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11 Great Tips on Wine Selections

25 Feb 2016 1:43 AM -

Truth be told, it's not that difficult to pick the right wine. As a matter of fact, there are some basic rules that can help anyone in selecting the right type of wine depending on the food, the occasion, and so on. 

Likewise, there are three main things to consider when purchasing wine for an occasion. These three things are: allotted budget, the type of wine wanted (red wines, white wines, French wines, etc.), and whether it's going to be paired with a dish or not.


As a friendly advice, if it's going to be paired with food, it's important to determine the right type of wine that's capable of enhancing the flavours of the dish even more. 

Here are some general tips in regard to picking the best wine.


Tip #1: How to Get Started with Wine Tasting


Wine tasting is something that can be learned as long as you're determined-- just like how you learn to appreciate art or music. The pleasure to be received is usually equal to the effort one is willing to dedicate and exert. Which only implies that, the more a person fine-tunes his senses, the more he will be able to understand and enjoy the details and nuances great wines have. Likewise, the effort and time dedicated in wine tasting are usually rewarding and could also be very enjoyable at the same time.


Tip #2: The Proper Way to Taste Wine

If you want to taste wine like an expert or true wine connoisseur, you should know how to properly sniff and splice the threads fused together, creating a complex wine flavour-- this is very essential when it comes to wine tasting. It can be done in a number of ways, such as holding the nose while swallowing some wine, allowing you to realize that majority of its flavour is there. The nose can serve as a guide to one's palate, and learning how to give a wine a good whiff can let anyone have the skill to insulate its flavours-- notice how it unfolds and interact with each other. Sometimes, this can also reveal a language that would describe it.


This is what wine connoisseurs do, allowing them to make, buy, sell, and write about wine in an artistic fashion. For any wine enthusiast, something like this is definitely a pay-off for all the effort exerted. Although there isn't a right or wrong way on how to taste wine, there are some rules to consider:


For starters, it's important to be focused and methodical. Try to find an approach and consistently stick with it. The truth is, not every single bottle or glass of wine should be analysed in this method, but if you want to learn about wine, being dedicated is required. That said, whenever you have a glass of wine in your hand, take it seriously. Stop all conversations, limit all distractions, and concentrate on the wine's scent, appearance, finish, and flavours.


Try to run through a mental checklist for about a minute, and this would help in plotting out the compass points of one's palate. Obviously, sipping a cup of chilled rose from a paper cup doesn't require the same effort as compared to tasting a well-aged Bordeaux served in a fancy glass. These are some of the extreme ends of the spectrum.


Tip #3: What Is “Good Wine” for Beginners


A lot of people have the assumption that any wine they like is already a good wine. Although this can be true if the goal is to simply enjoy the wine, and all you have to do is take a sip, swallow, and decide if it's a yes or a no; it's different if you want to appreciate the true beauty of wine.


Although having the idea of what you like is an integral part of wine tasting, it's not the only factor to be considered. For one, passing judgment about the wine isn't the same as being able to fully understand and evaluate it. Being able to taste properly will allow you to identify the main flavour and scent in every wine you try. Through this, you'll discover the basic characteristics of the different varietal grapes. Not just that, it also becomes possible to pinpoint the flaws in bad wines.


Tip #4: Pinpointing Wine Flaws


Unfortunately, bad wines do exist, and some even cost a fortune. What makes a bad wine, bad? Some of these flaws are a result of bad winemaking, but there are some brought by poor storage and the use of bad corks. That's why when ordering a bottle of wine in a restaurant, it's important to be certain that the wine you received tastes exactly the way it's supposed to taste.

Never give your full trust on servers in restaurants to notice this for you. It's always up to the customer to notice any flaws and whether they should approve it or not. The most common way to determine if the wine is bad or not is to sniff out the common faults, ranging from a musty smell to tainted cork.


Tip #5: Familiarizing Yourself with Different Wine Types


Although it's easy to know the difference between red wines and white wines, even for a beginner, it can be a challenge to know all the wine types and varietals. 

The Different Wine Regions


“Old World”: Wine is produced all over the world. However, there are countries that are known as the “New World” and “Old World.” In the “Old World” it's made up of regions that have long accounts of wine production, including several parts of the Mediterranean and Europe. Wherein, most of the renowned “Old World” wine regions include Italy, France, and Germany. These regions focus on 'terroir,' the specific characteristics of the climate and soil, giving their once a 'local' taste.

“New World”: On the other hand, “New World” regions are regions that are quite new in producing wine. This includes Australia, U.S, and Chile. Most of these regions have warmer climates, and utilize different labeling methods. Aside from that, they also use grapes instead of the regions on their labels.


Tip #6: Read the Labels

Wine labels can be very confusing-- especially to those who are just new to wine tasting. Fortunately, New World Wine producers made it more convenient to consumers by listing the varietals instead of regions. 

