In first place, one must have knowledge and experience in order to choose it. Only unaware people think this is a simple task. It suffices to go into a shop and glance at the shelves full of the most diverse wines, all with tempting labels, to be dazzled. The buyer is filled with confusion.
Perhaps overwhelmed, he decides by price and chooses the most expensive, believing that he is thus on the safe side. His decision might be correct or possibly totally wrong. His choice may also be influenced by the salesman's recommendation. However, there is nothing to guarantee the salesman’s good faith, and quite the contrary, he may be looking to "palm off" an unsaleable wine.
To avoid these risks, the best thing is to have a clear idea before leaving your house. Think about which food you will offer your guests and what wines go well with them. Then think about which brands you know or which wines you have drunk recently of which you have a pleasant memory. Also which wine producers you know and can be sure that their wines are good and you remember them as good wines.
Finally, keep in mind what have you read in the papers or books about wines. These thoughts reduce the field of decisions and help focus your ideas, thus avoiding finding yourself with too many choices. Also, to buy a good wine, the advice of an expert is very worthwhile. In summary you can then be satisfied that when leaving the shop, you take with you a good wine at a reasonable price.
If you have to choose without any previous knowledge or advise, it is best to have an idea of what you're buying, and for that it is necessary to learn a little something beforehand. There are two ways of doing this: tasting wines with experts or reading specialized books which tell us how to perceive their qualities and which classify and recommend a proper wine, indicating with what meals they are best suited. The taste for wine comes with time, and once learnt, the connoisseur will be able to explore on his own.
But in all this there is also a bit of exaggeration and snobbishness. The connoisseur often wants to humiliate the novice and, after all, we all have the sense of taste, sight and smell and can appreciate when a wine is agreeable and when we like it.
Often, wines that are rated as excellent are not so delicious to us.
Thus there is a certain relativity in the classification of wines, and although it is evident that there are fairly exact principles to assess a wine, it is also true that "as to tastes and colors, much has yet to be said". Here we must judiciously use our own personality. What one is after, and one should achieve, is that upon leaving the shop the buyer should take with him a decent wine at a reasonable price.
You shouldn't buy wine the same day it is to be drunk. Once chosen, the wine should rest in your house. Its habitat, known as cave or cellar, should be dark, fresh and even humid, without noise or vibrations. There the wine should rest lying with the spout slightly lower, allowing the cork to stay humid, which swells it, making it airtight in order to perfectly preserve the wine. Wine, like people, has an infancy, youth, maturity & senility, and for their growth, both need a peaceful environment suitable for resting.
Wine in its infancy has its own personality and characteristics. Its dominant color is purple, due to the concentration and quality of the tannins.
Its smell is called "aroma" and comes from the fresh grapes and from fermentation. With time, the aroma is transformed into "bouquet", which is the characteristic of mature wine.
There are light wines that are drunk when young and others that must be aged. At first, the wines that are suitable to be kept in cellars to age refine themselves and the color turns to a ruby red; the tannins are purged being precipitated in part with the coloring substances and those that are left combine tightly with diverse components of the wine.
This is the most characteristic taste of red wine and which differentiates it from white wine, which does not have tannins.
Serving old wines that are past their prime or oxidized, shows ignorance. This must be avoided. To show proudly the date of the label and a desire to boastfully claim that it's more than 50 years old, reveals only ignorance and show-off.
Certain wines can be kept for many years, these are the strongest and the ones that have more body. Those, which should be drunk immediately or in the course of a few years, are the light wines.
The connoisseur appreciates this difference and knows which is the right time in each case. Naturally, the bottle is kept with the label facing upwards, so as to recognize the wine without having to move the bottle.