A few months ago, I was in a café in Leeds and was served a hot chocolate in the most unusual way. I was given a tall glass of hot milk and a little jug of melted chocolate, and was told to just pour in as much or as little of the chocolate as I want until it was to my liking. Many people, like me, like their hot chocolate to be rich, indulgent and incredibly sweet, whilst others prefer theirs to be milky and light.

An alternative hot chocolate

In this respect, wine and hot chocolate aren’t so different. Some wines are rich, some are sweet, and some are light. To some, red wine is just red wine and white wine is just white wine. To others, wine is far more complex and special than that. We are in an age where wines are given a status in restaurants often above the food, and it’s becoming evermore desirable for people to understand what wine they do and don’t enjoy. If you don’t like incredibly sweet hot chocolates, you can hedge your bets that you probably won’t like a very sweet wine.

Choosing a wine does not have to be this daunting process that you should fear when you go to a restaurant, or when you purchase a bottle of wine online. Do you fear ordering a hot chocolate? No? Then you shouldn’t think that choosing a wine is a complex process either. You just need to know what tastes you enjoy.

The bad news is that, unlike my hot chocolate in Leeds, you can’t adjust a wine to your tastes. The good news is that there are far more varieties of wine than there are cocoa powders, so it’s not as hard as you think to choose the right wine for you.

Grapes used for creating different varietals of wine.

Think about the last wine you drank that you truly enjoyed. Was it a light red wine, like our Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir, or a full-bodied wine, such as our Andeluna Malbec? Now think about how you would have had your hot chocolate at that café; would you have had it rich, like a Malbec, or light, like Pinot Noir? You can think the same for white wines. How sweet would you like your hot chocolate? ‘Not very’ would mean you may prefer drier white wines. Of course, this is oversimplifying the complexities of wine, however it is a first step toward finding the right wine for you.

The main point is that understanding your taste preferences can make choosing a wine considerably easier. Ultimately, your wine choices do not need to be validated by a Master Sommelier, and if you’re enjoying what you’re drinking and smiling with friends then that’s splendid.

You chose perfectly.