Helen hero

Six delicious expert-approved wines

Learn how to taste wine at home with wine expert Helen McGinn

,
Six delicious expert-approved wines

There's a lot more to wine than just its white, red or rose colour. 

From the region its grapes are grown to the ingredients and processing methods that help make up its flavour, aroma and taste – wine is one of life's pleasures.

To help you truly enjoy this tipple in all its glory, we've enlisted the help of wine and drinks expert Helen McGinn, also known as the @KnackeredMother. Helen has picked six of our Asda wines (see below) and has given a step-by-step process in how to really taste wine. 

Helen says: "Wine tasting is all about giving yourself a chance to try different wines side by side. By doing this, you really start to understand why different wines from different places taste as they do."

So grab some glasses, pick your beverages and have your very own at-home wine tasting! 

 

Click here to download your wine tasting sheet – you will need this to taste along with Helen.

 

A STEP-BY-STEP WINE TASTING GUIDE

Helen said: "Wine tasting is actually really simple. But there is a secret to it."

1. Pour a little bit of wine in a glass. "But not too much because when we are tasting wine, we need to move it around the glass so that you can really all the aromas released," Helen said. 

2. Take a little bit of a sip. Helen added: "No swirling in the glass, no swirling around the mouth or sniffing.  

3. Now swirl, sniff and sip. "As you sip, move the wine around your mouth so it gets all your taste buds involved," the wine connoisseur said. 

4. Really think about it. "Think about what is now going on in your mouth compared with that first sip. It’s like tasting wine in high definition because your sense of smell is far more powerful than your sense of taste and if you put the two together, that’s really where the magic happens."

 

THE ORDER TO TASTE WINE IN

1. Sparkling

2. White 

3. Rose 

4. Red 

Helen said: "When you are wine tasting at home, I like to start with the lightest wine then go to the darker. So I'd start with the sparkling, then white, then rose then red. Some wine professionals prefer to taste their reds first, but I prefer to start with the lighter and end up with the big heavy reds."

 

WINES TO TASte test

Freixenet Italian Rose

Helen said: "Freixenet is actually a Spanish wine company but they’ve made this Italian rose. It’s basically a pink prosecco and it’s made from the Glera grape, which is a prosecco grape and some pinot noir. Pinot noir is what gives it its colour. 

"As you can see it’s in a gorgeous bottle that has like a golf ball effect as it reflects the light and just looks absolutely lovely, especially in the sun – I have to say."

The taste test: "As this is made like prosecco, it is very light and frothy on the bubble. It has really subtle red fruits with a bit of citrus in there as well."

The verdict: "This is normally £9 but down to £7. So for £7, you get a really smart wine that’s really lovely and fresh. This kind of wine is a real crowd-pleaser. All you really need to add is lots of nibbles. It loves a salty snack this one, so do try the Freixenet, it’s absolutely delicious."

ASDA Extra Special Mas Miralda Cava Rosado Vintage Brut

Helen said: "This cava is another pink sparkler, but this is from Spain and it’s made in a different way compared to the previous. It’s got bubbles, like the wine before, but this one gets its bubbles from the traditional method. What that means is that there’s a second fermentation that happens in the bottle. 

"If you have that second fermentation in the bottle, the bubbles can’t escape. What that means is that you get more of a kind of complex bubble compared to a prosecco which is light and frothy."

The taste test: "You can get a much bigger whack of red fruit like red currants and strawberries. It’s got more weight to it. Hopefully, you’ll also taste there’s a slight biscuit-character in there. That comes from that second fermentation in the bottle."

The verdict: "Given that this is made in the same way as Champagne, but from Spain, it is normally £9 but down to £7 –  that's amazing value for a bottle-fermented sparkling wine. So I'm a big fan of that one."

 

The Ned Sauvignon Blanc

Helen said: "We have got one of my favourite grape varieties in this, Sauvignon Blanc by The Ned. It’s one of the main grape varieties and its spiritual home is in France. But here, the Ned shows what Sauvignon Blanc can do in New Zealand. This grape loves New Zealand and it loves the Marlborough region where this wine is from. 

The taste test: "Hopefully straight away what you pick up is that very fresh, citrusy and almost has a gooseberry character. It’s very light, very aromatic. When you taste it there's a white peach character but it's got that lovely gooseberry flavour which is kind of running through the DNA of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc."

The verdict: "This one is normally £9.50 but it’s down to £7.50. So it’s a fantastic bargain."

Bodacious Branco White Blend

Helen said: "Portgual is stuffed with good value wines, they have got all sorts of weird and wonderful grape varieties growing there. Some of them have names that I can't even pronounce. But that’s what makes it fun. This Bodacious Branco is a white blend so there is a cocktail of local grapes in here. This one is normally £8 but it’s down to £6."

The taste test: "Straight away this one is much riper and warmer and it has lots more apricot and orange fruits in it. It’s got more flavour and a bit more weight to it. This would work with things like creamy pasta."

The verdict: "It's a really, really lovely wine. As I say Portugal is a really good place to look for some cracking wines."

 

 

Rose Marie Méditerranée

Helen said: "I’m a big fan of rose. This one here, called Rose Marie Méditerranée, is from France and the bottle looks quite Provence-like. As Provence Rose has become more popular, the prices have gone up. So nowadays you are looking at spending more like a tenner for a good one. But if you go for something where the grapes are from a similar region, so still in the south of France, you get a wine with similar flavours but often better value. This is one such wine – I love this. This is normally £8.50 but is down to £6.50."

The taste test: "That to me is very lemony but there's also just a touch of red fruits. It's really delicate and really light and it has that squeeze of lemon across the top."

The verdict: "This is a brilliant food wine. When it comes to food matching with rose, think pink foods, like pink salmon, prawns and anything light, fresh and herby works with rose. Or cured meats like antipasti or a charcuterie ­would be brilliant with rose. I absolutely love this one."

19 Crimes The Uprising

Helen said: "This a fairly big red. I wanted to put something in here that if you are sparking up the barbecue, this is what you need. This is from South East, Australia and it’s called 19 Crimes, The Uprising."

The taste test: "Oh my goodness, this is basically like falling into a bramble bush. There's lots of lovely juicy red fruits in there, but when you have a sip, there's a kick of spice in there. That's because this wine is aged in old rum barrels which adds a bit of weight and spice from the wood."

The verdict: "I’m just warning you now, it’s 14.5% ABV. But with all that flavour, it really works and it’s brilliant with anything that’s been near a barbecue. Or, if you are saving it to the end then a good hard cheese would pair really well."

 

Feeling inspired to delve into the world of wines? Head over to Asda to pick something new. 


Challenge 25 Logo


If you look under 25 and want to purchase age restricted products you will need to prove your age. Challenge 25. No ID, no sale. Retailers have the right to refuse sale if they believe you to be under the legal age. For more information, visit drinkaware.co.uk.