Sunday, February 18, 2024

How To Buy Good Wine

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What Are The Types And Styles Of Red Wine

How to buy good inexpensive wine

There are hundreds of types of red wine varieties in commercial use, from light and finessed to bold and structured, however, only about 35 varieties contribute to the majority of red wine production. The most grown grape varieties are:

  • Tempranillo. Red and black fruit, earth and herbs.
  • Syrah. Dark fruit, pepper, spicy and savory.
  • Grenache. Ripe red fruit and sexy texture.
  • Pinot Noir. Earthy, silky and complex.
  • Sangiovese. Red fruit, earthy and herbal.

How To Buy Good Wine

This article was co-authored by Samuel Bogue. Samuel Bogue is the Wine Director of the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group in San Francisco, California. He gained his Sommelier certification in 2013, is a Zagat “30 Under 30” award winner, and is a wine consultant for the San Francisco Bay Area’s top restaurants.There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 45,924 times.

Good wines do not always come with a fancy label or a high price tag. You can find good wine in almost any price range, and from near every part of the world. Exactly what makes a good wine varies from person to person, but there are some clear indicators of how a good wine should look and taste. Find a good wine by learning a little bit about different types of wines, trying different varieties, and serving your wine properly.

Calais Wine Superstore Calais Wine Store

Located at the Zone Marel Doret, the Calais Wine Superstore is the perfect place to shop for wines and beers at a UK duty-free price. The privilege of not having to pay UK duty causes you to save £4 a bottle of wine on average supermarket prices. If you are looking for a wine shop in Calais but also save more, the Calais Wine Superstore will always look to have low prices that are competitive, whenever they can. Prices at Calais Wine Superstore are great, quality is wonderful, and you can also save money by using their free Eurotunnel service and ferry services. Do visit Calais Wine Superstore if you are looking to save money on buying cheap wine as they have quite a few alcohol deals in their wine warehouse. Calais Wine Superstore also offers their wine deals online so you can look up their cheap wine before making the crossing.

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Reading And Learning About Wine

I used the software CellarTracker that analyses the wine market.

When the en primeur season started, usually in March/April, I would go through the list of wines that the wine expert Robert Parker scores. I ensured anything that scored 95 or better was on my radar because I knew it would have reselling value.

Bodegas Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha $17

How to Buy Good Wine: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

Real talk, this is the first bottle I bought when I decided to dive into wine and start my own wine blog . Its as solid now as it was then. Its deep and dark, with a smooth palate that is sweetened by high alcohol. But that heat is blended well so you can enjoy the smells of spicy vanilla. BBQ, please.

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Best Chilean: J Bouchon Pas Salvaje

Courtesy of Plonk Wine Club

Region: Central Valley, Chile | ABV: 12.5% | Tasting Notes: Red fruits, Cherry, Wild Strawberry, Floral

Never heard of País before? If you love earthy, medium-bodied reds with tons of acid, then this historic grape needs to be on your radar.

Produced from organically farmed vineyards in the heart of Chiles Central Valley, this flavor-packed wine jumps with notes of wild strawberries, red flower petals and wild herbs. For a crowd-pleasing red that promises to satisfy the masses, look no further than this tasty, budget-friendly option.

Best Oregon: Lange Winery Reserve Pinot Noir 2017

This smooth pinot noir is made from the confluence of fruit from several vineyards in Oregons Willamette Valley. Winemaker Jesse Lange worked through a careful barrel selection of the cellars finest wines, eschewing any rigid rules regarding site, clone, rootstock or soil type.

With a balanced, elegant texture, this pinot has hints of dark cherry, plum, saddle leather and cola. Aromas of clove, cinnamon and Oregons treasured marionberry dominate, along with luscious tannins and a natural balance of ripe sweet fruit and dazzling acidity.

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Overall Best Wine For A Beginner

The best way to know what kind of wine is the best wine for a beginner is to experiment. Start with wines whose flavors you know: juicy berries, tropical fruits, honey, baking spices, or vanilla. In the beginning, steer clear of complexity your palate will appreciate familiarity.

Regardless of what anyone says, go with what you like. When you feel ready to experiment, branch out into wines with different taste profiles: wines with a little tannin, or a bigger body and less acidity.

Take notes in your phone, or in a wine notebook, of the styles you like and what you like about them.

This will help you pinpoint other styles that youll begin to love.

And when youve leveled up your wine game, share your list of the best wine for a beginner with others who are new to the wine game and might be feeling that same level of intimidation you once felt!

How Much Do I Want To Spend

WINE BUYING TIPS: Buy Good Wine WITHOUT Reviews! Reading the Wine Label…

This is the bottom line, a crucial determination that can only be made individually, depending on your bank account and where wine figures in your lifes priorities. The only shame comes in not facing this question squarely, and later regretting it.

Its important to understand that no direct correlation exists between the price of a bottle and the quality of a wine. Spending more may buy status and scarcity, but that may not translate into quality. Yet, its equally wrong to think that expensive bottles are never worth it. Its again a question of pairing bottle to occasion.

