It is quite natural that the average buyer of wine in restaurants or shops does not know how to choose wine professionally.
It is difficult to independently determine the characteristics of quality wine and feel the difference between a drink for $ 30 and $ 130.
But not for those who have read Bianca Bosker’s recently published book, Mad with Guilt.
The author described how, under the guidance of the best sommelier in the world, it was practiced to distinguish quality wines from low-quality ones:
“Every sensible person who eats at a restaurant should know why he should spend $ 150 on wine when a $ 15 bottle has the same amount of fermented juice.” The sommelier of the Valentino restaurant located in Lviv at the Swiss Hotel in the heart of Lviv will help you with this.
The main characteristics of good wine
The next time you visit a restaurant, choose the wine you like and ask the waiter to bring a small sample.
Good wine contains three criteria: balance, complexity and completeness.
Balanced wine has no flavors. For example, the drink does not give a strong alcohol content and is not sour.
The complexity of the wine is the presence of various shades that enrich the taste.
The wine is considered complete when the taste of the drink remains after swallowing.
“Mediocre wines disappear quickly, and good ones leave an aftertaste,” the journalist writes. The wine to be sampled must satisfy your taste buds according to these three criteria.
The alcohol content will indicate how many glasses to limit.
There are two ways to check the level of alcohol in wine: by drops from the movements of the glass or by the hotness of the drink.
The first way is to make a few quick turns of the wine glass with your wrists so that the liquid covers the walls.
If well-defined, slow drops flow down them, the alcohol level is high, and if small and fast drops, or when the wine falls through the curtains, the alcohol level is low.
The second way is to determine how far in your throat you feel the burning sensation.
“If it burns on the back of the tongue, it is probably a low level of alcohol, in the back of the throat – then medium, and if it warmed to the chest – then the level is high,” – the author writes. Understanding the determination of the level of alcohol, you can calculate the amount of wine to drink: with a higher level of alcohol we drink less wine.
Knowing the acidity of the wine, you can determine from which grapes and where the drink is made.
“After swallowing, touch the tip of the tongue to the palate and pay attention to the amount of saliva.
Tilt your head forward, and if the amount of saliva in your mouth increases during this time, it is a wine with high acidity, but not with low acidity, “advises Bianca.
If the acidity of the drink is high, the grapes are grown in cooler climates, for example, wine from Europe rather than from California.
Do not forget that the grape variety indicates which wine it is: red or white.
For example, Chardonnay produces white wines, while Game, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon produce red wines.
External characteristics of wine
The wine can be judged by the external characteristics of the bottle. To do this, it is necessary to understand what are the basic places of origin of wine, what quality labels are placed on the label, and how the price per bottle is formed.
According to these characteristics, you can distinguish a good drink from a bad one, and save money.
Place of origin
The origin of the wine is indicated in the name on the bottle, but for the average buyer these names are similar to a puzzle. For example, here is the deciphered name of one Burgundian wine:
Chasseau-Montrache Premier Crew LES CHAMPS GAINS F. & L. PILLOT (Burgundy, France) 2013 34
Shassan-Montrache (village name) Premier Crewe (quality mark), LES CHAMPS GAINS (vineyard name) F. & L. PILLOT (producer name) (Burgundy, France) (region) 2013 (harvest year) 34 ( price per glass).
Each harvesting country has its own bottles that indicate the quality of the bottle – Italian “DOCG”, Spanish “Grand Reserva” and “Crianza”, French “Vin de France” and better “AOC”, in Germany “Deutscher Wein” and more elite “Qualitatswein”.
However, this classification should not be relied on entirely. The producer may have several harvests, and the bottles from the best harvest may not receive the mark, although not worse than estimated.
The average cost of quality wine made by a winemaker in a private vineyard is $ 50- $ 60 per bottle.
The drink with this price has a high quality of production components.
For example, wine is aged in barrels made of expensive French oak, money is spent on renting land in more fertile regions and renting wine storage facilities for years.
Also, the bottle is more expensive due to the reputation and rarity of the brand, so wine with a well-known label may cost more, but will not differ from the bottle for $ 50.
If the price per bottle is lower, then, most likely, the drink was produced industrially and belongs to the category of “commercial wines”. If the bottle is more than $ 500, it is a status symbol and a collector’s item.
The sommelier’s secret dictionary
And sommelier have their own dictionary. It can be used to evaluate the taste of wine and sound like a pro:
Taste “evolved” – to describe old wines;
“Flight normal” – a lot of glasses for tasting, placed in a row;
“Extended skin contact” – soaking grape skins in juice to add wine texture and color;
“Wine-Switzerland” – a neutral bottle that tastes good with all the dishes on the table;
“Another wine” – something boring that is automatically ordered by timid newcomers: Sanser, Prosecco, Cabernet from California;
“Infanticide” – drinking great wine too fast (for use in a narrow circle);
“Unicorn” – rare wines, pearls of small production, which are the status symbols of the sommelier and immediately posted on Instagram by anyone who ordered, tried or cast an eye on such a bottle.
I am waiting for you in the restaurant “Valentino”.
I will take you to the wine cellar and offer the best wine that will taste to your dishes, whatever they may be: fish or meat.
See you at the Valentino restaurant at the Swiss Hotel!
To book a table for tasting or gastro-dinner – please call us:
+38 (097) 23 56 777
+38 (032) 23 56 766