Syrah VS Shiraz

Exploring the Duality of Syrah vs Shiraz

When it comes to Syrah vs Shiraz, both these names are often used interchangeably. Though they represent the same grape variety – Vitis vinifera Syrah – yet their resulting wines can boast distinct personalities. Let’s delve into this fascinating duality and explore what makes Syrah and Shiraz such intriguing counterparts.

difference between syrah and shiraz

Syrah vs Shiraz: Difference Between Syrah and Shiraz

The first question that arises when it comes to Syrah vs Shiraz is – are Syrah and Shiraz the same? Short answer, yes.

Syrah and Shiraz are two names for the same grape variety, Vitis vinifera Syrah. Syrah is typically used in France and the Rhône Valley, while Shiraz is dominant in Australia and the New World.

For a deeper dive, let’s understand three main points…

  • The Origins and Evolution

What is a Syrah: Syrah, the name most commonly used in France (the grape’s ancestral home) and the Rhône Valley, conjures up images of peppery spice, violets, and dark fruit. The cooler climates of France tend to produce French Shiraz wine with higher acidity and restrained elegance.

What is a Shiraz: Meanwhile, Shiraz, the dominant term in Australia (where Syrah truly flourished) and the New World, is all about boldness. Think ripe plums, blackberry jam, and a touch of cocoa. The warmer climates of Australia allow these Australian Shiraz to ripen more fully, resulting in wines with higher alcohol content and a more pronounced fruit-forward character.

  • The Distinction of Two Terroirs

Did you know that Syrah is one of the most food-friendly red wines? This speaks to the grape’s versatility, with its acidity cutting through richness and its tannins standing up to bold flavors.

On the other hand, Shiraz often finds itself paired with heartier fare. This wine can hold its own against smoky flavors and caramelized notes like barbecued dishes.

  • The Winemaking

It’s important to remember that Syrah and Shiraz are not just about geographical distinctions. Winemaking techniques also play a crucial role in shaping a wine’s personality. For instance, using new oak barrels during aging can impart notes of vanilla and toast to both Syrah and Shiraz, but the intensity of those flavors will vary depending on the winemaker’s choices.

Summing Up…

Ultimately, the beauty of Syrah and Shiraz lies in their ability to showcase the artistry of the winemaker and the unique terroir where the grapes are grown. So, the next time you raise a glass of either (which you can easily get from an online wine shop Singapore), take a moment to appreciate the subtle nuances that make both wine red so captivating.

nebbiolo vs barolo

Nebbiolo Vs Barolo: Clearing the Air Between Grape Vs Wine

In the world of Italian wines, Nebbiolo and Barolo are probably two of the most heard terms leading to plenty of discussions around Nebbiolo vs Barolo, whether they are the same, or different, or related – TH, what’s up with them? Let’s quickly have a look at what they are and what they are not.

what is barolo wine

Nebbiolo Vs Barolo

In the discussion of Nebbiolo vs Barolo, one of the biggest misconceptions is that people refer to them as “Nebbiolo wine” and “Barolo wine” whereas, not both of them are wines. Let’s see why:

Difference Between Nebbiolo and Barolo

Nebbiolo is not typically a wine on its own.

Nebbiolo is a grape variety, and Barolo is a wine made exclusively from 100% Nebbiolo grapes.

There are other wines from the Piedmont region made with Nebbiolo grapes, such as Barbaresco wine, Gattinara, Ghemme, and Roero.

So, Nebbiolo itself isn’t usually made into wine, but it’s the key ingredient in several prestigious Italian wines.

Or, in short,

Nebbiolo is a grape variety and Barolo is a wine made from Nebbiolo grapes.

Nebbiolo, the Grape Variety

Nebbiolo, a grape variety as ancient as time, traces its roots back to the 13th century. Its name derives from the Italian word for fog, “nebbia,” evoking the misty mornings that envelop the vineyards during harvest season. This grape thrives in the Piedmont region’s hilly terrain, where it basks in the region’s unique microclimates and soils.

Nebbiolo Characteristics

Nebbiolo grapes are renowned for their high acidity, robust tannins, and complex flavor profile. Its tasting notes involve the lusciousness of cherry and strawberry mingling with delicate notes of rose, with hints of tar, porcini mushrooms, and wild herbs.

