Knowing how to choose a good wine is not an easy task. There are many factors in play, and one mistake will be obvious. If you are tired of being the one who knows the least and stays quiet during a conversation about wine, these guidelines will help you sound like an expert.
Knowing how to distinguish a good wine from the others is very important. There exist many different types of wines in Spain, but the most well known are reds, rosés, and whites. Those with the best reputation are those that are recognized under a Denominación de Origen Protegida (Protected Designation of Origin).
Red wine is one that comes from red grapes. The grapes are fermented with their skins still attached, producing the powerful color. The wine is aged in casks and bottles, and depending on the duration of the aging, this can produce young wines, crianzas, reservas, or grandes reservas (the names of the different stages of aging). The longer the duration of the aging process, the better the wine will be. The carbonic maceration is used to identify young wines.
The young wines do not spend any time in casks, unlike crianzas, which spend 6 to 12 months in casks and then two years in a bottle. The reservas spend at least a year in an oak barrel before spending three years in a bottle. The gran reservas produce the highest quality stock. It spends at least 18 months in a barrel and then six years in a bottle. It takes time to make good wine.
White wine should be made with white grapes, giving the product its characteristic color: straw yellow, golden yellow, or greenish yellow. Dry white wine is the best known among the white wines popular today. These stocks are aromatic and acidic to varying degrees. Sweet wines are those whose fermentation is cut short, preventing all the sugars from turning to alcohol. Sparkling wines are, for the most part, white wines. Depending on the degree of residual sugar, you can find dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet, and sweet white wines.
Rosé wine is a red wine with little maceration. It should have a characteristic pink color, which ranges from clear to almost violet. This depends on the grapes and the techniques used during production.
How to Distinguish a Good Wine from a Poor One
There are three very important points to distinguishing a good wine: aroma, flavor, and color. To distinguish a good one from one of lesser quality, the flavor is fundamental. There should be a balance of tannin concentration and smoothness in the mouth, acidity and fruity sweetness, and a balanced portion of alcohol. Although there are wines that are more alcoholic or more acidic than others, there should be a correct balance between the ingredients.
When determining a good wine, taking into account aroma and color are also important. The aroma should never seem moldy or rancid. As for the color, it should correspond to the type of wine. A red wine that has spent a lot of time in a cask should be a burgundy color. A white wine should be a straw-like or pale yellow.
How to Taste Wine Like an Expert
If you wish to understand the nuances necessary to differentiate a good wine from a not-so-great wine, you will have to keep a few guidelines in mind.
First, take a look at the wine in your glass. On a white background, examine the shade or the hue of the wine. The intensity of the color of the wine will reveal the potency of the flavor that you will experience when you taste it. In addition, you should hold the glass by its stem so as not to heat the wine.
Secondly, you need to smell the wine. But before you do so, you should oxygenate it. A good red wine should be uncorked half an hour before serving so that it has time to properly oxygenate. If it is a rosé or a white wine, it needs to rest for only ten minutes. It also helps to aerate the wine by swirling it in the glass, allowing you to distinguish the subtleties of its aroma.
The third step is the best; you get to taste the wine. Choosing a good wine requires care. You should hold the first sip in your mouth so that it covers the entire tongue, allowing you to capture all its flavor. Thus, the guidelines for tasting wine are complete.
How to Enhance the Wine Through Pairing
To experience a good wine at its full potential, it should be paired with the food with which it is served. Harmonizing a good wine with good food is very simple, thanks to these guidelines.
Red wine is best consumed with cold cut meats, cured cheese, and some blue cheese. Red meat grilled over burning coals or charcoal also pairs nicely with red wine. For example, sirloin steak or roasted lamb are always good options.
White wine is usually best paired with starters or appetizers. It is also a good accompaniment to fish and seafood. Rosé is a good wine to drink while eating salad, pasta, seafood rice, or even dessert.