choosing a wine

Feel intimidated when choosing a wine? Whether you’re buying a bottle for a friend or you want to try something new, check out this primer for a place to start.

This one says it’s a superior-grade cab with bold juiciness, rich flavor, and fine texture. Today on How to Adult, we’re going to give you some pointers on choosing a wine that you and your friends will really enjoy.

Whether you’re trying to pick a bottle of wine from the shelf of your local grocery store for a dinner party, or you’re on a date at fancy (or not-so-fancy) restaurant, the most important thing to know about choosing a wine either by the bottle or glass is how much you can afford to spend on it.

Choosing a Wine Starts With Your Budget

A good bottle of wine can range anywhere from $10 to $10,000, so before you pick one out, set a price that you’re willing to spend. And there’s no shame in picking an inexpensive bottle. Depending on your own personal tastes, they can be as good–or even better–than the pricey stuff.

I always enjoy a bottle of wine better when I know that it didn’t burn a hole in my wallet. And you should probably know that prices for wine in a restaurant can be up to twice as high as they would be in a store. (that is about the industry standard)

There are literally thousands of different kinds of wine. So how do you know which ones you like and which ones you don’t? You don’t. Until you start trying them. Everyone has different tastes, so the “best” wines are the ones that YOU like the best

When you try choosing a wine you’ve never had before, take a moment to think about what you like or don’t like about it, and make a mental note, or even, write it down. This is much easier when you’re drinking your first glass than it is on your third or fourth.

.. or fifth… Stop—stop now! Stop there! A lot of people find talking about wine intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. The first thing you should use to describe a wine is its weight or body. This just means the thickness or viscosity of the wine.

A good way to think about it is to compare it to milk: Skim milk is very thin or “light-bodied,” 2% is “medium-bodied,” and whole milk thicker, creamier and “fuller-bodied.” You can use the same words when describing wine.

Next, when choosing a wine you should know how to describe how a wine that you like tastes. Some good questions to ask yourself are things like: do you like fruity wines or savory ones? Bright and crisp or buttery and creamy? Do you like wines that are sweeter, or on the dryer side.

Be careful about using the word “DRY” when describing a wine. That term can mean a few different things; it can mean that a wine is just not sweet, or it can mean that a wine is “tannic”. Tannins are molecules found in red wines that come from wine grapes’ skin and stems; they’re astringent, and actually remove moisture from your mouth, leading to a very dry feeling.

Wines with a lot of tannins are usually best paired with food. If you can find three or four descriptive words for the kinds of wine you like, you’ve got a pretty big head start to picking out a great bottle of wine.

Because most bottles don’t really have detailed descriptions of the wine inside of them, the easiest way to find a good one is to ask someone for a recommendation. Wine can be kind of expensive, so you don’t want to waste your money on a bottle you won’t even like when you’re choosing a wine for yourself.

If you really want to pick out the perfect bottle, or are just looking to try something new, ask the steward at your local wine shop. If you want to pick the right wine to pair with your food in a restaurant, your server or bartender should be able to help you out. (or you can click here to learn how to order wine at a restaurant!)

Or if you’re in a grocery store without a dedicated wine expert, the internet is a great place to learn about different wines; there are tons of websites and apps that rate wines and can help you find a great bottle in your price range.

Well, hopefully now when you’re tasked with choosing a wine, you can pick out a bottle of wine that you don’t hate. If you have any favorite kinds of wine, tips for finding good ones, or have questions, please post in the comments below.

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Need Help Choosing a Wine? You can always contact our own Pat, who’s been a personal wine broker for close to 3 decades. He’ll make some great suggestions and help you experiment, all at the same time!

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