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How to Make a Cheap Bottle of Red Wine Taste Expensive

Updated on October 5, 2016

There are a number of very decent red wines available on the supermarket shelves for less than $10 a bottle. It is recommended, however, to steer clear of the majority of French wines at this price, and instead to opt for a new world variety such as a Chilean Merlot or Shiraz (Casillero Del Diablo Carmenere is a reliable favorite that is full of dark berry and chocolate flavours). Argentinian Malbec or a well-rounded Australian Cabernet/Shiraz blend are also dependable choices and if it’s Californian that you’re after then nothing beats Carmenet Cabernet Sauvignon for well-rounded jammy notes and a peppery finish that belies it’s $7 price tag.

Decanting your Wine

Now that you have your wine, the next thing to do to release its potential is to decant it several hours before you intend to serve it and then leave it in a room temperature location (ideally between 62°F to 65°F). If you’re worried about leaving it uncovered then, by all means, lay a piece of muslin or netting over the opening. This will still allow it to breathe and to begin to release all of its wonderful flavours as it rests in its new glass home. Choose a decanter that has a wide rim for extra impact and that ‘wow’ factor on the dining table or sideboard.

The Right Glass

Use large round goblet glasses with extra wide rims. These feel special and add even more to the psychological impact of the red wine to come. The wide rims also help to release even more of the aromas and flavours of the wine, allowing them to burst in your mouth as soon as they touch your lips.

Warming the Glasses

Warm the glasses slightly if they feel cold. As with your red wine, glasses should be room temperature or slightly above to fully accentuate the wine within them.

Choosing H'orderves

Provide a side order of salty ham slivers, mature cheeses, and crackers if you’re serving the red wine before a meal, or without food, to compliment the rich fruitiness of the grapes and to enhance any subtle notes within your chosen variety. The above advice can make all the difference in fooling your guests taste buds into believing that your $6 bargain bottle is in fact a $100 gem of a vintage.


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Try a few good South African wines if you can get your hands on them. Well worth it!

    • profile image

      Sue Conway 

      8 years ago

      Tried this and it really works so thank you SJ. Love your articles and am addicted to your tweets.

    • Mr Nice profile image

      Mr Nice 

      10 years ago from North America

      Great article & good advice. However decanting is a controversial subject. I will try your method to fool myself first before serving it to some one else. Keep up the good work

    • profile image

      Frankie Vay 

      10 years ago

      Great article - tried your technique and it worked! Superb!


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