Wanna become a great wine searcher? Here’s how
The journey towards becoming an expert at finding good wine is as challenging as it is rewarding and as every wine enthusiast will confess, entirely worth it
Honing the art of finding great wine can be a gift that keeps on giving. There’s the privilege of immersing the palate with stellar ferments, gaining serious cred as a go to wine expert for recommendations and above all, the thrill of the hunt which can pretty much last as life itself. So if you’re up to taking the mantle of great wine searcher, here are few pointers to set you on this vinous pursuit. the journey that leads up to tasting the ferment is worth savouring almost as much
Browsing literally or remotely browsing through several of the world’s vineyards for their finest bottles to reading voluminous albeit well written books by professionals who’ve dedicated their lives to tasting. Hell, you can do the same noble service – just keep on tasting wines by the dozen and rate the best to drink or even store them diligently and wait patiently to get better, which they most likely will.
Keep on tasting
The first step towards truly knowing great wine is to first understand your own palate. Each of us has unique preferences of aromas and flavours which is why even with a good wine, there can be differing opinions. Get to know your palate – the type and styles of wines you like and go from there. From red and white grape varietals, light to medium to full bodied, dry, off dry and sweet wines, just taste away. The greatness of wine is relative to and subject to your palate. One’s personal notion of a great wine might not necessarily hold true for the other. Aged Bordeaux red wines are great example in this context given that while some consider them to be the epitome of red wine, there are enough neophytes who find the French reds to be unapproachably complex and tannic. Once you know the kind of wines you like, you’re already halfway there. Then taste more of the varieties or styles you prefer and in time, you’ll be able to call out the good, the great and the subliminal. And the exercise that gets you there – tasting hundreds of wines – isn’t the hardest job in the world!
We’re not suggesting you you’ve got study like it’s final year but some light reading about wines would go a long way towards finding a good wine. Some enlightened wine enthusiasts have tasted through thousands of wines, rating and describing them – their notes are rather handy in filtering out the best wines. Reading up about regions and producers – the source of wine — also gives one a deeper understanding of what contributes to making some wines truly remarkable. Building a small but growing collection of wine books could snowball in to passion much like wine itself.
Travel some, store up
The source of wine in some cases is as celebrated and sought as the wine itself. Wine tourism or pilgrimages as some diehards call it makes for a memorable treat for the senses, what with the manicured vineyards and wineries where one witnesses how wine is made. It can also be illuminating to experience the winery’s terroir (soil and climate) up close. It imbues one with an intimate understanding of what makes a wine truly great. Many enthusiasts have described their tasting experience at wineries as almost surreal. Be sure to put some old and new world stars on the list once the virus lockdown is history.
But here’s the sting in the story’s tail. Sometimes discovering great wine can be as simple as putting down a good bottle in a wine cooler for a few months to a year and sometimes more, and just wait for it to get better. Wine unlike spirit and beer can get better in the bottle if stored well. And while not every wine is meant to be aged nor is it certain that each wine you store will get better – factor like quality of fruit, production and barrel ageing are crucial — here’s where your evolving palate and judgment will be tested and the expert perhaps begin to emerge. Here’s to rolling out on the journey towards the holy grail of great wine. Cheers!