Generally speaking, for ordinary drinking, I believe the best ratio of price and quality at wine shops is in the range of $15 to $25. For many reasons, this price range does not translate easily to restaurant wine lists.

While responsible restaurants will generally charge two to two-and-a-half times the retail price with the markup going toward service, storage, glassware and, yes, profits cheaper bottles tend to be marked up more than expensive bottles.

Whats more, restaurant wine lists are proportionate to their aims and intentions. A Michelin-starred restaurant competing among the worlds best will naturally charge far more than a neighborhood spot with a casual clientele.

The important thing, however, is to plan, pick a reasonable budget and stick to the spirit of it.

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How To Recycle Wine Bottles

Glass bottles can usually go in your household recycling bin. If your council doesnt accept them, you can take them to a local bottle bank.

The recycling process can vary depending on where you live, so make sure to check with your local area if bottles require rinsing first and whether metal screw caps should be replaced or recycled separately.

Natural corks cant go in your recycling bin. You can recycle natural corks through Recorked UK either by posting them or dropping them off at your nearest collection point.

Synthetic corks, which are made of plastic, cant be recycled. They should be disposed of in your general waste bin.

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Mixed Cases And Wine Clubs Can Be Great Ways To Experience More

Most respected sites like Wanderlust will offer some form of wine club, or a monthly mixed case on subscription. These can be great ways to discover wines that you wouldnt normally put in your basket yourself. They also often have pre-selected cases, focusing on particular regions, grapes or styles. Of course, this all goes back to the idea of trust. Does this retailer have wines that fit your tastes and ethos? Look for wine clubs that offer interesting options in the box and other, interesting, perks to learn about wine.

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From The Barrel To You

For boutique wines, go direct.

Supermarket wine shelves are devoted to big-name brands, the Barefoots and Apothics of the world. Independent wine stores offer more curated selections, but what about that minuscule-production Syrah you’ve read about but can never seem to find anywhere? Odds are, it’s available almost exclusively direct from the winery.

The truth is that the wine-sales playing field is skewed against small producers. As Jamie Kutch, who makes spectacular single-vineyard Pinots in Sonoma County, says, “Trying to compete with bigger brands, and the incentives they give to wholesalers, is just impossible. None of us — the little artisan boutiques — would be here if we didn’t sell wine direct.”

The good thing is that wine-shipping laws have loosened over time, and these days only six states completely prohibit shipments from out-of-state wineries . Consider the excellent wineries to the right, recognize that there are hundreds more like them to discover, and know that the easiest — and often the only — way to get their wines is to go directly to the winery website.

Don’t Judge A Bottle By Its Label Or Closure

The Best Tips For Buying Wine Online  Totem pole

Sometimes the bottles that have cute names, shiny labels, or super-fancy wax toppers over the cork are just pretty look at, not to taste, Royers says.

“Take a peek at the back label and see who the real producer is. Try to find something that has an actual appellation or wine region listed, such as Santa Barbara County instead of ‘California.’ Do so and you’ll often get better fruit and a higher quality wine.”

Also, note that a screw cap doesn’t necessarily mean a wine is “cheap” or poorly produced. A lot of winemakers are moving to this since these closures are resistant to a form of spoilage called “cork taint” that only impacts bottles with a cork. If it helps you rest easier, Royers says that most Australian wines do this already even the bottles that cost over $100.

Try it:2020 Outer Sounds Sauvignon Blanc Screw Cap, $16.99

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What Do I Like

This is perhaps the hardest question of all, and one that can be answered only with experience. Even then, it can be hard to put into words.

One hint: Try to be as general as possible. I love rich, fruity reds, allows far more leeway than, I love wines that taste like crème de cassis, with a core of plum essence and hints of shiso.

Developing a vocabulary for describing wine is not easy. Tastes and smells can vary widely. One persons strawberry is anothers cherry. But the term red fruit, or just fruity, conveys a message that a more specific reference may not.

Perhaps other elements, beyond the flavors, are important. Weve already referred to emotions. You may also care how grapes are farmed and how wine is made. All of these factors are important to keep in mind.

Using modern tools might be a better solution than relying on a personal vocabulary. Take photos of the labels of wines you like, as well as those you dont. Store them separately in your phone so you dont confuse the two. It may perhaps be easier to convey your taste by displaying these photos than by trying to verbalize it. Or you can use an app like Vivino as an organizational tool.

When In Doubt Go South

While you’re looking abroad, stay south for the best deals. Not the Southern Hemisphere, necessarily , but the southern side of European countries, if that’s where you’re buying wines from.

“When it comes to European wines, some of the best values that you can find are in the southern areas of France, Italy, and Spain. One of the best values you can find that is also the benchmark region for Rosé wine is Provence in southern France everyone else is trying to make a similar style,” says Jon McDaniel, a sommelier and the founder of Second City Soil in Chicago who was named one of Food & Wine’s 2018 Sommeliers of the Year. “The white wines of southern Italy, especially in Campania are bright, fresh, and incredible values. And southern Spain, particularly Jumilla where Monastrell is king, is a wonderful region for big, bold red wines.”

