How do you choose your house wine?
I’ll tell you the story of how we chose ours, and as we have had hundreds of positive remarks about it I would say we were successful in finding the one that works for us.
I had to base my choice on these facts, some of which could be applicable to you and can maybe help you in your search:
Look for a wine that would suit everyone as we have guests of all ages and nationalities coming to stay.
We don’t charge a lot for dinner and so the price we pay for our house wine couldn’t be high.
Assume that the majority of people drinking our house wine would have basic needs in terms of wine structure so we didn’t need anything too complex.
Guests with a lot of wine experience should also enjoy our house wine and if not enough for them, there would be a wine list with other wines. This is rarely the case as our house wine is very drinkable!
Men and women, old and young have differing palates so I had to find a wine suitable for all.
A wine that would pair with most foods and dishes. I was looking for red and white. To find only one wine is impossible if you want a varied menu.
The wine could be drunk without food. Something that would show well outside in the sunshine or in front of the fire during the winter.
I needed something that would have both old world and new world traits to appease both our European and international guests.
More importantly, I was looking for something that tasted good!
So, not too much to look for then!
As we were new to the Pyrenees I wasn’t sure exactly what to try but thought I should start with the local wines to be true to the area.
I also didn’t want to spend more than 3€ a bottle.
In a nutshell here are some of the things we tried:
Local producer at the market, you bring your bottles, he fills them up. Result - nasty and the wine is off by the 3rd day.
Buy local wines from vineyard, at co-operative or on promotion at the supermarket. Result – the local wines are too big, bold and tannic for reds, very distinctive and "skunky" for whites. There is nothing that will suit our needs and they are not at all cheap.
In supermarket, see what the locals are buying and get some. Result - don’t follow the locals, they are all alcoholics! Just joking but many of them don’t know about wine, they only know what they like.
I tried plastic barrels of red, white and rose and couldn’t even cook with it let alone drink it. Result - I was worried about the state of my stomach lining.
What an experience and one not to be undertaken again.
By trying all of the things above I surmised that I needed to find a cheap wine from and area that produces wines in both styles:
1, New world-ish - with lots of fruit flavours, soft tannin (reds) and drinkable now not in 10 years time if at all and
2, Old world traits – well structured with layers of flavours, texture, and a certain amount of body