Advice on Buying Good Wine
Good wines do not always come with a fancy label or a high price tag. You can find good wine in almost any price range, and from near every part of the world. Exactly what makes a good wine varies from person to person, but there are some clear indicators of how a good wine should look and taste. Find a good wine by learning a little bit about different types of wines, trying different varieties, and serving your wine properly.
Research wine basics.Do some research to learn about wines and the wine-making process before you make a purchase. Get familiar with different types of wine, how wine is made, and how different factors such as age and location impact your favorite wines.
.Magazines such as Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator offer monthly publications that contain a number of articles relating to learning about wine, wine production, and learning to enjoy wine.
.If there is a particular portion of winemaking or tasting that interests you, such as how soil impacts flavor or how to distinguish between wines by taste, look for a book on the subject.
.Brochures from vineyards and distributors contain useful information about specific vintages and wine producers. Good wines come from good producers, so take a look to see who is well-regarded in the industry.
.Go for tours and tastings at local vineyards. If there is a wine producer near you, do some first-hand research by attending a tour and tasting at their vineyard. This lets you ask questions directly from the people who make the wine.
"If you're a beginner, seek out a quality wine that balances acidity, sweetness, tannins, and body.
Go for a tasting.Understanding the concepts behind what makes a wine good is important, but knowing what a good wine tastes like means actually tasting good wine. Find a tasting event at a local vineyard, wine store, or restaurant.
.Look for events that offer a number of wines. New product or cask events usually focus on a single type of wine and do not offer the chance to become familiar with different types of wine. Try asking "I like this type of wine. What else would you recommend based on that?"
.Take a friend. Tasting are often part learning and part social. If you are uncomfortable going alone, bring a friend to learn about wine with you.
.Ask questions. If there is a wine you like, ask who makes it, what region it comes from, and what year it was produced. Say "I very much enjoyed this wine. Can you tell me more about who makes it and how it gets its flavor?" Compare wines you like to see if they have something in common, such as coming from the same region.
.Check the wine’s sight and smell, along with taste. Visual factors, such as a murky wine, as well sour or acrid scents may indicate that a wine is not good.
Learn about different types of wine.There are reds, whites, and roses, but there are also different wines within those types. Read up on the basic wine types and their tastes to figure out what you might like.
.Chardonnay is a popular type of white wine. It is described as being buttery and often fruity with notes of apples and citrus.
.Riesling is a sweet white wine with lighter, fruitier flavors than a Chardonnay. Its high acidity pairs well with spicy foods.
.Sauvignon Blanc is an aromatic white wine with sharp, herbal qualities. It may also taste slightly of sour fruits.
.White Zinfandel is a popular type of rose that is moderately sweet and a little dry. It is said to have citrus as well as candy notes, and is slightly acidic. It is best served cold.
.Merlot is a soft red wine with plum-like notes that tends to be mellow from the day it is opened. It is well-liked for its underlying chocolate flavors.
.Cabernet Sauvignon is a darker, bolder red than a Merlot. It sometimes has a berry-like taste to it, and ages very well.
.Pinot Noir is a red wine that is often described as tasting like red fruits such as cherries and strawberries.
.Syrah, also known as Shiraz, is a bold, sweet red wine that is often cited as tasting spiced. Syrahs age well, and are said to go wonderfully with grilled meats.
Keep a wine journal.This allows you to keep track of what wines you enjoyed and which ones you did not. It also lets you take note of specific things that you enjoy in a wine, so that you can better understand your personal pallet.
.You can find journals made especially for logging wine online and in some bookstores and wine stores. These give you specific prompts and notes to keep your records consistent.
.Alternatively, you can always use a simple notebook to keep track of wines you have tried. Note the type of wine, the vineyard, the vineyard location, the date, and your own tasting notes.
.Note things like taste, color, and smell. Was the wine sweet? Was it sour? Did it remind you of chocolate? Was it bright red or dark red? Did it smell grassy? Did it smell like fruit?
.Always include a simple note stating whether you liked the wine. This could be as simple as writing “good” on the top corner of the page, or you could create your own rating system.
Locate a good wine store.Every wine store is different, and you will find that each store offers different selections, different price ranges, and different styles of business.
.Stores with organizedwine tastings, or those that allow you to buy a glass of wine in order to try it, can lead you in your quest to purchase good wine.
.Find a store where you feel comfortable going in and asking questions. You want a wine store with a staff that will not only help you understand your wine choices, but also make you feel comfortable coming to them with your questions.
.Be willing to try more than just specialty shops. Some liquor stores as well as grocery stores carry a wide variety of wines. Look in different places to find different selections.
