What Makes a Good Wine?

what makes a good wine

13 May What Makes a Good Wine?

When we talk about a wine being good or bad, or even great, it might not always be a very objective opinion because everyone has a very different palate preference. And just because you don’t like a particular wine, doesn’t really make it bad. Before we look at what makes a good wine, let’s take a look at what makes a wine bad!

Any wine can be considered bad only under 2 circumstances – either it’s imbalanced or it’s faulty. The most common faults in a wine are cork taint and oxidisation and the notes you will pick up in these wines are cardboard boxes and sherry/vinegar respectively. When you taste any wine, you enjoy a combination of its fruity flavour, the tannin and acidity and of course its body, balance and alcohol.

About Balance in a Wine

When we say a wine is imbalanced, it means one particular element stands out in an awkward manner. For instance, if you find that a particular wine leaves behind a very burning sensation on your throat, it means the wine is out of balance. This is because it doesn’t have enough of body & fruit intensity to contain & integrate the alcohol content. At times, commercial wines are oaked too much and they don’t have enough of fruit in them – this leaves a very empty mid-palate.

So, What Exactly is a Good Wine?

A good wine is obviously the opposite of what we just talked about. It has excellent balance, and no faults. It also means that all the elements in it complement each other perfectly and no single element stands out in an awkward manner. An excellent wine will have these 5 characteristics:

#1 Distinctive varietal character

When you are assessing a wine, it’s vital to keep in mind the variety of the grape. For instance, if a Pinot Noir has a very intense oaky nose, it’s not a sign of quality. On the other hand, if it is has a very sexy delicacy and is intensely aromatic, with a very silky, smooth texture, it can be considered to be an excellent wine.

#2 Good Intensity

If the wine is intensely aromatic on the palate as well as the nose, it means there is a good concentration of fruits in the bottle. This comes only from using very high grade grapes and going through and very detailed production method, which helps preserve its varietal character. If you are able to smell the aroma of the wine when you are holding the glass just at chest level, it means the wine has good intensity; it will also be very flavourful and dynamic on the palate.

#3 Complexity is different from intensity

There are times when an intense wine may have only one flavour, while a complex wine will always make you think and you will be able to distinguish its diversity of flavourings and layers of aroma. The latter is never boring or flat and it changes over time.

#4 A long finish

This is a very good indication of the quality of the wine. Around 15 seconds of finish is the standard benchmark of a great wine. You will also find a number of excellent Bordeaux Grand Cru in which the finishes last for up to 30 seconds.

#5 Emotional reaction

A good wine makes you happy and is definitely captivating. In addition, it makes you want to take that next sniff and sip too.

In closing

When you are judging a wine, the only way to do this fairly would be to compare it against its variety and ascertain what the balance of its elements is. It’s important that you keep your biases of brand and palate at bay.

For any information about wine types and quality, contemporary wine cellars and cellaring wine, call Signature Cellars at 02 9340 7515. Alternatively, simply use this contact form to connect with us and we will get back to you shortly.

Thanks for reading,
Neil Smallman
Signature Cellars
02 9340 7515

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