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How to pick a wine – The LifeStyler’s simple guide

Our hobnobbing mate on the social scene is back, this time on a topic none of us have any understanding of at EFTM HQ – Wine!

Ever been to a fancy restaurant where there is a special waiter just for wine?  This person is called a Sommelier, and no, they did not get to be one by just pretending to be a wine snob, they actually had to do years of study not unlike becoming a chef.

Anyway, this Sommelier guy or gal is actually your friend. I know you are thinking that if you ask them, they will instantly call you out as a wine dummy and recommend the most expensive bottle of wine. Absolutely not! Their existence in the restaurant is to help you make a good wine paring. You need to tell them three things 1. What you are eating 2. Wine types you don’t like 3. How much you want to spend.  Telling them your budget upfront is actually a relief to them as they do not want you to feel uncomfortable about their recommendations.

In response to hearing these three bits of information they will make a recommendation based on food paring (what wine will compliment what you are eating).  Most often they will give you a couple of choices and give you a bit of a story around each wine.

Job done. Now you can enjoy the meal and be complimented on your wine choice.

So, what do you do if there is no Sommelier?  Here are a few basic tips from the LifeStyler.

Sparkling

  • Can be sweet or dry
  • A great way to start a night before drinking any other variety
  • Always serve chilled

White wine 

  • Best drunk first before going to red
  • Always start with sweeter styles before moving to dryer styles
  • Pairs nicely with white meats like chicken, pork and also seafood 
  • Main varieties include Riesling, Chardonnay, Sav Blanc and Pinot Gris
  • Should be chilled but not too cold as it loses its flavour
  • Generally drink now and don’t keep long term (They will go off especially if exposed to big temperature variances)

Red Wine

  • Made with the skins left on thus the colour
  • Best with red meats.  If you want red wine with white meats go for a mild red like a Pinot Noir. 
  • Shiraz is peppery, Cab Sav is smooth so the question is do you want pepper with your steak or not?
  • A Rose is a pink-coloured wine created when the skins of red grapes are left in for a short time (milder)
  • Drink at room temperature
  • Originally red wine was best aged, as it becomes more mellow, but these days almost all wine is designed to be drunk now

Other stuff

  • A wine glass is really important and will change the flavour based on how much aroma you can smell
  • Fortified wines – think port which is higher in alcohol, syrupy and best drunk at the end of night
  • Dessert wines – think sweet wine with less water creating more intense flavours to enjoy with you guessed it – dessert! 
  • Price does not always determine quality.  Your local bottle shop can probably steer you in the direction of a bargain
  • Screw tops vs cork.  Screw tops will keep wine fresher for longer
  • Wine starts going off as soon as you allow air into the bottle.  Drink it in 48 hours or buy quality wine in casks as air does not enter the bag
  • If you find something you like make a record of it so you can try the same variety or indeed the same one again

Cheers until next week!

How to pick a wine – The LifeStyler’s simple guide
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