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White: Alsace Willm Reserve Pinot Gris

Approx. cost: $14.99Region: Alsace, France

For everyday drinking, grab white wines from Alsace to break up the monotony of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. You dont have to step too far out of your comfort zone to love Alsatian white wines. They offer pleasant flavors of honey-tinged fruit, primarily peach, apricot, and a little pear. This ones a perfect medium-bodied fruity wine to match with shellfish or lighter cuts of fish.

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Best California: Rutherford Hill Barrel Select Red Blend 2016

How to Find Good Champagne/Sparkling Wine on a Budget

Courtesy of Vivino

  • ABV: 14.5%
  • Tasting Notes: Plum, oak, chocolate, cherry, raspberry

Napa Valley outfit Rutherford Hill has for many decades specialized in making their fantastic merlot. That top-notch merlot makes a splash in this 2016 red blend, an excellent representation of Napa Valley ingenuity from their celebrated winemaker, Marisa Taylor. Bold and fairly dry, this wine is packed with pleasant acidity and limber tannins.

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The Top Five Best Wine Brands


Based in sunny Tuscany, in the Bolgheri region of Italy, Masseto is a cult winery with an iconic vineyard thats known for producing top quality vintages. The brand has received multiple 100-point scores from critics and is notorious for being difficult to get hold of. Production totals around just 30,000 bottles a year and the average bottle costs around $790. The vineyard, which was first founded by Lodovico Antinori in 1981, converted entirely to organic farming in 2012 and keeps climate change at the forefront of its production methods. The brand was a hit from its first release in 1986 and is one of the most well-known and best-performing wineries.

Screaming Eagle

Screaming Eagle Winery and Vineyards is a Californian wine estate and another cult winery. The brand produces the most expensive wines in North America and its Sauvignon Blanc occupies the top spot, with an average sales price of $5,974. In order to buy its wine directly from the brand, buyers must sign up for a waiting list. The average time to wait on this list before being able to buy a bottle is around 12 years. Due to a surge in high-profile counterfeit wine cases, each bottle of Screaming Eagle comes with a bubble-coded security seal. It keeps its doors firmly shut to the public.

Bodega Catena Zapata

Chateau Latour

Heitz Cellar

Best Sweet Wine For Beginners

sweet sparkling wines?!

If you brunch , theres a good chance youve had Prosecco, by way of a Bellini.

Those standard brunch starters are a mix of peach puree and Italys favorite sparkling wine, Prosecco. Prosecco is on the short-list for best sweet wine for beginners because of its taste and its price you can get a good bottle for around $15. The pear, green apple, and soft creamy notes make a glass of Prosecco hard to put down.

And the nose-tingling tickle of bubbles as you sip is just an added bonus!

Demi-Sec Champagne is another of the top choices for best sweet wine for beginners because, first of all, who doesnt love champagne?

And second, its totally quaffable , unlike its brut cousin, which is considerably more dry. Expect notes of pralines and toasted brioche.

These sweet Champagnes pair great with chocolatey or fruit-based dessert. But absolutely no judgement if you want to have it with appetizers its good with cheese too.

If were making a list ofthe best sweet wine for beginners, Riesling is a must add. This versatile German grape can be bone-dry or decadently sweet.

In the glass, Riesling is usually a faint yellow. Sweeter bottles have notes of orchard fruits, honeycomb, and jasmine. This wine smells just as good as it tastes.

Because Rieslings have high acidity , the result is a wine thats balanced and refreshing.

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Don’t Be A Supermarket Wine Snob

Aldi and Lidl have been seriously busy in the last couple of years revamping their wine range, and the hard work is starting to pay off so give them a go, you’ll be pleasantly surprised . The supermarket’s Exquisite Collection, alongside other more mainstream own-brands like Tesco’s Finest, can be a wellspring of good drops. The best are a real win-win because they come from renowned winemakers in a certain region but you’re not paying to have that revered name splashed across the label. Not sure what to get? Consult our guide to wine grapes.

For The Most Part Ignore The Label


“Labels have absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the wine,” Isle says. “They do have a lot to do with marketing budgets and convincing people to buy the wine,” he adds with a chuckle.

The language on a label, especially for American wines, typically isn’t very helpful. In the U.S., the word “reserve” doesn’t mean anything there’s no legal definition, Isle says. “Old vines” also doesn’t have any true meaning. In contrast, European wine regions tend to have restrictive labeling laws, so the words used to describe the wine may reference official qualifications.

If you are scrutinizing a wine label, there are two things that can be actually helpful: the alcohol content and the location. Table wines range from 12% to 15.5% alcohol, Isle says. If it’s a hot day, you may want to avoid a high-alcohol wine because it tends to be richer and heavier. Lower alcohol levels tend to have a lighter flavoring.

Next, take note of the specific place the wine is produced, Thorsen says. The smaller the better. Let’s say you have three bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon at the same price in your basket. One says it is from “California.” The second bottle says “North Coast.” The third is labeled “Lake County.”

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