How to Find Great Wine Locally (when you’re a beginner)

Great Wine

If you’ve just entered the world of wine, it can be a confusing place. If you’re out for dinner you can rely on the sommelier or waiter to select something delicious to go with what you’re eating. Or if you frequent one of the local wine bars in Battersea, they’ll be able to point you in the right direction on the wine list.

But what if you’re cooking for one at home? Or you have a date you’re trying to impress? A friend’s birthday party that you need to take a bottle of wine? How do you find great wine locally?

Finding great wine locally

You can either take a chance with what your local corner shop or convenience store retail. Or you can spend hours bamboozled by the vast selection of wine from all around the world, in the seemingly wall to wall wine aisle of the supermarket, with no guidance to assist you other than country of origin.

However, if you’re in Battersea, London, why not pop into our local wine shop? As a top London wine merchant, we can help you choose a great bottle or two that will start you off on your wine journey.

But, if you’re on your own, lost in the wilds of North London say, how do you know which wine to choose?

Well, we’ve got some tips to help you find great wine locally.

What is a great wine?

Ah, the million-dollar question.

You may have realised this already, but wine is a notoriously subjective substance. What tickles and tantalises the taste buds of one person, might well have your companion wishing the swill bucket was a little closer.

One of the easiest ways to pick a great wine in your local wine shop is to learn what it is you like and don’t like in a wine.

For example:

  • Do you prefer a red or a white?
  • Do you like your wine to be loud and proud, or soft, sweet and delicate?
  • Do you like the feel of new wine tang on your tongue? Or do you prefer the rich spicy notes of a full-bodied elixir?

Knowing what characteristics you like in your wine will make it easier for you to choose a great wine in your local wine shop when you don’t recognise any of the wine on offer.

What should you look for on a wine label?

Wine labels are notoriously tough to decipher. Some wineries employ very clever marketers to create a label that attracts attention. Because let’s face it, when you don’t know what the contents of the bottle of wine will taste like, you have very little else to judge the wine on, other than the label.

But just because the front of the bottle looks interesting, doesn’t necessarily mean the contents of the bottle will be just as fascinating.

So take some time to understand what is written on the wine label, not just what it looks like, and you’ll be selecting tasty wines over and over within no time.

A general rule of thumb when it comes to reading a wine label is the more information squeezed onto that tiny label, the better.

We’ll let you in on a secret – numerous studies have shown that the more comprehensively a wine is described on the wine label, the better the wine tastes. Why? Because if you don’t know what you’re expecting the wine to taste like, your brain can’t anticipate the flavour and you won’t get the full experience of what it is you’re imbibing.

That, and the more specific the information ie the region the grapes were grown, the exact valley the vineyard is sited, even the type of grapes that the wine is made from, means a more dedicated winery. And if they spend that much time on the label, imagine their devotion to the contents of the bottle…

What’s on a wine label

  • Winery name or maker of the wine. This is pretty crucial, because who made your wine will usually determine the quality of the And when you find a wine that piques your interest, remembering who made it is key to finding it again or other wines by the same producer.
  • Type of grapes (appellation). If you know you like a certain type of grape, let that guide you in your wine choice (although do bear in mind that not every wine made from a certain grape will taste the same). If there is no varietal of grape on the bottle, look to the appellation for a clue as to which grapes it might contain, based on the region the wine was
  • Year the grapes were This is known as the vintage. And if you find a wine you like made during a particular year, the chances are, other wines made during this year will be just as tasty, seeing as they experienced similar growing conditions.
  • This could be as broad as just knowing the country the grapes were grown in, down to the specific valley that the vineyard can be found. The more specific the region information, typically a more refined, higher calibre of wine.
  • Alcohol The more alcohol there is in the wine, the warmer it will taste. Most wines contain between 11-13% alcohol, however, wine can vary from <1% right up to 20%.

Finally, if you want assistance selecting a great bottle of wine and you’re in Battersea or Clapham, do pop into London Wine Shippers, your local wine merchant in London. We love all things wine and can’t wait to welcome you into our world.

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