Barolo, the Wine

Barolo, hailed as the “King of Wines” and the “Wine of Kings,” is the most popular among red wines, and is the ultimate expression of Nebbiolo. Crafted exclusively from 100% Nebbiolo grapes, Barolo carries the essence of its terroir, reflecting the Piedmontese landscape in every sip.

What is Barolo Wine?

Barolo wines are revered for their boldness, structure, and remarkable aging potential. Aged for a minimum of three years before release, and often much longer, Barolo evolves gracefully over time, reaching its peak after a decade or more in the bottle. It’s a wine that rewards patience, inviting enthusiasts to savor its evolution with each passing year.

Barolo Tasting Notes

Expect to be greeted by an array of flavors ranging from ripe red fruits to earthy undertones, framed by firm tannins and a lingering finish that leaves a lasting impression.

Summing Up…

While both Nebbiolo vs Barolo are popular terms in the Italian wine industry, it is important to note that Nebbiolo is just a grape whereas Barolo is wine made of Nebbiolo grape variety. Get your favorite wine Singapore at Benchmark Wines.

wine testing tips

7 Wine Tasting Tips Nobody’s Gonna Tell You

Wine tasting: an art form, a social event, a journey for your senses.

Here are 7 insider wine tasting tips to elevate your next tasting experience, guaranteed to surprise even the most seasoned connoisseurs.

7 Wine Tasting Tips to Keep Handy

These tips for wine tasting are sure to bring tangible improvement to your regular wine tasting sessions as we have curated them with real-time experiences. Let’s dig in.

  • Ditch Your Fragrances

This one might seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. Strong scents can overpower the delicate aromas of wine, hindering your ability to fully appreciate its complexity. Stick to a neutral fragrance, or better yet, ditch it altogether for an olfactory adventure.

wine tasting tips

  • Look, Sniff, Taste

You’ve probably heard of this before, the three wine evaluation steps, but here’s the secret: don’t rush!

Look: Hold the glass up to the light. Notice the wine’s color, clarity, and viscosity. Is it a deep ruby red or a pale straw yellow? Is it clear or cloudy? Does it cling to the sides of the glass?

Sniff: Swirl the wine gently and take a deep inhale. What aromas do you pick up? Fruity notes? Spicy hints? Earthy tones? Don’t be afraid to get creative with your descriptions!

Taste: Take a small sip and hold it in your mouth for a few seconds, swishing it around to coat your tongue. Pay attention to the initial taste, the mid-palate flavors, and the finish. Is it sweet, dry, tannic, or acidic? How long do the flavors linger?

wine tasting advice, red wine tasting tips

  • Keep Cleansing Your Palate

Between tastings, cleanse your palate with water, unsalted crackers, or a piece of plain bread. This helps to remove lingering flavors and allows you to approach each new wine with a fresh perspective.

red wine tasting tips

  • Do Not Stick to Just One Wine

This might sound counterintuitive, but comparing wines side-by-side can be incredibly insightful. You’ll be able to appreciate subtle differences in color, aroma, and taste, helping you develop your palate and identify your personal preferences. Benchmark Wines, the biggest Singapore wine delivery network, offers convenient tasting packs curated by theme, making it easy to explore different grape varietals (for example, white grapes) or regions (for example, Barossa Valley at your own pace.

tips for wine tasting

  • Keep it Slow

Savor the experience! Take small sips and allow the wine to linger on your tongue. This will give your taste buds time to identify different flavor profiles and nuances. Did you know the average human has around 9,000 taste buds, each capable of detecting five basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami? By slowing down, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to experience the full range of flavors a wine has to offer.

wine tasting tips and tricks

  • Write What You Feel

As you taste each wine, jot down your thoughts and observations. This can be as simple as noting the color, aroma, and a few key flavor descriptors, or it can be a more detailed analysis of your overall experience. Keeping a tasting journal can be a valuable tool for tracking your progress and identifying patterns in your preferences.

white wine tasting tips

  • Keep Up with Others

Sharing the experience of wine tasting with friends and family can be incredibly enriching. Discussing your observations and comparing notes can spark interesting conversations and open your eyes to new perspectives. Did you know that according to a study, people tend to enjoy wine more when they are sharing the experience with others? So gather your fellow wine enthusiasts, uncork a bottle (or two), and embark on a tasting adventure together!

Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Whether it’s to the winemaker, the sommelier, or even your fellow tasters, asking questions is a great way to learn more about the wines you’re enjoying and deepen your understanding of the fascinating world of wine.

tips for wine tasting

Keep Tastin’

Just keep these white or red wine tasting tips and tricks handy with you before going to another wine tasting event. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to taste wine or proper wine tasting advice. The most important thing is to relax, have fun, and enjoy the journey of discovery. With these tips in your repertoire, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a confident and discerning wine taster, ready to impress even the most seasoned aficionados.

can you fly with wine

Can You Fly with Wine – Here’s What You Need to Know

People travel with wine, but you know it is not your just another item in the bag, especially when it comes to the plane where you reach after crossing 1k security checks. Imagine going to France and wanting to take a few French wine bottles back home with you – well, flying with wine does require legal know-how. But, long story short:

Can you fly with wine? Yes.

Can you bring wine on a plane? Yes.

Can you bring unopened wine on a plane? Yes.

Can you pack wine in checked luggage? Yes.

How? Let’s figure out…

can you bring wine on a plane

Here’s How Can You Fly with Wine…

To fly with wine, you need to know some basic rules and regulations, some packing tips, and other considerations that can help your process smooth. Let’s address each one of them.

Basics of Flying with Wine

In terms of legalities, you can fly with wine duty-free or by paying additional duty. In cases:

Duty-Free Allowance

Singapore allows you to bring a certain amount of alcohol (including wine) without paying additional taxes, also known as your duty-free allowance. To be safe, it’s always best to double-check the latest regulations before you fly.

According to the official Singapore Customs website, the current duty-free allowance for alcohol is two liters per arriving passenger. This allowance can be a combination of:

  • 1 liter of spirits + 1 liter of wine
  • 1 liter of spirits + 1 liter of beer
  • 1 liter of wine + 1 liter of beer
  • 2 liters of wine
  • 2 liters of beer

It’s important to note that this allowance applies only to travelers who have been outside Singapore for at least 48 hours and are not arriving from Malaysia.

Beyond the Duty-Free Limit

If you’re carrying more than the duty-free allowance, you’ll need to declare it to customs upon arrival and pay duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST). The exact charges will depend on the type and value of the wine. Here’s a breakdown to help you estimate the additional costs:

  • Duty: The duty rate for wine in Singapore is 40% of the Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF) value of the wine. The CIF value is the sum of the purchase price, insurance (if any), and freight charges.
  • GST: An additional 7% Goods and Services Tax (GST) is applied on top of the duty amount.

can you bring unopened wine on a plane

Checked Luggage vs. Carry-On

Airlines generally have strict limits on liquids in carry-on luggage. To avoid any issues, it’s highly recommended to pack your wine securely in your checked luggage. The quantity allowed in checked luggage vs. carry-on varies from airline to airline. However, the top airlines in Singapore, Singapore Airlines, Scoot, and Jetstar Asia follow the same rules as follows:

  • Carry-on liquids: Passengers are allowed to carry liquids, gels, and aerosols in containers with a maximum capacity of 100 milliliters (ml) each, and all containers must fit comfortably within a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag with a capacity of no more than 1 liter.
  • Wine in checked luggage: “Sharp objects, liquids, or other items that could cause injury or damage to passengers or property are prohibited in carry-on baggage.” This implies that wine, being a liquid, would not be allowed in carry-on luggage.

can you pack wine in checked luggage

Essential Packing Tips for a Safe Wine Journey

  • Protection is Key: Wrap your wine bottle carefully in bubble wrap, specialized wine travel bags, or other shock-absorbing materials. This helps prevent breakage during baggage handling.

  • Label for Clarity: A clear label with your name, contact information, and “Fragile – Wine” helps identify your luggage and ensures proper handling.

  • Check with Your Airline: It’s a good idea to check your airline’s specific policies on carrying wine in checked luggage. Some airlines may have additional wine travel regulations or restrictions.

