If you’re like us, you might have gotten fed up by some local wine stores with their poorly organized selections, and not-so-friendly sales staff. (Thank goodness there’s an online wine store, right?)
Don’t fret, #kavino, we’re well-aware that wine shopping in Manila isn’t always a breeze, so we’re here to make sure you don’t struggle with it again.
You want to go on your own and find a bottle that fits your taste preference? Read on to get quick tips on wine flavor fundamentals and find the varietal that works best for you.
1. When you think of BODY, think MILK
The wine’s body is the weight and feel inside your mouth. When it has a thicker, heavier weight—a texture close to full-cream milk—it’s called a full-bodied wine. Light-bodied wines are those that have textures similar to skim milk.
When shopping for wine here in the Philippines, go with varietals with boldness levels that best suit our climate, like medium-bodied reds (Barbera or Sangiovese) or light-bodied whites (Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc).
2. ACID is a great asset in wine, so don’t be scared of it!
Acid serves many purposes in wine, and the best one is that it balances out all the flavors, and makes the overall taste more pronounced (it’s that sharp taste at the tip of your tongue that compels you to take another sip!)
Acid also helps the wine last longer, so high-acidity wines age really well, and are recommended for long-term cellaring.
Acidity is a great factor to consider when pairing wine. The food we serve in the Philippines usually have high salt/fat content, so an acidic wine would suit them best. Acid will cut through the fat and lessen the lansa.
For red wine, opt for Cabernet Sauvignon, which is a common fixture in Manila-based wine stores, or Tempranillo. High-acidity whites, like Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling also pair well with many Pinoy dishes.
3. Good wine NEVER has artificial or added sweeteners
The sweetness of wine should only come from residual sugar (RS), which is naturally found in the grapes.
There are high-sugar wines labeled as “very sweet,” while on the opposite end are “bone dry” wines which have practically zero sugar content.
Most wines found in Manila fall somewhere in the middle, from dry to sweet, because Filipinos tend to prefer sweet beverages. This preference isn’t rare at all--new wine drinkers prefer sweeter varieties, as they tend to be easier and lighter to the palette.
As you learn more about wine, try leaning towards drier types as they tend to have more balance, and have more food options to pair well with.
4. Some wines have added ALCOHOL, so make sure to know your limits!
Alcohol is the by-product of the wine’s fermentation process. It’s produced when the yeast, mold, and bacteria that formed during the grape’s growth interact with the juice and natural sugars upon fermentation.
The alcohol by volume (ABV) of wine has 3 categories: Low, Standard, and Fortified.
Wine with high alcohol content are usually called “fortified,” meaning that ethanol was included in the wine post-fermentation in order to increase its ABV.
Our options in Manila stores don’t usually go past the 15% ABV mark.
5. TANNIN: It’s that cliché, “Wine gets sweeter as it gets older”
Tannins are the bitter flavors naturally found in the grape’s skin and pits. It’s also produced during the aging process, as tannins are also found in wood barrels that certain wine varietals are aged in.
They also weaken overtime, so properly aged wines tend to have less bitterness. When you taste a younger wine, you’ll know it’s tannic when you feel dryness, as well as an astringent, bitter taste on your tongue.
Similar to acid, tannin also helps preserve the wine, as it’s a natural antioxidant. It prevents unwanted bacteria, and contributes a myriad of health benefits.
Some examples of tannic wines are Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petite Sirah, while low tannin wines are Merlot, Barbera, and Pinot Noir.
There’s so much to learn and enjoy about wine, so it’s expected that choosing a favorite takes more time and effort than usual. For an easier shopping experience, try looking through our wine store, Winery PH, where we include tasting notes and profound descriptions on every wine in our selection. For more wine education, you can also join our online wine community where we frequently offer invitations for wine tasting and pairing events.