Check the price tag.Consider the price of the wine, but do not solely base your decision on this factor. These days, it is not uncommon for wines to be priced based on factors not related to taste.
.The business costs of the winery, including start-up costs and investment amounts, can be factored into the price of a wine. Wines from newer vineyards may cost more but may not taste any better.
.The location of the winery can affect the cost as well. A bottle from a traditional wine region may cost more than a better tasting bottle from a lesser known region..
.Some established wineries sell their wines under a different label at a cheaper price.
Look at screw caps.Ignore the idea that bottles of wine with screw caps are not considered to be good wines. An increased number of wine producers are forgoing corks.
.Screw caps can prevent corkiness, which is when the natural corks produce a smell similar to wet cardboard.
.Screw caps also keep bacteria out of wine and allow opened wines to stay fresher longer. Seriously consider a screw cap if you are buying a bottle that will take longer than one night to consume.
4Look at the vintage.Some wines get better with age, but many wines are finished aging by the time they are bottled. Look for the freshest wine you can get to ensure you have a good bottle.
.Wines labeled or stocked as “fine wines” in your wine store may be better with age. Consult with your wine store’s expert if you are looking for a fine wine.
.For standard wines, such as those you buy from a grocery store, find the most recent vintage available. This helps prevent getting a corky or spoiled wine. Look to the back of the shelves, as stores often move older stock to the front.
5Pair your wine.What you eat can drastically change the flavor of your wine. Buy a wine to match your meal so that you get the best flavors from your wine as you enjoy your food.
Salty and savory foods go well with sweet wines.
.White meats tend to pair better with white wines, while red meats usually pair better with red wines.
.Lighter white wines usually work best with seafood.
.Sweet foods are complemented by sweet white wines as well as dessert wines.
.Spicy foods work best with Rieslings and Gewürztraminers.
.Vegetable dishes work best with rich whites and light reds, such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
.When there are a number of different flavors or food options, look for a wine that is well-balanced and not too extreme in taste.Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs are generally consistently good and not too offensive with any particular pairing.
Join a wine club.There are a number of clubs, such as the International Wine of the Month Club, that will mail you a bottle or a case of wine on a monthly basis. These clubs send you a curated wine, sparing you the stress of picking a bottle and allowing you to try something new.
.Find a club that is catered to your interests. If you like local wine, see if there is a local wine club. If you only like reds or whites, find one that allows you to receive only the type of wine you like.
.If you find a wine you enjoy, check with the club or the producing vineyard to find out where you can buy it locally.
Use an app.Smartphone apps like Wine Ring let you record the wines you like, then give you recommendations based on your preferences.
.Use it along with or instead of a wine journal to rate wines you like.
.Get specific vintage and vineyard recommendations for other wines that you might enjoy based on your preferences. Use this to make shopping for wine at the grocery store easier.
Properly serve your wine.Buying a good wine doesn’t mean much if you don’t serve it the right way. Using the right glass, keeping your wine at the right temperature, and letting certain wines breath can all impact how good your wine tastes.
.Serve your red wines in large, wide-bowl glasses and whites in smaller, more enclosed glasses. Fill the glass a third of the way, leaving room for air to meet the wine and release aromas in the glass.
.Not all whites are chilled and not all reds need to be room temperature. Consult the bottle to see if the wine producer recommends keeping the bottle cold, or if it is best left at ambient temperature.
.Aerating your wine allows it to oxidize, which helps get rid of sour and undesirable flavors. Pour your wine into a decanter or a wide-mouth glass pitcher an hour or so before you serve it to get rid of some harsh flavors.
Cleanse your palate.If you are going to switch between multiple wine types in one sitting or during the same meal, cleanse your palate in between each wine. This keeps the flavor of the old wine from interfering with the flavor of the new wine.
.Crusty bread is often used as a palate cleanser during wine tastings to help soak up the flavor as well as the alcohol.
.Cheese works particularly well with red wines to remove the tannic flavors.
.The salty flavor of olives can help clear away sweet wine flavors.
.A glass of room-temperature water cleanses the palate without requiring you to eat.
3Properly store your wine.Get the most from a good wine by making sure you store it properly after you open it. This keeps the flavors sealed in for as long as possible.
.Store your wine upright to minimize the amount of wine coming in contact with the air.
.Use the cork, screw cap, or your own wine bottle stopper to seal the bottle opening.
.Store your wine at a temperature below room temperature. If you can, put open bottles in the fridge.
.Drink the rest of your wine within 5 days to keep it from spoiling.