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Additional Considerations

  • Traveling in Groups: If you’re traveling with others, remember they might also have a duty-free allowance you can collectively utilize. However, everyone needs to be of legal drinking age. For example, a group of 4 friends can collectively bring in 8 liters of flying with alcohol (2 liters each).

  • Gifting Wine: If the wine you’re bringing exceeds your duty-free limits, the recipient might need to pay taxes and duties depending on the destination country’s regulations.

  • Travel Insurance: Consider getting travel insurance that provides coverage for lost or damaged luggage to protect your investment. Alternatively, you can also get your wine delivered to your doorstep with a wine delivery Singapore network.

Love reading about wines? Read winery vs vineyard.

Happy Travellin’!

how to taste wine

How to Taste Wine to Not Look Clueless at a Wine Tasting

Wine tasting is not just about enjoying wine, it’s scientific, it’s an art, and it’s a skill. However, being at a wine tasting session, surrounded by swirling glasses and confident pronouncements about “blackberry notes” or “oak” might leave you clueless. In this guide, we are going to tell you how to taste wine so that you do not embarrass yourself, or not look naive at least.

how to properly taste wine

How to Taste Wine?

Wine tasting is the sensory examination and evaluation of wine. It involves a series of steps to engage your senses of sight, smell, and taste, allowing you to appreciate the full bouquet, flavor profile, and overall identification of wine characteristics. While there are formalized methods used by professionals, wine tasting steps can also be a casual and enjoyable experience for anyone interested in exploring the world of wine. But before diving into wine tasting steps, let us first figure out why you should know how do you taste wine.

Why Should You Know How to Taste Wine?

Understanding how to taste wine for beginners goes beyond avoiding awkwardness at tastings – beyond avoiding the “clueless” feeling. Well, proper wine tasting techniques unlock a deeper appreciation for its complexities, allowing you to perceive subtle nuances and enjoy the full spectrum of understanding wine flavors. It’s like learning a new language, enriching your experience, and transforming wine from just a drink to a captivating sensory journey.

Now, let’s start with how to properly taste wine in steps…

Setting the Stage

Before you even pick up a glass, there are a few things to consider to optimize your tasting experience:

  • Environment: Choose a well-lit, quiet space with minimal distractions. Avoid strong odors like perfume or smoke, as they can interfere with your sense of smell, crucial for appreciating the wine’s aroma profile. Think of a clean, uncluttered space with neutral-colored walls to avoid visual distractions.
  • Temperature: Serving temperature plays a significant role in how a wine tastes. For example, white wine is typically enjoyed chilled, between 45-55°F (7-13°C) while wine red is best at room temperature, around 60-68°F (15-20°C).
  • Glassware: Use clear, stemmed glasses specifically designed for wine. These glasses have a wider bowl compared to standard glasses, allowing for proper swirling and releasing of the trapped aromas. The stem also helps to prevent your body heat from affecting the wine’s temperature. For red wines, opt for a larger glass with a rounded bowl, allowing the wine to breathe and release its full aroma. For white wines, choose a narrower glass with a slightly smaller bowl to help retain the delicate aromas and enhance the crispness.

wine tasting steps

The Art of Swirling and Sniffing:

  • Hold the glass by the stem, not the bowl. This prevents your body heat from affecting the wine’s temperature, which can alter its taste and aroma.
  • Gently swirl the glass in a circular motion. Start slowly and gradually increase the speed. This releases the volatile aromatic compounds trapped in the wine, allowing you to experience the full bouquet.
  • Bring the glass close to your nose, but don’t plunge your face in! Inhale deeply through your nose, focusing on the opening near the bridge. This is where the olfactory receptors are concentrated.
  • Pay attention to the initial aromas, then take short, focused sniffs. What fruits, spices, or other scents do you detect? Is there a floral element? Does it smell earthy or herbal? Don’t be afraid to experiment with different parts of the rim. Different areas might reveal different aspects of the wine’s aroma profile. For example, the rim of a red wine might offer bold aromas of dark fruit, while the center of the glass might reveal more subtle hints of spice or leather.

how do you taste wine

Sipping and Savoring:

