Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Navigating The Wine Store: Part 2

Heya Wine-O's,

If you missed it, here is a recap from yesterday's post:

For many wine consumers, going into a wine store can be slightly (or very) confusing and overwhelming. With the thousands upon thousands of different types of wines, it's difficult to know even how to START the shopping process.

So, to help a bit, I pointed out the fact that most wine stores organize inventory by COUNTRY, ie: a section for French, American, Spanish, and German (etc...)wine. Although it only breaks down the equation a little, it is a start.

Just when you thought you were making progress, I then burst everyone's bubble and brought up the slightly disheartening fact that some countries label their wines based on region, not by grape. For example, a bottle of Italian Chianti will not mention what grape the wine is actually made from. Rather, it is just an assumption that we know that all Chianti is made from Sangiovese.

To scale down the process even more, I highlighted some of what I call the BUZZ wines and BUZZ regions. The BUZZ categories are must-try options for wine lovers.

Now that you know the BUZZ wines & regions for each major wine producing country, we can begin the shopping process.

Step 1: Choose your price range. Now is a great time to remind you that price is not always an accurate indication of quality, although, when it comes to 2 buck chuck it is extremely spot on!But honestly this is not always the case. You can get a fantastic bottle of wine for under $20, and even under $10. So, no need to feel stingey- just choose your price and stick to your guns!

Step 2: Choose the BUZZ region that most interests you. For instance, say that you think New Zealand sounds like a cool place because you're never tried their wines, and because of their obsession with kiwi- the kiwi fruit, the kiwi bird, and heck, the NZ natives even refer to themselves as "Kiwis".

Step 3: Choose a BUZZ wine from your selected BUZZ region. This would be a good time to refer to the list from Navigating The Wine Store: Part 1. So, New Zealand is our chosen BUZZ region, and Sauvignon Blanc is our selected BUZZ wine. Good choice, may I add! Mmmm mmmm here comes delicious grapefruit and perfect acidity!!

Step 4: The next step is choosing the actual bottle. My suggestion? Just choose one. I know some of you may be thinking, "that's hardly helpful- thanks for nothing!", but the truth of the matter is that there are hundreds, heck even THOUSANDS of awesome wines to try from every region. So, refer to step 1 and choose a bottle that fits your budget. If this reckless abandonment scares you a bit, think about how small the risk actually is. Assuming your price range isn't 100's of bucks (I know mine certainly isn't), you can pay a small amount of cash and potentially find an awesome wine that you love. Of course there is the risk that you may hate it, but then at least you've scaled down your taste a bit more. AND if you do "hate it", please refer to my post, Cracking the Wine Codes, to help yourself understand WHY you hate the wine and how to avoid similar wines next time.

Step 5: Congratulations- you have your prized selection!! And, wasn't the whole process sweat and tears free?

Step 6: Find a delicious recipe to perfectly pair with your awesome new wine.
Don't know how to pair wine with food?

You're in luck- I do!

Check back tomorrow for the golden rules of food & wine pairing and how to impress your friends at any dinner party!

Good work and God speed, wine-O's,