Wine. It intoxicates, it exhilarates. It
feels good down the throat and even better when combined with the right
kinds of food. It's hard to go wrong with wine appreciating. The only
measure for the level of taste is your tongue. One man's Bordeaux is
another man's Champagne. There is no right or wrong, so don't let anyone
tell you otherwise.
Yes, wine does get batter with age. But
sometimes, it too can go rank (spitting is advised at this point). So
your consideration when picking up a bottle is the taste. Fruity and
light means a young white. Rick, oak flavors means a slightly aged deep
red. It doesn't mean that if you pay more, the wine will necessarily be
Shopping for wine can be quite a
challenge, as there is often an immense range to choose from. Sometimes
a little planning will be in your favor. Just knowing the type or style
of a wine you want will make your buying decision that much easier.
Building up some knowledge of the various
wine merchants, in your area and on the internet, can be very
advantageous. Each merchant tends to have a particular strong point. One
may be extremely good on Bordeaux for example, or specialize in Italian
wines, and they will be happy to pass on their experience to you - the
customer. Remember too, that some knowledge of which producers are
making particularly good wine, or which regions offer good value, put
you in a much more secure position.
There was a time when you could almost
tell at an instant where a wine came from, just by looking at the shape
of the bottle. This still holds true for some of the more traditional
regions, such as Alsace or Bordeaux, but a glance or two around the
shelves of your local supplier will also reveal the influence of design
teams keen to catch the eye with bottle shapes that stand out from the
A wine label provides an excellent
opportunity to send a message and pass on information to a potential
In Europe, a place name may suffice.
Chablis, Sancerre and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are all examples of French
wines that can easily sell due to the fact that the name is recognized.
In the 'New World' however, varietal labeling is the norm, as an
increasing amount of wine is sold on the back of the name of the grape
variety. The world's most popular grape, Chardonnay, could be perceived
as a wine style, such is the influence carried by its name alone. The
fact that most white Burgundy is made from Chardonnay is left for those
of us who care to find out.
Depending on the wine, and in some cases
the region, the name of the producer can be extremely important. You may
wish to take note of the vintage. This is particularly important where
grapes are grown in marginal climates. Each label will also indicate the
percentage of alcohol by volume, which can range from 7-15 percent.