  • Take a small sip and hold it in your mouth for a few seconds. Swish it around, coating your entire tongue and palate. Pay attention to how the liquid feels: Is it light and refreshing, or full-bodied and viscous? This texture, known as “body,” can also contribute to the overall perception of the wine’s style. For instance, a Sauvignon Blanc might have a light and refreshing body, while a Cabernet Sauvignon might have a fuller and more viscous body.
  • Pay attention to the initial taste, and then how it evolves. Does the sweetness linger? Is there a hint of bitterness on the finish? Does the acidity make your mouth water, or is it smooth and mellow? As the wine travels across your tongue, different taste receptors are activated, allowing you to experience the full spectrum of flavors. For example, the tip of your tongue is most sensitive to sweetness, while the sides are more sensitive to acidity and saltiness. The back of your tongue detects bitterness.

how to taste wine for beginners

Demystifying the Flavor Profile

As a part of this step, focus on the basic elements: sweetness, acidity (tartness), bitterness, and alcohol level. These basic elements form the foundation of a wine’s taste profile and work together to create a harmonious balance.

  • Sweetness: This can range from bone-dry (no perceivable sweetness) to sweet (noticeable sweetness). For example, a Riesling wine from Germany is known for its sweetness, while a Pinot Noir wine from Burgundy is typically dry.
  • Acidity: This refers to the tartness or crispness of the wine. It contributes to a wine’s freshness and can balance sweetness and other elements. Imagine the refreshing zing of citrus fruits like lemons or limes. A wine with high acidity might make your mouth water slightly.
  • Bitterness: This is a drying sensation often perceived on the back of the tongue. It can come from grape skins, tannins (especially in red wines), or oak aging. Think of the slight bitterness you might experience from dark chocolate or unsweetened tea.
  • Alcohol level: This is the percentage of alcohol by volume (ABV) and can affect the overall perception of the wine’s body and warmth. Higher-alcohol wines might feel heavier and warmer in the mouth.

When you are done with the basics, consider going in advance with the following dimensions of flavor:

  • Fruit: Think of familiar fruits and use them as a reference point. For example, a Merlot wine might have aromas and flavors of red fruit like plums and cherries, while a Sauvignon Blanc might evoke citrus fruits like grapefruit and lime.
  • Floral: Delicate floral notes like rose, violet, or lavender can be present in some wines, especially white wines.
  • Herbal: Think of the fresh, green aromas of herbs like mint, thyme, or eucalyptus. These can be found in some white wines and Sauvignon Blancs in particular.
  • Spicy: This can range from subtle hints of pepper or clove to more pronounced notes of cinnamon or nutmeg. These aromas and flavors often come from oak aging or specific grape varietals.
  • Earthy: This can describe aromas and flavors that remind you of soil, mushrooms, leather, or damp earth. These characteristics can be found in some red wines, especially those aged in oak barrels.

how to properly taste wine

There Are No “Wrong” Answers!

The beauty of wine tasting is the subjective experience. Don’t be afraid about how do you taste wine as all you have to do is express your own honest observations and share them with others. As you taste more wines, your vocabulary and ability to identify specific flavors will naturally develop. With practice and these steps for tasting wine in mind, you’ll be well on your way to tasting wine like a pro!

Read more about wine tasting tips now.

how to travel with wine

How to Travel with Wine and Not Break Your Bottle?

The trip for most wine lovers is incomplete without exploring the local wineries and vineyards. However, the real problem starts when you pick a few of your favorite bottles to take back home with you.

Or maybe, you want to take your favorite wine bottle to enjoy at your vacay destination or are traveling to a dry country, traveling with booze is tricky and you might end up breaking your bottle. To avoid this situation, you must scroll down to this guide on how to travel with wine without breaking your bottle.

how to travel with a bottle of wine

How to Travel with Wine?

Bumps in road travel, vibrations in train travel, and temperature fluctuations in plane travel, there is always something or another that can make your traveling experience unpleasant.

