The number one question I’m regularly asked in relation to wine, is ‘what’s the best wine to buy’? The answer is simple of course, buy the wine you like! What if you’re not sure what that is though? That’s what this post should help explain, how to choose wine. In my new role as wine ambassador for Centra and their ‘Wines We Love’ range, I’ll be talking you through some of my tips for choosing the right wine for you (try to say that after a couple of white wines!).
How to choose wine: leave it to the experts
Wines We Love is a range of ten wines, hand selected by Centra’s wine experts, who keep an eye on changing trends in the wine world and refresh the line up accordingly. So really, all the hard work is already done by the time you reach your local Centra. The range is designed to be convenient and affordable, but without sacrificing on taste. If you’re in a rush and want to just grab a bottle, in my opinion you shouldn’t have to go out of your way or spend over the odds. Luckily, that opinion is shared and it’s the whole concept behind Wines We Love. So here are some tips and my picks from the range, plus what wine goes with what food and some serving suggestions.
How to choose wine: picking a bottle
The hassle has already been taken out of choosing wine for you. It’s easy to spot the line up in-store – plus, all the bottles have easy to read descriptions. If you’ve been stuck in a rut of buying the same bottle every time, moving away may still be a bit of a minefield. I’ll go out on a limb and say there are a lot of people reading this who are, or have been on a similar wine journey to myself. I started drinking white zinfandel rosé before I eventually moved on to a nice neutral Pinot Grigio (hello, Aisling!). Eventually, I graduated onto what I believed to be the utter sophistication that is Marlborough NZ Sauvignon Blanc. Sound familiar?
At each step it feels like you’ve made a massive leap and you’re quite content there for a while. It just proves the point though, that you’ll only find new things you like once you’re open to trying something new. With all the wines in the line up ranging from €8-12, picking up something different isn’t a massive investment. No one wants wine FOMO! The range has been curated with all kinds of tastes and occasions in mind, so there’s always something to suit. Plus, they’re exclusive to Centra. You’ll avoid spending ages wandering the supermarket wine aisle, scratching your head when you’re tired, confused and late to your friends’ dinner.
How to choose wine: selecting from the Wines We Love range
Currently, there are five reds, four whites and one rosé in the Wines We Love range at Centra. The two Spanish Rock & Roots wines are organic and there are a couple of blends in the line up too, which are a great way to transition from one variety to another. Take the Vega Roja Tempranillo Shiraz, for example. Most people who like red wine will have at least tried a Tempranillo in their adult life. The balance of fruit and spice is a hit with almost everyone. This bottle is blended with Shiraz (the same as Syrah) for a different take on the classic. At only €8, it’s perfect with a midweek pizza. Or, pick up a bottle from your local Centra on the way to your family Sunday roast – a real crowd pleaser.
How to choose a white wine
The ‘Of Course!’ Sauvignon Viognier blend tastes a little less acidic (that delicious mouth watering feel) than your usual Sav Blanc thanks to the creamier texture of Viognier’s influence on this bottle. As the label suggests, it’s lovely with fish but I’d also pair this wine with my Saturday night Thai takeaway or anything sweet and sour.
As a massive white wine fan (it’s liquid gold IMO), Chardonnay has become the type to surprise me over the last couple of years. We’ve all heard of ABC – anything but Chardonnay, right? The variety picked up a bad reputation in the past, but it’s actually one of the finest grapes there are. It would be unfair to compare the Chardonnay of today with the poor quality wines of a bygone era. Forget bottles of heavily oaked plonk, Chardonnay is much more sophisticated now, usually crisp and fresh. Plus it’s really versatile and comes from most of the popular regions. Would you give it a go? Wine not! The Vega Roja Chardonnay has a citrusy zest to it, but it’s still rich enough to pair with roast chicken and lovely with vegetarian dishes, soup and salad.
How to pair wine
A basic rule of thumb when wine pairing is that salty snacks make almost all wines taste even more delicious. Pick up a few bits in your local Centra for a grazing platter if you have friends coming over or if you’re hosting a monthly book club. They look really impressive, when actually it’s just a spruced up cheese board. The mini bags of nuts and packets of serrano and chorizo are dead handy, add some fruit and olives and you’re sorted.
I’ve been asked, what’s the best red wine for beginners? What’s the best wine to drink without food or good snacks to eat with wine? What wine to buy for book club, best wine brands or simply, what’s a nice bottle of red wine? The wine world is confusing, but the Wines We Love range has simplified everything, without compromising on quality. Same goes for how to choose wine in a supermarket, or how to pick wine you like. Direct your questions to @nadia_dailyself on Instagram, I’ll be uploading videos answering more common wine queries over the next few months.
For more tips, read my wine cheat sheet here.
This post is sponsored by Centra. All views are, as always, my own. Please drink responsibly.