Do you find yourself always ordering the same bottle of wine when you’re out to dinner? Or when you go to buy a bottle of wine do you tend to grab that reliable “go to” bottle each time? For most of us, when you finally take time to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine, you want to know you are going to really like it. So, we all find ourselves selecting the same varietal if not the same winery. Rarely do people seem to venture out and try something new, and when we do, it feels a little like playing Russian roulette. Sometimes you find a great wine, and sometimes you’re dumping it down the sink.
Trying new wines are fun and since starting the Pocket Wine Journal and writing this blog, I have found myself looking for new wines to drink. Knowing where to look and who to ask is a little more taxing than one would think. Here are some easy access resources when looking for new wines.
A good place to start that works for me is reading wine magazines or blogs. The key is to force yourself to read about wines you might not initially find interesting. Learning about wines that might not be at the top of your list will help peak your interest in something new. Pull the article, print out the blog or save the name on your phone, so that you can refer back to it the next time you are out to dinner or buying a bottle. Knowing what’s peaked your interest before staring at a long wine list or thousands of bottles in your local wine store will help you venture out and try something new.
Another place I tend to look for suggestions is a local wine shop. Wine shop owners or their staffs are friendly, engaging and full of information. I always find them ready to help with excellent recommendations. I’ve learned the key is to engage them in a discussion about what you like. The really good shops will engage you by asking a lot of questions to zero in on something you’ll really enjoy. They will ask you a few questions, and then they will start making recommendations of some wines to try. Many times while in the process of helping you find one wine, the shop owner will point out several others along the way. This happened to me just the other day when I was looking for a domestic Pinot Grigio. In the process the owner pointed out a sparkling wine by the same wine maker. Even though I wasn’t looking for a sparkling wine, I plan on returning soon to give it a try.
Another resource is a wine bar or restaurant. This works great if you are in town or traveling. I find this is a great chance to try a flight of three new wines and compare them against one another. I had a friend who was sharing her story of a great wine she found while traveling in Washington by stopping in a local wine bar. When she travels, she only tries wines from the area or asks for a recommendation from the waiter. She explained to the waiter what kinds of wines she enjoys and asked for him to recommend a local wine. She now has a great Washington red blend added to her list of favorites.
Last but not least, ask your friends. We all have friends with good taste in wine. A good friend recently shared some amazing Brazilian wine with us. It was something I never would have tried without his recommendation. Friends may be the best resource of all because they are the people we enjoy spending time together drinking wine. After all, sharing wine with friends is fun.