We want to help you with your questions, so we've made list of questions we're asked often.
If you have a question that isn’t answered below, please feel free to contact us here and we’d be more than happy to answer it for you.
What is the best variety of wine for beginners?
It can be difficult to know where to start if you aren’t an avid wine drinker. We would recommend the following grape varieties for those new to wine;
Pinot Grigio – is light and crisp.
Riesling – is loved for its crisp, citrus and mineral flavours with bright acidity and a light body.
Sauvignon Blanc – This is a crisp refreshing light bodied wine with simple flavours that include citrus and kiwi.
Pinot Noir – a light to medium bodied wine and an easy one to fall in love with.
Syrah/Shiraz – both of these are one of the same, the Syrah tends to be fruity and the Shiraz is more on the peppery side .
Malbec – known for its plump, dark fruits and smoky finish, a good alternative to a higher priced Cabernet Sauvignon.
What are Tannins?
Tannins are a compound found in wine that give it an astringent, mouth drying effect. Tannins found in the skins, seeds and stalks of grapes play a prominent role in the chemical composition of red wine. They help define the wines weight i.e., light-bodied, medium-bodied and full-bodied along with the right balance i.e., sweet, semi-sweet, medium-sweet or dry.
What temperature should I serve wines at?
As a rule of thumb, we would recommend serving sparkling wine ice cold, white wine cold and red wine should be cool!
How do I know if my wine is corked?
There are a number of things you will notice that will help you to answer this question. You can start with your wine senses i.e. smell, sight and taste. Sight – has the bottle lost its shine? Smell – does it smell musty? Taste – if you detected something bad in the smell, the taste will reflect this also.
Trust your instincts on this one!
What makes a good wine and a cheap wine?
Good wine is neither expensive, nor old! It is best to read the back of the label for the ageing process, fruits, flavours, regions and country. Also keep an eye out for awards won and don’t be shy ask to ask us for help here at The Wine Centre!
How long does a bottle of wine last for after it is opened?
Once again this can vary but the general rule of thumb is 3 days!
Why is red wine often paired with red meat?
When we think of red wine we gerenarlly think of having it with red meat. Red meat, while delicious, is a protein based food that takes our digestive system many hours to digest and as red wine is so elegantly smooth, it not only enhances our meal with its delectable aromas, flavours and alcohol, but assisting in our proper digestion as well.
How do I choose wine for my wedding/event/function?
We have a full guide to choosing wine for events and weddings here. Our staff will be only too delighted to assist you in making the right choice for your occasion.
What is the difference between ‘Old World’ and ‘New World’ wine?
Old World wine is from regions with long histories of wine production that focus on terroir which gives their wine a sense of place. This is why their labels display the region in which the wine was produced, rather than its grapes (Europe/Mediterranean- France, Italy, Germany etc…).
New World wine is produced in regions with hotter climates. These generally have the grape variety as well as the region where a wine is produced on their labels (USA, Australia, Chile etc…).
The older the wine, the better the wine is a famous saying. Is this true?
When it comes to grape vines, this is certainly true. Older vines generally produce more interesting wines especially Shiraz and Barolo and bring a more layered complexity to its wine, where as the younger vines tend to produce a more fruit flavour that can diminish over time. Once again we suggest you to read the back of the labels to get a better understanding of the wine you are considering purchasing.
What the most popular wine making countries?
France, Italy and Spain are the top three countries who produce half of the all of the wine in the world, with Spain operating the largest vineyards by acreage in the world. To give you the size of these, the top three wine regions in the world make enough wine to fill 5,127 Olympic-sized swimming pools!
Is there a difference between Organic & Vegan wines?
Organic wines are produced with organically grown grapes and a different set of practices are applied to its vines. For example, vineyards fertilise crops with compost, compost teas, green manure and cover crops rather than herbicides. They rely solely on mechanical weeding, mowing around the vines, mulching and companion planting. However, organic doesn’t necessarily mean it is free from all additives.
Vegan wines are free from fining agents which are essentially animal based products whereas organic wines are not. Always check the back of the label for the words ‘vegan’ or ‘organic’.
