Everyone loves to try a new wine. Whether you’re opening a new bottle in the comfort of your home or you’re in a far flung location at a winery or vineyard, there’s nothing nicer than trying a brand new merlot, chardonnay or rosé.
But, wine tasting isn’t as simple as opening a bottle and taking a swig. There is an art to wine tasting, and here’s our four top tips to help you get more from your wine tasting experience.
1. Check the conditions for the tasting
As odd as it may sound, there are ideal conditions for tasting wine. For example, it’s hard to concentrate in a crowded or noisy environment with strong smells of cooking or animals. It’s difficult to accurately assess wine if it is served at too high or low a temperature. And, it’s hard to make an unbiased assessment if you have residual flavours in your mouth from something you have been eating or drinking.
Try to find a quiet, neutral environment and, if a wine is too cold, warm it by cupping the glass. Also, try to cleanse your palate before tasting.
2. Use your eyes
Before you taste the wine, it is important for you to take a good look at it. Why? Well, the colour of the wine helps you identify the grape variety as well as the density and saturation of the wine.
A murky wine might have some chemical or fermentation problems while it’s a good sign if a wine looks brilliant and clear. And, examining how the wine thins out towards the edge of the glass gives you some idea of the age and weight of the wine.
3. Use your nose
Before you taste, swirl the wine around in the glass. This releases the wine’s bouquet and you should take a few short, sharp sniffs of the wine. Don’t bury your nose in the glass: WineEnthusiast magazine suggests you ‘hover over the top like a helicopter pilot surveying rush hour traffic’.
You’re checking that the wine hasn’t any flaws or is spoiled, and then use your sense of smell to identify flavours. Trying to spot the flavours from the smell helps you focus on, understand and retain your impressions of different wines.
4. Don’t fill your glass and drink it all
During a wine tasting, it’s very tempting to pour yourself a large glass and eagerly drink most or all of it. Actually, you should fill your glass no more than one third full. This allows you to swirl the wine around the glass and for the flavours to fully develop.
If you taste a lot of wine in a session then sipping and spitting may also be advisable. Spitting everything and then enjoying a glass or two with a meal or at the end of the night is the best way to fully enjoy new wines.
It may seem impossible, but there will be a billion bottle shortage of wine in the world in 2013. Bad weather is set to result in wine production falling to its lowest level since records began this year, with France set to lose its status as the world’s largest provider.
The International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) predict that wine production will fall from 264.2 million hectolitres in 2011 to 248.2 million hectolitres this year. This compares unfavourably to current worldwide demand, estimated at between 235.7 million hectolitres and 249.4 million hectolitres. An additional 30 million hectolitres of wine is used to make spirits, vermouth and vinegar.
In early November 2012, Bertrand Girand, chief executive of Groupe Val d’Orbieu, France’s biggest wine cooperative, said the world faced a wine shortage of at least 10 million hectolitres, the equivalent of 1.3 billion bottles. “Spain has zero stocks,”he said. “Italy has zero stocks. We no longer have stocks to bridge the gap. We have no more entry-level wine.”
France has been particularly hard hit by bad weather in 2012 and the harvest was badly affected by winter drought, cold and wet weather, hailstorms and a heat wave. Production in France is expected to fall by almost a fifth (19 per cent) in 2012, and Italy is set to overtake the home of Beaujolais as the world’s biggest winemaker in 2013.
Production has also fallen in Argentina, Italy, Spain and New Zealand this year. Federico Castellucci, the OIV’s director general, told a press conference in Paris: “We’re dipping into the reserves for supply.”
So, how will a wine shortage affect you? Firstly, you can expect to see a rise in some prices. Victor Magalhaes, an OIV statistician, said: “If we don’t have availability in the market, there’s a strong chance some products will increase in price.”
You may also encounter difficulty in finding certain wines. Mr Magalhaes said that some of the French wines protected by thedesignation of origin label, such as Burgundy, were already suffering a shortage.
With a billion bottle shortage set to hit next year and prices set to rise, it is wise to stock up now. One of our favourite wines is our Diez Siglos Verdejo, Rueda 2011. This lovely Spanish white has complex aromas of fresh grass, nettle, passion fruit, tangerine oil and citrus. It boasts a rounded and complex palate with savoury hints and grapefruit marmalade to finish and is available at just £6.50 a bottle.
If you prefer red, how about our 2010 58 Guineas Claret? This round, medium-bodied wine perfectly balances flavours of youthful red fruit with a claret backbone. And, it was awarded a Gold Medal at the Sommelier Wine Awards 2012.
If you want to avoid paying more for your wine in 2013, stock up now. Order a case today on (01476) 860257 and get free delivery of wine in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Rutland and Lincolnshire.
