Summer is just around the corner, and you know what that means – ’tis the season for entertaining; wining and dining the summer nights away as our social calendars start to book up. From casual BBQs to formal dinner parties and everything in between, it’s an excuse to relax in the sunshine and enjoy a glass of wine (or two).
But if you’re anything like us, you might feel a little overwhelmed and intimidated walking through the endless rows of wine at the bottle shop, searching for the right wine, for the right meal and the right occasion. So we chatted with Ben Malouf, CEO of First Vintage and got some tips on choosing the perfect wine this summer.
1. Wine is a very personal taste
So first and foremost, you need to educate yourself about which wines you like and which wines you don’t. This means it’s time to experiment. The summer season is the perfect time to try as many different styles and varieties as you can. If you’re out for dinner, order something you usually wouldn’t. If you are heading to a BBQ, take along something different and try what other people have brought along. Why not even organise a wine tasting dinner party and everyone can share their favourite? Who knows, you might just surprise yourself with what you like.
Always remember that there is no right or wrong answer, and that the best wine is the one you enjoy, not the one with the biggest price tag!
2. Wine should not simply accompany, but enhance your food experience
When it comes to choosing the right wine for your meal, this can be a challenge. There are so many different rules, pairing tips and flavour guides out there that it all starts to get very technical and confusing.
Ben recommends forgetting all this and simply thinking about what you are eating and what you enjoy. Is it a big meal or a light meal? Are there lots of complex flavours or is it a rather a simplistic dish? Once you’ve found the varieties of wine you enjoy (from all that experimenting), be sure to pair a heavier wine with a heavy meal and a lighter wine with a lighter meal. Simple.
For example pairing a Shiraz with a steak, rich sauce and veggies, and a woody Chardonnay with a creamy pasta dish while paring something like a Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc with a piece of grilled fish and salad. Ben also suggests that if it’s a spicy dish, don’t be afraid to try some bubbles – it’s the perfect pairing because bubbles break through the spices and enhance the flavour.
3. Don’t be intimated by choice, and always read the label
Look out for wines that have been awarded medals, but always make sure you carefully read which medal it is – don’t just pick the wine with the most! Make sure you are drinking wines of quality, because there are many obscure wine competitions out there. Rather than purchasing a three time gold medallist from ‘Aunty Mary’s Wine Show’, be sure to look out for medals from the Royal Award Winning Wine Shows, such as those from Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth, all of which are benchmarked for excellence.
4. Finally, remember that wine is all about the experience
It’s about creating memories, sharing moments with friends and having fun. In Australia, we are lucky to be blessed with a wine industry is that it is so diverse, so if you are willing to try, you’ll find some truly unique and wonderful flavours like nowhere else in the world!
First Vintage is offering SheSaid readers $50 off a Wonderful Whites, Rustic Reds or Mixed Dozen package – simply follow this link to redeem your offer!