Don’t know how to choose wine? Be honest, how many times have you picked a bottle of wine based on the label?
We’re all guilty of it. As a young adult, I didn’t know the difference between Passion Pop and Pinot Noir and I did think that goon wasn’t that bad (cringe). But no longer! There are some key points to consider when choosing a decent wine, and if you follow these I promise people will think you’re a grown ass adult at your next dinner party.
There are hundreds of different types of wine but there are about 8 that you will come across most often.
Riesling: Light and Sweet with flavours of citrus, honeysuckle, and/or peach.
Pinot Grigio: Also quite light and sweet, but not as sweet as a Riesling; with a citrus or melon flavour.
Chardonnay: Dry and rich, usually with a crisp apple flavour.
Sauvignon Blanc: Dry, but can also be fresh and sweet, with a herb/peach/pineapple flavour.
Pinot Noir: Light bodied and fruity, with a cherry/blackberry or even sometimes cola flavour.
Cabernet Sauvignon: Full bodied and savoury, flavours of red bell peppers and red cherries.
Shiraz: Smooth and full bodied, with flavours of boysenberry and blackberry, sometimes plum.
Merlot: Fruity and versatile, flavours of watermelon, strawberry, cherry and/or plum.
There are also mixes of these wine, more obscure wines, sparkling wines and the increasingly popular Rosé . But how do you know which one you should pick down at your local bottle-o?
Choosing the Right Wine
If you just want a nice bottle to drink and food isn’t involved, a lot of it comes down to personal preference. I like a Pinot Grigio for a white and a Merlot for a red. That being said, I will switch it up depending on my mood and if I am having food.
Food pairings is where choosing a wine can get both tricky, and magical (if you get it right). As you probably know, every meal you eat can be different so a wine that you normally pair with your salmon dinner might not work with your friends’.
Thankfully, we have a lovely wine pairing chart to help you pair wine to your meals.
Now that you’ve picked the perfect Chardonnay to go with your chicken, how do you store it?
This might not seem important but it is imperative that wine is stored correctly, especially if you’re not going to drink it straight away. My dad saved 4 bottles of amazing red wine for each of his children to drink on their 21st birthdays. Unfortunately, he didn’t store them correctly and when I popped mine open on my birthday it tasted a little bit like vinegar. Sure, he cellared them for more than a decade, but it’s also important to store wine correctly for only a few days.
Sparkling wine should be served ice cold and stored at about 5-10 degrees. An hour before you serve, pop the bottle in the freezer.
White wines should be served fridge cold, about 7-14 degrees. The lighter the wine, the colder it can be.
Light red wines like pinot noir should be served cool. Store them at about 17 degrees, but pop the bottle in the fridge 30 minutes before you’re going to serve it.
Other richer reds should be served at 17-21 degrees. They should be stored somewhere no warmer that about 25 degrees.
There are tons of other factors to consider when choosing wine, like where it was produced and if it has won awards at wine shows; but at least you’re now armed with the basics so you can impress at your next dinner party. Now go forth and drink!
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