colognes that are heavier in one category than another.

For example, Estée Lauder Pleasures is made up of many floral scents. Included in this perfume are lilies, peonies, jasmine, and Baie rose. I would qualify this as a floral scent.
On the other end of the spectrum, Opium, by Yves Saint Laurent, does have some floral scents, but exotic spices are more prominent. Among other things, it has cloves, coriander, myrrh, cedar, and sandalwood blended in. I would consider this a heavier, more intense, spicy perfume. Men’s colognes are generally more intense and spicy in their scents, with cedar, bergamot, cardamom, and musk scents predominating.
However, there are some that smell more aquatic and fresh (such as Davidoff Cool Water) or sweet (Ralph Lauren Polo Black, which has iced-mango notes) or spicy (such as Calvin Klein Obsession). Sweet and candied scents smell just that way—like candy. Jessica Simpson came out with a brand of fragrance not too long ago, called Dessert, that had very candied aromas.

One I remembered smelled like pure butter¬cream icing. The Body Shop has a vanilla-scented body spray scent that smells very sweet. Some people love sweet fragrances while others may find them repulsive. You may not know whether your favorite perfumes/colognes smell floral or sweet or spicy. If that’s too hard, think of your favorite scents in general and answer the question based on those preferences. Your answer to this question helps narrow the field again to identify wines that will be perfect for you.
Some grape varieties are extremely aromatic and others are neutral in their aromas. Some grape varieties are extremely floral (such as Sauvignon Blanc) and others are more spicy (such as Syrah). 

I find that people really fall into one of three snack camps—savory, fresh, or chocolate. Personally, I go for the savory: chips of any flavor, crackers, popcorn, nuts, or anything with salt and/or cheese.

However, I know many chocoholics who crave only chocolate. Given a choice, what do you grab for at snack time? This question helps define certain wine styles.
For example, in some wines I find an herbal, savory quality that brings to mind a plate of pasta covered in a meaty tomato sauce. Other wines have aromas and flavors of chocolate, vanilla, mocha, caramel— things you can find in a candy bar. And while I have yet to find a wine that smells of carrots or celery, there are many wines that are refreshing and almost feel healthy 

The book that inspired me to write 'The One Minute Wine Master' came out in the 1980s. It wasn’t about wine; it was a book for women to simplify choosing cosmetics. 'Color Me Beautiful' helped many to explore colors they might never have tried otherwise.image from shutterstok
Before I got this book I was fairly clueless about makeup and was doing the aqua blue eye shadow and fire engine red lipstick. Then again, I was only a teenager. According to the book, I’m a Fall because I have brown hair and hazel eyes, which means fall colors and earth tones (brown, orange, etc.) should look good on me. And, forgive me for sounding a bit vain here, it does work—I think I do look great in those autumn earth tones.

However, does it work all the time and should I regard it as doctrine? Well, at the risk of seeming conceited, I think I really look good in rich purple, too. Purple was not one of my designated Fall colors. It’s a Winter color, so does that mean the whole Color Me Beautiful system doesn’t work? No. It gave me a starting point to feel comfortable and explore more. That is exactly what this book is designed to do. It’s designed to give you a starting point to explore the incredibly complex world of wine and your own taste buds.

This quiz depends on a mathematical equation. So that means if you like the big, bold, tannic red wines of Winter yet you also like the delicate, crisp, sweet wines of Spring, the numbers may put you in the middle and characterize you as a Summer or a Fall.
How can you tell if this is the case? Take a look at your answers. For the question about the skim milk, whole milk, and heavy cream, did you say the same thing for both white and red? If not, that could be a clue that you may fit into different seasons for white and red. You may find that you’re a Winter red, but a Spring white. That’s OK, too. Even if the quiz didn’t work perfectly for you, The One Minute Wine Master Answer Wheel categories still might.

Again, the quiz and wheel are designed to give you a starting point to say “Hey, I like these types of wines and I may be interested in trying these others that are in the same category.” 

You may be the type of wine consumer who loves all wines and really doesn’t have a strong preference. In this case, the quiz and the wheel may not help you identify a single category for you.
However, the wheel will help you choose wines that you are in the mood for at a specific time or occasion.


The One minute wine master by Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan (pulished by Sterling Publlishing) is available to buy from