BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO WINE

Red Wine Being Poured
You don’t have to be a wine buff to enjoy a good glass of wine: it’s all a matter of taste.

At first glance, the subject of wine can seem overwhelming and frankly rather intimidating, but we explain why it’s all just a matter of taste.

At first glance, the subject of wine can seem overwhelming and frankly rather intimidating, what with sniffing the bouquet and judging the finish a novice wine taster could easily be put off. However there really is no need, as all you need to remember is that wine is supposed to be enjoyable, so simply buy the wine you most like the taste of regardless of current fashions or trends.

To help you get started there are just three simple steps to remember when choosing a wine: look, smell and taste. But if you have time and the inclination, understanding the basics of wine types, selections, storage and tasting will add new dimensions to your wine experience. A good way to get to know more about wine is to start by taking a grape variety you know, then work your way through different examples from around the world. Lovers of Aussie Chardonnay, for instance, might enjoy barrel-matured white Burgundy. Or if you’ve already discovered fruit-filled Chilean Cabernet, then you really need to try the aristocratic reds of Bordeaux.

Find out for yourself why the wines of New Zealand have become so popular, or experience the everlasting appeal of Burgundy. Just a few rungs up the price ladder, flavours become more intense, making it far easier to stick to a single glass. When exploring, don’t be afraid to ask questions of waiters or shop staff; if properly trained they will be full of useful advice. Generally speaking, a good wine can be purchased for well under £10 these days, but try to avoid the really cheap offers, as these are rarely the best value for money. Excise duty, VAT, transport and packaging are virtually the same whether it’s a basic vin de table or from a prestigious estate. By paying a little extra, say £5-7, you get a big increase in wine quality.

If you find the thought of buying wine in a specialist wine shop too daunting, then why not buy from the comfort of your armchair? More people are ordering their wine online thanks to the convenience and range of wines on offer. Online wine merchants invariably provide more information about their wines than you will find on the label when perusing the supermarket shelves.

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