According to a self-proclaimed “Level 5″ I know there are 5 distinct levels of wine drinkers. He shared this information with me and my wino buddies a few years back. Read over the descriptions of each and determine what level you are.
Level 1 – White Zinfandel
This is the level that most wine drinkers start at. The White Zinfandel level is easily achieved as it seems to be the most popular wine available at restaurants and is typically very affordable (read: cheap). It is normally very sweet and unoffensive and therefore appeals to the masses. I’m ashamed to admit that I started on White Zin many years ago in a restaurant. At least the lights were dimmed!
Level 2 – Fruity Whites
The natural progression from White Zin is to the fruity whites. Again, these are obviously sweet and fruity, have lower alcohol levels and appeal to the masses. In this level you’ll find wines such as Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and the ever-popular Chardonnay. Level 2′s are easily spotted as they proudly drink Chardonnay and look down their noses at Level 1′s.
Level 3 – Fruity Reds
Once Level 2′s get tired of drinking over-oaked chardonnay they start to branch out and look for other fruity wines. This leads to Level 3 and fruity reds. This level also includes blush and rose wines. Some of the more popular fruity reds include Pinot Noir, made somewhat mainstream in the movie SIDEWAYS. Movies are typically dumbed-down and SIDEWAYS was no different in making the primary wine drinker a Level 3. They should have made him a redneck! Some lighter Zinfandels and Merlots fall into this level too. Yes, it’s true: Zinfandel is a red wine!
Level 4 – Robust Reds
These wine drinkers have progressed through the first 3 levels and proudly drink the bold, robust wines that Level 1 through 3 drinkers can’t hack. These wines typically exhibit much higher alcohol levels, tannin levels (the stuff that makes you suck your tongue against the inside of your front teeth) and often have more complex tastes. The fruitiness of the wines still exists but the sweetness is neutralized by the tannins and other flavors. Wines in this level include Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz/Syrah, Zinfandel, Carmenere, Malbec and some table wine and blends including Meritage. Some might put Merlot and earthy Pinot Noir into this category as well but not me.
Level 5 – Appreciates All
Level 5′s have achieved the top of the scale in wine drinking. They believe that all wines are good, some just better than others and can sometimes be seen drinking white wines. Of all the Level 5′s that I know, which is about 4 or 5, they still drink red wine 90% + of the time. I think they drink whites purely for show and to prove that they do appreciate all and are Level 5′s. Level 5′s also have vast knowledge of varietals world-wide and can easily talk about the different wine regions and share their experiences from previous phases of their wine drinking days such as when they were in a Spanish or Italian wine phase.
Now, I’m sure to get slammed as something less than a level 5 just for spelling this out and it is true that I’m a proud Level 4. Also, I’m just a redneck who doesn’t have that much experience in worldly wines or other levels so if you have something to correct me on, add to or you simply want slice me up with your keyboard please leave me your comments!