So you're about to order a bottle of tasty white wine! Do you want dry, very dry, or off-dry? And what ratio of melon-ness to butterscotch-ness do you want? What about saltiness? Stonefruit-ness? If you don't know, your waiter will look at you through eyes swollen with pity; your date will excuse him/herself and climb for freedom through a bathroom window; you will be left alone, with only a middling bottle by your side, a laughable semblance of comfort.
This infographic can help!
Graphic designer Sean Seidell, who previously made this equally delicious infographic overview of chocolate flavors, aggregated wine reviews from sites like Wine Spectator to organize 20 different types of wine. The wines are arranged by 20 different flavors, like "honey" and "herbal," then more generally by five categories: very dry, dry, off-dry, semi-sweet, and sweet. Dryness or sweetness, of course, is as much a result of the winemaker's technique as it is of the source grape varietal, but the chart shows the characteristics of each varietal's most popular style.
"One of the things I enjoyed most about this project was researching a wine and then going out to purchase a bottle of that wine," Seidell wrote in an email to Popular Science. "First I would try the wine without looking at my notes and try to sort out the flavors. I'd come up with maybe four flavors at most on my own. Then I would look at my research notes and keep those flavors in mind as I took another sip. Sauvignon Blanc, for example, had what appeared to be an impossible number of flavors, but as I drank it I found that it really did contain what my research said it did: Very Dry with lots of Citrus, Acid, Melon, and Stonefruit flavors alongside lighter Honey, Floral, Creamy, and Mineral flavors."
You'll know exactly what you want for a nice drink. (Or to get trashed on. Whichever.)
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A very helpful guide! Will there be one for reds next?