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10 Tips to improve your wine knowledge

If you consider yourself to be a discerning wine drinker here are 10 tips to improve your wine knowledge.

No.1 Do you have to know about wine to appreciate a good wine? Experience does help but a good wine should speak for itself.

No. 2 Don’t be afraid to ask, no matter how trivial it may seem. Be curious and ask questions as a child would.

No.3 Taste different wines and find the style you like and trust your judgement. You don’t have to follow the crowd.

No.4  Is how you drink wine important?  Don’t sip a wine as if you were sucking a lemon. To get the most out of a wine you need to take a good mouthful and swirl it around your mouth so that the flavours are released.

No.5  Are wines with screw cap OK? In most cases yes they are. Screw cap is used as a closure in quality wines to avoid cork taint. In Scandinavia, UK and New Zealand for example, this type of closure are the norm for all levels of wine from everyday drinking wines to the finest wines for special occasions.

No. 6 Once open how long does wine stay in good condition? It varies, depending on the wine. A young robust wine will last longer, 2 days, than an older more fragile wine, 1 day.

No.7 Is the type of wine glass important? Yes, the intensity of the aromas will vary if served from different types of glasses. It is not necessary to spend a fortune on hand blown glassware but use glasses that have a nice bowl and swirl the wine to release all the aromas.

No. 8 Is older wine better? Most wines are made to be drunk within a year of release. Accept for vintage Bordeaux, Port, aged Rioja, Burgundy, aged Germany Rieslings, these are the exceptions rather than the norm. In general choose the most recent vintage.

No. 9 Is paying more always advisable? The price of a wine is determined by three factors; how much it costs to make, how much is available and the demand. I have taken part in many tastings and prefer not to know the price until after I have finished tasted all the wines. Price influences your perception. Quite often the wine you most prefer will not be the most expensive wine.

No. 10 Be wary of floral language when reading descriptions of wine. Much of it is copied from other labels. Trust your own judgement on the wine.

Whether it be Blue Mountain Coffee from Ethiopia, a Crafted Beer, or a Single Estate Syrah from Australia, spoil yourself a little from time to time, it is important to have small luxuries.

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I am a Northern Irishman based in Valencia. My career in wine began more than three decades ago, in London. I am the founder of TheWinePlace.es, an online store, where wine enthusiasts can enjoy a selection of international wines and Verde Marte, a company dedicated to exporting Spanish wines. Also, Thewineplace.courses, an "approved program provider" of the courses of the prestigious WSET. I share my passion for wines through my media work writing weekly columns for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo and 5 Barricas, an online wine magazine.

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