Five things to look for when choosing the perfect bottle of wine
There is still an element of snobbery with wine drinkers who ‘think’ they are all aficionados in viticulture, how boring they are if they are sat next to you at dinner!
So I can understand why some people feel intimidated when faced with aisle upon aisle of wines in a supermarket.
Jerry and I both like a ‘nice’ glass of wine, although we would each choose one with a totally different flavour. I would prefer a ‘light’ red or something fizzy, Jerry would go for something more ‘full bodied’ But, 95% of the time, when eating out in Italy we’ll go for the house wine, it’s always good, always local and comes in a carafe. That means we can each have a small carafe of our wine of choice... perfect.
1) Decide if you want to buy bottle of red or white, that will help narrow your choice...not as silly as it sounds to someone inexperienced when buying a bottle of wine.
2) Know how much you want to spend, the very expensive may not be what you’re looking, even if you can afford it.
3) The label will always attract you, but then read the back label. This will give you a guide to what you are buying. It will tell you, the country of origin, the grape the wine is made from. For example, the grapes from our vineyard are montepulciano for the red and rosé wines and verdicchio for the white. You will also see the level of alcohol it contains, and a suggestion of what food it could be drank with.
This is always useful if you’re buying as a gift, or taking it to a friends house for dinner...even more important if for yourself!
4) If your wine is to accompany food, here are some basic tips from Food & Wine.com
Food that is consumed with wine has an effect on the way a wine tastes, and wine can also have an effect on the taste of food.
Pinot Noir: Is great for dishes with earthy flavors
Recipes made with ingredients like mushrooms and truffles taste great with reds like Pinot Noir and Dolcetto, which are light-bodied but full of savory depth.
Chardonnay: For fatty fish or fish in a rich sauce
Silky whites—for instance, Chardonnays from California, Chile or Australia—are delicious with fish like salmon or any kind of seafood in a lush sauce.
Champagne: Is perfect with anything salty Most dry sparkling wines, such as brut Champagne and Spanish cava, actually have a faint touch of sweetness. That makes them extra-refreshing when served with salty foods, like crispy udon noodles with nori salt.
Cabernet Sauvignon: Is fabulous with juicy red meat California Cabernet, Bordeaux and Bordeaux-style blends are terrific with steaks or chops—like lamb chops with frizzled herbs. The firm tannins in these wines refresh the palate after each bite of meat.
Sauvignon Blanc: Goes with tart dressings and sauces Tangy foods—like scallops with grapefruit-onion salad—won't overwhelm zippy wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Vinho Verde from Portugal and Verdejo from Spain
Dry Rosé: For rich, cheesy dishes
Some cheeses go better with white wine, some with red; yet almost all pair well with dry rosé, which has the acidity of white wine and the fruit character of red. For an indulgent cheese dish, try these Triple-Decker Baked Italian Cheese Sandwiches.
white wines, such as Pinot Grigio or Arneis Pinot Grigio: Pairs with light fish dishes Light seafood dishes, like seafood tostada bites, seem to take on more flavor when matched with equally delicate from Italy or Chablis from France.
Malbec: Won't be overshadowed by sweet-spicy barbecue sauces
Malbec, Shiraz and Côtes-du-Rhône are big and bold enough to drink with foods brushed with heavily spiced barbecue sauces, like these chicken drumsticks with Asian barbecue sauce.
Moscato d'Asti: Loves fruit desserts
Moderately sweet sparkling wines such as Moscato d'Asti, demi-sec Champagne and Asti Spumante help emphasize the fruit in the dessert, rather than the sugar. Try it with these honeyed fig crostatas.
When a meat is heavily seasoned—like cumin-spiced burgers with harissa mayo—look for a red wine with lots of spicy notes. Syrah from Washington, Cabernet Franc from France and Xinomavro from Greece are all good choices.
Grüner Veltliner: Pairs with dishes that have lots of fresh herbs.
Austrian Grüner Veltliner's citrus-and-clover scent is lovely when there are lots of fresh herbs in a dish, like zucchini linguine with herbs. Other go-to grapes in a similar style include Albariño from Spain and Vermentino from Italy
Off-Dry Riesling: Pairs with sweet & spicy dishes
The slight sweetness of many Rieslings, Gewürztraminers and Vouvrays helps tame the heat of spicy Asian and Indian dishes, like this Thai green salad with duck cracklings.
The flavors of foods and wines that have grown up together over the centuries —Tuscan recipes and Tuscan wines, for instance — are almost always a natural fit. This pappardelle with veal ragù pairs well with a medium-bodied Chianti, for example
5) Never be afraid to ask the wine shelf stacker, they are usually very knowledgeable, and will guide you through your many choices.
Having gone through those 5 points, the bottom line is “drink what you really like” but in moderation.