Brad's Five Top Tips for Choosing Wine

Have you ever wondered which wine to buy for which party and how to serve that wine and with which food? Well, it can be intimidating and here are some tips from Brad to make this easy for you.

1. Region and Country (cool and warm climates)
Generally winegrowing countries have cool climate wines and warm climate wines. If you want fresh, crisp styles of wines you would look at northern more cool climate regions (opposite in Southern hemisphere) and if you wanted richer, heavier more fruity wines, you would choose from the southern warmer regions. Cool climate means less ripeness and more freshness, warmer climates produce big, fruity and sometimes jammy styles of wines. So go for Sicily for something big and fruity and go for Australia and Germany (Northern France) if you want something light and crisp.

2. Wine Style (lunch or dinner)
For a light lunch, choose light wines perhaps whites and rosés but if you’re having a dinner party you might want to take heavier styles of wines that fit dinner dishes and then you can go to light whites for desserts. So, lighter styles of wines for garden parties and heavier wines for dinners. But you can always finish off with a light white (it's almost cleansing on the palate).

3. Grape Varietal
You could start with Sauvignon Blanc as a light aperitif and move onto richer Chardonnays with a fish or light meat starter. For reds, you can generally start with Pinot Noir (which are light and sometimes best served chilled) through to Merlot and Malbec which are soft medium-bodied wines and then for something with more character you might look at Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz, more tannin and more spice. Those heavier reds are sometimes good with chocolate desserts and cheeses (although light whites are also good with cheeses too).

4. Cork or Screwcap
If you are buying a good wine from a good winery for drinking straight away, it should not matter whether the wine is under cork or screwcap. The wine will not have been long enough in the bottle to be affected, so screw cap is easier, and you save the wine from perhaps being corky.

5. Food Pairing
If you are serving salad or fish, then stay with white and light reds and if you’re cooking a smoky and peppery barbecue then go for fuller styles of red wines and try to balance those characters of the food and the wine on your palate. Fresh, spicy light dishes fit light styles of wines - smoky, peppery foods fit peppery wines.

This is not rocket science, wines are naturally made and really fit well with food, and it is all about learning and so don’t be afraid to try and experience something new; say what you think and when you get it wrong, it doesn't matter - you can learn and experience and most of all enjoy!