Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wine Shop Savvy

Step into a wine country wine shop and you'll meet all kinds of attractive bottles from small and lesser-known producers, beckoning you to take them home. Between unfamiliarity and hefty price tags, it can be tough to make right choices - and these days, no one wants to blow money on wine you don't truly enjoy. Your best bet is to enlist the help of the wine specialist. Talk about wines or grape varietals that you've enjoyed in the past, as well as flavors or wines that don't do it for you. Like big fruit, in-your-face reds? Or are you more of a medium-bodied aromatic white wine kinda person? If you have a special dish or dinner party in mind, share that too. Describe key facts about preparation (outdoor grilling or poached?), sauces (butter-sage or chile verde?) or theme (summer salad with the girls or meat-and-potatoes for Monday night footballers?). These clues help wine specialists hook you up with wines to match your palate and needs. Finally, be honest about what price range is comfortable for you. Fifteen bucks your limit today? Perhaps a value-priced Spanish garnacha (grenache) is just the ticket. The more you share with an in-the-know wine specialist, the better your chances of popping the cork of a wine you won't soon forget.

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