All wine lovers aspire to drink high-quality wine, but not many know what to look for when they actually do so. Many people associate high quality with high prices, big wineries, stylish labels or heavy bottles or rarity. But are these assumptions correct? Should we assess a wine on the basis of its presentation or how it tastes?
Because of the international wine producers’ growing interest in India’s wine market and the evolution of our domestic wine industry, high-quality wines are affordable and accessible. Besides, many lesser-known wineries too produce good wines, that are available to consumers at a lower cost. Winemakers are also ditching heavy bottles due to their high cost of transportation and large carbon footprint, and switching to lighter ones. So, the right way to determine the quality of a wine is by tasting it. After the wine is poured for you, judge it by seeing it, smelling it and then tasting it, and only then pass a verdict. But what exactly should you be looking for
A High-Quality Wine Will Have The Following Characteristics
1) The balance:
A wine is said to be balanced when all its aspects, such as acidity, alcohol, residual sugar, tannins and the fruit are sitting in perfect harmony and the wine drinks well. This means that when you taste it, all these aspects work in unison to give a wine its unique taste. On the other hand, in a poor-quality wine, these components will have no coordination. For instance, if tannins overpower the flavour profile of red wine, then it will taste unpleasantly bitter. Or, if you can only taste the fruit in a glass of red wine, without any hints of acidity or tannins, then the wine isn’t of good quality.
This balance should also be present in the primary and secondary flavours of a wine. So, in a barrel-aged wine, if the flavours of oakwood mask the wine’s natural fruitiness, then its balance is off.
2) Flavour concentration:
Wines that are diluted and wishy-washy are often inferior in quality and those that are considered high in quality are often quite intense or concentrated in their flavours. At the very least, every wine should have some fruit flavours that are enjoyable and appreciable. So, if a wine bottle’s label says that it was aged in an oak barrel, but the flavour is undetectable, then the wine is of poor quality. Similarly, if the winemaker claims that they have used natural yeast to enhance the secondary flavour profile of the wine and you can detect it while tasting, then it could be a high-quality wine.
3) Finish length:
This refers to the amount of time for which the good flavours of the wine last on your palate well after you have spat or swallowed it. The longer the flavour of the wine stays in your mouth, the better the quality of the wine. Another metric to measure the finish of a wine is the distance covered by it. If a wine’s flavours vanish barely after it touches the tip of your tongue, then it doesn’t have a good finish. However, if the flavours travel all the way to the back of your throat, then it is an indication of high-quality wine.
Often, you take a sip of wine and it doesn’t reflect the ideas that you had about how it’ll taste. This is why typicity is also an important factor in judging the quality of a wine. Typicity refers to a typical set of characters that every wine is expected to have. For instance, Chablis is expected to have a minerally taste with a hint of lime fruit and peach, or a Chianti should pack a punch with its high levels of acidity along with a generous amount of tannins.
5) Clarity and Complexity:
A high-quality wine offers a medley of flavours, each of which is distinguishable from the other. Poor-quality wines are mostly one-dimensional, with a flavour profile painted in broad strokes. A high-quality wine will have such intricate flavours, it’ll take you more than one sip to decode it properly. It is this complexity that makes a wine enthusiast come back to their glass for another sip again and again.