The most difficult thing for a professional is to recommend a wine whose criterion is… “the main thing is to be good“. It’s just like a good time, good clothes, a good person or a good mood – everyone has their own ideas of what is “good”. I will try to give my insight on what, in my opinion, is a good wine.
When I’m asked to recommend a wine, I can’t just go by my taste. It is important for every sommelier to indulge (in a good way) the customer, so that the wine meets his expectations.
Here are some questions, the answers to which will make it much easier for the sommelier to make the right choice!
It is important to understand for what occasion you are looking for wine: for a company of friends, a gala dinner, a romantic evening, a girls’/boys’ night out, the birthday of your beloved grandmother or a gift for your boss. You will agree – a good wine for the boss will be very different from a wine intended for a fun evening.
Who will drink it?
It is important to know what the people who will drink wine prefer. Light and young wines with a fruity character are more suitable for young people. It may be a Moselle Riesling or a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley, but the red Italian variety Barbera from Piedmont goes well with light snacks, pizza or chips.
For people of the older generation, it is better to choose a more mature and aged wine, so that it can be enjoyed leisurely in the course of the evening, sitting in the circle of loved ones, or uncorked at a family festive lunch. A very respectable option is an aged red wine from the Rioja region in Spain. It will be a deliciously rich red wine aged in oak barrels. Or a Bordeaux wine older than 5-6 years that will always be appreciated by experienced gourmets.
If you are looking for a good wine for a loved one and you doubt what taste can surprise him, tell in more detail about the intended dish, then together with a specialist it will be easier to find a “raisin” that will please your significant other. Also, remember – champagne or sparkling wines made according to the traditional method are always an infallible choice.
With or without food?
The right wine with food – this is a wine with a complex, mature, rich taste, but if you need a good wine for cozy conversations with friends, then this will probably be a light and unobtrusive sample with a bright and fruity aroma. If you do open a bottle of really expensive wine and you don’t have the right appetizers, even a very good wine will be difficult to enjoy.
It is no secret to anyone that young and light white wines and rosé wines are drunk with pleasure in the spring-summer period, but aged and saturated reds and some mature white wines – in the coldest time of the year. However, it is always possible to deviate from stereotypes and drink champagne on a snowy January day, and thick red wine on a hot summer evening. But in general – white will be in summer, red – in winter; most people have long established this choice.
No matter how much money you have, it is always important that the quality of the wine matches the price as much as possible. And this task is not so simple. I am often asked what is the minimum amount for a bottle of wine below which it is not worth making a purchase. Unfortunately, there is no answer! The more thoughtfully you choose your wine, the higher the financial bar will be. However, it is not correct to believe that the more expensive the wine, the better! Usually, very expensive wines (80-100 euros and more per bottle) are intended for long-term storage, and drinking them new is not a brainchild, because the wine is not yet matured and you have to wait several years before opening such a bottle.
Here are some tips if you are looking for a good wine!
- Wine should be bought in places where you trust the seller and you can get a comprehensive consultation. You don’t have to navigate all the wines yourself, that’s why there are sommeliers and wine specialists who have studied for many years and accumulated experience. You can safely turn to the pharmacist when you do not know what medicine you need. I think it’s the same with wine. Therefore, do not be shy and afraid to ask wine sellers for help.
- Good wine is really not a product of mass industry. Pay attention to the producers, in what volumes they produce wine, buy grapes from neighbors or collect their own harvest, bottle the wine themselves or resell it to other merchants.
- Advertising is not always the right vector in wine selection. Often, good and valuable wine samples exist in cool peace without bright and loud advertising. Delicious wines are being picked up like hotcakes, and people’s recommendations work here more than huge billboards with screaming slogans.
- Packaging, like advertising, can attract the buyer by distracting from the content. A heavy bottle, a bright label, gold medals – a fishing rod slyly thrown by the manufacturer, which is caught by inexperienced buyers.
- Ratings and wine ratings are useful, but not always valid. We are all different and our tastes are also different. The opinion of both non-professional tasters and critics is necessary and worth listening to, but the final word remains with you. If you don’t try, you won’t know.
The road to getting to know wine is long and difficult, but it is very exciting. And if you are open to new flavors and experiment with new styles of wine, you will eventually develop your own “portrait” of a good wine. At this point, the question of how to choose a good wine for yourself or as a gift will simply become an interesting challenge and adventure in the world of taste.
But for those who are serious, we invite you to the wine school Noble Wine – we will be happy to tell, show and explain how to choose a wine according to your taste.