How to choose a wine – A guide for beginners

Are you one of those who enjoy pleasing others, but you lack some knowledge about wines? The average, even a little more knowledgeable wine lover, will feel confused and intimidated when choosing wine for a gift or for serving with dinner. There is countless, often contradictory information on how to choose wine, how to pair it with food, and nowadays it becomes necessary to have at least basic knowledge about the types of wine, how to evaluate and evaluate, ie. one should know how to distinguish mediocre from excellent wine.

The type of grapes from which wine is made, known in our country as the “variety” is the most important factor in the taste of wine. However, the taste is also influenced by other factors, such as soil, sun exposure, climate, the way grapes are handled and fermented, the type of yeast, the place and length of wine aging, etc.

Types of wine

There are two basic types of wine: white wines and red, ie red wines.

All wines are made from grapes, but still, different flavors are created by a combination of various influences and processes, from influences during the cultivation of grapes to the addition of additives, production methods and aging processes. The main difference between red and white wine is that in red wine, in addition to fruit juice, membranes, stalks and seeds of red or red grapes are included in the wine-making process. White wine can be made from grapes of any color, but only purified grape juice is used in production. It is generally accepted that red wines are heavier while white wines are lighter, ie. sweeter.

The first thing you will do when choosing is to narrow down your choice, so that you know which properties to focus on next.

Tannin content in wine

Tannins are a key ingredient in wine, especially in red wines, and are the basis of any wine criticism. Tannins come from grape stalks, skins and seeds. Tannins in young wine contribute to the bitter taste, while aged wines give subtlety. Also, the “length” of the wine, ie. the amount of time the presence of a sense of taste after swallowing, is an item to consider. This can only be learned and tried in practice, after tasting a few wines.

Wine acidity

Various acids are present in wine and are crucial for its longevity, but also for taste. Higher acidity makes the wine astringent; while lower acidity characterizes wines that will, most likely, spoil in a short period of time. The acidity, when present in the wine to the right extent, contributes to the emphasis of all other aromas in the wine.

The acidity, when in the right measure in the wine, contributes to the emphasis of all other aromas in the wine, including the nuances of wine, spices and herbs. The taste of wine that you would describe as sharp, refreshing, invigorating, fresh, lively…, is there thanks to its acidity.

Alcohol content in wine

You’ve probably heard of full-bodied wines, which is equal to their alcohol content. Variations on the theme of “fullness” of wine are frequent as well as variations in the amount of fat in milk. On each label you will notice the percentage of alcohol per unit of measure, which determines the fullness of the body as follows:

7.5% – 10.5% light body
10.5% – 12.5% ​​medium full body
12.5% ​​and more – full body (very high percentage of alcohol)

Reading the wine label

By: Jim G

This is perhaps the most important step for an amateur wine lover, as the label will offer a wealth of information, such as type, variety, taste, region, age… It pays to read the winemaker’s recommendations on the bottle itself, as they can often be your guide. and when it comes to pairing with food.

Above all, the wine will have a quality label, the higher the label, as a rule, the better the wine. In the west, especially in America, scoring where 100 is the maximum number is common, in this case you should not go for wines that have less than 80 points.

Year of wine

The year simply refers to the year the wine was made. Since in some years the weather has a better effect on the ripening of the grapes, those years will also bring better wine. The amount of rain in the time immediately before harvest, as a rule, determines the amount of sugar in the grapes and, therefore, affects the taste.

It is believed that 1990 was a great year for all wines, so if you want to impress someone, order that year and the danger of making the wrong choice is significantly reduced!

But keep in mind, older wine does not necessarily mean better wine.

Source: LifePress magazin by

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