How to know if your wine is worth the money?
The wine market is full of variety. So how can you ensure that you spend your money wisely on high-quality wine when choosing from so many wines?
You might be wondering if good wine is just one that you enjoy or if there is something more to it. While personal preference is undeniably essential in selecting wine, there is still a difference between high and low-quality wines of a similar type.
Certain countries and regions are better known for producing good wine or having reasonable prices than others. Choosing a wine based on its production location can help, but understanding the broader differences between good and bad wines is the best way to guarantee you get wines worth your money time after time.
Traits to check
The colour of wine should change over time and will, of course, be different depending on the grapes used.
It is best to visit a wine store that allows you to smell the wine before you buy. You can tell a lot about flavour and quality from the aroma of a wine.
Wine stores will also often let customers taste a sample before choosing a wine. Beyond whether or not you enjoy a specific wine, several other flavour elements will help you decide if a wine is worth buying.
Smell, taste, and colour combine to create a unique whole.
Tannins come from the grape seed, skin, stems, and wooden barrels that store the wine. Typically tannins provide texture, weight, and structure. They are often bitter and have a drying sensation on the tongue.
You can usually judge the complexity of wine by looking to see if the taste changes with each sip.
Clarity refers to whether a wine is crystal clear or cloudy in appearance. This tends to be easiest to see when a wine is poured into a translucent glass.
The appearance and quality of a wine’s packaging is not always a perfect indicator but is a valuable way to complete your assessment.
The difference between good and bad wines
Now that you know which traits you should be checking, we’ll discuss how you can distinguish between good and bad wines according to these features.
The right colour of any given wine depends on the type of grape and the age of the wine. For instance, a young red is generally a violet reddish colour, whereas an older red tends to deepen and develop a more brown hue. On the other hand, young white wines should generally be pale yellow, and a darker colouring can indicate rusting.
The age of a wine can also change which foods it is best paired with. For example, a more mature red wine tastes better with red meats than a young red.
You might wonder if good and bad wines have different smells? While not every good wine will smell the same, there are general similarities. The aroma or quality wines should be reminiscent of its ingredients, for example, fruits or flowers. On the other hand, Poorer quality wine tends to have a heavier vinegar smell. The best wines will also have an aroma that lingers for a few seconds.
If you think a bottle of wine has an overwhelming woody flavour, then be warned that it may have been kept in improperly aerated barrels. A wine’s taste should also remain on the tongue for approximately 10 seconds. If there is no lasting flavour after you take a sip, the wine is likely not of the highest quality.
Great wine achieves a beautiful balance of smell, taste, and colour. If you notice that one element overwhelms the rest, you may have a poorly made bottle. Ideally, the various flavours and smells should integrate and leave you with an impression of balance.
As stated above, tannins have a bitter flavour and drying sensation. There are no good or bad tannins, and some of the best-loved wines are high in tannins. Generally, you want a wine to feel smooth and balanced without an overwhelming astringent taste.
A good wine should evolve. You should be able to detect subtle changes in the wine notes as you sip. You may want to try a different option if a wine is unchanging and flat.
Cloudy wine or wine with visible imperfections is generally not high quality. Instead, choose a wine with a crystalline appearance for a better option.
While packaging should never be the only element on which you judge a wine’s quality, it is helpful. Winemaking is truly a work of art that has developed over the centuries and which people take great pride. Therefore, a manufacturer that takes the time to produce fantastic quality wine will usually expend the effort to ensure their packaging is beautiful and well-crafted.
Some of our top wine picks
People have spent thousands of years perfecting wine, and those considered the best and rarest can be extremely expensive. However, not everyone has hundreds or even hundreds of thousands of pounds to spend on a single bottle of wine (the most expensive wine, a Romanée-Conti 1945 red burgundy, went for almost £448,000 in 2018).
So if you don’t have thousands to spare, what are some high-quality and reasonably priced alternatives?
According to the wine review website Vivino, America produces the overall highest rated wines, closely followed by France and Italy. However, France ranks highest for the production of sparkling wines, and Germany stands on top when it comes to Rosés.
The most renowned wine region in the US is California, which produces an estimated 90% of wines in the country.
Tuscany in Italy is another world-class wine region, particularly for dry red wines.
Two of the classically considered best wine regions are in France. Bordeaux is known to produce beautiful Bordeaux blends, Sauvignons, and Merlots. However, for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines, the East French region of Burgundy is a worldwide favourite, despite making far less wine than Bordeaux.
The best wine regions for price and quality
You don’t have to rely on these best-known and top-producing regions to find a great quality wine. In fact, several regions around the world have become famous for their affordable and delicious wine production.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blancs from Chile are widely regarded as excellent choices. And Spanish wines have long been regarded as some of the best and reasonably priced options, especially red wines.
New Zealand and Germany are quickly becoming famous for their Pinot Noirs. For example, the 2015 Dog Point Pinot Noir from New Zealand sells for around £30 and has received 4 stars on Vivino. Alternatively, many have been charmed by South African Chardonnays like the 2017 Hamilton Russel Vineyards Chardonnay.