Frequent Wine Questions about wines:
White or Red Wine ?
This question is often asked of me here and my answer is simple. If you have never tasted wine or just starting, then go for the whites first. This will give you some idea of the flavour and texture of wines. Until a few years ago there was more white wine consumed worldwide than red, However, with the advent of medical discoveries on the benefits of red wine, it has just overtaken white wine production. On a hot day and if you feel like a sip of cold wine, there’s nothing better then a cool glass of Chardonnay or Semillon. So, make sure your white wine is well chilled before drinking it.
In any case wine tasting is a matter of personal taste, so don’t be afraid to tell people what you like and why you like it.
It is important however to know that when you decide to open both white and red wines, you should begin with the white and finish with the red.
Cold/Room Temperature/Ice ?
Again this is subjective, personally I do not mind red wine that is chilled above room temperature or served straight out of the fridge, however not below 16-18 degrees C. If your outlet only serves chilled Red, you can always ask them to serve you non chilled wine or wait for the wine to “breathe” and “warm down”. It’s an interesting experiment for you to taste the wine at different stages of warming down and you will definitely notice the change in the taste of wines.
Some places even put ice into wines which is again not advised, however if your customer or guest says he wants ice in his wine, are you going to say “ NO” ?
The standard rule of thumb is White Wine must be chilled and red wine at room temperature.
How do I tell a good wine from bad wine?
There is no such thing as a BAD wine. It is just not your taste. Most beginners would probably find a $5000 Burgundy or Barolo “bad” due to the high tannins. So just taste the wines and you have to judge for yourself. So the question is How good is the wine ?
This is difficult because if YOU are the judge then only YOU can tell me what you do or do not like. Again it comes to simple tasting knowledge about the various wines and it doesn’t matter what the “experts” think is great, if you and your friends don’t like it. I have selected some wines which I have tested with many Singaporeans and Expats which come in my recommendation list at the end of this booklet. Try some of them and if you agree with my tastes, then that’s great for future reference. However make sure you try other wines too so that you create a mental reference point for many different wines. When I am asked “What would be the Best wine for Them or what is the best wine in the world ?” I say that the best wine in the world is the LAST wine you tasted and really enjoyed.
Is the Label important?
I can only quote from one of the many Wine Guide books and couldn’t put it any better. “Most importantly, never forget that, however smart the label and illustrious the name, a glass of wine is essentially a drink that has to taste good to YOU.”
What about ratings and points scores ?
Some people pride themselves by only drinking wines that have been “highly rated” by certain judges as being excellent or score over 90 points at wine judging events. These are “wine snobs” and not really wine lovers who appreciate the differing tastes wine may bring no matter what the name, age, price etc. I am sure you have heard the three famous story published recently in most news papers where one person who bought a case of wine returned the wine because he didn’t like it. The following week it scored 97 points and he rushed back to the store in a hurry to see if he could buy it again.
Then the famous story where in France they put a medium range wine into 2 different bottles. One was a fancy high class top of the range bottle and the other a very mediocre table wine bottle. Guess What?
Yes, you guessed it, the judges found the “fancy” wine wonderful with lots of body and length etc whereas the “unfancied” wine was classed as light flavourless and lacking almost everything the fancied wine received accolades for.
Finally the masterpiece of judging came when some smart cookie decided to tint a white wine red and see if the judges could tell the difference or pick it as white wine…….they all failed !!!
So as I said before, the most important judge is YOU and not me nor anyone who pretends to be an expert.
Is wine really healthy as they say ?
In one word YES, but let’s define this properly OK ? In the early 1990s several studies questioned why obese and non obese French men who ate all the ‘wrong” things like cheese, cream, butter and lots more cholesterol food, had such low levels of heart disease. It was credited to their consumption of red wine and is now a proven medical fact. Closer to home and from my own experience a close friend who had very high cholesterol levels started to regularly drink our red wines and after a continuous reading of 260-280, was recently diagnosed with a level of 180 after a 6 month red wine course.
So how does it actually help? We all know that the development of cholesterol will block the arteries and in simple terms, red wine helps to reduce the cholesterol level that block the arteries thus lowering the chances of a complete block which causes heart attacks. Furthermore it is an anticoagulant which makes blood less likely to clog. Red wine is also an antioxidant and this contains resveratrol, an important ingredient for cardio protective effects of wine.
This does NOT mean you should start drinking copious quantities of wine, instead my advice is to drink moderately. One glass per day for medicinal purposes and up to 2 if you really enjoy wine
Too much wine is just as bad as too much whisky too much beer etc etc