- Wine prices set to rise after poor grape harvest, warns Majestic boss (guardian.co.uk)
- World Wine Production Falls (gilescadman.vg)
- Global wine production hits 37-year low (thedrinksbusiness.com)
Have you ever considered that drinking a glass of your normal red, white or rose is damaging you, your taste buds and the environment? If not, perhaps it’s time you should join millions of wine drinkers who are turning to organic wines.
Organic wine production and sales have increased significantly over recent years. But, what is organic wine? Why is it better than traditional wine? And, which organic wines should you try? Here we answer all these questions.
What is organic wine?
The definition of ‘organic wine’ varies from country to country. However, in simple terms, it is wine produced from 100% organically grown grapes by use of organic wine making processes.
Organically grown grapes are farmed without the use of fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides or other synthetic chemicals. Organic wine making also outlaws any chemical additives, with the exception of minimal sulphur dioxide (a preservative). Instead, organic farmers use compost, pesticides and herbicides made from natural sources.
There are lots of great reasons why you should consider organic wines. Next, we outline the main three.
3 reasons it’s better than normal wine
Firstly, organic wine making helps protect the environment. It reduces the impact of agriculture on the environment by eliminating the use of harmful chemicals and improving animal welfare. It also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions through avoiding nitrogen fertiliser.
Secondly, organic wine can taste better. The natural fertility and health of the soil is maintained and this untainted soil can greatly enhance the flavour of the grapes. Organic wine making produces wines which are pure, distinctive and more representative of their terroir (where they are grown).
Thirdly, there is growing evidence that organic food and drinks are better for you. Their nutritional value is higher and they are less likely to cause problems such as allergies.
So, organic wines are tastier, better for the planet and better for you. But what wines should you buy? Keep reading to find out.
5 great organic wines to try
Organic wines are becoming increasingly popular. Sales of organic wine rose by 11% between 2011 and 2011 and reports suggest organic wines now account for just over a third of French wine exports.
If you’re looking for a place to start, you should consider our Chateau de la Mirande, Picpoul de Pinet 2010. With flavours of yellow plum and pepper, this lovely white is perfect with oysters or crab linguine. Or try our lovely Domaine de Pajot with its blend of citrusy fruit or our organic Chilean Adobe Sauvignon Blanc.
If you prefer a red, our organic Adobe Merlot from Chile has red fruit aromas and touches of toast, vanilla and cocoa. And for rosé lovers, our Buenas Ondas Syrah Rose from Argentina has terrific fruit concentration with redcurrant and strawberry.
If you’ve not tried organic wine, you don’t know what you’re missing. Order your case today on (01476) 860257 and get free delivery of wine in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Rutland and Lincolnshire.
Available as a set from Leicestershire-based fine wine merchants, Philip Pruden Wines, these two wines are a great combination for late summer drinking and enjoying.
“Delightfully well rounded”
If ever a wine cried out to be described as delightfully well rounded, it would have to be this one, available at Leicestershire fine wine merchants, Philip Pruden Wines. Why? Because it hits your taste buds with a robustly fruity mouthful right from the first sip. All that fruit-laden flavour is perfectly matched with spices and beautifully balanced with good acidity. We’re also talking well rounded because the Wishbone Shiraz.Grenache accomplishes something very special. Not only does it bring together juicy plum and raspberry on the palate, but it also draws in black cherry and a subtle, but clearly defined note of creamy oak. But don’t mistake well rounded for overwhelming. We also think it’s well rounded because, being medium to full bodied, it is the perfect companion for the fun of a late summer barbecue or the delights of a special get together á deux. Even better, it’s available with local delivery for Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.
This wine’s undeniably mouthwatering presence comes courtesy of a highly successful combination of Grenache(Garnacha) and Syrah(Shiraz). You could describe this marriage of grapes as the perfect match, making it the definition of well rounded! It’s a wine which has rightfully won a name for itself. Fruity, well rounded, delicious – call it what you like. But you won’t want to buy it just the once.
Wishbone Shiraz.Grenache, Barossa 2009 is available in 12 bottle cases from fine wine merchants, Philip Pruden Wines, with local delivery for Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.
“A distinctive presence”
We couldn’t let our magpie eye overlook this wine, available from Leicestershire-based fine wine merchants, Philip Pruden Wines. It certainly stands up to scrutiny, thanks to a distinctive presence which brings dry, crisp and tangy together in a compelling mix. But there’s even more to this wine than meets our demanding eye. Enjoy the fruits of the labours of its Australian creators who have brilliantly brought together the subtle smokey Semillon with the fulsomely tangy and citrus-laden Sauvignon.