The Challenge of Traveling with Wine

To avoid any last-minute hassle, below are some traveling essentials that you can consider:

  • Secure Packaging: Your first line of defense against travel woes is bubble wrap. Generously wrap each bottle in bubble wrap, ensuring all sides are well-cushioned. The air pockets in the bubble wrap absorb shock and vibrations that could otherwise crack or break the glass.
  • Sturdy Containers: Invest in dedicated wine travel cases. These often hold multiple bottles and have built-in padding, providing a secure and organized solution.
  • Vacuum Sealing (Optional): For extra protection, consider vacuum-sealing your bottles. This removes excess air, minimizing the risk of oxidation and leaks in case of breakage.

will wine explode in checked luggage

How to Travel with Wine in Different Modes of Transportation

Now that we have told you about the travel essentials, let us dig deeper into each mode of transportation separately and unveil how to travel with a bottle of wine.

  • Road Tripping with Wine

One of the safest options when you are transporting alcohol is by driving as you have the maximum control. Keep your wine bottles upright and secure in the trunk, away from direct sunlight and heat. Minimize sudden stops or sharp turns to avoid jostling the bottles. Maintain a consistent temperature in your car, especially during hot weather, to prevent spoilage.

  • Train Travel

While traveling by train, vibrations are completely unavoidable and are tricky to deal with. Utilize luggage racks or overhead compartments, ensuring the bottles are stable and secure. Train journeys can also be bumpy so consider using additional padding or insulation to minimize the impact of vibrations on your wine.

  • Traveling by Air

One of the trickiest modes of transportation for carrying wine is flight and people often have many questions about it like – can I fly with wine, or will wine explode in checked luggage, or how to pack wine in suitcase to sneak out from the security?

Well, the first thing you might wanna do is familiarize yourself with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines. You can only carry wine under 3.4 ounces and anything above that, for example, magnum wine, is not allowed even if the bottle is sealed (read what is Magnum here).

Secondly, while highly unlikely, rapid changes in pressure during air travel can cause the air inside the bottle to expand slightly. However, modern wine bottles are designed to withstand this pressure change. To answer, how to pack alcohol in checked baggage, you must consider double-boxing your wine bottles for enhanced protection. This involves placing the original bottle box within a larger, sturdier box filled with padding materials like packing peanuts or crumpled newspaper.

Finally, there is absolutely no sense in trying to sneak your bottle in with the suitcase as there are high chances that it will be seized at the checkpoints.

how to pack alcohol in checked baggage

Creative Solutions for Wine Travelers

  • Ship it ahead: If you’re planning extended travel or have concerns about packing wine in suitcase, consider using specialized wine shipping services to deliver your selection directly to your destination. This eliminates the risk of damage during travel and ensures your wine arrives at its best.
  • Embrace the local: Explore the wine scene at your destination! Instead of lugging bottles from home, discover new and exciting local wines that might just become your next favorites. If you are in Singapore, consider shopping from reputable wine shop like Benchmark Wines which source their wines directly from worldwide family-owned vineyards.
  • Alternative options: For situations where traveling with wine is impractical, consider exploring alternative beverages like boxed wine or travel-friendly pouches, which offer greater portability and durability.

Also read: Can you fly with wine?

Conclusion

With careful planning and the right precautions, you can ensure your treasured wines arrive at their destination safe and sound, ready to be enjoyed and create lasting memories. So, pack your bags, choose your travel companions (both human and bottled), and embark on your next adventure with the confidence that your favorite wines will be there to share in the journey.

how to start a wine collection

Beginner’s Guide on How to Start a Wine Collection

You have always loved wine but if it is turning out to be enough passionate that you literally want to baby them, this guide is for you. Let us take you through how to start a wine collection as a starter so you do not put your hard-earned money just like that.

wine collection

How to Start a Wine Collection

Whether you’re a seasoned oenophile or just starting your grape-fueled journey, there are some basic check boxes that you must tick to start with the process. Let’s see what…

Embrace the Beginner’s Mindset

First things first about how to start a wine collection, do not rush! Accept that you are a beginner and it’s okay. Did you know that according to Statista, over 22% of wine consumers are millennials? This means there’s a whole community of enthusiastic individuals, just like you, embarking on their wine collecting adventures. Henceforth, ditch the pressure to be an instant expert, and embrace the learning process.

