Do you get lost in bottle shops looking for the perfect wine? Here’s some tips to follow on your next visit. Picture: Supplied.
Do you get lost in bottle shops looking for the perfect wine? Here’s some tips to follow on your next visit. Picture: Supplied.

Bottle shop hacks you must know

EVER walked into a bottle shop with the task of finding a school night wine and felt completely overwhelmed with choice?

Perhaps you're after a date-night drop that's great value without a high price tag.

Wine expert and Dan Murphy's Alphington merchant Richard Doumani shares his tips to help you decide.

Dan Murphy’s merchant Richard Doumani. Picture: James Braund, Photographer.
Dan Murphy’s merchant Richard Doumani. Picture: James Braund, Photographer.

 

SCHOOL NIGHT WINE HACKS

Bypass the bargain bin and two-for-one deals, and head to the international wine section.

Spanish red grape variety tempranillo is food-friendly and can cost as little as $10.

 

A bottle of good quality pinot noir should cost more than $15.
A bottle of good quality pinot noir should cost more than $15.

 

YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR

Expensive wine isn't always great quality. A fruit-forward riesling can cost as little as $7 a bottle. Doumani said the grape variety, region and production influenced the price.

"Pinot noir is so hard to grow, very fickle and faces disease pressure," he said.

"It needs to come from a good quality vineyard … and be hand-picked. You can't mass produce pinot noir (and sell it) for $10 or $15 dollars a bottle."

 

BARGAIN BIN 101

It's the home of $5 to $10 bottles, usually the last of a range. The wine isn't necessarily 'bad', the cheapest or lowest quality in store. However a $3 bottle should make you question how much time, effort and money was put into the winemaking. Were the grapes hand-picked and aged in oak? Very unlikely.

 

 

The heavier the wine bottle, the more expensive booze inside? Not necessarily. Picture: AP/Kamil Zihnioglu.
The heavier the wine bottle, the more expensive booze inside? Not necessarily. Picture: AP/Kamil Zihnioglu.

 

DEBUNK THESE MYTHS

- Wine sulfates give me a hangover: Alcohol gives you hangover not sulphur dioxide according to Doumani.

- Pretty label wines contain good booze: Lots of money is invested in marketing to help you remember the product and winemaker. Doumani said some pretty labels held great wine, while others looked the goods (because of a big budget) but didn't taste great. Consider the winemaker and when and where the wine was made to judge quality. If you're stuck, ask for help in store.

- Heavy wine bottle equals quality: They don't always hold fancy wine. It's another marketing ploy, Doumani said.

 

Tasmanian sparkling wine brand House of Arras makes tasty bubbles. Picture: Robert Heazlewood
Tasmanian sparkling wine brand House of Arras makes tasty bubbles. Picture: Robert Heazlewood

 

SO … WHAT SHOULD I DRINK?

 

Date night

Doumani recommends buying Victorian or Australian wine for date night.

Yarra Valley is a prime area for growing pinot noir, with Oakridge's Hazeldene pinot noir a top choice. Doumani also suggests a House of Arras sparkling from Tasmania or De Bortli La Bohme dry rose.

 

Great value, underrated varieties

Ditch the merlot and cabernet for a different red variety like gamay from Yarra Valley's Punt Road. The light-bodied drop is a great food match. Nagambie's Tahbilk is well-known for its marsanne, a fruity white variety, while Penfolds' chardonnay, like Reserve Bin A or Bin 311, is often overlooked for big, bold shiraz.

 

Oakridge punches above with its delicate tasting wines.
Oakridge punches above with its delicate tasting wines.

 

 

 

kara.irving@news.com.au

@kara_irving

However you can buy a tasty bottle of riesling for under $10.
However you can buy a tasty bottle of riesling for under $10.