What does the word ‘brut’ mean in terms of Champagne and sparkling wine?
A brut is a sparkling wine which is very dry and a dry wine means it contains little to no residual sugar.
Can I order wines that are not in stock?
Indeed you can, if we can source your particular wine we would be more than happy to get it for you. We offer a broad range of quality wines from around the world but if there is a wine you would like us to source, we will do our best to get this for you. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +353 (0)56 77 22907.
When describing wines what are the most useful terms to use?
- Aroma/Bouquet: The smell of a wine — bouquet applies particularly to the aroma of older wines
- Body: The apparent weight of a wine in your mouth (light, medium, or full)
- Crisp: A wine with refreshing acidity
- Dry: Not sweet
- Finish: The impression a wine leaves as you swallow it
- Flavor intensity: How strong or weak a wine’s flavours are
- Fruity: A wine whose aromas and flavours suggest fruit; doesn’t imply sweetness
- Oaky: A wine that has oak flavours (smoky, toasty)
- Soft: A wine that has a smooth rather than crisp mouthfeel
- Tannic: A red wine that is firm and leaves the mouth feeling dry
What are the most popular grapes from each country?
Below we have listed the most popular grapes from renowned wine countries;
France – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Syrah, Viognier, Chardonnay
Italy – Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Moscato, Pinot Grigio
Spain – Tempranillo, Albarino, Garnacha Palomino
New Zealand – Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir
Chile – Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc
South Africa – Pinotage, Chenin Blanc
Germany – Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Sylvaner
United States – Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel
Argentina – Malbec, Bonarda
Australia – Shiraz, Chardonnay
How do I know what’s a well known grape and what’s a region?
Check out this handy table we’ve created to help you to familiarise yourself with popular grapes and regions.
|Bordeaux||Place/France||Red or white|
|Burgundy (Bourgogne)||Place/France||Red or white|
|Champagne||Place/France||White or rosé|
|Côtes du Rhône||Place/France||Red or white|
|Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris||Grape||White|
|Port (Porto)||Place/Portugal||Red (fortified)|
|Rhine (Rheingau, Rheinhessen)||Place/Germany||White|
|Rioja||Place/Spain||Red or white|
|Zinfandel||Grape||Red or pink|
Which flavours come from which grape?
We have put together a quick ‘cheat sheet’ to help you out.
|Cabernet Franc||Violets, Blueberry, Earth, Black Olive, Coffee||France, Italy, Hungary, USA, Canada|
|Cabernet Sauvignon||Bell Pepper, Green Olive, Herb, Cassis, Black Cherry||France, Italy, Spain, USA, South America, Australia, South Africa|
|Merlot||Watermelon, Strawberry, Cherry, Plum||France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Greece, USA, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Chile|
|Malbec||Sour Cherry, Spice||France, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, USA|
|Gamay||Strawberry, Raspberry, Cherry||France, USA|
|Grenache/Garnacha||Spice, Cherry||Spain, France, Italy, USA, Australia|
|Nebbiolo||Plum, Pie Cherry, Tar||Italy|
|Pinot Noir||Tomato Leaf, Beet Root, Pale Cherry, Blackberry, Cola, Plum||France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, USA|
|Shiraz/Syrah||Blackberry, Boysenberry, Plum, Pepper, Clove||France, Spain, Australia, USA, Switzerland|
|Chenin Blanc||Ripe Apple, Lemon Drop, Pear, Honeydew||France, South Africa, USA, Australia|
|Gewurztraminer||Lychee, Grapefruit, Flowers, Talc||Germany, France, New Zealand, Argentina|
|Muscat||Oranges, Tangerines||France, Italy, Greece, USA|
|Pinot Grigio/Gris||Citrus, Fresh Pear, Melon||France, Italy, Germany, USA|
|Sauvignon Blanc/Fumé||Grass, Herb, Citrus, Pineapple, Peach||France, South Africa, Chile, New Zealand, California|
Do different glasses suit different wines, beers or spirits better?
Yes they do. Certain glasses are specifically shaped to accentuate the unique characteristics of wine, beer and spirits. Here are a few samples:
Typically these will be a bit taller and have a larger bowl than. In general reds are bigger and bolder wines so they require a larger glass to allow all those aromas and flavours to emerge.
