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Tips on How to Find and Buy the Perfect Wine for You – A Beginner’s Guide

Tips on How to Find and Buy the Perfect Wine for You – A Beginner’s Guide

1 month ago

If you’re new to the art of loving and drinking wine and quite often find yourself aimlessly staring into fully stocked wine shelves with no idea what to buy for that special event or for your Monday night, here are some helpful tips for beginners.

Overcome Stage Fright

Stage fright is pretty common for wine-buying beginners (and as much as we’d love to imagine the wine bottles naked; it’s not going to help. We’ve tried). Picture this situation, you walk into a wine store and immediately feel completely overwhelmed by the numerous choices, brands and wine colours. As you move along the shelves you feel the piercing eyes of other wine shoppers and sales staff secretly judging your next move and perhaps, even the bottle of your choice. Panic hits. You grab the first bottle that looks like something a wine connoisseur will pick and you head to the checkout. Big mistake! Here’s why. There’s an 50% chance the other shoppers are as clueless as you are and another 50% that you just picked up a wine that you might not like. The sales staff is there to HELP you pick the right wine, and as for what goes in your head, there’s one obvious way to save yourself from this– shop online! Not only can you Google the wine brands and types while sitting in your PJs, but you can also see the price list, which will save you the embarrassment of subtly shelving that expensive, vintage Merlot you picked up back on the wine store’s shelf after inquiring its price. Yikes! The safest bet is to shop online at Wine World first and later test the waters at a store.

Determine what you like

First, accept that the art of buying wine until you find the perfect one, takes a bit of trial and error, unless you know for sure what tastes you prefer. Second, there are 3 main wine categories; red, white and rose (pronounced ro;zay). Trust your gut on this one and make a bold decision and just go with it if you can’t decide whether to buy a red wine or white wine first.

Red Wine

Red wine is made from dark coloured grapes, and the wine ranges from shades of violet to brick red and brown. Red wine is known to boost heart health and improve your cholesterol. Dry red wines are said to be better for your health than sweeter wines. The most popular choices for red wine are:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
    • Style – Full bodied & rich
    • Taste – Black currant, black cherry, cedar, vanilla.
    • Home – France, Italy, Australia, Chile, South Africa, United States, Argentina
    • Great with – grilled steak and other red meat, red-sauce based pasta, firm cheeses, smoked meat, savoury mushroom dishes
    • Wine World recommends – Cono Sur Bicicleta Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
    • Style –Medium bodied
    • Taste – Plum, raspberry, black cherry
    • Home – Chile, Argentina, France, Italy, United States and Australia
    • Great with – Pizza, roasted meats, lasagne, hamburgers, roasted vegetables
    • Wine World recommends – Banrock Station Merlot
  • Pinot Noir
    • Style –Light bodied
    • Taste – Cherry, cranberry, caramel
    • Home – France, Germany, United States, New Zealand, Italy, Australia, Argentina, South Africa
    • Great with – Chicken, duck, pork, cured meat, cream sauces, soft cheeses.
    • Wine World recommends – Cono Sur Organic Pinot Noir
  • Syrah (a.k.a. Shiraz)
    • Style – Full bodied & rich
    • Taste – Plum, blueberry, blackberry, chocolate, vanilla, pepper
    • Home – Italy, France, Chile, Australia, Spain, Argentina, United States, South Africa
    • Great with – soft cheese, Mexican food, smoked meat, roasted vegetables, red meat & steaks
    • Wine World recommends – Banrock Station Shiraz

White Wine

White wines are usually made from lighter skinned grapes, commonly referred to as ‘white grapes’, with shades varying from straw yellow to yellow gold. Whites wines can help maintain your lung function and keep your cholesterol levels in check. The most popular choices for white wine are:

  • Chardonnay
    • Style – Medium to full bodied; dry
    • Taste – Yellow pear, yellow apple, yellow lemon, banana, pineapple
    • Home – Italy, France, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Spain
    • Great with – Lobster, shrimp, chicken, mushroom, cream sauces, pork
    • Wine World recommends – Bouchard Aine & Fils Macon Villages Chardonnay
  • Pinot Grigio (a.k.a. Pinot Gris)
    • Style – Light bodied and dry
    • Taste – orange zest, apple, pear
    • Home – USA, Italy, Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Hungary, Romania
    • Great with – salad, light soft cheeses, poached fish, sushi, pesto
    • Wine World recommends – Torresella Pinot Grigio
  • Sauvignon Blanc
    • Style – Light to medium bodied
    • Taste – Green apple, kiwi, guava, lime, pear, passion fruit
    • Home – France, Spain, Italy, Romania, USA, Chile, South Africa, Australia
    • Great with – Pork, chicken, fish, goat cheese, French & Vietnamese cuisine
    • Wine World recommends – Tall Horse Sauvignon Blanc

Rose Wine

Unlike red grapes and white grapes, Rose wine is made when the skins of red grapes are left to briefly ferment with the wine, and only removed once they reach the perfect shade of rose.

  • Style – A blend between red and white wine
  • Taste – Usually fruity; strawberry, watermelon
  • Home – Spain, France, USA
  • Great with – Salad, chicken, burgers
  • Wine World recommends – Beach House Rose

Now that you know the basics, go ahead and get a bottle of wine for yourself. Let the experimenting begin and let us know your favourite!