Updated: Oct 25, 2020
If it was an option, I am certain that many wine lovers would rather travel out into the wine lands as often as they could in quest to discover great wines for their daily consumption, but that is not the case.
What guidelines do you use to get you closer to good value for your wine at your regular wine boutique/store?
For many wine drinkers including myself, it’s easier to get into the flow of your favourite wine until the series runs out of the shelves and then you feel stuck and are left with no choice but to restart the process of finding new options that suit your palate once again. Then you discover some good gems for their value, then you get back into the same routine until you run out. And on and on the process continues.
I may not have it all figured out, but here are my 5 tips on how I discover rare gems for good value when I travel around the world into the world of wine within different territories with no guide on what type of wine to expect and no opportunity to taste before I pay.
1. The Region
When you know what wines are suitable for your palate, I would assume you may have done a little research around what region your preferred varietals originate from. Personally, as a red wine lover, my palate enjoys wines from various regions including South Africa with a bold cabernet sauvignon or a well-crafted shiraz as my preference.
As I move into the Chilean wines, I tend to look for a carménère or cabernet sauvignon, moving further into the Argentina & New Zealand section where I gravitate towards a malbec or cabernet sauvignon.
Wine is an experience; take some time to find out the origins and regions where you can discover more about everything you love about your choice of wine.
2. The Vintage
While the wine’s vintage represents the year in which the grapes that were used to craft that wine were grown and harvested. Understanding vintage differences can therefore help guide you towards what vintages work well for your palate. For example, a warmer year might have riper fruit aromas, whereas a cool vintage will be more savoury.
Let’s also keep in mind that the ability of a wine to age is influenced by many factors including grape variety, vintage, viticultural practices, wine region, winemaking style and the condition that the wine is kept in after bottling.
3. The Punt
Some call it a myth whiles others don’t really care, but based on my wine lifestyle in my quest to discover wine without the luxury to always taste, I find“the deeper the punt, the sweeter the juice.”
Historically, punts were a function of wine bottles being made by glassblowers. The seam was pushed up to make sure the bottle could stand upright and there wasn’t a sharp point of glass on the bottom.
Despite the fact that the punts no longer serve a structural function except in bottles of sparkling wine, which have constant pressure inside, the punt on a wine bottle stimulates my aesthetic sensory. Most of the bottles I have blindly purchased that have a deeper punt have more than often ticked off my list as I search for a good bottle of wine with good value.
4. Cork vs screw-cap
Besides the character and personality they bring to my dinner party, corks enhance my wine experience from the moment we open the bottle all through to end of the dinner party.
I cannot prove that screw-capped wines are cheaper than corked wine bottles because I have had the nightmare of bad corked bottles of wine and on the contrary, I have also had the pleasure of enjoying some good South African, New Zealand and Australian screw-capped wines. Either way, I still find more value out of a corked bottle of wine when I buy wines from a selection I do not know of.
5. Carry your glass just incase!
Nobody wants to spend 30 minutes on the shelf weaving through thousands of bottles of wine while trying to figure out which bottle will make your food go down nice and easy when you get home. How I solve that problem is by carrying my glass to the wine shops/boutiques. It is true that every territory is different and some shop owners may allow it, some may not; but at least you’ll have tried.
Price is something to consider but never the bottom line when it comes to discovering good wines. I hope you can start discovering better wine for better value as you move around with an open mind to experience wine everyday applying some or all of my tips.
Visit my Wine World and get yourself some wine or winelove.