Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 23rd 2014 Contents |WINE|
AS WE SAID IN last week's article, the subject of
wine shopping can be extensive, and I can write
miles on this topic. However, I will try and stay
close as possible to the absolute basics on this
topic. The idea here is to provide you with enough
information so that you can make informed deci-
sions when looking for that perfect bottle of wine,
or generally wine shopping. Last week I wrote on
1) choosing the right place to shop and 2) not let-
ting yourself be intimidated. This week I continue
with some more shop talk.
MAKE A PLAN.
As strange as this may sound, one good way to go
about conquering wine intimidation is to plan to get
familiar with the different varietals over a period of
time; let's say over six months. For the first three
months you shop for only whites, and the next three
months reds. Over the course of the white-wine
months, plan to try four different white varietals,
sampling two or three of each. For example, say you
start with Chardonnays; the first three times you go
to the store, buy a different Chardonnay. The next
three times, try different Sauvignon Blancs. The
three times after that, bring home some Pinot Gior-
gios. After you have experienced several white vari-
etals, move on to reds. Remember, it doesn't matter
what you choose, as long as it is different each time.
The goal here is to get your feet wet and to build up
a reservoir of wine experiences so that you begin to
know the flavours you love, the flavours you like, and
the flavours you are not fond of.
REALISE THAT NO
PRICE IS TOO SMALL.
You do not have to spend a fortune to drink a good
wine. If you are going to a friend's home for
lasagne, a $300 bottle of wine is not only unnec-
essary, but one could agree, it's out of place. You
can get a good bottle of wine for less than half that
price that will pair perfectly with the lasagne. One
of the discoveries I have learnt, and very early in
my wine career, is that wine professionals often
buy very reasonably priced wines. Wine pros care
about what's inside the bottle --- the cheaper the
better. It's often people who do not know a lot
about wines who pay enormous amounts for it,
hoping that the price will be some sort of assur-
ance of quality. Now, do not get me wrong, as I am
not talking about the rare and very special wine,
like the case of 1978 Romanee-Conti that was sold
for USD474,000 at Christie's auction last year ---
an auction record. Unlike cars and stereo systems,
there are very good wines at all prices.
THAT SAID, DO NOT BE AFRAID
TO TREAT YOURSELF.
There are extraordinary wine experiences to be
had, and for many of these, the wines are expen-
sive. While you don't have to spend a lot on wine
on a regular basis, occasionally springing for a spe-
cial bottle enriches your wine knowledge and ex-
perience, and can be very satisfying.
THINK OF WINE AS A WAY TO TRAVEL.
You may not be able to get to Tuscany, or the
south of France next summer, but you can cer-
tainly have a lot of fun experimenting with Tuscan
or southern French wines. Again, it doesn't matter
where you begin. If you are fascinated by Australia,
start there. If you've never tried a wine from Spain,
try one now. Ask the wine shop clerk to point out
a couple of wines that are classic examples from
places you have chosen, then ask for as much in-
formation as possible about those wines.
BE ENDLESSLY CURIOUS.
Remember, you are not the only one who doesn't
know what is inside of all those bottles. Most peo-
ple don't. The wine drinkers who have the most fun
and learn the most are those who have the
courage to be curious. And being curious means
being willing to ask questions. What does this wine
taste like? That's the most natural and reasonable
question you can ask.
FINALLY, USE FOOD AS A LANGUAGE.
If you are trying to describe to the store clerk the
kinds of wines you like and you are lost for words,
think about food. Wines can be big and juicy like a
steak; fresh and light like a salad; or spicy and bold
like a Mexican sauce. It isn't necessary to use tech-
nical terms; in fact, they can get in the way.
These are your basics to go wine shopping, your
experience can be quite interesting and rewarding
if you follow some of the very fundamentals that I
have shared with you. Next week, I will talk about
Vintages, and how much do they matter. Have fun
One 5-oz glass of typical white wine contains about 104
calories; a typical red contains about 110. Wines that have a
small touch of sweetness, such as some Rieslings, may have
an additional 5 to 10 calories. By comparison, the same
amount of grape juice has about the same number of calories
---102. So, will it be fermented or unfermented grape juice?
<< A SIP ON CALORIES!
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