Many of my customers ask me what defines a good wine. After tasting many wines throughout my career in the wine trade, here are a few universal traits all good wine should show:
- Beauty – whether inky or pale, the fading orange of old Bordeaux or the vibrant, buttery yellow of a South African Chardonnay, good wine should have serious visual appeal.
- Nose – the aromas should jump right out of the glass and seduce you. If it’s too shy it can lose the sale right there.
- Fruit – You have to taste it. I just don’t understand those connoisseurs of musty old Bordeaux. It doesn’t need a KO punch, although that’s one style.
- Mid-palate – Also known in the wine trade as the dental G-spot. This is the area you taste after the initial rush of flavours subsides. Some wines build up but die slowly. Great wine continues to evolve, in succeeding waves of aromas and sensations.
- Balance – if one aspect of the wine stands out and you want to beat it with a big stick, the wine is out of balance. Overpowering vanilla from the oak can do this. So can alcohol or acid.
- Finish – What flavours remains after spitting or swallowing. You shouldn’t feel like you’ve been slapped in the face by a wet fish. I remember a wine critic describing a good finish like your first kiss from a long-term, unrequited crush. Not like the slobber of Grandma Edna when she’s been hitting the cream sherry.