Red Wines: how to choose?
Wine is a complex drink, but no other beverage on the planet rewards your senses with such an array of provocative scents and flavours.
Amongst all wine styles, red wine is perhaps the most complicated. After all, producers make red wine with hundreds of varietals in different styles. There’s genuinely a red wine for every occasion. So how to choose the right wine? Here are a few tips for choosing red wines every time.
Before we get started, let us invite you to a unique wine experience in Portugal. Visiting Quinta dos Vales is a beautiful opportunity to learn more about wine right there, where it’s made.
1. The grape varieties matter
One of the easiest ways to identify different wines styles is by the grape varieties used to make them. Most modern-cut wine bottles will show the varietal on the label, although that’s not the case with traditional wine regions like those in France and Italy.
Despite the winemakers’ efforts, grapes always show their unique traits in the wine. Light-bodied red wines are often made with thin-skinned varietals, such as Pinot Noir. On the other hand, thick-skinned grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Touriga Nacional produce big, bold wines.
Try wines made with different grapes and take notes. The next time you want a light and fruity red wine or a bold one, you’ll know where to look.
2. There’s wine at all price points
Red wine comes at all price points. Unlike other items we usually purchase, the wine’s price is often directly liked to its quality, and by quality, we mean concentration, complexity and age-worthiness.
For a casual get-together with friends, an inexpensive bottle of red will do. Be confident that a more expensive bottle will be up to the task for memorable dinner parties.
Of course, expensive wine is not better than inexpensive versions, even if made with the same grape. Cheap wine is just not as complex or balanced — there’s room for everyday sippers in your wine cellar as well!
3. Think of your guests
If you want to know how to choose red wine and get it right every time, think beyond your preferences — think of your guests instead.
Wine is meant to be shared, so you’ll probably share your wine with others every time you open a bottle. Now, ask yourself, are your drinking buddies experienced wine drinkers? If not, a fancy bottle of expensive wine is not the right choice, even if you love it.
On the other hand, if your group of friends is well-versed in wine, don’t bring bag-in-box wine. Even the most acclaimed wines can disappoint if served to the wrong crowd.
4. What’s for dinner?
Choosing red wine is easy if you know what you’re pairing it with. After all, wine is more enjoyable when served with food.
Here’s a tip. Match wine and food by weight — hearty meals with robust wines and delicate dishes with elegant wine. Pair a thick rib-eye with a bold Touriga Nacional but go for an elegant Pinot Noir if you have salmon for dinner.
Of course, experimenting is critical, and no wine and food pairing is perfect. However, if you need to choose a bottle of red wine, consider the menu, and you’ll most likely make the right choice.
5. Know the story
How to buy red wine? Forget about the liquid and focus on the stories instead. Most wine out there has no story — it’s made in a factory by anonymous nine-to-five workers. Commercial wine, although often tasty, has no story behind it.
On the other hand, purchase wine from family-owned estates, made with the winery’s own grapes, in traditional wine regions. These wines have stories to tell, and that’s amazing! Fine wine always tells a story, and it alone is reason enough to choose a bottle of wine over others. Know the people behind your favourite wines, and you’ll enjoy them much more.
6. Drink what you like!
At the end of the day, buying red wine shouldn’t be too complicated. It’s wine, after all, and it’s meant to be appreciated.
When facing the tough decision of choosing a bottle of wine for dinner, follow your heart. If you love the wine, others will too. If you have a story to tell about it, even more so.
How to choose red wine? We all have our strategy — as long as you keep on learning and honing those tasting skills, your choices will be better over time. There’s no such thing as bad red wine; there’s just wine for different occasions!
Learn More About Wine
If you’re into wine, you’re on a lifelong learning experience in which there’s always something new to explore.
If you want to dig deeper into the world of wine, Quinta dos Vales, a leading estate in Algarve, Portugal, has plenty of wine experiences waiting for you. From blending your own bottle of wine to making wine with your grapes. All in a luxurious but laid back atmosphere where food, wine and leisure are one. Algarve is one of the sunniest destinations in Europe, and the region’s wine is at the heart of it all.