For example, in the Old World, French Wine has the label “Saint-Emillion,” printed with the assumption that the drinkers of this wine are aware that the wines coming from this region are usually Merlot. On the other hand, in the New World, the wine coming from Napa Valley, as an example, lists both the grape variety, as well as the region where it originated. Studying more about the wine can help in familiarizing oneself and become more knowledgeable to all the wine varietals, as well as the Old World regions that make them.


With this, Old World producers are beginning to realize that in order to stay on top of competition on a global scale, they must look for ways on how making it simple for the consumer to categorize wine. However, as much as everything may change and improve, a deep knowledge of how to read wine labels is still a valuable skill.

Tip #7: How to Buy Wine 

In today's world, finding the best wines have never been easier. In search for a wine produce from Crete? Chances are, the wine shop in your area will likely have this type. If not, you can just look for a wine retailer online. The good thing about this is that, it's up to the user to find the best deals or for the rarest bottle that can be delivered right at his doorstep.


Wine-savvy shoppers know how to stay updated in regard to the dynamic shipping laws related to sending wine bottles. For instance, some states don't allow sending wine to another taste, while other places are less strict with this.

Before one can start shelling out some cash to start a full collection of the best tasting wines there is, it's important to familiarize your palate first by grabbing the chances to taste and figure out what types of wine you prefer. 

For example, when out with friends or if you're out for a party, then it's highly recommended to be open minded. Although a Sauvignon might taste wonderful, you should give the exotic Rieslings a try as well, to see their differences. Just like what a lot of wine experts love to say, “nothing is better than discovering wine after tasting everything.”


Tip #8: Serving Wine to Improve Taste


Having the ability to taste wine means you should also know how to properly serve it. For beginners, it's important to see to it that the wine is served at its finest.

Choosing the Right Glassware

Every wine is unique, and a lot of wine glasses are shaped in a way where it will accentuate the characteristics of the wine being served. The shape of the wine glass should be able to direct the wine across several areas, such as the nose and tongue, so that the drinker can fully evaluate its taste. Although there's nothing wrong with savoring wine in any glass of your choice, a glass specifically made for a certain type of wine will allow the drinker to better experience its taste.


Temperature


Wines are usually kept in similar temperature, no matter what their variety is. However, whites and reds are consumed in different temperatures. Usually, people prefer drinking white wines that are cold, and red wines that are too warm-- they aren't aware that this limits the flavour. Basically, a white wine that's too cold will become flavourless, while a red wine that's too warm will be flabby.

As a good rule of thumb, white wines should be kept inside the fridge, and it's advisable to let the temperature rise when it comes to red wines. 

Preservation


If there's leftover wine, it's important to know how to preserve it properly. Once the wine gets in contact with air, it'll spoil quickly. In order to slow down the spoiling process, using a vacuum pump to suck out the air is ideal. The less air there is in the bottle, the longer it'll stay fresh.


Tip #9: Consulting an Expert 


If you find yourself still confused, then there's nothing wrong asking an expert. Also, if you don't really know a lot about wine, then the most dangerous thing you can ever do is pretend that you're quite knowledgeable. No matter how deep your level of wine knowledge is, never make the mistake of assuming that you know more about the wine than the expert.


Always have an open mind to the suggestions you're going to receive. Just because you've never heard of this region, variety, or producer, it doesn't mean that you should feel intimidated and shy away. In fact, you should give it a try and see if you'll like it.


Tip #10: Don't Be too Loyal


Believe it or not, even the most successful and passionate wine connoisseurs have their own favourites, but they don't allow this to limit their options. Instead, they let their favourites guide them to find something better. If you love a particular wine, instead of buying cases of that producer, you should consider asking a salesperson for recommendations. You'll be thrilled at how much you can discover.

Tip #11: Spend Some Time to Read

You should allot some time and read magazines, blogs, books, and anything else that talks about wine. Though, aside from that, you should also make it a habit to read the labels. That means, whether you're in a 5-star restaurant or wine shop, you should read the label and look for key details that can guide you along the way.

The more specific the geographical location of wine is, the more expensive and better it's going to be. For vintage wines, you can always ask an expert on what they can recommend for your chosen year. Don't be fooled by others saying there's a “good year.” This doesn't exist. Oftentimes, this is limited to specific appellations and regions. Never hesitate to inquire about these.


Tip #12:  Recommended Temperature 

Below are the recommended temperatures to keep your wines:

Moscato, Sparkling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris – 6 to 8 Degrees

Riesling & Unwooded Chardonnay – 8 to 10 Degrees

Chardonnay – 10 to 12 Degrees

Pinot Noir – 12 to 14 Degrees

Tempranillo – 14 to 16 Degrees

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Shiraz – 16 to 18 Degrees


Final Words


When choosing the best wines, you should take your time and don't pressure yourself. Start slow and discover the kind of wine you like first, then go ahead and start discovering something better.

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