JD's Guide To Wine Tasting

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It’s been one of those chaotic days, and all I can think about is that glass of wine when I get home this evening. This means I’ll have to swing past the shop and grab a bottle of Cab Sav (to die for) – but hands up those of you who feel that wine-aisle anxiety? You know, when these bottles stare at you and you end up buying something just because the label “looks nice”.

Who knew that shopping for something so enjoyable could be so daunting? There you have them, lined up, bottle after bottle – there’s a lot of wine, and they all look the same. Often, we find ourselves just staring at the bottle, hoping, almost begging for one to suddenly speak up and make its claim on us, the shopper. 

The most important thing for winemakers is that guys and gals like us enjoy the vino we choose. While there are no steadfast rules, I would like to take the intimidation out of buying wine, so that it becomes the easiest part of your shopping experience; pick a bottle, pour yourself a glass and enjoy your moment of classic relaxation… Well, that’s the plan. 

Here are a few tips to make the wine-buying process easier, and the drinking part that much more enjoyable… Thanks, KWV for assisting in this, Joburg’s Darling appreciates you. 

1.What is your favourite colour?

Even for the more seasoned wine drinker, buying wine can be daunting – you find yourself staring blankly at row upon row of bottles, often afraid to ask the questions that really need answering. You are struggling to decide between white or red, but it’s just a matter of preference. It may be a hot, humid day and so white wine would work best, or it’s a cold wintery night, which calls for a bottle of red. Trust your instincts and remember, it’s all personal choice.

Once you have decided on colour, read the label for extra information as this may help you in making your decision. Front labels will show you the necessary information such as winery name, grape variety and origin as well as the vintage – the year in which the grapes were harvested. The back label is where you will find the exciting nuggets of information such as sensory characteristics, winery history and, sometimes, food pairings. 

2.What do your taste buds say? 

So now that your colour choice is sorted, take a deep breath and think about what you usually drink and the flavours that you enjoy, and look for these taste notes in your wine. Then, why not ask someone at the store for help. Are you looking for something crisp and citrusy, something sweet, or something full-bodied and spicy? From here you should be directed to a wine varietal, and then all that is left for you to do is to think about the occasion.

3.What’s your classic occasion?

Is it a night in with a series accompanied by a glass – or are you looking to buy wine as a gift, for a special occasion or a dinner party? Once you know your price range, a lot of the wine-buying pressure is off.  Speak to someone in-store, and ask them to help you by recommending a wine within your budget. This fun part will allow you the opportunity to explore new wines, so simply enjoy!

The great thing about wine is that the wide variety of choice means that you can experiment with flavours until you find the one, or the few, that are right for you.


by Shenise

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