So many wines (and so many great wine deals)!, but so little time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your choices at the wine aisle, read these shopping tips from sommeliers! It will help you find a great bottle even if you don’t know anything about wine.
1. Take note of your favourite importers
Let your taste buds be your guide. If you find a bottle that you really love, then take note of the name of the importer. That’s because many of them follow their own “house style” and select their wines accordingly – and if you like one of their bets, chances are you’ll like the rest.
2. Shop from a wine store
The best thing about going to a speciality wine store – whether it’s a neighbourhood boutique or an online distributor – is that they know their business really well. They’ll select labels that sell well, and even bring in bottles from smaller wineries that are very high in quality but just don’t get a lot of marketing buzz. For example, there are some great wines from Spain and Australia that can compete with the wines from Napa Valley at a fraction of the price.
They also have regular wine deals, where you can get premium wines or their featured wines at a discount. Online stores will also let you browse by popularity or price, and sometimes even have reviews or articles. That’s not something you can get at a supermarket, no matter how many wines they have in stock.
3. Download a wine app
These apps can help you see ratings, reviews, or give instant guides to help you select wines according to flavor profiles. The great thing about apps is that you can check them on the go – so if you’re at a wine store, or ordering a glass at a restaurant, you can get recommendations exactly when you need them. And when you see that a highly rated wine is part of the wine deals, then go for it!
Some apps will also help you save your preferences, so if you like a particular bottle you can quickly take note of it and then find similar recommendations.
4. Get a general idea of your preferences
Wine lingo can be confusing, but as a general rule of thumb, you can categorise wines in the spectrum of Bold to Light, Earthy to Fruity. Bold wines that veer towards the fruity side are cabernet sauvignons, Merlot, grenache, and viogniers. Bold wines that veer towards the earthy side are cabernet francs, chiantis and syrahs.
White wines tend to be lighter. If you want fruity tones go for chardonnays or Rieslings. Sauvignon blancs and cavas tend to more earthy.
But that’s a broad starting point, and as you try more wines, you’ll be able to zero in on more subtle differences. You can try “studying” a category by comparing different bold wines versus different light ones, or training your palate to detect the fruitiness or earthiness of different varieties. At the same time, you’ll get to know your preferences and know why you like one wine more than other. “I prefer a fruity wine” or “I want a medium-bold wine.” That will help you choose from different wine deals with a clearer idea of what you’re looking for.