How to buy wine
More and more winegrowers are bottling their own wines directly and it is increasingly unusual to find anyone selling wine in cubitainers or barrels. Wine sold in bottles is an excellent guarantee of quality.
Buying wine by the barrel or cubitainer means that the purchaser has to bottle the wine himself.
This requires a certain amount of organisation but can also be a good excuse for an afternoon of fun.
Wine fountains, or BIB (Bag In Boxes) are also proving to be very successful. The wine is contained in a vacuum-packed aluminium foil bag, protected by an outer cardboard box. Each time wine is drawn from the BIB, the bag shrinks, thus keeping the wine in airtight conditions. BIBs are very practical in daily use as the wine keeps for several weeks after opening.
The labelling on a bottle (on both the front and back) really dresses up the bottle and is the only way of identifying its content. The information given is governed by very strict regulations for the benefit of the consumer.
Here are a few principles to help you read wine labels:
The labels on Loire Valley wines are very rich and varied, and are a delight for collectors.
Wines are now very stable and travel well, although you should avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures and be particularly careful not to leave them for long periods of time in your car boot.
Learn to be patient - once they reach the end of their journey, wines should be left to rest for a couple of days before being enjoyed.
Alcoholic beverages are subject to special taxes and duties, indicated by means of a capsule placed at the top of each bottle, or in a document handed over to you by the winegrower or salesperson from whom you have purchased the wine. Note that wine sold in bulk must always be accompanied by such a document.
This document lists the name of the seller, the vineyard, the volume, number of containers sold and the name of the purchaser.
Transporting wine without a capsule or the accompanying document is considered attempted tax evasion and as such is punishable by law.