Good wines versus bad wines

Good wines versus bad wines Image

What makes good wine good?

Recently I was out with family at a restaurant. It was one of those occasions, and we've all been there, when the not very extensive wine list was presented and a wine was selected to try and suit all palates and meals around the table. Needless to say, it was a play-it-safe entry level red, Merlot I recall.

The bottle arrived at the table and presented to me (I always seem to end up being nominated wine-guru at these times!), ceremoniously unscrewed and I was offered a taste - couldn't fault the service - I declined and they poured.

Now there was absolutely nothing wrong with the wine at all, but I have to say it really didn't excite me. It was a bit like eating a plate of bland food. It will satisfy your appetite and fill you up, but it leaves you wanting more from it. More flavour, more seasoning, more….well, just more.

I wasn't expecting to leap up out of my seat, jump on the table and shout ‘Wow everybody, you need to drink this!'  However, I do want my wine to have aromas that entice me to take a sip and something to dance on my taste buds, the flavours linger a little and make me go for another sip.

What exactly should we look for to create this excitement? With white wines, generally it is freshness – bright, clear, fresh flavours that maybe zing in the mouth and plenty of good acidity. A great example of this type of wine is Tabali Sauvignon Blanc from Chile. The flavours might range from crisp green apple to ripe honeyed tropical fruit notes and often have a smack of mineral flinty notes which reflect the place they are made. Now that would get my mouth watering.


Rosé wines (with the weather hopefully heading in the right direction) appeal to me firstly by their colour ranging from translucent pale orange tinted pink like the Angelvin from Saint Tropez to bright deep bubble gum colours. We again want great fresh fruitiness, strawberry, raspberry, cherry notes amongst others, then anything from a bone-dry finish to something a little sweeter according to your preference.

                                  Tabali Sauvignon Blanc Gran Reserva Pedregoso Angelvin Provence Rosé                    Valdepalacios Rioja Crianza

And reds. Aromas and flavours can be very diverse and appeal at different occasions for different reasons. Fruity notes across the board from plum and damson through to sweeter, dark berry and cherry notes as found in our Valdepalcios Rioja Crianza. Then of course depending on treatment (i.e. oaked and aged or not) elements of spice, smokiness and woody characters. Something to demonstrate the wine-makers skill.

These are very general terms of what to look for. Wine is about variety and after all, each good wine-maker is trying to best represent his or her individual vineyard style and this is what I look for most in a wine.  All the above qualities do not just come from high-end expensive wines. If a wine maker is doing a great job, then even their lowest level wines should still excite and maybe entice you to try something further up the scale.

I'm just glad we don't have any ‘dull' wines on our shelves.  We have many excitingly fresh whites, new vintage gorgeous rosés and fab quality reds in the shop with prices starting from £6.99 bottle. Call in and let us point you in the right direction.

Last Updated: 30/03/2019
Author: Judd Slack

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