The world of wine can be overwhelming. We taste chocolate, oak and floral notes in a sip of Merlot even though we know none of those things are actually in the wine

Warwick wine estate gives those of us who swirl and swallow some insider’s tips on speaking about wine and more importantly choosing the right wines to drink.

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It’s a matter of taste

Pretending to like a wine simply because you’re ‘supposed to’ is a bad idea. According to our guide at Warwick wine estate, what tastes good is a matter of preference, even when it comes to wine.

This subjectivity also applies to what you taste in the wine. When people say they taste apple in a Sauvignon Blanc, they’re simply comparing the crisp fresh flavour to another familiar crisp fresh flavour and don’t necessarily taste hints of apple juice in their wine.

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“So ultimately, different wines have different characters and these characters are defined by many different factors, but predominantly varietal, the terroir (environmental conditions), wine-making and style,” he says.

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wine 101

Wine pairing isn’t as difficult as you think

We are really grateful for the helpful hints from wine bottles that describe the taste of the wine and what you should expect from it. According to our friends at Warwick wine estate, that information is all you need to pair a wine with your meal perfectly.

“To find your perfect match, try to complement, balance or contrast components. The key considerations are flavour intensity, weight, acidity, sweetness, saltiness, oiliness, meat and tannins, and flavour characteristics,” he says.

Decide the mood you want to set with your meal by either complementing a rich and indulgent meal with a glass of rich and intense wine, balancing salty foods or those with an umami flavour with a bitter wine or contrasting a creamy and buttery meal with a sharp and fresh wine.

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The price of the wine doesn’t determine how much you’ll enjoy it

Expensive wines may be impressive and even delicious, but less expensive wines are not automatically bad-tasting.

Because actually enjoying wine (and not just making the right sounds) is a matter of taste. Choosing wines simply because you like the taste is not only impressive, but means you’ll enjoy your wine.

“You could buy a chardonnay for a relatively low price of R70, but then look across and often see another chardonnay from the same estate for triple that price. Why? Use of oak in this example. A new French barrel will cost a farm in the region of R12 000. Now, one must divide this cost by the number of bottles that you can get out of a barrel compared to using a cheaper form of oaking such as staves, which is far more cost-effective, but produces a different style of wine,” says our guide.

When looking for a budget wine, our guide suggests choosing a well-known brand (if you aren’t in the mood to experiment). Well-known brands have a standard to maintain and consistently produce wines of the same taste and quality so you can buy based on reviews.

Warwicks large range of wines is available online and in stores