The Art of Choosing the Perfect Wine: A Beginner’s Guide

Everything is ready: delicious appetizers, an exquisite menu, a delicatessen dessert… but the wine is missing! How do you know which is the right bottle for this occasion?

Choosing the appropriate wine is often a complicated task. Red, white or rosé, sparkling or sparkling, crianzas, reservas, sweet or wood-scented… the variety of flavors is endless and can be overwhelming.

Monte Pinos Selección wanted to lend a hand to its clients so that they choose the wine that is closest to their taste. For this reason, its wine professionals have given a few tips to learn how to choose the ideal wine.

1. First, the color

It will depend, a lot, on the food that is going to accompany it. For fish and shellfish, or light meals such as salads, the best is white wine. For meats, stews or stews, which have more fat, a red wine will be the right choice, which has more body.

It also influences the weather and the time at which it is going to be taken. For the hottest and most humid days, a cool wine is recommended, such as a rosé or a white. The sparkling wines succeed on the hottest days, as they are refreshing and light.

2. Read the label

It will help to know what grapes the wine is made with, what is its vintage, and other particularities of each harvest. Little by little, based on trying different types of grapes, you will learn to identify each name with different textures and flavors. Some example? Among the white grapes, Chardonnay stands out with moderate acidity, a smoky tone and nuances of pineapple and peach.

Verdejo is one of the oldest vines in Spain, and it stands out because it lasts a long time in the mouth and has a fruity aroma reminiscent of pineapple and fresh grass.

For reds, the most widely used Spanish grape is Tempranillo, which is so named because the grape usually matures weeks before other red grape varieties. It is slightly acidic and rather dry, and the smell is reminiscent of forest fruits. The best known international grape is Cabernet Sauvignon, with a stronger and more penetrating flavor.

It is a very structured wine that improves with age. It must be taken into account that the type of grape used in the wine should not be confused with the Denominations of Origin, which is another way of distinguishing the wines. In Spain there are about 70, among which the DO Ribera del Duero, DO Rioja, DO Rueda, DO Somontano, DO Valdepeñas, DO Ribeiro… including Cava and Manzanilla.

3. And the varietal?

This concept refers to wines that are made with a single grape variety, or with at least 80% of the same strain. On the contrary, blend wines are those made with two or more types of grapes.

4. Was it young or barrel-aged wine?

Young wines are those that are bottled just after fermentation. They are fresher and fruitier, some with a slight acid touch. Crianza wines are those that go through a maturation process in barrels before being bottled. They tend to have more strength, a lot of aroma and are more structured. It must be borne in mind that reds tend to mature longer to better develop their flavor.

Among the wines that have had time to mature are the Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, which are determined by their maturation time, which varies according to the Regulatory Councils of each wine. There are also wines called Roble or Semicrianza, which are wines that have gone through the barrel, but without reaching the times established by the different quality figures.

5. Dry or sweet?

This depends on the level of sugar that the wine contains. The drier, the less sugar it will have. There are dry, semi-dry, doomed, semi-sweet and sweet.

6. Expensive or cheap?

You should not be influenced by the price. Spain is lucky to have excellent wines at very competitive prices. You just have to know what the budget is and adapt to it. You should never select a wine thinking that, because it has a higher price, it will be richer.

7. That’s what the experts are for

And do you know what to ask? What do you like and what are you looking for: a sweeter, drier, or sharp wine, and ask the professional to help choose.

Other factors can be taken into account, such as whether it is a light or full-bodied wine, with more or less acidity or with certain aromas. And if it is not clear, it is best to be advised by the professionals of Monte Pinos Selección and try it out. Little by little, you will get to know the wine and what each one likes the most. And soon going to buy the wine will have become a fun and entertaining task.

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