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Whether it’s trawling through an online site or standing in front of a wall of wine in a retail store, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by choice and not knowing what bottle to choose.
Here are some easy tips to help you select a good bottle of wine.
Don’t just admire the artwork on the front of the label, take the time to read the back of the label. Where is the wine from? Which region and vintage? What kind of wine is it? Although the label information isn’t going to tell you everything – including whether you will definitely like it – it offers important clues about its taste and style and helps you make a more informed purchase. At the end of the day, it’s about discovering new wines and broadening your palate.
If you are gifting a bottle of wine to a friend, knowing whether they prefer red or white is a good place to start. If you are taking wine to dinner, familiarise yourself with the cuisine or research the restaurant. For example if you are going out to enjoy Thai, you might like to pick-up a crisp and delicate Brand’s Laira Old Station Rosé – a winner with most Thai dishes. An off-dry Riesling, like the lively Peter Lehmann Wines Portrait Riesling can also be a treat with the spicier Thai plates.
You don’t need to spend an excessive amount of money to buy an excellent bottle of wine. There are many Australian wines available that offer outstanding quality at a friendly price tag, say between $15-35. Are you buying wine to enjoy right away or are you buying it to cellar and improve with age? Generally speaking, if you’re buying a bottle to drink immediately, then you probably don’t need to spend as much as if you were going to put it away for a few years. Wines that age are usually made with cellaring potential in mind and have already spent time in barrels or have had extended bottle ageing, hence the increased cost.
Explore a broad range of wines and you will start to get a feel for what you enjoy more – juicy or jammy, light or full bodied, sweet or spicy notes. Listen to your palate and take the time to take in the aromas. There are many wine descriptors out there and it all comes down to personal preference. The more you try different wines the more you’ll learn about what you enjoy most.
If you’re still not sure…here are some of our top wine picks this month.