Picking The Perfect Wine Is Easy When You’re Part Of A Community

Choosing the perfect wine can be challenging for anyone. Between the areas, the grapes hail from, the different colors, different flavors, foods they go with, pricing and ratings, it can overwhelm anyone. How do you pick a wine that will be good and once you pick one, how what do the “points” in the ratings really mean? For anyone that finds themselves wanting to pick to impress, our basic guide will make you look like a wine hero with anyone.  And if this isn’t enough, you can always visit our CEO and resident wine connoisseur, Arvind Raichur’s recommendations at https://www.mrowl.com/user/araichur/a.raichur-s_favorite_cal.  His tasting notes and key wine identifiers make it very easy to understand why the wines he selects are so special.

Hint One: Know your vocabulary.

Like almost any industry, winemaking has its own specialized vocabulary. Really understanding what you’re reading on a label means you can select the wine that is best suited for your meal and/or your occasion. When asked, both food and wine critics agree on five words listed on almost all wine labels that everyone should know.  They are as follows:

  1. Sweetness: You’ll often see the words sweet, semi-sweet, or dry. They represent a scale in taste from sweet, which is self-explanatory, to dry, which is more bitter. In general, white wines and port wines are the sweetest.
  2. Acidity: A rule to remember is that low acidity means a richer flavor. Higher acidity wines are tarter in taste. Acidity levels vary in red and white wines.
  3. Tannin: A high tannin content equals a drier, more bitter wine. Fewer tannins mean a sweeter, less dry sip. Be aware: tannins do vary in both reds and whites.
  4. Body: The term body refers to how heavy a wine feels in your mouth. It can have a light, medium, or full body. This is a description of where it stands from lightest to heaviest, respectively. Red wines tend to be fuller-bodied than white wines.
  5. Alcohol: All wines have an alcohol percentage, or alcohol by volume (ABV), that ranges from 11 to 13 percent. However, it’s important to note that there are some that range from 5.5 percent to 20 percent. The higher the percentage, the more the wine will warm the back of your mouth and throat.

We’ve learned so much from Isabel Thomson’s Wine Pairings branch, including how to pair these wines, by criteria, with different foods.  Her branch https://www.mrowl.com/user/isabellet/winepairings explains which type of wine goes best with seafood, desserts, chicken, fish, and so much more.  And in case you want to “strut your wine stuff” after learning a bit more, she even provides the top recipes for each type of wine she reviews.

Hint Two: Understand The Occasion And The Food That Goes With It.

Are you choosing a wine for yourself or for other people? If it’s for yourself, simply pick a wine that you believe you will like based on the criteria we just discussed.  Ask a friend or the local wine purveyor.  Or, turn to our wine-loving community and survey them for their best picks.  Either way, being part of a great community with shared interests makes a huge difference.

Now, let’s say that bottle is a gift for someone else. Here, it’s best to read the reviews on other branches and see what. If the wine is meant for cooking, well, that’s another story! Being discerning never pays off when using wine for cooking.  Just ask any of our foodies and chefs when you link to their branches! To cook the best version of your recipe, look for the wine’s flavor highlights you want in the food, rather than worrying about all the wine’s characteristics. In doing so, not only will your recipe come out better, but your average wine cost will be far lower.

Hint Three: Older is not always better.

The perception that older is better is incorrect. Wines do need to age, but not all wines are better the more they age. There are only some types of wine that get better with unlimited aging. These are usually certain types of red wines. Most wines are meant to be consumed within a set time period; some as quickly as within one year. And while we’re on the subject of age, it’s also good to talk about wine storage.  In order to get the best out of your wine, storing it in a cool, dry place with the bottle on its side is preferred.  Acquiring too many wines?  Maybe it’s time to look into a wine storage unit.  They come in all shapes and sizes, refrigerated and unrefrigerated.

Hint Four: Pairings

This is something that is discussed regularly but rarely understood. Pairing wines with food will enhance a dining experience. You want to pair the characteristics of the wine (sweetness, acidity, tannin, body, and alcohol) with the characteristics of the food. Your goal should be to match like to like. If the dish is sweet, has low acidity, few tannins, and is light-bodied, such as chicken, pork or turkey, try a white wine with similar characteristics. If the dish has the opposite characteristics, such as beef or lamb, pick a matching red wine. Salty foods are the one exception to the rule. The classic combination of salty and sweet holds true with wine. A sweet wine with a salty dish complements each other well.  And remember, the food will taste different with the wine, as will the wine itself.  The bouquet of each will come out, creating that perfect taste.

Hint Five: What do you taste buds tell you?

This is truly the most important factor to consider. What flavors do you enjoy? The tastes you prefer in food and other drinks can indicate which wine flavors you may enjoy. Like sweet flavors? Try a sweet, low acidity, low tannin, light body wine, such as a Riesling. Do you prefer bitter or sour flavors? Try a dry, high acidity, high tannin, full-bodied wine, like a cabernet sauvignon. There are many other facets to consider with wine, but those really only begin to apply if you are a sommelier (a wine steward). Most people do not need or want to go to that level of detail. (If you want to try it, you can ask for one at a nicer, white-tablecloth restaurant.  They usually have one on staff).

Ultimately, it’s crucial to remember that selecting a good wine is incredibly subjective and personalized. Whichever wine tastes the best to you, will be the most enjoyable.  And as you learn more and select bottles that enrich your meals, don’t forget to create your own branches on MrOwl, so you can share your knowledge with others, linking your branch to theirs, and expanding upon the community that gave you your elementary wine education.

Hint Six: Keep track of it all.

Deciding which bottles of wine, you enjoy the most will take some time and experimentation.  By keeping all your data on your branch, whether public or private (that part is up to you), you can easily search, share, photograph, and collect top recipes that work with wines you enjoy.  And, it’s all in the cloud, on one platform, and readily available whenever and wherever you need the info. Save a list of the wines you’ve tried, along with your opinions of them.  Become your own wine reviewer.   And searching reviews others have posted for similar wines will lead you to try comparable ones, helping you grow your wealth of wine knowledge.

Remember, when looking for new wines, you can simultaneously search all of MrOwl, the Internet, and your own hard drive for information, saving it all to your own custom branch to create your own collection. Having this consolidated, personal wine guide will allow you to pick a perfect wine every time…not to mention helping others who are just learning the basics of wine tasting.