How To Pick a Good Bottle of Wine

How To Pick a Good Bottle of Wine
Know your styles of wine.

Selecting from the wide variety of available wines can be stressful, especially if you’re unsure of what to look for. What type should you buy? Red or white? Is this one too strong—or is it too weak? Would it be good for a party? If you’re feeling lost, here are some useful tips on how to pick a good bottle of wine.

Familiarize Yourself With the Common Styles

Wine comes in a wide assortment of distinctive colors, strengths, and tastes. Familiarizing yourself with primary styles of wine and what they entail will help narrow down the selection process. Better yet, it’ll make it easier for you to identify different types of wines on the spot.

Each style of wine comes in varying levels of sweetness, acidity, tannins (bitter compounds found in the skin of grapes), bodies, and alcohol content levels. Knowing the differences is crucial to picking one that adequately suits your tastes and preferences.

Pick According To Preference

Tastes are subjective, and individual preferences can play a massive role in deciding what’s good and what’s bad.

Consider the types of food and drinks that you consume on a regular basis—they can be a good signifier of the types of wines you’ll enjoy. If you’re a fan of tree nuts, you might prefer a wine with a subtle, nutty taste. Those with a sweet tooth are more likely to enjoy drinks with a sugary kick.

Consider the Occasion

Certain wines pair better with certain circumstances. For example, if you’re pairing wine with a meal, adhere to the general rule of selecting white wines for lighter dishes, like chicken, turkey, and fish, and red wine for heavier, beef-related dishes.

If you're planning for a party, consider the preferences of your guests. Playing it safe with a mellow, balanced flavor might be your best bet if you’re uncertain.

Finally, seasonality can play a huge part when it comes to picking a good bottle of wine. Warm, deep reds tend to fare better in the winter season, while colder, sweeter varieties might be better for the late spring and early summer.

Read the Label

Don’t be swayed by immaculate packaging designs or the wine’s pretty colors. Take a good, long look at the label. Determine the type of grapes used, their age, and, if possible, the region they grew in. Note the percentage of alcohol, and skim through the description, which is typically found on the label’s back. These factors will often paint a clear picture of the wine’s flavor, and, at times, its aroma.

Don’t spend too long fretting over a wine’s age or price. Aged isn’t always better; in fact, there are certain wines that are meant to be served fresh. Cheap and discounted wines can be a fantastic bargain. Remember—they’re not necessarily on sale due to quality concerns. Some stores will offer discounts for out-of-season wines.

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