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When it comes to wine, I am a clueless human being. All that stuff about the bite, the body and the bouquet leaves me nodding along like the dog in the Churchill adverts.
Ask me to taste it and my response is generally, ‘Yep, tastes nice’, while swirling my glass and tentatively sniffing, looking for some ‘legs’ to appear – whatever they are.
Faced with choosing a bottle in the supermarket or a restaurant, I used to panic in the face of overwhelming choice and choose something mid-range and hope for the best.
And then I got the Vivino app, which is basically Shazam for wine. You simply take a photo of the bottle or type in its name, and the app magically tells you whether it’s a Good Wine™.
Each wine has an average score out of five, with some of the most popular boasting thousands of reviews, while other lesser-known varieties have less than one hundred.
I’ve decided that anything scored above four stars is good enough for me. And as I’m on a budget, I’m more likely to choose a bottle under a tenner that has hundreds of reviews, than a more expensive wine with a higher rating but fewer reviews.
Like other online retailers, you can scroll through recent reviews and see what other people think of the wine you’re considering buying. You can also add your own notes (which are private) or reviews (public) after trying it, making you feel like a true wine connoisseur, even though you know naff all other than that it tasted good.
Vivino is not just about finding the best wines, but finding the best value. The app will compare prices at a range of retailers and you can sign up to alerts for deals on well-rated bottles.
The app will also allow you to explore your own wine preferences to find the best options for your budget. I opt for a red wine that’s bold and fruity, and costs under a tenner, andI’m met with a rather fabulous array of bottles that I’ve never heard of including a cheeky Sicilian number which thoroughly appeals.
Nowadays I will unashamedly spend a good 10-15 minutes (maybe even more) in the wine aisle, taking photographs of each wine label and carefully scrutinising the score.
The app has really come into its own when traveling abroad: I managed to make sense of the extensive wine aisle of a supermarche in the south of France without having to look like a clueless Brit. It’s also incredibly useful when you want to take a nice bottle to your mate’s dinner party or when buying wine as a gift.
Let’s raise a glass to my pocket wine buff helping me learn how to adult.
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