At West Mount Wine we believe that a little understanding of wine can bring a great deal more pleasure when you're drinking it.
Most important of all, the majority of people vary rarely think about what they're drinking, how it smells and how it tastes. Wine often never gets a second thought other than "oh, that's nice". But a week afterwards, it's invariably followed by "I really enjoyed that wine we had last week, but I can't remember what it's called...".
We advocate, at the very least, making just a short note of the name of the wine, it's vintage and the producer to avoid this situation in the future.
For those who want to take tasting more seriously, we have published our wine tasting technique aide-memior (in Adobe PDF format). It sets out a series of basic steps to evaluate and analyse the attributes of the wine to determine its quality. Applying these techniques will give you a good basis to build a knowledge base on every wine you taste.
Food and Wine Matching
A great deal has been written about food and wine matching. From our point of view, the whole thing can be over complicated and over analysed. Ultimately, drink what you want with whatever you like and if you're happy, it should taste pretty good regardless.
However, it is true that some wines complement certain types of food better than others. Over the years, "what wine should I drink with ...?" is probably the question we get asked most often. It usually solicits the answer above, but to help the worried customer, we have put together an short set of pointers to help you choose an appropriate wine for every type of food. Our food and wine matching guide (again in PDF format) isn't a set of rules, but some pointers to put you on the right track.
Much has been written in the media recently about Britain's "binge drinking" culture and the general decline in health due to excessive amounts of alcohol. West Mount Wine, as a responsbile retailer, is committed to promoting responsible drinking through its retail operations and on all of its wine and spirit events. This includes encouraging people to taste wine rather than drink excessively and look at quality rather than quantity being the primary factor in enjoying wine.
The safe drinking level, recommended by the UK Governement is an eye-opener to many as it is seen to be surprisingly low. However, there is significant medical research supporting the recommendation of men drinking no more than three to four units a day and women no more than two to three. Please do remember also, that in some situations, such as pregnancy or if you're driving, it is better not to drink at all.
One of the difficulties of this advice is that the value of a unit is not that clear on the majority of wines, or other alcoholic drinks for that matter. Also, unless the drink is served in a "standard" measure, it is very hard to tell how much you've been drinking. West Mount Wine are fully in support of better drinks labelling to clearly establish the units of alcohol in a bottle of wine and to include moderate consumption warnings on bottles. We want our customers to enjoy the many health benefits of wine by consuming in moderation.
The table below gives you an indication of the number of units in a bottle of wine at varying alcohol levels. Please do remember that the labelling regulations do allow some "latitude" and therefore the level of alcohol shown on the bottle could be 0.5% abv lower than the actual level.
Alcohol by Volume %
Units per bottle (75cl)
If you are still unsure of a drink's unit value you can calculate it by multiplying the volume in ml by the alcoholic strength (abv) and dividing the result by 1000. Alternatively, the unit calculator at www.drinkaware.co.uk will give you the number of units for standard measures of popular brands.
Finally, please do visit the website, where a great deal of good advice, information and support is available.
We will be publishing an article in our "debating corner" shortly, discussing both the health benefits and risks of alcohol. Please do have a look...