I love wine. If you've been around me, its my first choice of drink 90% of the time, and I am starting to learn more and more about it.
If you think you don't like wine, don't knock it til you've tried it! I tried red wine a couple years ago and almost spit it out. Now, I love even some of the driest, earthier red wines. It does take some time getting used to, but when you are around certain people, are invited to dinner parties, or events, sometimes the drink choices are limited an it helps to know a thing or two about wine and spirits. If you find yourself in this position and don't know anything about wine or don't know what to drink or what you like, don't panic, you can know some of the basics and look like you know what your doing.
In no way am I any type of wine master, but I know a little and I am learning the who, what, when and why's of the industry. There is so much to know about wine; the noble 18 grapes, the difference between wine and spirits, the various ways to identify and describe wine, knowing the dessert and sparkling wines, the various glasses to serve wine, and so much more! There is literally a whole world of wine knowledge that most people don't know, but here is my beginner "WINE-O 101".
1. Red= meats, White= fish. If you are trying to impress someone, just remember this basic rule. It's not a big deal if you don't follow this, because some wines can go well with almost anything. You want to drink a more full bodied wine with a heavier dish, and a lighter wine with lighter dishes. Pastas, salads, and other dishes can be tricky when choosing a wine also, but once you've opened up to new experiences and learn more about wine, it will become easier and make more sense when you focus more on the characteristics of the wine.
2. Look like a master sommelier when you order! -when ordering the wine, make sure it is the right bottle that you've ordered. It's ok to order the cheaper wine, because the sommelier put it there for a reason. And if you aren't very adventurous, order something you may be familiar with. For instance, if you usually buy an eight dollar bottle of chardonnay at the grocery store, the South African Pinot at the restaurant will be a totally different ballpark for you.
Most places, the server will pour a small amount for you to taste, at this point you probably don't know what to look for to make sure the wine is good, but give it a table top swirl to open the wine and expose the aroma, smell and then taste it! Your friends will surely be surprised by this. Wine Folly shows a great example on how to do this, along with standing social swirl. http://winefolly.com/tutorial/how-to-swirl-wine/
3. Buying a bottle of wine.
First, determine if your wine is for entertaining guests, or for after a hard days work. If you are entertaining guests, be mindful of the environment; business, friends/family, or girls night. Also consider the time of day, and food you are serving. Depending on the store, wines will be stocked/or displayed by grapes; whites or reds. A large store similar to HEB may be displayed by regions or . Start with knowing if you want a white or red wine. Don't be intimidated by the many selections. If you are unsure of what to buy, find a bottle that may describe the wine on the label, (it's ok to cheat, it's there to help you). Some labels, mostly new world, will tell you if it is bold or light, sweet and fruity, or dry and earthy.
4. If you would like to try wine and haven't before, or are more of a white wine and want to try red, here is a list of some of the very affordable/cheap wines I started off drinking and some that I enjoy now. My favorite place to shop for wine is HEB, its great even if you're a novice because of the selection. Other great places to shop are Total wine, or even your local grocery or corner store. I'm still new to ordering from distributers and retailers online that provide wine that I cannot find at local retailers, and once I have more experience I will update you guys!
Pinot Noir - this is my favorite. I like to try different brands because there is always a difference in how the vineyards make the wine. But once you find the perfect one, it will be hard to stop drinking it. This is a lighter red that can really be enjoyed anytime. Some good cheap brands to try are Seven Daughters, Menage a Trois and Kendall Jackson.
Red Blends - red blends or winemakers reds are a good starting red depending on the wine notes (notes are basically like flavors that experienced wine tasters are able to taste and describe, flavors such as a certain berry, oak or chocolate). Brands to try are Chain Gang Pitch Black Red (this is a more full bodied wine to enjoy with steak), Messina Hof Beau Naturally Sweet Red -this is a Texas sweet red that is catered to white wine lovers. It has a good flavor and is sweet, obviously! Apothic Red is also pretty decent, a little more bold, but good. If you read the labels of the red blends you may get a better feel of how it may taste.
I recently enjoyed Cupcake Vineyards Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. They are very crisp and fruity, but not too sweet.
Sauvignon Blanc - St. Supery Estate Vineyards Napa Valley is a delicious refreshing wine, with a fruity, citrus flavor.
Moscato- Rosatello Winery
Stella Rosa Platinum, Italy and Cupcake Vineyards
If you have anymore questions, or even suggestions of wine, wine tastings in Houston or just want to sit down and discuss some things over a glass of your favorite wine, don't hesitate to email me, or leave a comment!