• Wine can be so much more than just an accessory to a meal. It can also be a fun and zesty enterprise. In this post I wish to express how much more enjoyment one can have with their wine drinking hobby.

    First and foremost I can’t impress upon you enough how much trying different wines can increase knowledge of wine, pleasure derived from the wine, desire to try new varietals and just plain joy from your discoveries.

    If you like to ease the band-aid off rather than a quick rip. I suggest trying wines that are similar in style.

    Wine style varies even with the same varietals, but often are expressed in the same fashion. I’ve included a list of wine varietals and their typical California expressions.

    Bold wines:

    Cabernet Sauvignon
    Aglianico
    Syrah
    Zinfandel
    Cabernet Franc
    Malbec
    Nebbiolo

    Smooth wines:

    Malbec
    Merlot
    Grenache
    Pinot Noir
    Mouvedre

    Light Red wines:

    Pinot Noir
    Gamay

    Fuller Bodied White wines:

    Chardonnay
    Viognier
    Semillon

    Crisp Bright whites:

    Sauvignon Blanc
    Dry Riesling
    Pinot Gris/Grigio
    Chenin Blanc
    Alvarinho

    So the next time you go to the store try a different varietal in the same category. If you like Cabernet Sauvignon. Try Aglianico. If you like Sauvignon Blanc try Chenin Blanc or Alvarinho. Shaking it up gets your mind pondering the differences in the grapes.

    Put together a wine tasting

    Get some friends together and have everyone bring:
    the same varietal or
    the same varietal but different countries or
    different varietals or
    different varietals different countries.

    Put together a list of everything brought and then taste each wine without looking at the label (pour out the wine into a decanter, or brown bag it) then one by one eliminate the wines as they are drunk off the list. Guess before revealing and as you check them off it will get easier to pick due to the amount of choices.

    Ask questions

    Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Nobody knows everything whether they think they do or not. When you look for a wine to try at the store ask for the wine dude/dudette. When they arrive tell them some key words to help them narrow down the search.

    For example: ‘I want a Full Bodied wine’, or ‘I want a Light Complex red’. You can also ask for different varietals like I talked about earlier. ‘I typically like California Zinfandel and want to try a similar wine, but I want a different varietal just change things up’

    Bring your own wine

    Servers and restaurant owners don’t typically like you to spend less at their restaurant. Therefore they charge a corkage fee to recoup some of their loss when you bring your own bottle of wine.

    I love bringing my own wine because I can do all my own research at the wine store in a stress free environment. When you’re at the table the wine choice can make or break the meal. That’s a lot of unnecessary pressure. Just bring a sparkling wine to start, a white for the appetizers and a red for the mains (or just a white and a red if there are only two of you.) You can tailor your food choices to pair up with the wine if you like.

    Sangria

    Sangria is the bomb for summer relaxation and parties. Sure its sacrilegious to turn a wine maker’s baby into a fruit juice beverage, but its good and I like it. Next party bust out a red and white version of sangria to make for a fun picnic, bbq or beach party.

    The point I’m trying to make is that if you broaden your wine knowledge and add fun to drinking of wine. Then you are going to find that the per dollar enjoyment ratio will skyrocket.