How to Choose a Great Wine: Decisions, Decisions!

Wine takes you on a personal journey into what you enjoy to drink. To choose a good wine takes practice and some effort. The following will help guide you through the process of picking a wine. If you love good taste, and want the ability to impress your friends with your “lucky” choices. Here’s a guide for you.

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Start With the Price Range

Knowing your price range is the first step. It’s all about getting the best bang for your buck. Anyone can get a $2 bottle that everyone cringes while tasting. Unless you buy Lamborghinis for kicks and giggles, the trick here is to buy inexpensive wine that has the taste of more expensive wines. This takes a little bit of experimenting, as new wineries come into existence every year. Less expensive might mean “newer,” or it could mean “undiscovered.” With that in mind, the first thing you need to do is figure out your price range. Once this variable is settled, it’s time to consider the meal your wine selection will accompany.

What’s For Dinner?

This choice splits your decision between Whites and Reds. Different foods go well with different wines, and knowing what’s for dinner is half the battle. When pairing up light foods like salad or chicken, the suggested choice would be a lighter Wine. White wine should always be paired with a lighter meal. Light=Light. For heavier meals, select a full-bodied red wine. The wine is always meant to compliment the meal and enhance the taste, so for heavier meals, think dark wine. This rule may seem simple, but it will go a long way in making your dinner party or other event a success.  If you’re simply walking into a party or not sure what the dinner selection will be, a light white wine is always safe for socializing. Of course, you can really impress your friends if you know where the wine comes from.

Selecting A Region

Location is a huge factor to consider when selecting wine. Anything from the “Old Countries” is a pretty safe bet.  Germany and France are generally fantastic choices, as they have been perfecting the art and science of winemaking for centuries. Wines from the Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne valleys are all good bets, whether you are attempting to impress friends or share a special evening with loved ones. But don’t forget to consider less conventional locations, including Africa and Australia, when it comes to selecting a wine. These newer players in the wine industry have come a long way with in a very short amount of time and can be the perfect source for quality wine at budget-friendly prices. Ultimately, one of the most enjoyable aspects of wine consumption is the journey of discovering your unique tastes and preferences.

Don’t Forget the Grapes!

Grapes make a huge difference in how the wine tastes and ferments. All grapes naturally ferment, but the type of grape makes a big difference in the taste and boldness of flavor after this process.

A quick lists of ideas of where to start:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon is a full, rich red wine that goes well with anything heavy

  • Pinot Noir is sweeter than Cabernets, with similar characteristics

  • Merlot is one of the easier reds to start with, and it is popular around the world

  • Zinfandel is a Californian specialty and has a bold rich flavor

  • Syrah is a very famous red; the French and Australian make them extremely well

  • Chardonnay is an easy, smooth white, and comes highly recommend

  • Sauvignon Blanc is a fresh white, great for garden parties and get-togethers

  • Riesling is a nice, easy white; produced well by both German and Californian wineries

 

Don’t panic if you see a blend of grapes; it is common to have different grapes used to create special blends. Much of the science and mastery of winemaking lies in this process. If you are going for a blended wine, however, selecting stock from the “Old Countries” is the safest bet. Few other locations have the expertise to craft delicious blended wines. By perfecting the aging process, more complicated blends can be produced. As stated in an article about objects that improve with age, it is the high levels of residual sugar, combined with the grapes’ natural acidity, that gives wine a greater taste of complexity and creamier texture when it is aged.

It’s All About Your Personal Preference

Your natural tendencies in what you eat can help you select your wine. For a first time buyer, think about the foods you like and why. If you really enjoy a good steak for example, your taste is probably going to veer more towards the deeper red wines. If you’re someone who prefers a lighter meal, you’ll probably prefer the taste of a lighter white wine. But don’t think too hard about it. If you plan on becoming a regular wine consumer, this isn’t going to be a one-time purchase. You are going to have to experiment, but that’s half the fun anyway! Wine is a journey and your tastes will change as your taste buds evolve and you begin to consciously notice the various flavors of the grapes. Have fun learning and experiencing new and bold flavors in everything you buy. Don’t be afraid to test and taste and test again. Have fun and learn about yourself in the process.

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