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How To Choose A Wine

Updated on January 12, 2012

Learn About Wine

The best way to become knowledgable about wine is to experience it. After a lot of wine tasting, you become an expert on what is good. It will be easier to know how to choose wine after some tours and help from the following tips.

Every time I need a bottle of wine, I find myself in the same situation - wandering aimlessly through the wine aisles at my grocery store, looking at the labels, wondering if the wine is as tasteful as the label is eye-catching. I needed to come up with a better buying technique. Since new wineries and vintages are constantly popping up, it's impossible to know everything about all of the wines available.

Now, I like to keep a wine tasting journal, which is a helpful tool when you want to learn about wine. In it you can keep track of the type of wine, the producer, vineyard, vintage, price and how you rated it. There is also a place for pasting the wine label in the journal I have. Mine is specifically a wine journal but you could use any for this purpose. Hopefully, this would keep you from buying a bad bottle twice. I think I may have done that in the past! It definitely helps you to know what good bottles to buy in the future because after drinking a few you do forget!

Once you start keeping track of the details of a wine and how you rated it, you will have a much better idea of which wines to buy in the future. You will know if you prefer wines from a certain territory like maybe Napa Valley. Also, you will know what bouquets you find most pleasing, along with preferences toward sweet or dry.

Go Wine Tasting


Choosing the right wine - with your senses!:

The best thing to do, especially if you are new to drinking wine, is to go wine tasting. Look for a winery in your area and take some friends with you. It can be a fun social event. Once you get familiar with the different bouquets (smells or flavors) of wines, you'll start to get an idea of which types you enjoy. You will find out how acidic you like your wine. Wines low in acid will be smooth where those high in acid will be crisp. Notice also how you enjoy the finish or aftertaste.

I would recommend trying just four or five different wines per trip. It can be overwhelming to try too many. Plus, it can be hard to walk out of the winery after too much tasting!

For The Serious Connoisseur - Wine Tours

Maybe you already have a pretty good idea of the wines that you like. You have tried several varieties, you have been to the local wineries, but you really want to get more from the experience. Maybe it is time for a wine tour and tasting further from home. If California is not your home, the Napa Valley would be a great place to spend a few days just tasting and experiencing your love of wine. If want to expand your horizons further, you may want to try a European tour.

Some of my favorite wines come from the Napa Valley and there are some great tours to be found in Northern California. California Wine Tours offers a tour for a group of any size. In order to accommodate any size group, they have a wide range of vehicles. Whether you ride in their Lincoln Town car, suburban, stretch limo, custom van, mini bus or motor coach, you will be getting a luxurious ride.

While you sit back and let the tour guide do the driving, you will be sipping on a complimentary glass of sparkling wine. You can either choose the wineries to go to or go with one of the preset itineraries.

This has to be the best way to get to know your wines and wineries - and the most fun! It would be a good idea to take along a notebook or journal for making notes on the different wines that you try. Of course you could just buy a bottle of each of your favorites.


Join A Wine Club

Maybe you don't have the time or money available to take a travel for a wine tour. If that is the case, why not have the wine come to you?

Wine of the month clubs are a great way to experience different wines each month without having to make the choices yourself. This is very helpful for the novice wine drinker to get started on the business of tasting.

To make it an even more enjoyable experience, it would be fun to start your own wine club. You could still join a wine of the month club but invite a small group of friends to share in the tasting and compare notes.  The club could be as simple or elaborate as you want to make it.  The key is that everyone would be learning about the different wines together.

There are also many already structured wine clubs, especially in California, that you can join for a membership fee.  These usually include tours, tastings and other special events or parties.

Foods That Accompany The Main Wines

 Chardonnay:  seafood, salmon, fish and poultry

Riesling:  seafood, crab, smoked salmon, trout, fish, fatty birds, sauerkraut

Sauvignon Blanc:  turkey, chicken, duck, shrimp, shellfish, cheese, green salad

Pinot Grigio:  mildly spicy foods, salads, sandwiches

Cabernet Savignon:  roast beef, venison, lamb, highly fragrant cheeses

Merlot: game, beef, cheese

Pinot Noir:  lamb, pork, grilled salmon, game, beef stews

*I have found many good bottles just by asking for advise from a wine retailer.  It's good to know if you like a wine more on the sweet side or dry.  They will ask what you are serving and give a recommendation.


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