Coming face to face with racks of wine of varying labels can be intimidating for newbies. But choosing the right wine can actually be fun and exciting, it’s just a matter of knowing the basics.
A trip to the wine store can promise you a new experience that may also be tinged with the fear of not knowing what you are getting. Armed with these clever tips puts you on the right track.
1. Choose your store
It is usually easy for us to just roll right into the wine aisle to find ourselves a bottle. But if you are looking to find more about your wine or to get some good advice about which is a good brand to buy, it best that you go to a good wine store. Specialty wine shops often have good collection of brands and knowledgeable staff. A good thing about buying from wine stores is that there is a good chance that they turn stock over, so there are lesser chances for compromised wines.
2. Check the environment of the store
If you are searching to find a good bottle but is not really well versed in the world of wines, the first that you can do is to check the store’s environment. The reason for this is that fluctuating temperatures can negatively affect a good wine. For instance, if their racks are located near windows where it exposes the bottles to heat at a certain point during the day and then subjected to cool temperatures, this reduces the flavour of the wine or spoil it entirely. Wines are also best stored in the dark. In fact, manufacturers store them in temperature and humidity-controlled cellars to maintain their quality. So if a store isn’t sensitive to this on the way they display their wines, chances are these wines could be damaged. A good store set-up is also a telling sign of the kind of wines you are getting.
3. Expensive wine doesn’t always guarantee better quality
Wines with astounding price tags do not always mean that it is good. On the other hand, the business of winemaking can be a major factor in wine prices. So having an expensive bottle doesn’t necessarily mean that you are getting a quality bottle of wine. Usually, this is to cover the start up costs or the company’s level of investment. Ask first before really cashing out on an expensive bottle. In another light, there are also decent wines that actually sell for less than $10.
4. Figure out beforehand what you want
If you are a novice on wines, sometimes you can get deadlocked on what to get. So before heading to the store plan first for which occasion are you getting a wine for. Are you buying it to pair with a certain meal, or do you need it for a bigger party? This helps you streamline your choices and also for any store attendant to help you out with the specific bottles you might want.
5. Base wine choices on your own taste
Sometimes, expert opinions and wine labels can get in the way of our judgment. To actually get the wine that you really want, base your decisions on the taste, smell and texture of the wine as you have experienced it. Usually, blind tasting a wine allows you to give a more honest assessment about it. If you are simply buying for your own, it pays that you base your choice solely on what impresses your senses and not because someone else say they like it.
6. Wine doesn’t need to be aged to be good
It is a common perception that wines improve as they age, but this isn’t always the case. A lot of wines today are best drank young. This also leads some people to believe that expensive or highly rated wines have great aging potential. But more wines today are created with a taste and aroma that is just as exquisite as a ten year old bottle. This makes it easier for us to find a good bottle ready to be enjoyed at present. You can ask a store owner to see which of the young and quality brands you can readily drink.
7. Buy by the case
If ever you find a wine that you grew to be fond of, you can actually save when you buy it by the case. Stores often give out discounts of up to 10-15% when you buy in bulk. Some stores even allow different bottles of wine for an entire case.
8. Don’t be afraid of cheap wines
Don’t readily disregard cheap wine just because of the price tag. There are several cheap brands that can actually give you a run for your money. Remember, it’s all about how it impresses your palate, so don’t easily wave it off because it’s a $5 bottle. There are several wines today that have an excellent taste at a very affordable price point.
9. It pays to know the country of origin
If you are serious about getting certain wines and tastes, knowing where a particular wine hails from plays an important role about its taste and character. This allows you to know your particular type better making it easier for you the next time you find other brands that hails from the same country. For instance, when you grow a fondness for Chilean wine, the next time you go looking for a good bottle, you can easily course through the brands from Chile.
Check our 2012 Errazuriz Chardonnay Estate
10. Taste before you buy
It’s always best that you taste a particular brand first before you purchase a whole bottle. Wine tasting events are good ways to do this. There are several wine shops that offer this and do take advantage of them. You don’t want to end up wasting your money, and a bottle of wine, that does not really suit well with you.