Several red wine varieties are available in the market, which may confuse a person. People may need to dedicate their time, money, and effort to host an amazing evening with up-to-the-par wine. Distinguishing an excellent red wine from average or bad bottles requires knowledge of wine basics. While a good wine may be subjective, people can check and measure the performance standards by paying keen attention to the five ways to distinguish a good red wine.
Since it is not possible to check the wine bottles’ taste, cork, etc., other details may help. Let’s look into what a good red wine entails.
Table of Contents
Good Wine Basics
Before diving into good red wine distinguishers, let us consider what forms a good wine:
Sweetness in a wine comes from the grapes and the time spent in fermentation. Sweet wines can be high in sugar, semi-sweet, or dry. Dry wines have no residual sugar levels.
Wine may be high in acids or lower depending on the wine-making process. Highly acidic wines are tart, whereas low-acidity wines taste richer and rounder.
Body or viscosity refers to the heavy or light feel of the wine in the mouth. Wine can be light, full-bodied, or somewhere in between. Generally, white wines are light-bodied than red wines.
The five ways to distinguish a good red wine comprises checking alcohol content. A high alcohol level in a wine warms the back of the throat and mouth. The percentage in wines gets calculated as alcohol-by-volume, which varies between 5.5, 11-13, and 20%.
Tannins are chemical phenolic compounds released from the grape skin, stem, and seeds. Aging also adds tannins, which give an astringent and dry-mouth feeling and taste. Red wines usually have high tannins for a dry and bitter finish.
Distinguishing Factors of A Good Red Wine
The following points will help recognise a good red wine from a bad one:
The smell is the primary component in distinguishing between good and bad red wine. An excellent red wine will smell fruity or florally. However, a wine that has gone bad will smell vinegary or have chemical or bacterial smells like acetone. A wine that got oxidised will smell flat and inexpressive. Moreover, shipping in heat may cause the wine to cook or bake. Some wines deteriorate due to the wet cardboard cork, which gives a damp smell and diminishes flavour intensity. The wine smell should stay longer in your nose and around you. Thus, checking the wine aromas is critical to determining the wine quality.
Out of the five ways to distinguish a good red wine, checking the balance of the beverage is critical. A wine contains three fundamental components, namely tannins, sweetness, and acidity. The fourth part is alcohol, which is a must for wine. A balanced wine will never let any one of the four components stand out. Instead, it would leave every note in the mouth for the drinker to have a complete experience. Harsh tannins, too much sweetness, etc., can ruin the mood. However, a fresh red wine will have supple and proportioned tannins, plentiful but not overpowering fruity flavour, and imperceptible alcohol.
Balanced smell, taste, and colour involve integrating all the elements in proper proportions, so no anomaly exists.
The term ‘depth’ in wine language refers to flavours and dimensions. It is an unmeasurable and subjective feature of high-quality wines. Depth may denote the vertical dimensions, indicating no flatness or one-dimensional taste in the mouth. Five ways to distinguish a good red wine includes a wine giving fruity flavours, which may have more notes to it than one. Beyond the fruity layer may be nutty, coffee, chocolatey, or such flavours. It means you have a multi-faceted wine with depths of flavour and fun. You can check depth by sipping the wine from the glass, holding it, and swirling it in your mouth to determine flavours and intensity. A glass of good red wine may also change with your meal courses as more aromas come forward.
Another way to test if a wine’s good is by determining how long the taste lingers after swallowing and finishing the glass. The longer the flavour on the palate, the better the red wine. A flavour dropping within a split-second of tasting indicates a lower quality bottle, whereas a taste that stays two to four seconds is good. Ten seconds or more is a jackpot of the highest quality wine. A hot finish because of high alcohol or bitterness due to tannins are shortcomings in a wine.
While a simple, straightforward wine has no issues, the complex character of wine unfolds flavours and impressions layer-by-layer. A multiplicity of aromas and flavours denote better quality. Many people use complexity as the total impression given by the wine. However, the use of this term is decreasing.
We hope that knowing these 5 ways to distinguish a good red wine will help you pick the right wine always and ensure a worthy experience. Crack open a bottle without worrying about the flavour and quality with Hunter Valley private wine tours.
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