For one reason or another, choosing a wine can be an intimidating feat. Well, at the Wine Dispensary we like to say, “taking the sophistication out of wine.” Not that we don’t enjoy and appreciate plenty of refined wines, we simply believe wine doesn’t need pretension. Here are some quick tips on how to pick your perfect wine for any occasion to help ease your concerns.
At the Wine Shop
It’s not like you have to spend a huge amount of time studying wine to find and enjoy it, but be open to trying different wines to help you figure out what you like, and what you don’t. After all, a Brie and a Cheddar both taste like cheese, but they are very distinct from one another.
It’s good to arrive at the wine shop with an idea of what you want. Depending on your reason for buying wine, look up good food pairings ahead of time, or search for a wine that’s considered a good party wine, a crowd pleaser that doesn’t need to go with food. Relying on someone at the wine shop to steer you in the right direction, while it can be educational and fun, can also be misleading. They may be reps for only certain labels or have an ulterior motive for suggesting what you should buy.
When it comes to price, the more expensive a wine is, the better it is, and the cheapest wine is the poorest… Just kidding. Buying wine is much like purchasing other items in that big brand names can instantly increase the price. That being said, the reason they are a big brand at all is because they have a reputation for offering consistently good products. There are plenty of great wines out there at very reasonable price points, and plenty of expensive wines that your taste buds simply don’t like.
At the Restaurant
When it comes to wine lists, a good rule of thumb is to take the price of their most expensive entree and go up by about 50%. So if their most expensive fare is a $26 veal dish, the wines the restaurant has worked the hardest to find quality for the price will be approximately $39.
Don’t be embarrassed to order the least expensive wine if you’re on a budget. A trick of the trade is actually to have the lowest quality wine priced 2nd or 3rd from the bottom as restaurants understand the stigma of buying the least expensive wine and hope to capitalize on this psychology.
If you’re having just a glass, feel welcome to ask for a taste before you commit. This is completely legitimate, and some restaurants will even serve you half a glass if you ask.
So next time your in the market for a bottle or a glass, relax, take a deep breath, and remember that it doesn’t have to be intimidating… in fact, it can be fun!