I’ve been exposed to the French lifestyle for quite a while now, and that means getting used to tasting champagnes and wines. Thanks to this, I have gotten to appreciate wines a lot more, and that it is more or should I say ‘less’ than a ‘rich person’s lifestyle’.
I’ve had the pleasure to talk to one of the wine enthusiasts I know of, William, to know more about the art of tasting and appreciating wine. This guy claims not to be an alcoholic, but was sucked into the world of wines – how ironic. Of course, I thought of sharing this topic so that we do not make a fool of ourselves at important functions.
Q1: What is the biggest misconception of wine in your opinion by the general public?
The biggest misconception is that wine is expensive. Or more accurately, good wine tends to be pricey. But really, experiencing this joy can be inexpensive. That doesn’t mean that you should keep on drinking cheap wine – buying many bottles of low grade wines throughout your life is expensive too. The secret is to sniff out value and taste the gold.
Q2: Any tips on choosing a good bottle of wine? Something which everyone will like?
Generally, you can consider Australian or New Zealand wines, as they have more robust flavours that appeal to most people. Wine styles from Italy and France tend to result in subtler taste notes which can be too complex for the beginner.
Secondly, if you are a sweet tooth, Moscato and late harvests may be the wine for you. If you enjoy that fresh tropical feeling (especially in our climate!) a chilled Sauvignon Blanc (white wine) will be perfect! And of course, those who are into complexity and body could go for the Bordeaux blends.
Lastly, don’t be tricked into buying cheap wines, those that are selling at below $20 for example. Low prices do reflect low quality for wines most of the time, and that may happen because it is not selling well for negative reasons.
Q3: Where can we find and purchase good wines?
First, get free tastings by looking for events online for a start. Secondly, read reviews and see prices online from Vivino app which is the facebook for wine lovers, and I like to use it very often.
For buying bottles to go, I personally prefer boutique stores like Luigi’s wines, where the owner himself travels to wineries to handpick only the bottles and vintages which he has tried and tested, I highly recommend that! And because he operates via an online store, it’s more convenient and is free from hidden costs. Lastly, never buy wines from bars or restaurants unless of course you are not on a budget – the mark-ups can starve you.
Q4: How do we tell good wine from bad ones?
Well I generally go by a three-step rule: see, sniff and sip.
To see – look at the colour of the wine. It should be clear for both red and white wine.
To sniff – smell the wine. Usually a rotten egg smell means it has gone really bad. Moreover there is also “corked wine” where the wine cork gives off a musty rotten wood smell. Chances are, it has been infected by this pesky wine hating fungus.
To sip – taste the wine (well if you’re allowed to try a sip). A good wine will generally be balanced in its flavours. The bad ones might even taste like vinegar.
More important than being able to determine a bad wine, is to have the guts to ask for another bottle.
Q5: What is the proper way to appreciate wine?
The best way is to taste it blind! Labels are superficial. We should never taste a wine by its packaging, and should always go by our preference! But of course, the best way to have the best wine experience is always with good food and more importantly, great company!
Check out soon for more tips on drinking wine! Of course, remember to be above 18 to consume alcohol 🙂