Why not become your own wine expert?

Become your own wine expert...

Become your own wine expert... - Credit: Archant

One of the great things about being a wine consumer in the UK is the huge and growing number of wines available on our wine shop shelves.

Whether you’re a seasoned wine drinker or new to this game, this may seem intimidating at first but it does offer fantastic opportunities to find lots of wines to enjoy that match your own tastes.

Make the new year the time for experimenting and trying something new, whether new wines from traditional regions or from emerging producers like Croatia. Now is the time to beat the cold dank weather and dark nights with a bit of fun

If you’re interested in what you’re drinking and would like to increase your personal wine list the first step is to think about the wines you enjoy drinking and what it is about them that makes it a pleasure.

If you buy Chilean Sauvignon for example, beyond the fact it was on offer at the time, you might buy it because it has a lovely light refreshing taste with some tangy fruit or you might opt forFrench Merlot because it is a full soft fruity wine.

For the Chilean Sauvignon drinker the next step is to consciously check out the wine shelves for other white wines from Chile.

Try a different option such as a Viognier or Chardonnay at the same price or a different Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand or France that would match your expectations in terms of basic style.

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The Viognier would be light and fresh but with a hint of peachy fruit. It’s not so easy to check this out in the supermarket where we’re faced with many shelves full of a plethora of wines that are all unknown.

You can either bite the bullet and pick one slightly at random or go to an independent wine merchant where there will be somebody to give friendly advice and you can ask for wines that match your search.

There are often wines available to taste available too, which means you can give your opinion of the wine and ask for something that more closely matches your taste.

Restaurant wine lists are often full of wines that you might not have tried before.

If the waiter is good at his job and recommends a delicious wine to complement your food the best way to remember what it was is to take a picture of the label so you can match it up in your local wine shop or at least find alternatives that are similar.

Sometimes, being in the wine trade and thus very close to the product I am trying to sell I have to remind myself that wine should be enjoyed, that although I know what I like and like to think I know something about the wines I buy I can start making hard work of my choice of what to drink.

Therefore I push myself every now and then to buy something I’ve never had before. It doesn’t have to be a new wine from a new producer or recently imported wine just something new.

I’ve had some great successes and surprised myself by finding a little gem but also some disappointments too that I chalk up to experience. The secret is to set a budget and a mindset and have a go.