How do you select a good bottle of wine? This is the advice I give my friends every time they ask me ‘how do you select a good bottle of wine?’ The offer on the market is huge, so take the time to shop around.
Step #1: understand your preferences
Knowing what you like or dislike can help you to eliminate some choices. The wine can be fantastic, but if it does not match the ‘feng shui’ of your preferences, you will not like it.
Ask yourself the following questions?
Do I like red wine or do I like white wine or do I like both? Do I like or dislike tannin? If you hate tannin, you can already eliminate wines made out of Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Shiraz. Stay away from the bottles which mention those grapes or the wines from left bank Bordeaux (dominant in Cabernet Sauvignon), Barolo and Barbaresco, Chianti, Rosso and Brunello di Montalcino, Super Tuscans and Northern Rhone. You can drink instead wines made out of Pinot Noir, Merlot, Tempranillo, Grenache, Gamay, Malbec.
Do I like or dislike wines with high acidity? If you hate high acidity, stay away from: Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Riesling in the white wine category or Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, Pinot Noir in the red wine category. Go for Viognier, Gewurtztraminer, Chardonnay in the white wine.
Do I prefer wines with higher alcohol or do I like wines with lower alcohol content? If you don’t like high alcohol, than stay away from Italian wine and red wines made in warmer climates.
Do I like aged wines or I prefer the ones that are more fruity and fresh? Aged wines aromas are an acquired taste. I always say it is like liking or hating to eat Stilton cheese or any other matured cheeses. If you like ageing aromas and complexity, look for an older bottle. It should be at least five years old. If you like fruity and fresh wines, look for something which is not older than two or three years.
Do I like complex wines or do I like simple, easy drinking wines? If you like simple, easy drinking wines, than you have a wider selection. They are younger and less expensive. If you like complex wines, here you need to pay a little bit more and go for older wines and wines with oak influence.
Do I like oak in white wines or prefer the unoaked ones? If you hate oak in white wines, stay away from white Burgundies (which are always with some oak influence), some New World Chardonnay and African Chenin Blanc. Read more: buff.ly/2sSOEVC
Expert tip: download Vivino or similar and when you’re stuck for a wine to choose at the supermarket, scan the bottle label and see what the crowd say. Generally, anything rate above 3.5 is going to be a good bottle of wine.