Must-Haves for Your Wine Collection

While building a diverse collection is key, consider starting with a few “crowd-pleasers”:

  • Chardonnay: This versatile white grape, Chardonnay, offers a range of styles, from crisp and unoaked to rich and buttery, catering to various palates. This white wine grape will help you explore the spectrum of white wine styles.
  • Sauvignon Blanc: Known for its refreshing citrus and herbal notes, Sauvignon Blanc pairs beautifully with seafood and lighter fare. This will be an alternative to white wines and a great choice for introducing friends to the same.
  • Merlot: This smooth red grape is known for its soft tannins and fruit-forward flavors, making it a great choice for those new to red wines. Merlot will act as a stepping stone to exploring bolder reds.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon: The “king of red grapes,” Cabernet Sauvignon boasts bold flavors of blackcurrant, cedar, and spice. Start with a younger vintage for a more approachable experience. This will be a classic choice for starting a personal wine collection, allowing you to experience its evolution over time.

Setting Goals and Budget

Before starting your wine collection, you must set a goal and budget, here’s how:

Defining Your Collection Goals:

Are you aiming to curate a selection for personal enjoyment, explore different regions, or potentially invest in long-term aging wines? Knowing your “why” will guide your choices.

Establishing a Budget:

Wine collecting can be as affordable or extravagant as you make it. Set a realistic budget and stick to it. Remember, quality doesn’t always equate to exorbitant price tags. Benchmark Wines offers a wide range of wines, catering to all budgets, so you can build your collection without breaking the bank.

Budget-Friendly Tips:

  • Focus on lesser-known regions: Explore exciting wines from emerging regions like Argentina, Chile, or South Africa, where you can find excellent quality at reasonable prices.
  • Look for “everyday drinking” wines: You don’t have to reserve every bottle for special occasions. Enjoy exploring different styles and grapes without breaking the bank, which can be called everyday drinking wines like Pinot Grigio in whites and Malbec in reds. 
  • Take advantage of sales and promotions: Keep an eye out for special offers at your local wine shops or online retailers like Benchmark Wines.

starting a wine collection

Building Your Wine Collection

Finally, when it comes to building your collection, selecting the right type of wine from the right place is the key.

Selecting Your Wines:

  • Start with Familiar Flavors: If you enjoy a specific fruit or spice, look for wines known for those characteristics. For example, if you love the taste of raspberries, explore Pinot Noir or Zinfandel, often boasting those notes. 
  • Experiment with Different Styles: Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try something new. You might discover a hidden gem. For example, you may try an organic wine.

Where to Buy Wines:

While local shops and wine auctions are reliable options to buy wine, the best and trending among them remains online wine shops. Online wine shopping offers convenience, with browsing and buying possible anytime, anywhere. You’ll have access to a wider selection than local stores, often with detailed information and reviews to guide your choices. Plus, enjoy potential cost savings and delivery straight to your door.

Storing and Organizing Your Wines

Choosing the right location for storing wine is crucial for preserving the quality. Ideally, this will be like building your first wine cellar and you must aim for a cool, dark, and vibration-free space with consistent humidity levels. Maintaining a wine collection with the help of wine racks or shelves can be a smart decision. For a detailed guide, read how to create a wine cellar in home.

Developing Your Palate

  • Swirl, Sniff, Sip: This classic approach allows you to appreciate the wine’s aromas, visual aspects, and taste profile.
  • Pay Attention to the Details: Notice the acidity, tannins, body, and flavors in the wine.
  • Keeping a Tasting Journal: Jot down your observations about each wine you try, including the grape variety, region, producer, and your personal tasting notes. This will help you identify patterns in your preferences and track your evolving palate over time.

