Have you ever brought home your wine purchases, delighted with the advice you’d taken, believing that simply uttering the name of the wine would have the same effect on your date as owning Japanese sports car or having an FA cup medal.
You proudly opened and decanted, served to friends and quickly realised that you’d bought the vinous equivalent of having your toes rolled over by a substantial child on a bicycle.
The first and most important piece of advice when buying wine is; don’t take advice!
Be careful where you get your information!
Supermarkets and newspaper often tout glossy, freesheet lifestyle publications that appear to be aimed at making most of us feel like we don’t own enough possessions, thus not living a proper life and in this advertiser driven magazine; making us feel inadequate and needy.
Invariably these rags have a pompous sponsored wine section, normally funded by a conglomerate with “brands” who possess one thing real winemakers don’t have; a marketing department!
It features a picture of some knob-end from the supermarket purchasing department with his or her nose stuck in a wine glass pontificating about how touched they were with the vines and terroir after he selflessly had visited all the vineyards in the region before settling on this “selected” wine which just happens to be owned by the corporate goon factory whose advertisement appears 3 pages later.
If it is a sponsored freesheet, it’s an ad! And of course you are far too streetwise to be swayed to buy anything by an advertisement aren’t you?
Many commentators suggest that you should treat wine like literature and; “Don’t judge a book by its cover“. This is based on the fact that on crowded shelves many labels are arty and try to grab your attention with quirky text and striking graphics.
Do judge a wine by its label! A bottle of wine is not a book! It is a highly regulated consumable beverage which contains a legal label outlining, the quantity, the alcohol level, where it comes from, its’ year of origin and in many cases the grape varieties used.
All this information should indicate clearly to you how the wine might taste.
It is only when you turn the bottle around onto the tasting label that you encounter some unfiltered bullshit that any estate agent would be proud of.
And incidentally, I for one am much more willing to trust an artist than I am an accountant, to express an idea.
Don’t be intimidated, walk into that wine shop like it was the last day of your life. Find the sales person who has a face that looks like they could tell a good story about a colonoscopy rather than one who looks like they are actually undergoing a colonoscopy!
If you feel your questions are been answered condescendingly, make the line of your questioning ever more ridiculous and make a mental note to ask that particular salesperson to help you to your car with your purchase which remember you deliberately located a half mile away.
When it comes to wine Price and Quality have a tempestuous marriage.
We have all opened an expensive claret, given it to less wine enthused company who find it so dry that they suck in all four cheeks simultaneously and sneak off to open the Jacobs Creek Shiraz Cab leaving you to your Lynch Bages. Wines are essentially commodities and as many are rare they attract investors who push the price up. I will never be convinced that any fermented grape juice is worth more than £100 per bottle. Do not assume that a better price means a better wine! If you get the opportunity to taste, take it but try and imagine there is heavy metal music playing in your head to help avoid hearing the chunder of waffle coming from the sales person beside you.
Swallow! The best tastings you will ever attend will be the ones with the empty spittoons!
Think of the types of men or women you met on your last holiday; dry, intense, balanced, fruity and lingering. These are the qualities you might appreciate in a wine.
Do you like the wine? Yes or No? Don’t concern yourself with anything else, you are not going to sip a mouthful, discuss it at length and spit, you are going to drink it and if you’re lucky you’re going to have a number of glasses in good company are if you’re even luckier; alone!
Bring it home, once it’s open drink it! Don’t keep it for a week! Would you eat anything e that had been open for a week!
Don’t worry about be seen by your hot neighbour putting cheap wine bottles in the bottle bank. Be proud of your choice right ‘till the end!