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Three glasses of wine, red, white and rosé

Tasting and service

What makes a wine good?

What makes a wine good? It’s such a simple question, yet hard to answer simply... Here are a few thoughts toward a response.

Published on October 14, 2020

If you ask a specialist or a sommelier what qualities make a wine good, he or she will attempt to answer the question with objective criteria: Almost everyone agrees that a good wine presents an interesting complexity of flavours and aromas, that its length in the mouth is a significant indicator of quality, and that the wine’s balance is of primary importance. When looking for a good wine, an expert will also look for a wine that is typical or representative of its place of production.

What room does this expert advice leave for personal taste? Logic dictates that a good wine must be one we find pleasing, first and foremost! In the wine world, like the art world, everything is a question of taste and perception. When we talk about wine, we’re never really talking about what is in the glass in front of us, but rather our perceptions of it. Thus, we are really always talking about ourselves. So a good wine is first of all one we find pleasing, one that seduces us, one that accompanies our favourite moments spent in good company.

A “good wine” is therefore not a kind of master key, but will vary depending on the circumstances. A full-bodied, woody, spicy, complex and elegant wine might be a great after-ski accompaniment to osso buco. But what about for a summer brunch, if served too warm? Likely it will be less interesting, or even a disappointment. On the other hand, a light wine, simple and with a burst of fruit, served chilled… now THAT would be a good wine.

In the end, when it comes to taste, you are your own best expert!

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