Typically this glass will be more U shaped and upright, allowing the aromas to be released while also maintaining a cooler temperature. The white wine glass style that’s best for younger whites has a slightly larger opening directing the wine to the tip and sides of the tongue to taste its sweetness. The glass for more mature white wines will be straighter and taller to dispense the wine to the back and sides of the tongue to taste its bolder flavours.
We have compiled the four most common glasses for you to drink your whiskey from:
The Old Fashioned Glass – or Whiskey on the Rocks
The Shot Glass – for fast ingestion
The High Ball Glass – for drinking Whiskey in cocktails
The Snifter Glass – for drinking Whiskey neat
Most people are familiar with the word “head” when it comes to talking about beer. The head is important because it acts as a sort of lid to trap the volatiles in the beer. We have compiled the most common glasses for you to drink your beer from:
Pint Glass – Best for crisp Wheat beers
Beer Mug – The thick walls ensures that your beer stays cooler for longer
Goblet – Tend to be more delicate and thin, thus maintaining a nice head
Snifter – The wide bowl allows the aromas to escape, enhancing the taste
Tulip – Not only helps trap the aromas but also maintains large heads
Flute – Ideal for light fizzer beers
Stange – Amplifies the flavour when drinking a light beer
Tasting or Sampler – These can be found in all shapes and sizes, typically the idea is you have a rare or nice beer, it’s a great way to split and everyone experiences the full flavour.
The world of spirits and cocktails glasses is varied, so here the most common types you’ll find:
Cordial – These are small stemmed glasses designed to hold just the right amount of your favourite drink
Tumbler – Basically a flat-bottomed glass with a wide body and a typically simpler shape that opens up at the mouth
Martini – Like a wide bowl with a thin stem
Shot – A simple short glass cylinder that hold just a small amount
Slim Jim – This is the good old fashioned tall narrow glass that is universally used
What‘s the difference between Irish whiskey and Scotch whiskey?
The first main difference is the fact that Irish whiskey is from Ireland and Scotch whiskey is from Scotland. However, there are some distinctive elements:
Irish whiskey is made with a blend of malted and unmalted barley in the pot stills phase. Irish whiskey is usually triple-distilled, which results in a smoother, high alcohol spirit.
Scotch whiskey is made from 100% malted barley and is typically double distilled in copper pot stills. When that product comes from a single distillery, it’s known as a single malt. Different varieties of blends may include two or more single malts, or some combination of single malts with single grains.
Gin seems to be in vogue at present, what is the reason for this?
There are many distilleries producing their own ‘premium gin’ using different blends of herbs, spices and fruits.
Gin is produced more quickly than whiskey (no barrel aging required) therefore after distillation begins, the process is quick and the producer can begin selling!
With a style makeover and quirky packaging, it is attracting a younger market!
Do you offer tasting courses/nights?
We do tasting nights seasonally, please keep an eye on our Events & Bookings section and our social media platforms which will have a list of all up and coming events. Alternatively we can arrange tailor made events to suits your requirements.
Do you deliver nationally and internationally and if so what are the costs?
Yes we do and are happy to deliver to you wherever you are in the world. We use the trusted services of An Post and DHL and you can take a look at our rates here.
Can I taste your beverages before I purchase?
Not all wines are available for tasting purposes but we will do our best to help you taste the wine you are interested in or something similar.
Do you offer a discount if buying in bulk?
Yes we do and would be happy to discuss your requirements prior to purchase ensuring you get the best possible deal.
If I buy an item from your website, can I include a personalised gift note with it?
Yes, we would be delighted to handwrite a note for you. Simply add your message in the message box when ordering.
Are the prices on your website the same as in your shop?
Yes, all prices are the same. You may purchase through our website directly or from the shop on John Street in Kilkenny City, Ireland.
Do you accept the Horizon Card?
Yes, we do. If you are a tourist, simply swipe your Horizon Card when making a purchase in store. This will eliminate the need for you to fill out paperwork when claiming your sales tax (VAT) back on the sale.