When choosing a wine to bring to a dinner party or other event, it’s important to consider the preferences of your guests in addition to the occasion. If you’re looking to impress the in-laws with your wine selection, steer clear of that bottle of merlot you love—it’s probably not going to be their cup of tea (pardon the pun). Instead, find out what kinds of wines they like by searching online or asking friends and family members, and find an expert review of that kind of wine before deciding on one to buy.
Read all 5-star reviews
People tend to shy away from wine reviews, but there is nothing worse than buying a bottle of wine and not liking it. It’s even worse when you thought you liked that type of wine! There are countless websites that offer wine reviews online, including Yelp, Google, and TripAdvisor. Read up on these before you buy to make sure they’re trustworthy. Even better, find a local winery or vineyard in your area to go visit in person. The people working there will be more than happy to give you honest advice about their product — if they care about your business at all! They want satisfied customers who come back for more! So don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Don’t read too many poor reviews
It can be easy to find a wine that appeals to you, and then it’s tempting to just read reviews from those who enjoy that wine. But if there are negative reviews for that wine—or for wines in general—you might want to look elsewhere. Your experiences with a particular type of wine may be far different than what one or two reviewers experienced. For example, you might find one reviewer who loved dry reds but hated sweet ones; another could have an allergy or sensitivity to sulphites and wouldn’t care for your favorite red blend. Always consider many sources before making your final decision about a new bottle of wine. If you decide you like it, remember how much fun it is to bring home a great bottle and share it with friends!
The bottle alone doesn’t tell you much
Honestly, you can tell almost nothing about a wine’s quality by glancing at its label. Some of my favorite wines have featured cheap-looking labels and some of my least favorites have had beautiful ones. In fact, a recent study out of Oxford University showed that wine experts overwhelmingly agree on what makes for a beautiful label but often disagree on which wines are best when tasted blind (that is, without knowing what they are). If you want to know if something is good, you need to read it yourself.
You’re paying for the story and label
This isn’t to say that every wine you buy should be from a discount bin, but if you’re going to drop $10 on a bottle of Bordeaux, know what you’re getting. Don’t just go off some critic’s recommendation; there are far too many great wines that are criminally undervalued because no one outside of Bordeaux has heard of them. And it doesn’t hurt to consider how long that wine has been aging in those oak barrels. The longer it’s been aging, typically the more expensive it will be. As for why critics love some things and not others…that’s a different story altogether.
Online reviews are always good. (Except when they aren’t.)
Online reviews are always good. It’s very important to get reviews on places like Yelp and Angie’s List. However, it’s equally important to look at all of your online reviews critically. You don’t want to see what you think you want to see. You need to be able to read between lines in order to make sure that what people are saying is a true representation of your work or product.
Pricing isn’t always related to quality.
It seems like common sense that a higher-priced wine should taste better than one in a lower price range, but an expert can’t always tell which bottle is better based solely on its price. That said, he or she may be able to pick out bottles from a certain region or from known brands. But don’t let that discourage you. The important thing is to drink what you like and feel good about what you purchase. If you really want something sweet, by all means, go for it! It doesn’t matter if others might call it cheap—just be sure you enjoy what you choose and feel good about your overall intake. Drinking with friends can also help everyone have fun rather than worry about quality or cost!
Imagine you’re hosting a dinner party. As your guests arrive, you greet them with wine in hand—but you don’t just plop it down and say, Drink up! A good host will offer their guests something to nibble on while they take a sip or two of wine. While pairing your wine isn’t an exact science, there are basic tips that can help you serve your vino at its best:
1) Light-bodied wines pair well with light fares like fish, poultry, or even some cheeses;
2) Hearty reds are great alongside roasted meats and even stronger cheeses;
3) Fortified wines like sherry and port work with rich desserts.
Beware of collections.
The web is full of wine reviews. Anyone can post a review on Yelp, Google Local, or Facebook, but that doesn’t mean they know anything about wine. In fact, since anyone can write a review without an established reputation and understanding of wine it’s easy to assume many reviews are simply people airing their thoughts and opinions—not actual reviews. And you should assume not all reviewers are speaking your language. What one reviewer calls dry another may call woody. Don’t just look for someone with high ratings; be picky about which wines you try based on what sounds good to you based on your taste profile and preference.