There are no special tricks to tell whether a bottle of wine is good and bad – instead, all you need is a glass, your taste buds and a touch of wine knowledge to know exactly what you’re looking for.
However, determining whether a wine is good or bad goes beyond personal preference. In fact, there are various elements that can help you determine the objective quality of a bottle of wine.
Here are four ways you can tell whether that bottle of wine is worth drinking or better resigned to the bin!
Before your first sip, smell the wine in your glass. What does it smell like? Is it fruity or floral, or more on the funky side? The smell of a wine can tell you a lot about whether it is good or not.
For instance, if your wine smells more like a wet dog than a subtle bouquet of flowers, it is likely that the wine has gone bad and is better poured down the sink than into your glass.
However, those who regard themselves as wine connoisseurs will argue that some wine smells are an indication of funky flavours that actually don’t mean the wine has gone bad. Rather, they are more acquired tastes and aromas that may signify a great bottle of wine that just isn’t to your taste.
Balanced wine sees an equilibrium between acidity, tannin, alcohol and fruit – that is, none of them stand out as the main event.
If a wine is so acidic it makes your eyes water or brimming with tannins to the point it gives a furry feeling in your mouth, it means the wine is out of balance. On the contrary, if a wine is fresh, the tannins are in proportion, the fruit is evident but not overwhelming and any alcohol is unperceivable, the wine is balanced and probably very drinkable.
It’s well and good to identify flavours and tastes in wine, but a great wine differentiates itself where you can identify a real depth in these flavours. You can do this by holding the wine in your mouth and swirling it around – yes, the wine will taste of fruit (most will, but what other layers of flavour can you detect that aren’t fruity?
It could be nuttiness or citrus flavours in a white wine, or chocolate and coffee in red. Multi-faceted flavours suggest several layers of depth in a wine, making it a candidate for being a fine bottle.
If the wine you are sampling lingers on your palate, there is a good chance the wine is quite a good one.
The longer the flavour lingers, the better the wine. If flavour drops and goes away almost instantly, it’s indicative of subpar quality. If the taste remains up to 5 seconds after you swallow the wine, that is the making of a pretty good wine. Any lingering flavours at or over 10 seconds indicates you’ve got a wine worth drinking.
Consider these elements to ascertain whether your next bottle of wine is worth drinking. Discover great wines to add to your collection on Lux Wine Life today.