“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” ~ W. C. Fields
“Age is just a number. It’s totally irrelevant unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine.” ~ Joan Collins
What is a Bad Wine?
Everyone has a different palate preference so objectivity is required to fairly determine if a wine is good, bad, or great.
When tasting wine, we enjoy a combination of its fruits, alcohol, tannin, acidity, sweetness, and body. Imbalance means one element awkwardly stands out. For example, a wine that leaves a burning sensation on the throat is out of balance, as there is insufficient fruit intensity and body to integrate (and contain) the alcohol. Another example is a commercial wine that is overly oaked without sufficient fruit leaving a hollow mid palate.
What is a Good Wine?
A good wine is not faulty and has a great balance. As mentioned, it means all the elements complement one another and no one element awkwardly stands out.
What defines a Great Wine?
A great wine is a good wine that has the below five factors:
1. Outstanding Varietal Character: It is important to remember the grape variety when assessing a wine. For example, having an intensely oaky nose does not imply quality on a Pinot Noir. However, being intensely aromatic, with a sexy delicacy and a silky texture would qualify.
2. Good Intensity: An intense aroma on the nose and palate implies a good concentration of fruits in the bottle. This can only result from using high quality grapes and undergoing a rigorous production method to preserve the varietal character. How do you tell if a wine has good intensity – You can smell its aroma while holding the glass at chest level. On the palate, it is dynamic and flavourful.
3. Complexity differs from intensity. For example, an intense wine can be simple (with only one dominant flavour). A complex wine makes you think. It has layers of aromas and a diverse range of flavours. The aroma changes with time. It is not one-dimensional, flat, or boring.
4. A long finish is a good indication of quality. How many seconds does the wine remain on your palate after swallowing or spitting. A great Bordeaux Grand Cru has finishes that last 30 seconds, but 15 seconds is a good benchmark for a great wine.
5. Emotional reaction: It is captivating, makes you happy, and more importantly, eager to have another sip.
When judging wine, it is only fair to compare the wine against its variety, gauge the balance of its elements, and not be biased by our palate or brand preference.
With over 700 wines, touching all price points and labels from all over the world, the Sutton Place Wine Merchant is a wine lover’s dream.
The boutique itself has a very cozy and rustic ambiance, and carries a wide selection of attractively displayed wines from British Columbia to the USA, Australia to Chile, the Wine Merchant consistently features wine from every popular wine region in the world. Regular wine tastings take place in the Private Tasting room, along with seminars and information sessions on wine making and the wine industry.
Join us on Saturday, February 28th from 4:30pm-6:30pm for a Therapy Vineyards (Naramata, BC) wine tasting.
We want you to see the beauty of the Sutton Place Wine Merchant in the same way we see it, so we placed beautiful photographic filters over our photos to showcase the store’s brightness.