In the last year I have begun my education in good wine. It started with my wife’s uncle sharing a superb bottle with us on occasion. Time after time he would bring out outstanding bottles of wine. I have to say, I was hooked. I never realized how good wine could be! Probably because I had never tasted anything of quality up until this point. In the past I’ve never been interested in spending too much money on a bottle of wine. That is not to say you have to spend lots of money to find quality wine. When starting out, I think what is hardest, is that there are so many choices. How in the world are you supposed to know what you like? It is so easy to spend a lot of money on a bottle of wine and be dissapointed.
Here are the three keys that I have found in my pursuit to finding and buying good wine.
# 1 – Start out trying different styles of wine. Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah… The list goes on and on, but the point here is that you need to find what you like. A lot of wine’s can be good quality, but just not your style. Once you find a style of wine that you like you can begin to experiment and try different price points. Have fun, maybe invite some friends over for a wine tasting? Have everyone bring a different style. Pinot Noir is a great wine to start with. It’s easy to drink and low in tannins (see # 2 to learn more about tannins). As you try wines with tannins you’ll be able to more easily recognize them. Try this Pinot Noir, it’s one of my favorites.
Ampelos Pinot Noir 2008 Lambda. Ampelos makes several different Pinot Noirs. Make sure to get the Lambda. It’s silky smooth, very tasty, a pleasure to drink. Best of all it’s reasonably priced at about $30 a bottle.
# 2 – Read this book… Kevin Zraly’s Complete Wine Course. The New York Times says it’s “One of the best start-from-scratch wine books ever written.” The book will give you a great overview of how wine is made, where its made (the different regions of the world). You’ll also gain knowledge of the different styles of wine and what makes them different. Get the book here on Amazon.
# 3 – Find someone that knows what they are talking about. Pick their brain, get recommendations, have them help you when making a purchase. If they are passionate about wine, they will enjoy helping you learn what you like.