Wine is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Not only is it delicious, but there are also health benefits. Unfortunately for novice wine drinkers, choosing the perfect bottle can be overwhelming—there are thousands of varieties out there to choose from! Luckily, here’s a handy guide that will help you choose a wine that suits your palate and your budget.
Determine Your Price Range
There are many reasons for buying wine, from celebrating a special occasion to making dinner more enjoyable. Whatever your reason, it’s important to determine how much you’re willing to spend and stick with it. If you can’t afford expensive wines, consider choosing bottles in the $20-35 range instead.
This means that the grapes were very carefully handled during the picking process. The more careful the picking, the less dirt, and grime will contaminate your wine—and that means a better tasting experience. By looking at Scout cellar wines or other reputable wine brands, you’ll notice that cleanliness is an aspect of winemaking that is taken seriously. Here’s how to tell the cleanliness of wine:
Very Clean Wines
If the wine is very clean, then you’ll just see a little bit of sediment in your glass or on the bottom of the bottle. You probably won’t taste any dirtiness at all. The fruit and other flavors should be clean and bold. However, if it’s not very clean then you might notice a metallic or bitter taste.
Moderately Clean Wines
These wines may have some sediment in them, but it’s usually only in the bottom of the bottle, so they aren’t generally unsightly or unappetizing. The flavor will be slightly muted compared to very clean wines.
Slightly Dirty Wines
These wines are noticeably bitter or metallic-tasting. They might have some sediment in the bottle, which you’ll definitely notice if it’s cloudy. The flavor will not be very dynamic—it won’t jump out at you. So you might not enjoy this wine at all.
Very Dirty Wines
If the wine is very dirty then it will taste really off—it may even be undrinkable. You’ll almost always notice sediment in the bottle, which can range from orange to brown. If it has sharp particles of sediment, then you might notice them in your glass. These wines should be thrown out immediately.
Consider The Type Of Wine You Like
There are two main types of wine: red and white. While it’s perfectly fine to like both, you’ll get more out of your experience if you focus on one type for a while. This is because the taste and structure of each differ widely; some people even claim that certain types improve with age. If you’re having a hard time choosing between red and white, taste both kinds on their own first, then compare them to each other.
This means how well the grapes were grown and maintained during their lifetime (aka “vintage”). The more integrity a wine has, the better it will taste. Here’s how to tell whether or not the wine has integrity:
High Integrity Wines
These wines are very clear, clean, and consistent. They have deep, rich flavors that are still balanced. The grape growing process was probably optimal since the grapes were at their ripest when harvested—and this means that the wine will taste amazing. If you’re looking for an aged wine, then these are the ones that will benefit most from long-term aging.
Moderate Integrity Wines
These wines aren’t very clear or consistent, but they’re still delicious. The flavors might be a little bit muted compared to high integrity wines because growing conditions weren’t optimal—but it’s still pretty great! You can still enjoy these wines right away, but they might be more enjoyable if you store them for a while first.
Low Integrity Wines
These wines are not clear, consistent, or delicious. They might have unpleasant flavors that mask the fruit—they may even smell bad. The grapes were probably harvested too early or too late, which means that all the flavor compounds haven’t been properly developed. These wines should not be consumed.
This means the level of tartness in the wine. The more acidic, the drier it is—and vice versa! Acidity is a huge part of what makes a wine taste good or bad, so if you don’t like acidity in wine then you won’t like most wines. Here’s how to tell whether a wine is acidic:
Very Low Acidity
The lack of acidity means that the wine will taste very sweet and syrupy. This might be nice if you prefer sweeter wines, but if not then this will just taste flat and bland.
Moderately Low Acidity
These wines will have a little bit of acidity—but it’s not overwhelming. They should be balanced, so you shouldn’t feel like they don’t taste good or bad enough. The flavors may seem underdeveloped or flat since there isn’t much contrast, but they should still be drinkable.
These wines will taste sharp and tart, which can range from sour to bitter. They might even make you pucker! If this is the kind of acidity that you like then these wines are perfect for you—but if not then it might just taste off or unpleasant.
Wine is a complex beverage, and it’s impossible to know exactly what you’ll like without experiencing different wines for yourself. It may take a lot of practice to get good at choosing the right wine, but once you do you’ll never have trouble ordering again! Follow these tips to make the process easier.