Become savvy in spotting a good wine

Normally, there's very little about label design, content, or even shape, that alludes to quality. A bottle is mostly a bottle.

Let SAWi help you become wine savvy with simple, easy and quick response tools at your fingertips, including:

Good wine is not necessarily expensive, nor old. It's deep, complex and stays with you long after you've tasted it. You may be saying, "But there are so many. How do I choose?" The general tasting rules of swirl, sniff and sip are a start, but there's more to learn when determining if a wine is worthy of your taste buds and cash. On average, you get what you pay for. Be aware that some wine labels are often too cute, fun and are obvious marketing tools. Having a cork (or not) is no sign of quality. Knowing a little regarding wine areas makes the quest so much more meaningful.

What makes a good bottle of wine? Reading wine profiles could take ages. Rather consider media scores a wine receives via competitions. SAWi is not such a competition, but deducts ratings from the combined preference of a diverse group of judges from multi-national wine contests. However, not all wines get to compete.

What we believe to be a good bottle of wine is normally gathered via prior experience. The wine areas we’ve visited and wines tasted shape our opinions and beliefs. Knowledge is stored in memory and retrieved to interpret future sensory experiences. It’s impossible to imagine tasting a bottle of wine without the use of memory; we are what we remember. When describing a good bottle of wine, smell and emotion are entwined with experience. Taste should confirm what you sense. Good wine is the sum of the parts so, if you think it's bad, it probably is.

Two tasters will inevitably have different information stored in their memories and will often interpret the same bottle of wine differently. What we need to do is get out of our comfort zones. We no longer need to fall back on and only buy the wines we know. We also don’t have to only rely on bottle stickers, price and discount enticers. With SAWi you can become truly “wine wise”.

If the fruit flavours in a wine (think plum, blackberry, cherry, raspberry, citrus, melon, peach) linger on your tongue, you know you've got a complex and balanced drink in hand. This is ideally what you should look for. Is a bottle of wine that scores 90 points one of higher quality compared to one that scores only 80? While this is a difficult question to answer, there is a psychology to quality. SAWi considers all blind tasting results above 75 as indicative of quality.

With simple guidelines, you could become your own expert. Start by considering if a wine accurately reflects its grape variety and growing region. An expert might taste a young, traditionally made wine from a good producer and, swooning over the aromas of tar, earth and tannins, will imagine how beautiful the wine will be in 10 years. On the other hand, novices will taste a harsh, tart, tannic red wine. Older wines aren't necessarily the best, with many wines intended to be enjoyed young.

Wine savvy requires the exploration of grape varietals from different regions and a little knowledge as to your preference for each cultivar (also between different terroir areas). Then, find your own personal style, low or higher alcohol content and level of acidity. Taste is subjective, which means the best wine is the one you like.

Explore the world of wine with SAWi and become your own expert.

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