Sniffing, swirling, comparing tasting notes—there’s no catechism that acquirements about wine can be a boundless and alike alarming experience. But you don’t accept to be a accomplished sommelier to acquisition affection wines that you love, and at a amount that doesn’t about-face your stomach.
The key, says Kevin Boyer, admiral of sourcing for alone online wine club Firstleaf, is to agreement with new wines and assurance your alone preferences. (Firstleaf was launched by MONEY sister advertisement Aliment & Wine.)
The opinions of wine experts and publications, says Boyer—who owns a Napa acreage and has been in the business for 25 years—are abundantly besides the point. “A $15 canteen of wine can be a acceptable wine. A $3 canteen can be good,” he says. “It absolutely depends on your tastes.”
That said, a few rules of deride are acceptable to enhance your amusement of wines up and bottomward the amount scale. Actuality are bristles tips for wine connoisseurs in the making:
1) Aliment matters. If you’re affairs wine to accompany a meal, accede what will brace able-bodied with the menu. Generally, Cabernet Sauvignon goes able-bodied with red meats, while white wines—particularly Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay—enhance angle and balmy craven dishes. For ambrosial food, try a Riesling (a fruity white) or a Syrah (a concentrated red). It’s additionally a acceptable abstraction to brace the arena of the wine with the arena of the aliment you’re eating. “We feel the best of aliment and wine pairings consistently chase the old aphorism ‘If it grows together, it goes together,’” says Boyer. “For archetype the wines of Tuscany with spicy, affluent amazon sauces.”
2) Cut out the average man. Check out wine clubs, like Club W or Boyer’s Firstleaf, which tend to buy anon from wineries in ample quantities and don’t accept to accord with a distributor, enabling them to accumulate prices almost low. And back you appear beyond wines that you absolutely like (or love), try affairs anon from the wineries via their websites, area you can generally acquisition deals on bottles that ability contrarily be out of your amount range, and abode yourself on lists for a aboriginal attempt at decidedly coveted wines that are in abbreviate supply. But amount shouldn’t be the alone consideration. A wine club may allegation you $13 for a canteen that about retails for $100, addendum Boyer, “but if you don’t like it, it’s a bad deal.”
3) Learn from your experience. Ultimately, nothing’s added important that bubbler what you enjoy. Accumulate clue of the wines you like, including label, region, and grape variety. Over time, you’ll body a acidity contour which you can accredit to back aggravating new wines. “I anticipate the accustomed abode for bodies to alpha is with wine varieties or regions they apperceive they like. For example, California Chardonnay or Bordeaux,” says Boyer. There are apps that you can use to clue your wine purchases, while wine clubs about let you amount bottles and body a contour that way.
4) Spiral cap wine (as against to corked) doesn’t beggarly the wine is bargain or not good. In fact, spiral caps are acceptable added accepted for all wine varieties as a cost-cutting measure. Plus, your canteen could break fresher best with a spiral cap, as the cork can taint the wine.
5) Look alfresco the U.S. and France. Acceptable wines are authoritative their way to shelves from all over the world, and bottles from Chile, Argentina, and New Zealand are generally a bigger deal. “Bordeaux, Tuscany and Napa Valley can be appealing big-ticket places to own acreage so the grapes that appear from actuality are artlessly added expensive,” says Boyer. “Even aural accepted countries like the U.S. and France there are almost under-explored and under-appreciated areas like Lodi, Central Coast, and Lake County (U.S.) and Southwest France, Languedoc, and alike Loire Valley (France) area immense amount and affection can be found.”
Ultimately, it’s ok not to accept a go-to or be 100% advised in your alternative process. If you’d rather aloof experiment, aces a amount absolute and amusement yourself to a altered canteen anniversary time to analyze the possibilities.
“I’ll be honest, Two Buck Chuck sauvignon blanc is a acceptable wine,” Boyer jokes, apropos to a Charles Shaw cast anthologized awash at Trader Joe’s, originally for $2.
We’ll alcohol to that.
Firstleaf is a wine club from MONEY’s sister advertisement Aliment & Wine that personalizes wine selections based on your tastes. The club’s appearance include:
Get started by demography this abbreviate quiz about your wine preferences at the Firstleaf armpit and accept a $15 anterior backpack customized to your tastes.
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