There are so many factors that make one wine unique from another. Wine has gained a reputation for being a complex beverage to get to know and to understand. However, a few quick tips can have you on your way to being a wine-pro in no time.
Here are six useful wine buying tips before making your next purchase:
1. Understanding the colour
There are three basic types of wine – red, white, and rosé. Red wines can be made only from red grapes, and the colour comes from the juice being soaked in the grape skins during fermentation. Red wines grow lighter with age.
White wines can be made from red or white grapes and are not left to soak in the skins at all, leaving the juice a clear yellowish colour. These wines get darker with age. Rosé wines are pink in colour because the juice only comes into brief contact with the red grape skins.
2. Not all wines get better with age
While many people think that all wine can sit in a cellar and age for years, improving with each one, this actually isn’t true. A very small percentage of wines can last more than 10 years, and many peak even sooner. While wines that have been prepared to be aged do exist, they have a window in which they should be aged.
3. But if do want an aged wine
If, however, a wine is going to be aged, it is important that this is done in the proper environment. For example, the bottle must be kept out of the sunlight and stored between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit otherwise it could ruin the wine instead of improving it.
4. A note on tasting
Tasting wine is a process in which we use almost all of our senses. In tasting a wine, one must use sight to look at the colour which can indicate, of course, the classification of the wine (red, white or rosé) and can help the drinker identify the age. Smell gives the drinker some hints as to the flavours that will appear in the wine.
Touch tells the drinker if the wine is full-bodied, heavy, or light, and if it is a dry wine – indicating that the wine has a lot of tannins. And finally, taste allows us to fully understand all of the flavours that appear in the wine. People spend years refining their palette to be able to pick out subtle hints that appear in the flavour of the wines they drink.
5. Where flavours come from
The grape itself obviously provides the bulk of the flavour, however flavours also come from the environment that the grape was grown in, when the grape was picked, how the wine was aged, and a variety of other factors.
What many new wine drinkers often don’t realize is that even though they may taste other flavours in the wine – like citrus fruits, caramel, or something in between – that doesn’t necessarily mean those elements were used in the making of the wine itself. And that’s just one of those mysterious things about wine.
6. Knowing what wine is “good” or “bad”
Everybody’s tastes are different, which means that where one person will enjoy a wine very much, the other may not like it at all. Although there is some consensus on what makes a “good” wine, in general it is believed that a good wine is any wine you enjoy.
There are some cases where this rule may not apply. If a wine is corked, it is essentially ruined. Corked wine is contaminated by TCA, a chemical compound found in the cork, and it causes the wine to taste of damp or soggy cardboard.