Have you ever tried to choose red wine for an evening or maybe for a date? For some people, this is a very important and crucial moment.
Unfortunately, when we arrive at a supermarket or wine boutique (which gives a lot more bonuses to wine karma), the perfect bottle of wine does not begin to flicker with lights and sparkle in the rays of designer lamps. You have to find the perfect bottle of wine on your own. For beginners, picking wines is not an easy task
Choosing wine in a store is not an easy task. In a wine boutique, you can turn to a professional sommelier, but in an ordinary supermarket, the buyer is usually left to himself.
Of course, to become a real expert in wine, you will need to take special courses and read more than one book on enology. However, there are some general guidelines that will help even a beginner to choose the wine in the store.
Tons of literature has already been written on the topic of wine and food pairing. We will try to fit the basic principles into several life hacks.
Light acidic white wines with an alcohol content of 9 to 12%, without aging in oak barrels, go well with vegetable salads, white fish without dressing, seafood dishes, but without heavy viscous sauces.
Full-bodied, oak-aged, full-bodied white wines with an alcoholic strength of 13 to 14.5% can be drunk with any white meat, including pork, fish with cream sauce, grilled tuna, and poultry.
Light berry red wines without aging in oak and alcohol from 12% to 13.5% are suitable for the same dishes as full-bodied whites, but they can complement white meat in berry sauce or berry savory snacks.
Full-bodied rich reds aged in oak and alcohol from 13.5 to 15.5% will easily cope with steak, lamb on a skewer, and other dense foods that have undergone heat treatment.
If you have not yet managed to decide which wine you like – red or white – when choosing, you can follow the universal rule: red – for meat, white – for fish.
Approaching the shelf, you will surely notice that dry wines occupy the largest share of it. This is followed by semi-dry, semi-sweet, and sweet wines – a niche category with, as a rule, rather expensive wines. These categories differ in the residual sugar present in wine. The sugar in question is natural: it simply has not fermented from sweet berries, and you should not be afraid of it. Even more: recently, many manufacturers have left 2-3 grams of sugar in dry wine. Why? The answer is simple: Zero sugar wines are difficult to drink. Take a look at the counter-labels for dry wines: they always indicate the carbohydrate content (residual sugar) – you will rarely find zero.
It is better to choose a wine by sampling the main international varieties. You can always find them on store shelves: sauvignon, chardonnay, cabernet, merlot, simple Riesling, pinot grigio. These varieties won’t be too aromatic or too tannin (tart) and are great for exploring wine.
The color of a wine can tell us a lot about its age. You need to evaluate the color of the drink only in a transparent glass, examining it in the light. A good wine should be clear and transparent. Turbidity indicates that the product is spoiled. This could have happened during the production process or as a result of a violation of storage rules.
A good dry red wine should have a deep, rich color. A bright shade, as a rule, indicates a youthful drink. Aged wine acquires a calmer burgundy color. The color of the product darkens over the years. But here you need to be very careful because a heavily darkened wine loses its taste. And you will not get real pleasure from using it.
First, look at the label itself. If you see wine with a badly worn, torn, or dirty label, this is a sign of improper storage. Wine smudges on the label may indicate that this bottle and its siblings have been neglected. The carelessness and carelessness of warehouse workers can also be expressed in storing wine in strong light, near sources of heat or extreme cold. Such stresses do not benefit the contents of the bottle.
It is also one of the main criteria in choosing wines. There are light and heavy bottles. Lungs – with thin walls. They are filled with wines that are not intended for long-term storage. Do not be confused by this. The fact is that they do not have the potential for aging, which means that it makes no sense to spend money on expensive packaging. Such wines develop best within 1–2 years.
Heavy bottles with thick walls are usually made of dark green or brown glass. They are designed for long exposure. In addition, the weight of the bottle is one of the parameters that, on the subconscious mind, makes you want to buy because you are holding something “weighty and significant” in your hand.
A label can tell everything about a wine, so you should pay close attention to it during wine picking. And of course, do not hesitate to seek help from cavists – consultants in the alcoholic beverages departments. They will help you choose the wine and tell you where to look for the information you need.
The selection criteria should be qualitative characteristics. Which wine do you prefer: dry or sweet? There is no sugar in the dry. But its presence in sweets is a minus because the drink is subject to conservation. Sugar makes fermentation difficult.
If you want a quality drink, choose for the price. Producers who value their reputation strictly adhere to the technology, so a bottle of good wine costs at least 7-8 euros. Study the label, it should indicate the manufacturer. If the name of the company is absent, you should refrain from purchasing such a drink.
What other data should be present? If you see the inscriptions “Vielles Vignes”, “Gran Reserva”, it means the use of selected berries in the production, aging of the drink in barrels. The year of the crop must be indicated. In the absence of this inscription, you can be sure that the product is unnatural.
Good wine is stored in barrels, but low-quality drinks are delivered in 10-ton plastic containers and sent to wholesale buyers who add dyes and sugar before bottling.
Which container is better? A glass bottle that perfectly preserves the taste and aroma of the contents.
During choosing a wine you should pay attention to these things also:
With good quality wine, in addition to the country of origin, the region, settlement, and even the address and contacts of the winery will be indicated.
Emphasizing certain notes in the drink, its unique and special aspects, increases the chances that the wine is good, of high quality and the manufacturer is proud of it.
The color of the bottle (clear or dark) does not affect the quality of the wine.
The same goes for cork – it doesn’t have to be cork.
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