Updated on December 13, 2022
Buying wine in a supermarket, even if it's not very glamorous, is convenient for most consumers. But it is complicated. Here are some simple tips and recommendations to help you choose a wine in a supermarket.
Admit it, you have already found yourself at least once in your life in front of the wine section of a supermarket and that's when the cold sweats started. Faced with wine labels, each one more obscure than the next, you felt lost, humiliated, hurt! After a few minutes, tired, you ended up choosing a bottle totally at random. This is normal... But you are not condemned to eternal suffering! These few commandments can help you in this desert crossing.
Daring traveler in search of a "good" bottle of wine at the local supermarket, follow these few tips to find your grail (well, a nice wine to drink).
Too cheap, frankly, given the number of intermediaries, nobody wins, neither you in quality, nor the producer... If you want to spend a lot for a bottle, get advice, more expensive does not always mean better.
The vintage is the year of the grape harvest. It is usually written in large letters on the bottle. The more recent it is, the younger the wine is, fruity, fresh, greedy... Obviously, some wines are made to improve with age, but in good conditions, in your cellar. So to avoid having a wine tired by bad storage conditions, take a vintage of less than 2 years for a white and less than 3 years for a red.
The postal code of the bottler / producer is always written on the label. That way, for example, you know in which region this intriguing red wine fromCôtes de Thonguebelongs to (Languedoc, it's warm, the grapes ripen well, it gives fruit and not too much acidity). Basically, if it's above the Loire, it's often cooler and lighter than below. Asthe Loire has its source in the Massif Central (latitude of Vienne approximately), which makes a lot of vineyards above.
At the same price, in the same region (in the broadest sense), take the lesser known appellation (Bergerac instead of Bordeaux, Saint Pourçain instead of Burgundy, etc...) at worst you will discover something. The underlying idea is that in the same regions, we find relatively similar climatic conditions and often identical grape varieties...
If you like the taste ofwine in barrels, If you like the taste of the wine, pick up a bottle with the length of stay written on it, the longer the stay, the more it marks the wine. If you don't like it, you can put the bottle back. If you don't know, take a ramekin, you'll get an idea.
If you are hesitating between two bottles from the same region, take the Gold medal of the Concours Général Agricole (in a blind test, 5 or 6 wine lovers found it good, compared to 20 aine others). There are other valid competitions (Vinalies, Vignerons indépendants...), but the CGA makes a lot of efforts to improve its selection rules, and it is the most widespread.
If you like originality, take the Demeter label, it indicates that the wine has been produced according to the principles of the Demeter method.biodynamicsIt will not harm the environment. In addition, the maximum doses of sulfur (sulfites) are lower, so it can't hurt you either. The simple organic label encompasses far too many practices to be of any use in your choice.
On the neck of the bottle, look for the pictogram of a little man with a barrel on his shoulder. If yes, it is a winemaker (inclusive writing inside), who makes everything or almost everything himself (family exploitation most often). The wine will not necessarily be better, but it will have at least a more personal touch. And if, in addition, it has a medal of the independent wine growers, well, you do not hesitate.
This is not the most important information, but a clue to the style. If the wine has less than 12% alcohol, it will generally be lighter, livelier, with fresh and acidic aromas. If the wine is over 14% it will have more structure, richness, opulence in the mouth and often more mature aromas.
Always try to take a picture of the label, especially the ugly part with the legal information. This will allow you to remember the bottle and to choose more easily for your next purchases. Then you do a little research on the Net (on Les Grappes for example ???? ) and you call the producer to buy directly a case of 12. If you don't find it, you go to the local wine shop (a little courage), and you tell him that you liked this wine by offering to look at the picture on the label. You then ask him to recommend a bottle of the same kind from behind his back. It won't be more expensive than in the supermarket.
As for the rest, when you don't know much about it, well, it's useless! To know forget : hand-picked, old vines, recommended by the oenologist/sommelier/blogger (including the female version) Tartempion, the funny colors, the mention "great wine", the bronze medals, the mention "bottled in the castle" (or in the ass of the wine maker), the mention "the wine is not bottled in the castle".the words "bottled in the castle" (or in the back of the truck), food and wine pairing advice and taste descriptors that often fall short of the mark, or the thickness of the bottle and the nature of the clay-limestone soils... and so on!
Maybe you have other tips and tricks to share, don't hesitate to comment!
Jules Lamon for Les Grappes