How to Pick a Perfect Wine

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Wine is a great drink to serve if your hosting a party and a perfect gift to graciously thank other's in charge of holiday festivities. Here's an easy guide on how to pick the perfect wine. First things first, you should always taste a wine before making any commitment to purchasing. Try visiting your local wine store to catch weekly tastings. This is especially important if you are planning to buy in bulk for parties! There are three basic steps to tasting your wine:

  1. Smell it. Seriously get your nose down deep into the glass so that you can pick up on all the complexities. If a wine smells bad to you, it may be an indication that you won't like it. However, don't give up hope, some wines that smell a bit earthy or musty have great full flavors that you might really enjoy!
  2. Tilt the glass. You’re looking at two things: the color and the viscosity. Colors for red wines should range in tone between a blood red and an almost purple jewel tone. When you tilt your glass the wine will leave something a sommelier would refer to as "legs". It has been traditionally been considered that better wines will have more pronounced "legs," meaning they are thicker or more viscous than their cheaper counterparts. However, with all the changes in technologies and techniques for making wine, lighter and easier drinking wines can be on par with some of the new school finer wines.
  3. Take a sip. Our mouths and tongues can be divided into separate clusters of taste buds, each devoted to processing different flavors, from sour to sweet to savory. In order to taste a wine properly you should make sure it coats as much of the inside of your mouth as possible, allowing you to pick up on every flavor possible. Almost all good wines have complex flavors layered upon each other. And no, you do not need to spit your wine out! In fact, that may be sacrilegious!

 

Hopefully after tasting a few (or many) wines you have managed to determine your palette. This term refers to what kind of wine you like, as in dry versus fruity or full-bodied versus mild. From there you can ask the people working in most wine stores to direct you to bottles that fit these particular preferences. A few last minute tips to consider:

  • If you can't afford a very high quality of wine and you know your going to be attending or hosting a party full of snobs, then pair whatever you can afford to purchase with goat cheese and brie. For some inexplicable reason, both of these cheeses will make any type of wine taste better!
  • If you have purchased a few bottles of great wine and a few mediocre, serve the good stuff first. Hopefully by the time you get to the lesser quality bottles everyone will be too buzzed to notice anyway.
  • And last but not least, the old adage of white wine with fish and chicken and red wine with meats still holds true. But also consider that the richness of the meal should also come into play. For example, a simply served cut of lean white pork may go well with a fuller bodied white wine, while a chicken breast wrapped in bacon and stuffed with cheese would stand up just fine to a red.

Keep in mind that although for the most part you get what you pay for when it comes to wine, many delicious, quality bottles can be purchased for less than $30 bucks. Have any favorites that you'd like to recommend? Let us know below!

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About this author

Mariela Rosario,

I'm a raging opinionista and I love to share my ramblings on everything from pop culture to food to stuff that makes me laugh & cry! I've worked in all types of media (TV, film, print) and was previously the online editor at Latina magazine before joining Mamás Latinas. On most nights you can find me working my way through my library of cookbooks or playing with my puppy Lola (my only child so far). I have a wonderful hubby who shares my passion for any and all kinds of travel. Together, we've formed a semi-professional wine drinking team.

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