guide to wine buying

Introduction to Wine Buying

Tips for Finding and Buying the Best Wine

When it comes to wine, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of different types to choose from. Determining what wine is best suited for you can be quite difficult if you are new to this the wine buying world. Here are 8 ways to buy the best wine possible.

Go to wine tasting events. This is a fantastic way to discover wines that you will enjoy without purchasing a whole bottle to find out if you like it. Many times wine cellars and wineries offer wine tasting as part of their tours. But in recent years, restaurants all over are having wine tastings for as little as $20 for a tasting of a variety of different wines.

Don’t be fooled into thinking only pricey wines are good. You should experiment with wines from all price points and ratings during your introduction to wine buying. Sticking with only expensive wines is a waste of money and could prevent you from finding the perfect wine for you. There are many wines that are tasty and are under $15.

If you are going to a party or a gathering, and you would like to bring wine, try to stick with something that is not too strong. Pinot Noir is a great choice for occasions like this, because it goes with most food. Also, if you find yourself easing into red wine during yor introduction to wine buying, Pinto Noir is a good choice as it is lighter than bolder cabernet or merlot.

Avoid wines on the eye-level shelf in your wine store or grocer. They are put at eye level for a reason. Often, these shelves will be “sold” to larger local wineries that can afford to put their wine in the prime shelf position. Smaller wineries that offer some great wine selections are usually relegated to the upper or lower shelves in the market. Don’t be afraid to experiment during your introduction to wine buying.

When thinking about a wine to pair with your meal, do not forget to include champagne and other sparkling wines while you are learning about wine buying. These wines don’t have to be relegated to special occasions. Keep in mind not all sparkling wines are sweet or dry; they can be anywhere in between. Usually these wines go well at the beginning of the meal. It pairs well with salty snacks and light dishes like cheeses and fruits. However, more and more, these have been paired with fried “comfort foods.” Think items like fried chicken or potato chips drizzled with blue cheese.

When shopping for wine, it’s great to seek advice from wine experts at your local wine store, but don’t let them sway you away from a wine you think you’d like to try. It’s best not to spend a small fortune on any wine until you have a solid understanding of what tastes good to you.

Sweet wines are referred to as dessert wine. They often have alcoholic additives in them to make the flavor even bolder. This creates a syrup-like wine which is great in small doses, one of the reasons it is served is smaller glasses. Pairing it with a savory dessert creates the best course of the meal, so try it at your next dinner party.

Unlike other wines, red wine needs a chance to breathe after opening. So, leave the bottle uncorked for about 30 minutes before your drink it. This gives the wine more time to interact with the oxygen in the air. If you are pressed for time (and willing to spend the money during your introduction to wine buying), pour the wine through an aerator and into a decanter so that it breathes properly first.

Becoming a wine expert doesn’t happen overnight. Follow the tips here and you are well on your way of becoming a wine connoisseur in your own right. Just remember to have fun during your wine education and be sure to drink responsibly.

Buying the Best Wine on a Budget: Tips from a Master Sommelier

What does a wine sommelier really think about wine? You might be surprised. We recently had the opportunity to take a class from Master Wine Sommelier Wayne Belding. Currently there are only 75 Americans who have passed the Master Sommelier course. Mr. Belding travels all around the world to sample new wines and you might be surprised to hear some of his thoughts.

What do you think of screw tops?
“I think they are great! Many wines are tainted by corks. Who ever heard of a bottle that has to have its own special instrument just to open it?” You can see with an answer like that this is not a pretentious man. In fact, his course was “How to Find the Best Wines on a Budget”

One of the things we gathered from his lecture is knowing the different names for wines. For example, a Tempranillo may also be known as a Tinto or Cencibel. A Malbec may also be known as a Portillo. It always good to know these names as they may be lesser priced wines with only a different name.

Are you a fan of white wines? If you enjoy Chardonnay, Mr. Belding recommends going for a Chilean Chardonnay. The prices are much lower than pricey California Chardonnays, yet they taste just as good. For Sauvignon Blanc? Try the New Zealand varieties.

Surprisingly, during this lecture, we never discussed a Merlot or Carbernet. He favors Old Vine Zinfandel over these wines. Why? The root structure of these vines is much better because they are longer and deeper. According to Belding they yield fewer yet more fruitful grapes. We sampled Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel, which retails for about $12.

What does a wine sommelier do to make sure he is selecting the best wine or that his calibration is set, if you will? Mr. Belding makes sure to smell different spices. He says these help him to discern different flavors when he is tasting many different wines. If you do ever have the opportunity to take one of his classes or buy his book, it is a great introduction into the world of wine.