A brief explanation with beers: I love IPAs, but some of them are a disgrace to the kind, when I'll buy some, I look for the alcohol and IBU level, so I know I'll like the beer before I even buy it.

A few months ago I discovered that I also like some wines, more precisely cabernet and malbec, but unfortunately I don't find every malbec tasty. Doesn't matter if it's red or white, I like some and dislike others.

I've been looking for a way to know if I'll like the malbec wine or not, but most of the tips I find tell me to memorize the "wine factory" I like the most, but I don't think it's a good method.

Is there a way, a measure, like the IBU, or some other characteristics, that can help me to see if I'll like the malbec wine or not?

PS: I'm good with the cabernet, as for now, I've liked every one I tasted.

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    A comment on your IPAs: If you need one more way to predict whether you'll like an IPA, look at the type of hops, not just the IBU level. Different varieties of hops have significantly different aromas and flavors. Not all bottled beers will tell you the varieties of hops they use, but most brewpubs and websites will tell you. – Gary R. Jun 2 at 22:51
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    Have you really found a white wine made with Malbec? – Eric Shain Jun 2 at 22:57
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    @GaryR. Great comment. I find IBU indicative of bitterness, but not at all indicative of quality. – Eric Shain Jun 6 at 21:05
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Your liking one wine over another is a purely subjective practice. This is what makes picking out wines so difficult and expensive because you have to try it before you'll really know if you like it. Some people enjoy the journey and others want to be told what to buy. My suggestion is to try as many Malbecs as you can afford. Narrow down wineries and regions that you like. Let's say you figure out you like Chilean Malbecs or Washington State ones, then I think you know that a region will have similar flavors. Unfortunately, that's probably all we can do for you. So, just get out there and taste as many as you can!

  • Thanks, I still don't think its "OK", but I understand and will follow your last advice "and taste as manu as I can!" I'm already doing that, just another question, In a week, how much wine is socially too much? I mean, I'm usually going to some sales and bring back a lot of bottles, and they kind of ask me to taste them... – res Jun 2 at 20:35

Farmersteve's answer is good but I'd like to add a little extra to consider. You've only tried wines made with two grapes. The world of wine is much broader than this. The popular red grapes include Pinot Noir, Grenache, Syrah, and many others. Also, there are wines made from blends of grapes such as found in the Southern Rhone. What I do recommend is seeing if you have a good local wine store. I'm lucky to have access to a few and you can get good advice from the salespeople. Good stores won't look down on you for starting with inexpensive wines. A lot of shops have free tastings which is a great way to try different wines without investing in a whole bottle. I was a bit confused by you implying you have had white Malbec. Malbec is a red wine grape and while it might be possible to make a white wine from it, I've never heard of one and it would certainly be uncommon. If you are getting started, you should probably try Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs for white wines although there are lots of other white wine grapes.

  • Eric you said "you should probably try Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons for white wines". Cabernet is a red grape. Were you thinking about Sauvignon Blanc? (which is one of the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon. The other parent is Cabernet Franc) – farmersteve Jun 3 at 23:20
  • Correct, I’ll fix my answer. Brain cramp. – Eric Shain Jun 4 at 0:48

The taste of a wine derives from ...

  1. the grape variety
  2. the ripening conditions of the grapes (includes climate, region, year, nutrients etc.)
  3. secondary fermentation (type oak, time etc.)
  4. yeast strain(s) (cultivated or wild etc)
  5. style (e.g. beaujolais, ice wine etc.)

Information about the secondary fermentation could give you an idea how the wine tastes, especially about oak tannins.

Information about the yeast strains would most likely either be a trade secret or a mix of wild yeasts that depends on the natural blend that occurred in that year in that particular vineyard. This is, at least to some extent, what creates the difference between "a good vintage" and a bad one.

The effect of the grape variety on the actual taste is often overrated. Oak flavours are sometimes more dominant than most people would imagine and the same variety grown in different regions can create entirely different profiles.

Instead of looking for certain varieties, I would suggest considering information about wine regions, vineyards, alcohol content and, if given, descriptions on tannins, oak and fruit flavours. Third party reviews might help but there is never a guarantee that they are in any way correct.

IBU is btw a bad way to measure bitterness in most beers where is matters. It entirely neglects large portions of the flavour profile found in hops, in particular those that give an IPA its typical taste. The bitterness also changes with time, which is not accounted for either. Bitterness also changes with stronger beers. The higher the malt content, the more hops you need to compensate for the same taste.

As noted in a comment Malbec is only red.

The common term is wine producer. Sometimes referred to as label.

In (nominal) order the factors are

  1. Grape
  2. Region / vineyard
  3. Year
  4. Producer / process

Malbec has a pretty broad range. Initially was used almost exclusively as a blending wine.

A cheaper wine is going to have more variance. They are often buying a grape from an number of vineyards.

There are publications. Find a wine reviewer that you match their taste.

At your wine store get to know one of knowledgeable sales people. Ask for advice and then next time tell them what you thought of the wine. They will get to know your taste. Or you might tell them some of wines you like and ask for a recommendation.

Go to wine tasting were you get to sample a number of wines.

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