This clever combination is the perfect marriage of flavour and nose, creating a wine which is both delightfully well balanced and interesting to drink. The expressions of the Barossa really do shine in this wonderful wine. It somehow manages to be both modest and impressive at the same time, something you can’t fail to notice whether you’re enjoying a glass at home or sharing a bottle with friends. There are plenty of white wines out there, but very few which so lastingly win over the palate. This is a great choice for anyone with an eye for a great (and great value) wine.
Wishbone, Sem/Sauv, The Magpie Estate, Barossa 2010 is available in 12 bottle cases from fine wine merchants, Philip Pruden Wines, with local delivery for Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.
With the summer just around the corner, it’s time to dust off your warm weather clothes, fire up the barbecue and invite your friends around to enjoy the sunshine.
While you may have some speciality recipes up your sleeve, we can provide the perfect wine for your summer bash. Montresor have been producing superb wines in Verona for over a century, and their Rosé Royal is our favourite tipple for the summer months. Here are five reasons why you’ll love it too.
1. It is perfect for a warm summers day
There’s nothing more refreshing on a summer afternoon or evening than a crisp glass of chilled wine. This superb rosé is designed to be served at between 4 and 6 degrees centigrade and corked at the moment of consumption.
So, chill the bottle, keep it cold in a bucket of ice and let your guests enjoy a glass of this brilliant Italian wine.
2. It is perfect with steak and seafood
One of the great advantages of rosé wines is that they can be extremely food-friendly. And, this Montresor Rosé Royal is no exception.
If you’re thinking of firing up the barbecue at your summer party, this rose can handle both the surf and the turf. It goes superbly with steak but comes into its own when served with seafood. Throw some king prawns or red snapper on your barbecue and serve this lovely sparkling rosé wine as your accompaniment. Perfect.
3. It is great value for money
This long established Veronese family company, headed by Giorgio Montresor, has consistently produced wines which rival the offerings of some of Veneto’s more fashionable names. The estate wines, from 100 acres of vineyards in Valpolicella and Garda, continue to offer remarkable value for money.
At under £10 per bottle, this Montresor Rosé Royal is a mellow and full flavoured wine at a superb price.
4. It is simply a superb wine
Whether your party involves a couple of neighbours or a garden full of friends and family, one of the best reasons to serve this fine Rosé from Giorgio Montresor is that it is simply a great example of how a fine Rosé should taste.
Rich toasty aromas of bread mingle with flower blossom, ripe apples and luscious cherries. Boasting subtle and persistent bubbles, this wine has an elegant palate and finishes with good length. It’s exactly what you’d expect from this fine producer with over a hundred years of winemaking experience.
5. We’ll deliver it free up to 30 miles
If you live in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland or Lincolnshire, you can buy this great Montresor Rosé and we’ll deliver it free. Our free delivery service covers these four counties and so we can ensure you’ve all the superb wine you need for your summer party – and you won’t pay us a penny for delivery.
So, whether you’re planning a summer barbecue or a family get together, order a case of this superb Rosé today.
Over the last few years, supermarkets have become many people’s first choice when it comes to buying wine. However, with more and more people looking to support local businesses and supermarket wines increasingly being seen as low quality, wine merchants are flourishing.
A recent survey in Canada found that 89 per cent of people would actively shop at a local business. So, for your wine, why not use a local merchant rather than your nearest supermarket? Here are your five reasons.
1. Better Choice
Leading wine experts Graham Mitchell recently told the independent that a ‘a considerable amount of wine imported into the UK is incredibly dull. Much wine lacks character, is bland and blended for the mass-market brands, and massively discounted in a supermarket or big retail chain.’
So, if you want a bottle of something other than a Hardy’s, Wolf Blass or Echo Falls, your local wine merchant can help you avoid dull, characterless supermarket brands.
2. Expert Advice
The Canadian survey into consumer preferences found that the main reason people preferred to use local businesses was that the service was more attentive, personal and friendly.
Your local wine merchant can give you advice on the right type of wine for your occasion and your menu. When was the last time you got that in a supermarket?
3. More unusual selection
As well as offering a great choice, your local merchant is also likely to stock a more unusual selection of wines. You’re much more likely to find a great wine from a smaller vineyard or producer.
4. Helps support local business
One of the main advantages to using a local business is that it is good for the local economy. When you spend money at your local wine merchant you’re indirectly supporting local suppliers, window cleaners, accountants and other businesses. Supermarkets use centralised suppliers and so shopping at them takes money out of your local economy.
5. Free delivery
While Your local wine merchant may be conveniently on your doorstep, many also offer free local delivery. So, you can still support your local business while still benefiting from having your chosen wines delivered to your home.
For example, We offer free delivery across Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland and Lincolnshire.
So, next time you are looking for a good bottle of wine, why not bypass your local supermarket and give your local wine merchant a chance?
Browse our selection now for the best picked wines from around the world.