What do you look for in a wine?

I’m curious.

What do you look for in a wine?

Is it power? Concentration? Complexity?

Does it matter if it is natural or not? Must it display a sense of place?

Is it simply deliciousness?

Do you want a wine that offers value for money?

Do you like sweet fruit? Oak? Tannic structure (in reds)? Are you an acid freak?

Do you have particular favourite regions? Perhaps those you have visited and which you have an emotional connection with?

Are you confident of your own taste, or do you like it to be endorsed by critic ratings?

I’m curious…

19 comments to What do you look for in a wine?

  • Balance, depth, elegance, personality, length and sick f*cking doze of acidity.

  • Jerry Pierson

    Aromatics first. I look for an olfactory experience of many different fruit qualities, coupled with suggestions of things that are not necessarily fruit-derived. Second, palate feel. If it doesn’t have a balanced and harmonious quality on the palate, flavors are secondary. And overall, the wine must speak to where it comes from.

  • ADam F

    What do you look for in a wine?
    Something that is thought provoking at the price point

    Is it power? Concentration? Complexity?
    Complexity, something to consider as the glass and bottle is drained. I avoid drinking lots of wine so its got to be worthwhile.

    Does it matter if it is natural or not? Must it display a sense of place?
    Not necessarily but I certainly enjoy wine from a place/maker I have been to or met. I like to see the subtle changes year on year.

    Is it simply deliciousness?
    Once or twice a year a wine blows me away!

    Do you want a wine that offers value for money?
    For the complexity/complete package I like value for money so I tend to avoid the mainstream locations except on special occasions.

    Do you like sweet fruit? Oak? Tannic structure (in reds)? Are you an acid freak?
    In young reds a like a bit of oak, for reds to keep I like a structure that is complimented by the oak.

    Do you have particular favourite regions? Perhaps those you have visited and which you have an emotional connection with?
    Absolutely, Douro, Swartland, Corsican Rose’s

    Are you confident of your own taste, or do you like it to be endorsed by critic ratings?
    I like tastings as a way for me to calibrate myself to a critic, I then us that to look for new things to try that I wouldn’t normally.

  • Charlie Emberson

    Balance mostly, different expectations for different regions and varietals, elegance and complexity with age, promise of elegance and complexity in youth.

  • keith prothero

    Maturity,complexity,elegance,balance and French :) no one even comes close :)unless German riesling of course

  • What do you look for in a wine?
    First of all the wine must bring me exitement in all occasions.

    Is it power? Concentration? Complexity?
    Its not the power but most of all the concentration for the all-day-bottles and especially complexity with ‘special’ bottles

    Does it matter if it is natural or not? Must it display a sense of place?
    The wines must display (to call it your way) Authentic for its use of variety (riesling), region (Pfalz, Mosel) etcetera.

    Is it simply deliciousness?
    That’s the bottomline for me to make the decision if i want to buy the wine. Not simply but enhancing with drinking window (party, food etc.)

    Do you want a wine that offers value for money?
    YES, thats a key point. Traditional wines from traditional countries/regions can bring ‘horrible’ wines for lots of money.

    Do you like sweet fruit? Oak? Tannic structure (in reds)? Are you an acid freak?
    I am an acid freak hence my favourite wines from cool climate regions. But i always look at the balance inside the wine as in acidity, use of oak, tannics and sweetness (for the German wines)

    Do you have particular favourite regions? Perhaps those you have visited and which you have an emotional connection with?
    Favourites in particular are Mosel,Pfalz (riesling), Northern Rhone (syrah), Burgenland (gruner veltliner)

    Are you confident of your own taste, or do you like it to be endorsed by critic ratings?
    I’m rather confident of my own taste but i am also curious if you write about certain wines (as with Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson)

  • Balance, energy, character, freshness and sense of place are the most important things for me. Whether a wine is “natural” or not does not make a difference. Value is a tricky thing but yes, I do get excited when a grower fizz drinks like (or better than) a grande marque prestige cuvée. Sweet fruit is mostly appropriate for sweet wines. If a wine is balanced oak is a non-factor. I except certain varities to produce wines with a good tannic structure. Acid, yes please! For favorite regions it’s Champagne, Germany, Tuscany, Piemonte, the Northern Rhône and the Loire as a whole. I’m quite confident of my own taste but I do often read what Chris Kissack has to say about my wines of interest. Also Cellartracker is useful to some degree.

  • Alex lake

    Personality, vibrancy, complexity, interest (even if “faulty”), originality, sense of naturalness, value, yumminess, length of palate and length of finish, multi-layered flavours, emotional significance…

    All these are important to me.

    Don’t care what the critics say, although one often comes across things because they’ve been recommended (usually by amateurs, sometimes by critics).

