Choosing Wine

10/07/2013

I know, I totally get it. Sometimes choosing wine from big wine selections feels like a guessing game ...close your eyes, spin around and pick! That's why when a friend of mine recently asked how I choose my wine, I was inspired to share with you all my:

Top 10 Wine Selecting Tips

1. Know your flavor profile-
Really it's a lot about trial and error, and educating yourself on what you prefer. Sometimes you're not sure what you like, but you do know what you don't like. Knowing if you like a dry white vs a sweet white will help narrow down your search.
If you're not sure what you like, decide what you don't like.

2. Know what regions you like and don't like for certain grapes-
Once you have narrowed down if you like a dry white or sweet white (same for red), then determine what regions you prefer. I wrote about this in my last wine blog, and the same point applies. A great example is my preference of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc over Chilean or Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.
Pay attention to wine regions.

3. Read the tasting notes on the back-
If it's your first time purchasing a wine you have never tasted then turn the bottle over, usually they will have the flavor profile and tasting notes on the back. They will say if it's crisp, sweet, rich, full , warm... Many times they will even note what kind of meal you might want to pair the varietal with.
The tasting notes on the back are pretty right on most of the time.

4. Wine clubs/ Store sales/ Groupon-
A great way to educate yourself and try new wines is through local retailers and sales. There are a number of great wine clubs you can subscribe to for a case or half a case of wine a month shipped right to your door, eliminating the need to hunt for a new wine. We love going to our local Publix and sampling wine a distributor may have out for tasting. Lastly, Groupon has great deals on wine companies offering a group discount to try their offerings. Personally, I just found one of my new favorites in a Publix BOGO offer. Who knew? (I may or may not have bought them out of said new favorite wine.)

5. Recommendations from friends-
I'm your friend, take it from me:) Seriously though, ask your friends, or even look up #wine on instagram, and pinterest... you may find some great suggestions along with tasting notes.

Learn from your friends!
6. Price point-
Sometimes our hand is forced to purchase certain wines based on our budget and price point. Don't be deceived though, just because it's cheaper doesn't mean it doesn't taste as great as those $30 + bottles. It may just mean they had more supply and priced the vintage accordingly.

7. Food pairing-
Having fish or chicken? Try a white. Having a savory pork dish or filet, you may want a red. Plenty of selections can cross over, but this is the traditional starting point. If you are having something spicy, you may want a sweeter wine to balance it out. It's all about balance and choosing something that will compliment the nuances of your meal.
Choose a wine that will compliment the nuances of your meal.

8. Tastings-
Tastings make for a great excuse to tour the countryside, go on a date, and learn more about the art of wine making. While you are there, you can discover more about what you like. You may find your taste buds shifting in an all new exciting direction, each time you go to a new tasting.
Practice makes perfect right?
9. Find your "Go To"Wine-
Whether you keep a journal or use your phone to take a photo, document what selections you find winners and decide what your "Go To" selection is at the high, mid, and low price points for white and red. When you have your "Go To" you can easily slip in and out of the store for wine when you are on your way home or to an event.

One of my favorite "Go To" wines.

10. Wine blog, magazines, other great resources (lots of free ones)-
Stay up to date with the trends, and expand your knowledge daily, or weekly with great resources like wine blogs, wine magazines (Such as Publix Grape magazine), and other newsletters you can easily sign up for free of charge. 
There are tons of high quality free resources available like Publix Grape Magazine.

Practice truly does make perfect, so enjoy trying all those wines and discovering what you like. Remember to drink responsibly and never drink or drive! 

Enjoy the Journey!

xo-Amy West


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