The weather is warming up and it’s about time to slip into white wine season and start enjoying a nice chilled glass on the patio. When it comes to selecting the perfect bottle, there is more variety out there now than there has even been before.
Whether you prefer sweet or dry, fruity or oaky, picking out the right white wine all comes down to learning a bit about how to read labels and keeping track of which wines you prefer. Here a few tips to help guide you and to ensure that you’re pleased with every single white wine purchase you make.
1. Avoid sweeping judgements
Learning to appreciate different wines is a lifelong journey. Those who decide after one sip that they only drink red, or that they hate a certain grape, are missing out on a lot. Of course, it is important to value and cultivate your personal taste, but you should always keep an open mind when beginning your journey with wine.
There are, for example, a huge variety of white wine styles available online and many of them go very well even with foods that we often associate as needing to be accompanied by red.
2. Start with dry or sweet
When it comes to picking out a bottle and reading the information you’re likely to receive at all wine stores, knowing whether you prefer sweet or dry wine is a good place to start. Although there are still large variations within these categories, having a sense of how the scale works will help you a lot in picking something you’re likely to enjoy.
3. See if you’re in or out of “camp oak”
Another good step to take in figuring out what kind of white wines you like, is determining how you like your chardonnay. Chardonnay is easily the most popular white wine on the planet, but some people are shocked when they try it because they are drinking an oaked variety and they were not prepared for the pungent taste.
4. Choose between different flavors of oak
At the same time, those who have grown accustomed to oaked chardonnay can find that the unoaked variety is lacking in flavour and complexity. Those who enjoy oaked Chardonnay love the wine’s rich vanilla flavors and the luscious, rich and often rounder mouthfeel the wood aging can often provide. These are also the qualities that allow it to stand up heavier meals and, in some cases, even to steak.
5. Consider if you’ll be having the wine with food or on its own
Speaking of steak, you should always consider whether or not you’ll be eating with a wine before you select a bottle. If you are looking for a wine specifically to pair with a meal you have planned, then take into account what the key ingredients will be.
Consider the kind of meat and the type of herbs that will be used. Will it be a spicy or fruit-filled dish? These questions can play a key role in deciding which wines will pair well with specific entrees.
6. White wines usually go with light flavoured meals
It is a good rule of thumb to consider that white wines usually go better with lighter flavored meals, but of course, you also need to remember that pairing foods and wines is 99% personal preference and 1% science.
7. Document your wine preferences
Finally, the best way to truly refine your personal preference when it comes to white wine is to keep a wine diary. This will allow you to make notes about what you enjoyed and didn’t enjoy about different grape varieties and start to identify commonalities. Reflecting on wines after you have drunk them can also be a fun activity to do with your partner or the friend you’ve shared the bottle with.