Wine: The perfect bottle

Daisy BlacklockYouGovLabs writer
November 17, 2011, 3:44 PM GMT+0

Last week, ShoppingLab sought to root out your preferences when it comes to enjoying wine.

The vast majority of the wine aficionados who took part in this ShoppingLab survey stated either a strong or fair interest in their wine selection, manifestly giving some thought to the origins of grapes used or how well a given wine has aged, along with the reputation of a vine-growing region for the quality of its produce; its bouquet.

Alone or with friends, buying a gift, whether it’s a hot or cold day – our poll suggested that these things make all the difference to when it comes to choosing wine.

But the deliberation doesn’t stop there; as any sommelier will tell you, assessing the balance of flavours to match wine with cuisine is a fine art. But it seems ShoppingLab respondents also factor in the situation they might find themselves in socially when it comes to weighing up wines – as we found when we presented you with several different scenarios and asked, what do you consider when picking out the perfect bottle?

Picture This

Picture this: A warm evening at home in the summer

Most concerted wine-drinkers would choose a chilled Australian white, either a Chardonnay (“crisp and refreshing - a great antidote to a warm balmy evening”) or a Pinot Grigio (“crisp dry and light on the palate”).

Picture this: A cold winter’s evening

Over two-thirds of our wine-drinkers would select a red ‒ a French Merlot or Bordeaux, or Australian Shiraz. According to Don, a ShoppingLab wine-drinker, French Merlot “is the best ever wine for any occasion, especially when a robust flavour is called for”.

Picture this: A night out with friends

Just over a third of our regular wine-drinkers would tend to go for something ‘longer’, such as a real ale, gin & tonic, or vodka with a mixer.

Which all suggests that for our wine-quaffing ShoppingLab respondents, wine is best-suited for civilised unwinding in comfortable domesticity, and seems the most enjoyable (and cost-effective) way for our wine-drinkers to avoid disappointment.

ShoppingLab sommeliers: Your wine-food matches

Food and wine – the ultimate pairing. In homage to this, ShoppingLab put three different meals with a complexity of flavours to our respondents, and asked them to marry each off with the perfect wine. We began with:

“A roast rib of beef, seasoned lightly with garlic, black pepper and fresh thyme, served with roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables and a traditional gravy”

Considering this proposition, our regular wine-drinkers decided that in the main, a French red was best-suited to beef, preferably a Bordeaux.

“‘Spaghetti Pomodoro’, or ‘Spaghetti tossed in fresh tomato, basil, garlic, and olive oil’

This split opinion among wine-drinkers. Most people opted for an Italian red, and Chianti in particular. Chianti is simply “designed for spaghetti - or was it the other way round?” one of you enthused. “A nice light Chianti will set off the tomatoes without offering too much competition

“Typical Bengali-style curry, with meat or vegetables sautéed with a mixture of tomato, onion, garlic and fresh ginger, and spices which may include: cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, chillies, peppercorns, cumin, turmeric, coriander and mustard seeds.”

A good drink guaranteed

Exciting as it is to try something new, there are undoubtedly wines that all of us return to – our fail-safe wines that are always a good drinker. So we asked you – what are your dead-certs? ShoppingLab has collected your most popular choices below, along with your feedback for each.


Cabernet Sauvignon: “I like the taste of the grape, it's powerful and full bodied and they're rarely bad wines”; Itis generally easy to drink, offers variety and generally good at any age, although does get better over time. Chateauneuf du Pape: “Always a good bottle of wine for a reasonable price”; it is slightly complex, has depth, flavour, and structure.”Merlot: “No matter what winery they come from you can normally be certain they are similar”; “Easy to drink at any occasion without worrying about temperature or accompaniment”


Sauvignon Blanc: “A good all-rounder”; “Genteel, fairly fruity flavour, goes well with nibbles, Chardonnay drinkers will drink it as will people like me who like their wines dry.”Pinot Grigio: “Goes well with many dishes. Most Pinot Grigios are OK”; “Clean-tasting wine.”Zinfendel: “Sweet”; “Good…it reminds me of when I used to live in California.”

Labs Method statement

YouGovLabs research is anecdotal, with polls being open to all panellists who wish to take part. In contrast to YouGov’s Public Opinion polling, YouGovLabs seeks to understand the attitudes of specific subsets of people: sports fans tell us how they feel about sports and music fans tell us how they feel about music, for example. YouGovLabs results are unweighted, and figures reported do not reflect the attitudes of the population as a whole.