A nice bottle of wine can be the perfect start to a great (or terrible) night out.
It’s an incredibly versatile drink that can be enjoyed by royalty and commoners alike, depending on the vintage.
We’ve compiled five top tips that’ll make you a top connoisseur in no time. Whether you’re drinking from a crystal flute or your flatmate’s favourite mug, this advice will have sommeliers swooning at your knowledge.
Just remember to drink responsibly!
1. Don’t buy the same wine every time
Mix it up a bit! Whether it’s red, white, rosé or bubbly, it doesn’t hurt to experiment. Different wines are great for different occasions and they all go well with different meals.
If you just want something that’ll go down smoothly at pre-drinks, you could even have a go at making Kalimotxo, which is red wine mixed with coke (trust us on this one, we know it sounds weird); it’s the number one party drink in the Basque region of Spain.
2. Don’t be afraid to spend an extra couple of quid (within reason)
Don’t worry, we’re not telling you to buy the bougiest bottle on offer at your local Waitrose. Because of the way wine taxes are structured in the UK, a £5 bottle of wine only contains around 31p worth of booze.
When you spend £7.50, the value of the wine you’re drinking more than quadruples to £1.43, meaning you’re getting a lot more bang for your buck’s fizz. Trust us, it’s worth it, even if the headache isn’t!
That being said, however…
3. Paying more doesn’t always mean you’re getting a better wine
Don’t be fooled by fancy or familiar labels if you’re going for something a bit more upmarket. A lot of the time, there’s very little difference in quality between a £15 bottle or one that costs £30.
Shop around, ask your mates or, if you’re shopping at a specialist wine retailer, ask a member of staff what they think! It never hurts to get a second opinion when you’re not sure.
4. Make sure to drink your wine at the right temperature
As a general rule of thumb; white, bubbly and rosé go in the fridge, whilst red should be drunk at room temperature. That being said, if you plan on saving some of that red you’ve just opened (perhaps your housemate is screaming that there’s a taxi into town outside), then you should pop it in the fridge to store it safely.
Once opened, the flavour can quickly deteriorate due to oxygen exposure and refrigeration is the best way to combat this.
5. If you’re having a bite to eat, pair it with a wine that goes well
Find a wine to suit the occasion! White wine tends to go best with seafood, chicken and pork-based dishes, whereas red wine is good for beef, lamb and other darker meats.
Another good rule to follow is pairing regional wines with foods from the same area. Spanish red will go perfectly with your tapas or paella, whilst you might consider a French vin blanc to have alongside your sole meuniére.
That being said, rules are made to be broken, so don’t feel bad for lining your stomach with a Maccies whilst you swig the finest rosé Echo Falls has to offer!
With these tips, you’ll be king of the château in no time! And if wine isn’t really your cup of booze, why not check out our list of easy cocktails to spice up your pre-drinks instead?
Have you got any pro tips for pre-drinks that you’d like to share? Join our community today and let us know!