If you’re not a big drinker, it can be difficult to make good choices when it comes to selecting a bottle. Whether you’re picking up a bottle of wine for a dinner party, a date, or as a present— you want to make the perfect selection. After all, a delicious wine is a conversation starter, and it makes you the belle of the ball— every time. But how do you select delicious wine? Lucky for you, we have a few pointers to get you started 

Selecting Delicious Wine for Dummies: Picking the Good from the Okay

The time has come for you to select a delicious wine for your guest(s), yourself, or as a white elephant gift. No matter the reason, you want to make sure you don’t end up picking a bottle that your guests will disregard and pass off at the next holiday party. So, we’re going to help you pick out a few details that make for a delicious wine. You never know, you might even love it… 

Start by actually reading the label 

You’ll want to skip over bottles that use generic terms, such as ‘table wine’ or ‘California wine’. While some might be flavorful, most will be bland, unbalanced, and not unique in any way. When a bottle of wine uses these terms, it indicates that the grapes being used to make the wine are from a large variety. One of the beautiful things about wine that comes from certain regions, vineyards, or even altitudes— is the flavor of that place.  For example, picking a bottle from Mendoza, Argentina will have the deep, fruity flavors, a little acidity, and a dry mouth feel. 

Don’t take the cheap route

One of the biggest mistakes people make in selecting wine, is going for the cheapest option. With wine, just as many other things, you will absolutely get what you pay for in many cases. When a wine is on sale, it’s likely either 1) something they couldn’t get rid of, or 2) passed the ideal consumption window for the wine. While there are some stores that you can find quality wine at a reasonable price point, like Trader Joe’s, reasonable does not always mean $5. 

Understand the lingo

Making sense of what you like, or are looking for, comes with using specific terms too describe it. Say, for example, you like a wine that is lightly fruity, not too sweet, and not dry in your mouth. Consider asking your helper for a ‘fruit-forward malbec that isn’t too tannic.’ Fruit-forward doesn’t mean sugary, it just means you can smell the fruits, taste them in the flavors, and maybe they linger in your mouth a bit. The term ‘tannic’ refers to the way that wine feels in your mouth. If something has high tannins, or is quite tannic, it will feel dry in your mouth after a drink. If it is low in tannins, then it will feel more juicy in your mouth rather than dry. 

Tell your helper what you’ll be pairing the wine with

One of the most beautiful things about selecting a wine, is pairing it with something that compliments the flavors. One good rule of thumb comes down to the color of your foods. Light colored foods, such as salad, shrimp, mussels, or chicken, will pair better with a white wine. Darker colored foods, such as a steak, spaghetti, or chocolate cake, will pair better with a red. If you’re having trouble selecting an appropriate wine, ask someone in the wine section to help you. If they know anything about wine, they will likely be able to match what you’re wanting to an appropriate bottle. 

Picking wine isn’t easy 

You’re not alone in your struggle. Picking delicious wine can be pretty difficult, even for a seasoned wine drinker. After all, even an Australian Sauvignon Blanc from the Adelaide Hills might not be a good fit for you. The key to picking delicious wine is to take suggestions. Read the label, consider feedback, and know what you’re looking at. So pick a wine, check it’s origin, and take a chance. You’ll never know until you try…

As always, we encourage you to drink responsibly, and don’t drive when you know you’ll be drinking.