Welcome to Mark O’Neill’s Wine Blog


9 Things you need to know about wine

1. Most wine does not get better with age

85% of wines are made to be consumed within 1 to 3 years after being bottled.  So unless you are buying, for example, a Burgundy or Claret to ‘lay down’, you should consider drinking your cellar rather than keeping it for years.  So check the vintage before ordering.

2. Temperature affects aromas and flavours

Young reds often taste better if served a little cooler, 12ºC, while whites often taste better when served slightly warmer, 7-8ºC.  During the warmer months don’t be afraid to ask for a ice bucked to chill a red wine. If a white wine is too cold the subtle aromas and flavours will not be evident.  If a red wine is served too warm it can taste flabby and a little volatile.

3.  It is not always true that ‘red wines with red meats and white wine with fish’

because you will miss out on some really nice combinations. For example a fatty fish like salmon, will go well with a medium bodied Pinot Noir or Cinsault.

4. Sparkling Wines are not just for celebrations, they are great food wines also.

Champagne and Prosecco are very versatile drinks, it has the structure and acidity to go with a wide range of dishes, seafood, desserts and cheeses.

5. Price is not a guarantee of quality

Many factors effect the price of wine.  Availability, quantity produced, efficiency of the winery, types of dry materials used, shipping costs etc.  Just because a local winery wants to charge a big price for their wines doesn’t make it better.  Buy carefully and well.

6.  Screwcap does not mean wine is cheap

Screw caps avoid problems of cork taint, which effects 10% of bottles with a cork closure.  For many years  New World Wine producing countries, such as New Zealand, Australia and the USA, bottle a large proportion of their wines with screw cap.

7. Rosé wine is a mix of red and white and is of inferior quality

Wrong! Rosé wine is made from the same must that goes to make red wine but it has had less contact with the skins of the grapes, from where the wine gets it colour.  The wine style tends to be lighter, more fragrant and fresh.  Perfect as an aperitif or to accompany range of salads with with meat of seafood.

8.  Sweet Fruit flavours with Sweet Wine are not the same thing

People often confuse sweetness with fruitiness in wine.  A young Chardonnay may be full of rich, sweet flavours – tropical fruits, pineapple, papaya – but yet is dry in terms of residual sugar.  Understandably this can be confusing, how can something have sweet flavours but be dry. Our senses associate tropical fruits or ripe summer berries with sweetness hence the perception of sweetness.  On the other hand classic sweet wines such as Sauternes, Tokaj, some Rieslings and some Moscatels are made differently so that the wine has a much high level of natural residual sugar.

9. Trust your judgment

Ultimately it is you who is drinking the wine.  How much you like is down to you. Learn how to taste, how to enjoy wine and practise. You the taster are always right.  You either like it or you don’t its personal.

Written by

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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