Walking into an ABC, supermarket or any liquor store can be intimidating. All those wines to choose from, but what to do? As a Wine Consultant, I see and hear the same thing every day… “Nope, just looking.” Then, the guest picks up the old go-to. Usually a mediocre name brand or sometimes a very well respected name brand, but not necessarily a good vintage—or maybe a vintage that is not ready to drink yet. The mass consumers of wine who may have just the tiniest bit of wine knowledge grab what they think is good, heard was good or maybe something that’s simply popular. I wish these people would give me three minutes to educate them. Well here goes my three minutes…
So, you know that you like a very popular Chardonnay from say… Sonoma, CA. In fact, that’s all you drink. Every week for the past 10 years. Surely your palate noticed that each year tasted at least a little bit different? Maybe you also know that, in general, CA Chards are not meant to age well, so going back 3 years maximum is a good rule. So now we have determined that you like 2012 Chards from Sonoma. Why not try some different ones? There are many great options available in the $13-30 price range. Go for it!
Moving on. You love a good Napa Cab. Have no problem paying $70 for one of those name brands that sell themselves. Do yourself a favor, Google Napa vintages, or ask your fabulously informative ABC wine consultant, and he or she will tell you that 2007 was an amazing year. As was 2008. 2009 wines matured early in the bottle and are drinking great now and for years to come. So why are you buying that popular $65 Cab from 2011??? It’s not that great yet… maybe in 3 years! Browse the shelves and see what’s available in your price point from 2007, 2008 or 2009. I bet you’ll find your new favorite!
You know I have to touch on Italian Pinot Grigios. Yes, a certain name brand put this wine on the market, but there are truly some amazing wines out there for less money. And did you know that Pinot Grigio is also called Pinot Gris in certain areas? Put down that old standby that has not been good since 1987 and try something new. Maybe a Pinot Gris from Oregon or Alsace France. Both regions are known for this varietal. They are delish and affordable.
So, my wine loving friends, my three minutes is up. Thanks for listening to me and I hope you take this information, head out and begin to explore the wonderful world of wine. It’s not as intimidating as you may think. In fact, it’s an amazing adventure not just for your palate, but all your senses! Enjoy.
Bill Knowles, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits wine consultant
Follow me on Twitter @abcwinebillk