Goodan: Wine can be affordable with college budget

DEMETRIUS FREEMAN/Herald

Allison Goodan

If you find wine to be a daunting topic, you aren’t alone.

There are so many types of wine, that for a beginner, it’s easy to go for the cheap stuff.

Like many 21-and-up college students, it’s possible you haven’t branched out from Bud Light, Kentucky Gentleman or Burnett’s.

Let’s explore some wine for you to try, and no, Boone’s Farm and Arbor Mist do not count.

You have red and white wines — simple enough, right? Red wine tends to be a bit drier than white, which means it leaves your tongue feeling a little parched.

This comes from the tannin in wine, which is a product of crushed grape skins, that is taken out of the fermentation process for white grapes.

If you’re brave enough, try a dry red. The flavor is often followed by an acidity which gives you a pleasant pucker and makes your mouth water — similar to one’s reaction to lemon juice.

This is something an acquired wine drinker experiences, but isn’t impossible starting out.

White wines are often dry too but lack tannin and are offset by a lighter, crisp taste making it less bold than red wine.

Helpful hint: The higher the alcohol percentage (13-14 percent), the drier the wine will be. Sweeter wines are about 11 percent or lower.

If you are looking for a red wine, try Pinot Noir (pronounced PEE-no n’whar). It is a light, not so dry, red wine with a touch of fruit and hint of spice.

Each type of wine is best from certain areas, because it’s all about the climate and soil in which the grape is grown. Starting out, look for a Pinot Noir from Oregon or France — these are some of the best.

If you want a white wine, Riesling is a safe bet. Riesling (pronounced REES-ling) is crisp and fruit-forward with a hint of sweetness.

The best, true Rieslings are from Germany. Find one, and it’s likely that you have a quality bottle of wine. If you see “late harvest” on the bottle, it’s because the grape was picked later in the season — think raisin vs. grape. It makes for a sweeter more concentrated taste.

Pinot Noir or Riesling alone is great, but wine paired with the right food brings the flavor of wine to its full potential. Research your wine online to find which food goes best. The way in which you cook the food matters too (grilled chicken vs. baked changes the flavor.)

With wine, you don’t have to compromise your college budget. Quality wines can be found from $10-20 a bottle. Try something different.  If you get overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask a wine person. They’ll be excited to help someone new to wine.