What’s the best red wine NZ? New Zealand is an oenophile mecca, offering a wide range of the world’s best red wines, so it’s hard to crown just one label.
Like aged cheese, however, wine recommendations are usually subjective. What delights your palate might make someone else throw up.
While selecting the perfect wine for you often boils down to your personal preference, here’s how to buy red wine online like a pro.
Why choose red wine?
What makes red wine NZso great is a matter of personal preference. That’s why you must treat your palate to several grape varietals before you pick an ideal wine for you. Generally, red wine offers a different tasting experience from white varietals in a myriad of ways:
Higher levels of complex tones
Unique flavour profile
Higher alcohol content
Higher tannin content
Red wine typically has a heavier body than white wine, too. Most of these distinct features come from the ageing and fermentation in the red winemaking process. The grape quality also has a huge impact on the character and flavour profile of the wine.
Go back to the basics – acidity, sweetness, body, alcohol, and tannin
When you’re looking to buy red wine online, it’s important to find your sweet spot based on what excites your taste buds. Whether you lean towards tart, sweet, bold, spicy, or even delicate flavours, there’s something for everyone.
In saying that, you need to size up red wines based on essential characteristics like sweetness, acidity, body, alcohol, and tannin.
As the name clearly suggests, sweetness tells you whether a wine is dry, semi-sweet, or sweet. Of course, if your palate favours sweet tones, you should go for a sweet red wine NZ. However, if want something that has no sweetness at all, a bottle of dry red wine is your best bet.
Talking of acidity, red wines with low acidity will be richer and have a rounder taste, while high-acidity wines are more tart.
The body is used to describe whether a wine feels light or heavy in your mouth. Most red wines have a full body when compared to white varietals. However, some can have a light body or feel somewhere in between light and full body.
The unique process of making red wines infuses more tannin, which gives them that quintessentially bitter and dry finish. The higher the levels of tannin, the more bitter and dry the wine will taste.
Most red wines have an alcohol content of between 11 and 13 per cent ABV, but this can go up to 20 per cent. The higher the percentage of alcohol in the bottle, the warmer it’ll feel in the back of your mouth.
If you’re a newbie, here are starter recommendations when you buy red wine online:
Alcohol – Zinfandel
Tannin – Cabernet Sauvignon
Body – Shiraz/ Syrah
Sweetness – Riesling
Acidity – Pinot Noir
Quality is crucial
Quality is a be-all, end-all factor when buying red wine in New Zealand. You can talk about acidity, tannin, or sweetness all you want, but a low-quality bottle of vino will ruin your drinking experience.
Wine quality is defined by three aspects: balance, intensity, and complexity of the flavours.
Complexity – A good red wine boasts a wide range of flavours
Intensity – Higher-quality wines are more intense than cheapies. This aspect describes how clearly you can pinpoint each flavour in the wine.
Balance – Are the flavours well-balanced in the bottle? A well-structured, earthy, and fruity wine usually has a higher quality.