Additional Tips on How to Start a Wine Collection

  • Exploring Different Regions and Varietals: The beauty of wine lies in its diversity. From the bold Cabernet Sauvignons of Napa Valley to the delicate Pinot Noirs of Burgundy, each region and grape variety offers a unique taste experience.
  • Networking and Learning: Seek guidance and tips from experienced collectors. Many wine shops or clubs host events where you can connect with them and get exposed to some new collectible wines.
  • Attending Tastings, Events, and Workshops: Immerse yourself in the world of wine by attending wine tasting seminars, and workshops. These events offer opportunities to learn from experts, sample different wines, and network with other enthusiasts.
  • Understanding the Value of Aged Wines: Certain rare wines in a wine collection, particularly those from prestigious regions, can appreciate in value over time creating remarkable vintage wines. However, remember that wine collecting is primarily a passion project and not a guaranteed investment strategy.

wine collecting

Keep Collectin’

Beginner tips for starting a wine collection is a journey filled with discovery, learning, and, most importantly, enjoyment. Embrace the beginner’s spirit, explore different wines, and trust your palate. As you step on this exciting adventure of valuable wine collection basics, remember that the true treasure lies in the connections you make, the knowledge you gain, and the memories you create along the way.

Read our guide on how to travel with wine.

Have a great wine collecting journey!

is pinot grigio sweet

Why Pinot Grigio Reigns as the Perfect Summer Time Wine?

The sunniest month in Singapore, March, is almost here. We are expecting you to be stocked up on your cottons and linens already but what about the wine?

We are sure you don’t want to get stuck with something heavy and full when you are already dealing with 30°C+ temperatures!

Well, Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio, the French-originated light-bodied white wine can be a terrific bet for your summer time wine, and here are 5 reasons why.

summer time wine

5 Reasons Pinot Grigio is a Great Summer Time Wine

We all know that white wines are perfect for summer due to their refreshing, crisp qualities, with flavors ranging from citrusy to floral, complementing lighter summer fare and hot weather perfectly. But why do we bet Pinot Grigio for your summer time wine? Let’s see…

  • It’s Refreshingly Crisp and Light

Warm weather is all about hopping on some light and refreshing drinks – juices, coolers, hydrating fruits, etc. become a first priority. Pinot Grigio’s is known for its bright acidity and delicate Piot Grigio flavor. But with it comes questions like:

  • Is Pinot Grigio sweet? Lesser sweet than other wines.
  • Is Pinot Grigio dry? It’s medium dry.

Sounds like perfect for summer wine, but wait there is more. The cherry on the top is its citrusy Pinot Grigio notes that are coupled with hints of pear and white flowers, creating a symphony of freshness on the palate. This makes it the ultimate thirst-quencher on those sweltering summer days.

  • Pairs Perfectly with Summer Foods

Eating anything without a drink by the side is uncomfortable for most of us, and in the case of wine for summer, it’s rounded up to all. Pinot Grigio is a versatile companion to a myriad of summer dishes. From light salads and succulent seafood to sizzling grilled chicken and flavorful pasta, Pinot Grigio effortlessly complements the diverse flavors of summer cuisine. Its adaptability makes it a go-to choice for a spontaneous picnic, a leisurely al-fresco dining experience, or a backyard BBQ.

  • A Light Wine Sip for Hot Days

We’ve all been there – the desire for a refreshing wine without the heavy alcohol content weighing us down. Pinot Grigio comes to the rescue with its moderate alcohol by volume (ABV) of around 12-13%. This allows you to enjoy a glass or two without feeling sluggish, making it the ideal choice for laid-back summer afternoons and evenings.

  • A Wine for Every Budget

Quality doesn’t always come with a hefty price tag, and Pinot Grigio is a shining example of affordable elegance. It’s really fulfilling that one of the most popular and best white wine grapes is available to enjoy without making a hole in your pocket. With the qualities this grape offers, it is worth every penny as it amps any experience whether it’s your solo date or a casual hangout.

  • Easily Available

After an exhausting hot day that already took your energy, the last thing you would want to do is hustle to find your perfect wine. But you don’t have to face the same in the case of Pinot Grigio brands as they are widely available at most offline wine shops and you can even enjoy the convenience of home delivery through online wine stores like Benchmark Wines.

pinot grigio taste

Summarizing, Pinot Grigio stands tall as the quintessential summer time wine, offering a refreshing escape with each sip. From its crisp Pinot Grigio taste and versatile pairing options to its moderate alcohol content, affordability, and wide availability, Pinot Grigio ticks all the boxes to be top among the best summer wines. So, as the sun continues to blaze, let the cool embrace of Pinot Grigio elevate your summer experience, one glass at a time, with the most convenient wine delivery Singapore network.