Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tea and Wine

After working in the pet industry for more than five years I’ve made a drastic career change and jumped ship to the wine industry. Life works in mysterious ways. You may find yourself asking, what does this have to do with tea? More than you might think!  Over the last month and a half I’ve realized more and more just how many similarities the two beverages share. I don’t know nearly enough about wine just yet to go into full technical detail but I’ve got the basics down.

For starters wine and tea contain tannins. The same component that gives black teas their astringency also gives red wines their mouth puckering tartness. Both wine and tea can be oxidized and fermented (depending on the type). Terroir has an affect on taste with wine just as it does with tea. The descriptions of flavor profiles are also very similar. The other day I was unpleasantly surprised to try a red wine that tasted like bad puerh (you know, the kind that tastes like a barnyard smells). Having a background in tasting tea has been a big help in tasting wine because a lot of terminology is the same. On the flip side, I have a hard time getting past the alcohol to truly taste the wine. Thankfully that isn’t an issue with tea.

For a viewpoint on this topic from someone who actually knows what he’s talking about, check out Wojchiech at Polish Wine Guide. He’s written two articles so far and has a third one coming soon.