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Practical Guide For Picking a Good Bottle of Wine

"In Vino Veritas"

A famous Latin phrase by Gaius Plinius Secundus, has its place in the world’s history and international cuisine. As it happens, nearly every civilization and country was able to develop their own specific types of wine. This resulted in a variety of different recipes, flavors, applications, and so on. The wine was used as a universal treatment for a large portion of conditions in Ancient Rome. Other civilizations used it in rituals or festivals. 

As it is possible to see, wine has its unique place among the alcoholic drinks as it’s usually associated with something sacred, official, or intimate. Let’s skip to modern times - wine is a to-go beverage for many different occasions and this is all great. However, how to pick good wine? The answer to this question is quite complicated, if you ask some pro. However, it should not be that hard to pick a bottle of great wine! This practical guide will provide you with some tips and tricks so you can pick a bottle that is perfect for you!

What’s the Occasion?

Let’s begin with basics - is there any specific occasion to consider? Usually, there is. Picking a wine that perfectly reflects an event is as important as other drinks and dishes. If you have a favorite one, then there is no difference; however, some specific occasions call for different options. Picking a wine that doesn’t fit an occasion can be a mood killer. So, here are some examples of situations and potential wine choices:

  • Picnic - rose wine is a perfect option due to its versatility as it can go with any sort of food;
  • Date night - Merlot. This wine pairs perfectly with something sweet like desserts and fruits;
  • Girls’ night - Moscato or Pinot Grigio. Both these wines are semi-sweet smooth, which makes them perfect for treating friends who aren’t that used to drinking wine;
  • House party - Cabernet Sauvignon. This particular breed of wine is ideal for a party with any sort of food. Cheese, red meat, or fruits - Cabernet Sauvignon goes great with these options.

Wine Apps Help a Lot

Our technological age provides people with lots of opportunities to ease their lives, which includes things such as a choice of wine. There are lots of different Internet and mobile apps that provide enthusiasts with sound advice on how to pick wine. So, picking wine can become a trivial task! This list of applications will help you out when you question yourself about how to pick good wine.

Wine Searcher

This application is great when it comes to picking the best price. It allows its users to scan among more than 50,000 retailers for the best wine prices. The app also features crucial information such as regions and grapes of different brands. A great finding for all the wine enthusiasts who want to maintain their budget while making great choices.

Delectable (Available on the App Store and Google Play)

This free app is a great choice for those who value wine and want to consume the better ones. Basically, it can be seen as the Instagram of the wine world. The app provides benefits such as label recognition that include picky details such as age, taste notes, and consumer reviews. It also serves as a sort of a social network for wine enthusiasts as it allows connecting and chatting with other users while being able to leave personal reviews.

Cellar Tracker

This app has several benefits that include a pretty large database of wines and consumption history. Even more, it allows one to track one’s collection history and things such as wine drinking windows. Quite an impressive functionality despite an unrepresentative interface. After all, just like with wine, not everything matches a label.

Decanter Know Your Wine

Yet another great app out there. However, it is focused on teaching its users about how to pick wine based on grape varieties and regions. Although one might consider it to be a simple quiz app, it’s not. Quite the contrary - questions posed by this application are actually perfectly designed to increase one’s knowledge of wine.

Don’t Be Scared of Glass Corks or Twist-off Caps

We are used to traditional corks and consider them to be the staple mark of good wine. Spoiler alert - there’s no real connection. Traditional corks have been in use all the time but that doesn’t mean that wine that’s sealed this way is of high quality. Tradition is great but you should not be afraid to give glass corks and twist-off caps a chance. There are several reasons why you should look beyond traditional corks when deciding how to choose a wine.

You may think that opening a bottle with glass cork may cause it to crumble into wine but that’s not the case. Actually, glass corks are pretty tight and prevent premature oxidation of your wine. They are also immune to any sort of funky smells and external influences. On the other side, they aren’t as tight as traditional corks when it comes to the re-closure of a bottle. 

Twist-off caps may seem barbaric to some wine enthusiasts. However, there are lots of benefits to them. First of all, they are more reliable as a bad batch of traditional corks can spoil lots of wine. They are also cheaper and this means less pressure on small wineries thus making wine cheaper in general. As for the consumers’ perspective, twist-off caps are just more convenient and comfortable.

Always look at the composition

When it comes to considering how to pick good wine, the composition is one of the crucial aspects. There are several things to consider:

  • Acidity;
  • Sweetness;
  • Body;
  • Alcohol.

All these things create composition. Wines with higher acidity are likely to be more tart while low-acidity ones are richer. Sweetness is simple - there are sweet, semi-sweet, and dry wines. As for the body, it’s basically how it feels in your mouth - richer bodies feel heavier. Finally, the alcohol. Usually, wines contain around 10-14 percent alcohol but there are even options with 6% and even 20%. All these things create composition; so, reading a label about the origin of wine might be a good idea.

Choose your favorite wine type

All of the tips boil down to one thing - pick your favorite wine type. There are sweet wines that go great with desserts, there are semi-sweet wines that are good for any occasion, and there are dry wines that are great for food pairings. As for the color, it’s just about what you like. White and rose wines are lighter while red wines are generally heavier.

Understanding the role of sugar in wine

A key to how to pick good wine is balance, as with all things in our lives. The majority of new wine enthusiasts begin their journey with sweet and semi-sweet wines while more experienced ones often prefer dry wines. The thing is - sugar has an imperative role when it comes to taste! Sweet taste is achieved through the combination of sugars and alcohols, while bitter taste comes from acids and phenols. The amount of sugar in wine can drastically change its taste. 

Dry wines have virtually no sugar left in them because the yeast is allowed to consume thus creating alcohol. As for sweet wines, the yeast is killed before it is able to get all the sugar from grapes. The amount of grape sugar can vary quite drastically due to climate and soil differences! So, semi-sweet wine from different regions of the same country can taste different.

What does the color of wine say?

It says quite a lot. When talking about red wine, it’s possible to get lots of tips about the potential taste just by analyzing the color! For example, Cabernet is usually dark red while sweeter wines can have light ruby variants of red color. Grenache is more like a dark purple. As it is possible to see, the color of red wine tells a lot about what type of grape was used to create it. As for the white wines, Chardonnay is usually quite yellow and rich in flavor. Pinot Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc, sweeter wines, are more transparent and pale. General rule of thumb is quite easy - older red wines are darker and older white wines are more golden than pale.

Final thoughts

There are lots of things to know about wine. Color, composition, type of grape - everything matters. After all, the science of wine has been in development for ages and this resulted in a variety that can confuse anyone. Whether you want to choose wine for some occasion or pick something that tastes great with steak - the number of options is astonishing.

That is why it’s so important to know how to choose a wine. Fortunately, the Internet, applications, and other sources of information provide more than enough clues for wine enthusiasts! Combining this guide with your personal taste is the key to answering the question of how to pick good wine! After all, people have different tastes and some fancy dry while others love some sweet wine with their desserts.

Posted on: January 26, 2021Author: Administrator