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How To Recognise A Good Bottle Of Wine

Choosing a good bottle of wine might seem like a formidable task, especially for newbies who know little about wine. Contrary to popular belief, a good bottle of wine does not have to be costly or old. Yes, you read that right. An affordable yet good-quality wine?! Count me in! Let’s find out how to choose a good bottle of wine. Here are three tips to help make the process easier.

1. Read the Labels

As the saying goes, “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Likewise, do not get fooled by the appearance of the wine bottle. Aesthetic and fanciful designs might tempt you to pick them, but that is where their pros end. Just as a good detective searches for clues to solve a crime, the labels on the bottle provide crucial information that can aid your search.

So, what should you look for on the labels? For starters, look at the details of the wine such as the region, variety of grape, winery name, the year the grapes were harvested, flavor profile and aging process. If there are not many details, it is probably best to avoid it. Good clues to look out for would be awards or reviews. Searching for clues is one thing, but how would you know if you would enjoy it? More often than not, if you read the flavor description and like the sound of it, you would likely enjoy the wine.

Want to snag affordable high-quality wines from expert vineyards? Here is a pro tip! Expert vineyards have very high quality standards and hence, only the very best of the grapes are used for their first-label wines. Naturally, there are grapes that do not make the cut. These grapes are made into wine as well but sold under a second-label. Since these second-label wines come from expert vineyards and go through a similar winemaking process, the wine is still of high quality yet affordable, what a steal! A second-label wine usually has some part of the big-name winery’s name on it. If you are still unsure, a quick search online would help guide you.

2. Smell the Wine

Scent is important as well. Give the wine a sniff. Hold up, remember to give it a swirl first. Swirling helps oxygenate the wine, unfolding the aromatic chemicals. Did you know that flavor is made up of around 75% smell and 25% taste. Hence, swirling helps to enhance the multi-sensory journey of drinking wine. Aromas of wines include fruity, floral, spicy, citrus, earthy and other familiar smells. A good wine should bring to mind such aromas. Maybe it smells like oak, black pepper, coffee or chocolate? Usually, a better tasting wine would involve various smells. If it smells musty or like rotten egg, garlic or burnt rubber, definitely stay away from it. As cliche as it sounds, trust your sense of smell and intuition. If you like what you smell, you would likely enjoy the taste.

3. Use your Tastebuds

I am sure many people would be curious, what should good wine taste like? Firstly, it should have a good balance of its flavor components, be it sweet, sour, salty or bitter notes, with every component working in harmony on the palate. No one component should stick out like a sore thumb. Secondly, the taste should feel smooth and linger in the mouth after each sip. The longer it lingers, the higher the quality of the wine. Do consider the aftertaste as well. There should be no unpleasant or acidic aftertaste. Ending on a high note is crucial to enjoying every sip. Thirdly, it should be complex. Think of it like the wine is evolving. You take a sip and taste sweetness, followed by a hint of spiciness. Suddenly, you are hit with a touch of acidity and after swallowing, there is a pleasant earthy note which lingers on the palate. That complexity of flavors which gels so perfectly with each other is a hallmark of a good wine.

Armed with this new knowledge, you have now evolved from a newbie to a wine amateur. As the saying goes, “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”. While the word “good” is very subjective, I am certain these tips would be helpful nonetheless as they are applicable to anyone and everyone, no matter one’s preferences. Here’s to fruitful experiences as you venture into the world of vino.

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