A Golden Girl's Guide to Wine Shopping
“Compromises are for relationships, not wine.” – Sir Robert Scott Caywood.
Wine is the drink of the Gods – and of classy girls everywhere! A good vino can be enjoyed over dinner or lunch, during winter or summer. It can be sipped on in the presence of royalty or on a lazy Tuesday while watching Netflix. Versatility is one of this drink’s best qualities, yet it is still very important to know its complex backstory – at the very least so that you know which bottle to buy at the liquor store.
Know your types of wine
We all know the three basic types of wine: red, white and rosé, but do we actually know the differences between them?
- Red wine is made with black grapes. When making the liquid, the skin of the grapes is mixed in with the juice for a stronger taste and pigment. Red wines have a much wider variety of hues and taste notes than do pinks and whites.
- Rosé is also made with black grapes, but the skin is removed halfway through the process – this results in the wine having a sweeter taste and very few tannins. Pinks are somewhere in the middle when it comes to taste and complexity.
- White wine is made mostly with white grapes, thought sometimes skinless black grapes are also used. White wines lack the complexity of red ones, but can range from very sweet to bitter to very dry.
There are three other types of wine you should know about: sparkling (with carbon dioxide bubbles), fortified (just like traditional ones, but stronger) and dessert wines (higher in sugar).
Being a wine expert takes years, practice and knowledge. You must learn the subtypes, grape varieties, and so on. But if you’re not exactly keen on taking sommelier courses, you need to at least know some basic wine-choosing tips.
- Chardonnay is the most diverse white wine, and has a range of different aromas that can suit everyone’s tastebuds. Some of its main flavors include citrus, berry, fruit, vanilla, beeswax and oak.
- Champagne is a sparkling wine that calls for a celebration.
- Merlot is a perfect red wine for strong wine newbies. Its classic scents are often of plum and blackberries.
- Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent white wine with a dose of herb and green flavor.
- Pinot Noir is a light red wine with notes of vanilla and red fruits.
Let’s talk prices
Nobody likes cheap wines, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend a whole month’s salary to get a good one. The price of the wine will mostly depend on the region where it is produced, the place where you are buying it, the year of harvest and the producer. For example, there are some great wine shops in NYC which include a fantastic range of affordable local wines from California. It only makes sense that French and other European wines are often more expensive. Chilean and Argentinian wines are also very flavorful. In reality, you can get decent wine for about $15 if you’re not extremely picky.
Also, when shopping for your wine, you should know how to read the label: from the vintage, varietal and region to brand and alcohol by volume.
Buy in bulk
If you’ve ever heard the expression “to age like fine wine,” you know that most wines only get better with age. For this reason, buying in bulk is often a great idea. Choose a wine you love and buy six to twelve bottles to store at home for later use. Once you decide to open them, they’ll taste even better than the first! Check out some tips on how to store your wines properly, and start your shopping!
Article written by Claire hastings, edited by Rosa Sanchez.