Many people enjoy wine with their meals, but if you are a newbie to the world of wine – or to entertaining – you may feel overwhelmed with all the choices available out there. Don’t be like those who choose their wine by whether the label is pretty or not, reading and understanding what is on the label is a far better way to choosing the right wine for that special occasion.
Of course, it may be that no matter how many labels you read, you are still feeling pretty clueless as to the right wine for your dinner party. In that case, here are 4 simple steps to help you buy wine online or in stores.
- Look at your menu. The food you eat is an important factor in choosing wines. A good rule of thumb is to pair a light wine with lighter food and a full-bodied wine with foods that have a more distinctive taste. This usually means white wine with fish and chicken, and red wines with beef or game or a sauce that is tomato based. Once you get a little more experience you’ll realise that some reds are quite light enough to serve with chicken and fish. For spicy foods a sweet wine is necessary; Pinot Grigio, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc. But what if you want a wine to sip with no food? Try Pinot Noir or Cabernets
- Choose a region. Climatic conditions and soil types both have a direct influence on the taste and texture of grapes. Wine is often classed as Old World and New World, the former being France, Italy and Germany and the latter including Australia, America and Africa who are relatively new to wine making. The Margaret River, WA wine growing region produces some amazing wines, as do many other regions in Australia that offer the ideal conditions for growing wine grapes.
- You can also choose your wine by the grape variety it was made from – known as a varietal when it comes to the wine. Not all wines are made from a single variety; many are blended from two varieties of grapes.
- Pick a year. Many people think vintage wine refers to a wine that is really old, but in fact it simple means the year it was made. Some years are better weather wise for grape growing and those are the years – or vintages – when the wines are better. Not all wines improve with age, some are best used soon after you buy them, especially white and sparkling wine. Some reds improve with aging, but since most wines are kept for two years before being sold, so you can be sure that whatever you buy is ready to drink.
When you take all 4 steps into consideration when buying wine everyone is sure to be pleased with the choice.