  • Adam Ventress

    Fragrance, elegance, balance, freshness/vibrancy, depth of flavour, complexity, development in the glass, finesse, long finish. I like tannins as long as they aren’t too aggressive, I like maturity but don’t like it when tannins have completely melted away. I like fruit, but not too ‘big’, subtle and nuanced is best for me, with savoury complexities. Heavy handed oak is a turn off, as is over extraction, both are a sign of too much winemaking masking lack of quality in the vineyard.
    A sense of place is important, it’s what makes wines distinctive and different from each other, and true to their origins. If it’s from a small artisan producer, all the better.
    Value for money is relative, I don’t mind paying for quality authentic wines at a fair price. It’s much more of a waste of money to me to spend £8 on something that’s just ok or mediocre, I’d rather spend a worthwhile £30 on something wonderful. That said, I have a personal limit of £50 for a single bottle, though if I had more money, it would probably be higher.
    Italian wine is my main focus. Favourite regions are Tuscany (especially Montalcino, Chianti Classico, Montepulciano) Piemonte (especially Barolo, Barbaresco), Italy in general. Otherwise Burgundy and Alsace, German and Austrian Riesling.
    I’m confident of my own taste but like to see what critics have to say. Some like Kerin O’Keefe seem to have similar preferences to me, so I trust their opinions and recommendations more. Similarly, some others I pretty much ignore.

  • I look for balance, the “total package” approach. I also try to take everything in context, i.e. a big, bombastic California Pinot Noir should have enough acidity to balance the intensity of the fruit flavors. A tannic, monster Barolo should have enough fruit to contrast and fill in the tannic structure.

    Then there’s the unquantifiable factor, I don’t know what to call it though. That feeling of sniffing, then sipping a wine and automatically knowing it’s great. There is depth of flavor, structure, balance, acidity, all rolled up into a ball of joy that washes across the palate. You smile, knowing you’ve just sipped something special.

    As far as being confident in my own taste, I am that. There are certainly critics whom I take an interest in, but at the end of the day I buy based on my own palate and what I am in the mood for.

  • Ade F

    In terms of taste,for me it has to balance, focus and complexity although sometimes I find it difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is I like about a particular wine. I tried a bottle of albarino for the first time the other week and absolutely loved it but I would struggle to describe why I liked it so much.

    I’ve been ‘into’ wine now for about 3 years and feel i’ve developed a good palate. However, ‘tasting terroir’ in wine is still a bit of an abstract concept to me.

    One thing’s for sure though i’ve become a wine nut.

    Favourite regions are – Rhone (North & South), Margaret River and Martinborough.

  • Andrew Halliwell

    Good question:

    Balance I think is the most important characteristic, and if it’s delicious and affordable that’s also important. Complexity depends what you’re in the mood for, simple can be great sometimes.

    I like wines to taste different from different regions, but I don’t care if they’re “natural” or not. I like the way you get to travel through wine, either literally or from your armchair. I like the way there’s so much variety and so many nuances.

    I’m happy to be steered to new wines and regions by critics, but I’m equally happy in my own judgement. Everything gets over 90 these days, so it’s kind of irrelevant.

    My favourites are quite mainstream, including Marlborough Sauv Blanc, NZ Pinot Noir, most stuff from Australia, Argie Malbecs, Rueda whites, Ribera del Duero, Languedoc & Southern Rhone.

  • Chris Williams

    Harmony. Whether its the simplest Kabinett Riesling or a big Barossa bruiser, if it is harmonious, I love it. No point to have coplexity of flavours if the flavours are fighting with each other.
    After harmony- balance and tension.

  • Istvan

    Balance, vibrancy, complexity, personality, naturality and straightness. It can be rustic as well I doesn’t matter if it’s straight, natural and able to tell its story.

  • Damien

    Interesting that the single most quoted quality is “balance”, perhaps one of the most subjective and nebulous of all. What’s perfectly balanced to one will be hopelessly out of kilter to another. Curiosity killed the cat…

  • Alex lake

    Could one describe Blossom Hill as “balanced” and “harmonious”, I wonder?!

  • Diversity!

    I enjoy wines of many different styles and the features I enjoy in one wine (say subtlety, elegance) may be completely different from the features I enjoy in another (hedonistic, powerful). Viva la difference.

    My favourite wines are typically wines that are powerful but not heavy, expressive of grape and/or terroir, very complex, and are “balanced” (as said by others, a nebulous term).

  • Anthony

    In descending order: made by the grower, under 13.5%, well-balanced, lightly manipulated, low sulfite, bottled at the estate, purchasable online, low shipping fee. Within that, there’s a world of variety.

    When there’s no wine like this, I drink craft beer.

    The flip side of the question is what we consciously avoid. I avoid industrial, standardized, highly-manipulated wines that have simplistic flavors entirely. Nothing will induce me to buy them.

    For me, it’s how the wine is made, and the kind of people making it. Producer profiles/interviews and data on ingredients/process is what sells wine to me. Louis/Dressner and Kermit Lynch do a particularly good job. Producer websites are also key.

  • ida

    when it comes to wine i think pricing is irrelivant, what matters is a taste that makes you smile, amazing aroma and hint of sweetness, not an overly strong alcohol content and availibity.

    but wine lovers beware… some of our favorite wines may be lost thanks to climate change
    http://ecoclimatesolutions.com/2013/02/climate-change-to-effect-the-future-of-wine/

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