The Bottom-Barrel Basics for Drinking a Glass of Wine

I have a confession to make: I've only just recently begun to understand and appreciate wine in terms more nuanced than white or red. What helps is knowing how best to drink a given varietal, and why.

First of all, stop putting ice cubes in your white wine. You're not on The Real Housewives of Orange County and you're effing ruining it. To that end, red wine shouldn't be served warm, like it's been sitting in your pantry for days. Unless you're drinking it just to get wasted, in which case whatever, you're best off serving red at anywhere between 55-65 degrees.

And there's all those terms. Dry. Full. Fruity. Spicy. Crisp. Brisk. Acetic. Corked.

Here's the deal: red wine isn't any drier than white; a properly aged red will often have tannins, derived from the skins, which is what makes for that drier mouth feel. Tannin concentrations of varying levels come in and out of vogue, you'll notice subtle differences year to year.

Lastly, letting red wine "breathe" is what gives it its taste. Without decanting it and letting it sit for a little, a red wine will be closed, meaning its flavors will not have been released. It's probably why for so long, drinking red wine like an ignorant child, it all tasted the same to me. Which is why I thought I just didn't "get" wine. As it turns out, all that pretention is actually useful science. It just sounds sort of snobby. [BussinessInsider - Image via kuleczka/Shutterstock]