8am-5pm, Mon - Fri | 9am-2pm, Sat | Closed Sundays
8am-5pm, Mon - Fri | 9am-2pm, Sat | Closed Sundays

What Makes a Good Wine

Ever walked into a shop or supermarket and looked at the huge shelves (ok that maybe for those of us that don’t just have Chipiku as an option) of wines on offer and think how on earth do I choose? Sometimes a smaller selection makes things easier (or a discount!) which is why we have carefully curated our lists. However what makes for a good wine? How will you know your taste? Of course trying lots of wines helps but it can lead to a rather severe hangover and much like the cow, you don’t want to buy the whole bottle, if you didn’t like the free milk! Whilst we will be offering tasting events you may want to order before then so here are some hints and tips to selecting the right wine for you?

  • Sweetness: this is subjective, often younger or beginner drinkers will prefer a sweet wine, they can also be pleasant for day drinking or for getting you through those first few glasses of a hangover. The labels should tell you whether a wine is sweet, semi sweet or dry which will not be sweet at all. A good example of a sweeter white would be a Riesling, a good day drinking semi sweet would be a rose (although these can also be dry-check the label).
  • Acidity: Wines with a higher acidity are tart useful with rich or acidic food or for those who like to do not like sweet wines. Low acidity wines are often richer.
  • Tannins: these are compounds within the wine (and can produce the lash rash-a rosy completion on the cheek that suggests that may have not been Ribena) they are natural or can be added when aging a wine and produce a more bitter taste. They also tend to dry the mouth; predominantly found in red wines it is very subjective to your taste. If you prefer a richer, bolder spicy wine then high tannin content if for you. However if you prefer a smoother wine look for low-level tannin wines.
  • Body: having a full or light body has nothing to do with how much you have drunk but rather how heavy or light the wine feels in your mouth. Generally speaking the white wines are lighter and reds heavier which is why in warmer weather its nicer to have a light white wine and in winter a cosy full bodied red.
  • ABV: the higher the percentage of alcohol in wine, the more likely you are to get drunk quickly! Also the more it will warm the back of your throat most wines are 11-13% with anything above having a high ABV. An easy way to tell if your host is trying to get you drunk is to swirl the wine gently in the glass (this helps the alcohol to evaporate and wine to breathe) the higher the alcohol content the higher the density of wine droplets that form and run back down the inside. This is due to the alcohol evaporation!

It can be hard to pick the right bottle even if you know the above or what your preference is so here are a few basic tips below to help anyone out but if in doubt ask! Your waiter should be versed; we are at hand and a sneaky Google always helps.
When you are new to wine go for red or rose, food and wine tastes evolve but most people first enjoy a sweet white or rose when they first start drinking. If that makes you cringe go for a dry white wine or a light bodied red like a Cab Sav.
Wines have good tasting notes, if you love juicy pears and a hint of lemon then that wine might be a bit of you! If you love black coffee an cigarettes then a spicy red could be a match made in heaven!
Ask yourself if you like apples or grapefruits? The former is sweeter the latter more dry so pick the wine accordingly. The same goes for caffeine are you a mocha latte or black coffee sort of drinker? Classic tastes and bitter lovers prefer an old world heavy bodied wine and the former prefer something smoother.
What is the occasion? An engagement, a catch up with your mates, a final drink in front of the fire or a special meal that needs a special wine? From bubbles to easy drinking, a hearty tummy warmer to in tune tasting notes should help you decide. Of course you can always pick up more than one and let someone else make the choice.
Pretty fonts, labels or pictures do not maketh the wine! The label description can be helpful, the more details of the vineyard as a rule of thumb the better the wine, the description also lets you know about the key flavours above.
Do not stress the wine age, while some years are better than others older is not often better and most wines should be consumed 5 years after purchase (yup raid the cellar and make everyday a special occasion!). Red wines are the exception on this where if it’s the same make of wine older maybe better but still should be consumed within 5 years of purchase!
Don’t write off screw caps, they are convenient and are not just for cheaper wines but for wines they expect to be consumed quickly. Also great for picnics or hasty sundowners.
Price isn’t everything-we should know we stock excellent wines at a great price! A better bottle is about what you enjoy so the flavours not the will dictate that.
Finally TRY TRY TRY, if a bottle is open and it’s a grape you don’t know try it, your flavours evolve and you may miss out on something because you have always drunk Chardonnay and you hate sweet wine but a Riesling can be delicious! Then track what you like. There are many apps that can help you do that (we also do and make suggestions accordingly!) but it makes it easier when you have unfamiliar names to pick from at least you can match the grapes and tasting notes.

We hope this helps but if you do want more advice or you want to chat through your options please don’t hesitate to contact the team! We will happily share a few bottle with you in the name of tasting!!