Choosing the right bottle of wine for a dinner date, feast, or movie night at home can be quite a challenge—especially if you’re unfamiliar with the different types and flavors of wine. However, there are established pointers from experienced wine drinkers that you can remember before you start canvassing for wines.
These tips will help you better decide on which wine suits the occasion, food, and your personal preferences. So, without further ado, here’s how you can find the right wine that suits your needs:
1. Identify Your Preferences
Just like food, wines have different flavor profiles. Knowing these flavors will also help you determine what kind of dishes are best paired with each type. Wine preferences are subjective, and how you evaluate a good wine is entirely up to your taste buds. There are fundamental characteristics that define wine, and understanding each element will help you better pick a wine that fits your taste.
• Sweetness: Wines can either be sweet, semi-sweet, or dry. A dry wine will have no hint of sweetness at all. It’s important to note that the sweetness of a wine is closely associated with its alcohol level, so if the bottle does not indicate the wine’s sweetness, check the alcohol percentage to have a good idea.
• Alcohol: The burning and slightly bitter taste in some wines is caused by their alcohol content. If a bottle has a higher alcohol percentage, the more likely it will have a stronger burning sensation.
• Tannin: The dry sensation that coats your gums and mouth is due to the wine’s tannin level. Tannins are usually composed of grape skin, seeds, and stems that were included in the production process of the wine. The higher tannins a wine has, the more it will feel dry on your mouth.
• Acidity: The acidity in some wines is also caused by the tartaric and malic acids that are found in grapes. This gives the wine a sour taste, and it balances out the tannin and sweetness of a wine.
Now, it’s up to you to decide which flavor or attribute would you like best in a wine. If you like something sweet, then it’s best to get a wine with a low alcohol level. If you want a wine with high levels of alcohol, what you need is a dry type. Lastly, if you want something more balanced, then you could pick an acidic type.
2. Read The Label
Once you know which flavor profiles you like, choosing wines should be easier. However, retailers are not always keen to provide a taste test when you go shopping for wines. And if you are buying online, the more impossible it is to have a taste test.
Reading and understanding the label can already tell you about the wine’s flavor profile. This alone can help you choose the right wine that would suit your taste. The label of a wine will usually indicate where it was produced, the type of grape, alcohol content, and sometimes, even its flavor notes.
Paying attention to the details indicated on a wine bottle will give you a good idea of what you’re getting. Certain wines and wine-producing regions will have characteristics that will make their flavor profile unique.
Rieslings, for example, will always have a petrol-like aroma, no matter who the producer is because it’s simply a characteristic of the wine. The region where the wine is made also plays a part since it can indicate the flavors and type of grape used to make the wine.
The overall process plays a part as well. For instance, a New Zealand Organic Wine has a distinct taste because it is made from grapes that were organically farmed. Meaning, the grapes were not grown with herbicides and chemicals. Thus, the wine will have a more concentrated flavor.
3. Understand Wine Pairings
The general rule of thumb when it comes to wine pairings is that the wine is supposed to compliment the food you’re eating. Strong red wines that are full-bodied, high in tannin and alcohol go well with well-seasoned red meat.
On the other hand, intense-flavored wines are better for salty and sour foods since the salt will help wash out the tannin and acidity while highlighting the fruit flavors of the wine. Foods with mild flavors, like fish or salads, will pair well with softer wines like Chardonnay or Riesling.
4. Know The Price Point Of Wines
The price point of a bottle of wine doesn’t necessarily define its quality. The first things you should look for are the wine’s flavors and characteristics. The price should only be a secondary consideration. The price would usually be based on what type of wine it is, the year it was made, its origin, and the brand or manufacturer.
Keep in mind that each wine has its own charms. There will be wines that you’ll find unappealing, and wines that you’ll find irresistible. Understanding how to choose wines with your own taste in mind will help you better decide which bottle should you get for special occasions and feasts. Remember that wine preference is highly subjective. However, with the help of a few guidelines above, you can make a better or more informed decision as to what kind of wine should you get.