Tips for your Picks: 6 Reminders in Selecting Wine for Beginners

They say that there is no alcohol more intimidating than wine. Often associated with fancy affairs, wine has kept a pretty high brow reputation that presents some challenges to people who are quite curious on how to enjoy this much-revered drink.

With a variety to choose from, deciding on a bottle to purchase can be a painstaking undertaking in itself. After all, a bottle of wine has its own set of traits that go well with particular tastes, food, personalities, and even cultures. The sheer number of options presents a challenge, but getting to try different types of wine in the process is certainly a good problem to have.

As such, whether you intend to seriously study and curate wine or if you simply look forward to enjoying a good bottle, you need to exert some effort discovering the infinite possibilities that wines present.

The Basics: What’s in a Wine Bottle?

Before getting on with the tips, allow us to present a few fast facts about the beverage. Wine is often associated with high-class dining and sophisticated elegance that hardly comes natural to anyone. Wine drinking is an art that you independently hone as you explore many varieties and find the one that suits your taste. It may not necessarily go right the first few times, but just keep on trying until you find your match.

There are generally 2 types of wines – red wine and white wine.  Whites are known to have a thin and crisp flavor and the reds to have full-bodied texture with higher astringency than whites. Wine can bear a myriad of flavors, as winemakers add the essence of fruits and flowers. Aging also plays a role in the taste, as well as the container used to age wine.

Do Some Research Online

With today’s technology, most things you need to know about are just at your fingertips. Look up the characteristics of wine that you are looking for.

There are some no-fail tips that experts share when selecting wine, stick to them at the beginning and be more adventurous as you go along. Moreover, a lot of websites managed by wine experts describe and distinguish the different types of wine in full detail. Just by reading the descriptions, you’ll have a good idea on the types of wine that you’d probably like.

Peek at the Menus of Upscale Restaurants

If you are anticipating a dinner a few days from now, start researching what possible pairings you can experiment with. Find out if your restaurant of choice is known for its food or if it carries the types of wine that you prefer. Avoid deciding on the spot as you may rush into a decision that you will regret later on. After all, wine isn’t exactly the cheapest item on any menu.

Since wine is all about context, setting the tone with the food you order should be a necessary exercise. Good wine will lose its appeal if the food is bad. Also, keep in mind on which part of the meal will you consume wine. There are wines that go well with main courses, and there are variants that are considered dessert wines best enjoyed to cap off a meal.

Allow the Sommelier to do the Talking

Do not hesitate to ask the waiter (or the sommelier for that matter). Inquire about their selection, which ones sell best and what goes well with what. It may sometimes feel like you are conducting an investigation rather than ordering from the menu, but when dealing with something as complex as wine for the first time, sometimes the occasion just really calls for it.

After all, the wait staff or sommeliers are trained to know which items on the menu pair perfectly with each of the wine bottles that their restaurant carries. Take their suggestions and see for yourself.

Familiarize Yourself with Food Pairings

White meat with white wine and dark meat with red is probably oversimplifying it, but it may be the best guide when choosing if you don’t want to put a lot of thought into your meal. There are pairing rules that you can follow especially when you are just starting out. Eventually, you will probably find yourself crossing over from one spectrum to another, but just enjoy the whole ride each and every sip of it.

There are certain times when a complementing taste and texture is called for, but there may be occasions when you need to break the monotony and create some contrast between your food and your drink. Just go with whatever feels right.

Think with your Taste Buds

At the end of the day, you should stick to what tastes good, and that is all right. There is no wine police. “Rules” make sense and help us out, but feel free to think outside the box and just choose what tastes right. Taste is relative and you might stumble upon supposedly odd pairings that conform to the preferences of your taste buds.

You can start off, for instance, with entrees like cheese and crackers, pairing them up with a type of wine. Crackers have a neutral flavor which can go well with pretty much anything, so you can introduce other food items to the mix, like salmon or liver pate. If a type of wine goes well with most of the items you prefer while conducting your little food experiment, you would know what to buy next time.

Visit a Wine Vault

Some wine lovers, prior to making a purchase, go for curated wine tours – where they can sample the tipple and get entertained with the history and vivid descriptions for each variant. Some of these establishments feature bonded wine warehouses and drome cellars, which keep the stored wine in pristine condition even after long periods of storage.

People who live in the Southeast Asian rim go to vaults like Singapore Wine Vault not just to sample the wines, but also to store their collections. Budding collectors have an ideal place to keep their bottles given the services that these establishments offer.