Picking a bottle of quality wine at a restaurant, in a bar, in a shop or online can be a daunting task. Especially if you don’t know a lot about wine. If you want to gain some more confidence when it comes to picking a bottle, bear in mind the tips below.
Figure out Your Likes and Dislikes
Figuring out what you like, and dislike is the first step toward picking a quality wine, every time. Everyone has individual preferences and working out what yours are will help you when it comes to selecting wine.
But, what’s the best way to find out what you like? By drinking wine, and by drinking lots of it. Try to take notes along the way, write down wines you have sampled, write down what you like or didn’t like about them, and soon your preferences will start to emerge.
Memorise the Importer
You can find the importer on the back of the bottle. Most importers will have a ‘house style’ and they will pick other bottles of quality wine, that fit into this style. If you like a particular wine from a particular importer, chances are you may like some of their others.
Make Note of the Regions and Grape Varieties you Enjoy
If you try the perfect bottle of red whilst out for dinner, or sip on an incredible bottle of white at a friend’s house, taking a picture of the label can seem like a great idea at the time. But this means you have to hunt down that specific bottle, and you may find it’s not actually that easy to get hold of.
Instead, try making a note of the grape variety and the region the wine comes from, this means you will start to build up a better picture of what makes you tick. It also makes hunting for a bottle of quality red wine or quality white wine much easier, as you can then search by grape and region to find similar options.
Get to Know Your Wine Adjectives
Wine adjectives are there to give you an idea of what a wine tastes like, when you are unable to actually taste it. Getting to know your wine adjectives, and what the writers mean by these adjectives, will put you in a better position to pick a bottle of quality wine.
- Acidity: wines with high acidity will be tart and zesty. For a red wine this will be reminiscent of tart fruit, for a white wine this zest will be similar to citrus fruit.
- Big: A big wine is one that is massive in flavour, it will hit all parts of your tongue and mouth. Being a big wine doesn’t necessarily mean it is fruity, the wine may be big in tannins instead.
- Buttery: If a wine is described as having buttery characteristics it will most likely have been aged in oak, it will have a cream like texture that hits your tongue almost like oil (or butter).
- Complex: A complex wine means the flavour changes from the moment you taste it to when you swallow.
- Flamboyant: A flamboyant wine will try to get your attention with an abundance of fruit.
- Jammy: In wine ‘jammy’ indicates a wine with a syrupy, cooked berry sweetness, this term is often used to describe American wines like Zinfandel. If you are looking for a quality rose wine this could be the descriptor to look out for.