Food, Wine & Just Good Living With SaucyJoe

It started with a love of food, wine & fun and blossomed into a maddening pursuit of the best recipes, techniques, grills, smokers, wines, crafted beers, rubs, marinades and sauces... We do more than play with our meat though -- we review and discuss all things cooking, drinking, reading, laughing and living at SaucyJoe's.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Everything you always wanted to know about selecting the right wine……….*

Resident wine expert David Borzo steers us in the right direction for finding the right wine for any occasion. I find that I'm guilty of not following these guidelines, but am changing my ways!! Just have to get past the pretty labels.

Number One Rule: Don’t let anyone tell you what you like. There is no “right” bottle of wine that works for everyone; we all have different tastes and needs. Your tastes are as unique as you are, and if you like a wine, you like it.. Even if someone tells you not to.

Patronize a shop where you can sample wines. Reading reviews and reading the label information just won’t tell you enough. You need to try different varietals, different styles, different regions, and different producers. There are different countries, different vintages, (and non vintage wines), different methods of productions, and different wine-makers. Tasting wine is the only way to develop your tastes.

Tell your wine merchant what the occasion is for the wine; formal or informal, the wine experience of the guests, and the type of event. These items all can have a great deal to do with the right selection, and the wine merchant will help strike a balance.

Don’t buy wines based on the label. This may seem like an obvious point to some, but deserves a special note. It has become a huge segment in the wine industry today - Mass marketing of wine with fun labels featuring cute furry animals, ironic humorous quotes or provocative sayings. Don’t let the label fool you in to buying a bad wine.

Be careful of age. Many wines are not “built to age” and may start to decline after just a few years. I f you want a fresh and vibrant wine, ready to drink now, let your merchant know. If you are looking for a wine that is built to be “age-worthy”, let your merchant know that. (A great wine, properly stored, can develop in the bottle for many years. Flavors and nuances come forth over time, tannins soften, and the wine develops gracefully).

A “Great Wine” does not mean an expensive wine. Don’t be fooled by price tags. They can’t tell you that you’ll like the wine or not, and price often does not speak to quality as much as to scarcity or name recognition.

Patronize a shop where they provide personal attention to assist you. We all can use some guidance to help understand the multitude of varietals and styles of wines available. Personal attention to your tastes and needs will help decide what work best for you.

Tell your wine merchant how much you are willing to spend. Let them tailor their recommendations to your taste and budget. There are hundreds of great wines out there that are very reasonably priced.

Matching Food with Wine is of course of paramount importance. A basic rule: There are not many hard fast rules. Don’t get stuck in the old cliché of “White wine for chicken, red wine for beef“. (And Champagne is not only for dessert!) Again, your wine merchant can help pair up the right wine for your menu, and provide many options.

People often start with a lighter, sweeter wine, and that’s fine. A medium German Riesling for instance is a great departure point for beginners. You may continue to gravitate towards fruitier wines as you continue to develop tasting experience. Or you may start to develop a taste for a more robust and heartier wine. It’s all good.

Learning what wines are best for you is a continuous journey, not a means to an end. Work your way along the path as you live life. You may experience a few clunkers along the way, but you will also come across many sublime moments of appreciation of the noble grape!

* ….but were afraid to ask


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