How do you choose wine?

Tonight we opened this….It’s a 2004 Imagery Cabernet Franc. Imagery winery is located in Sonoma Valley and is known for the labels they put on the outside of the bottle.  Sure, what’s inside (the wine) is quite good too, but tourists and locals flock to the winery to see the gallery as well as sample fine wines, play bocce and picnic on their patio.

The winery itself was founded by the Benziger family as their high-end label. Winemaker Joe Benziger decided there was some fruit that was too good to go into their well-known Benziger label and Imagery was born. Every vintage they commission some of the world’s best artists to design labels for the over 15 wines they produce. If you ever find yourself in Sonoma Valley, it’s worth a visit for sure.

Tonight’s bottle was paired with rib-eye steaks topped with a Bourbon mushroom sauce, grilled corn and sautéed veggies. But that (was and is) another post. The wine made my mind go in a totally different direction.

How do you choose wine?

Most people aren’t lucky to live close to wine country. And even if you do, daily life gets in the way of spending days and hours tasting wine all the time. So, picture yourself standing at the grocery store, liquor store, BevMo, etc… How do you pick that perfect wine for tonight’s dinner? By the way, I know it’s tonight’s dinner because the average wine is bought and then consumed within three hours.

Do you go with your classic tried and true wine? You know, the one you’ve been drinking for years. It’s good, but always leaves you wanting more. Do you pick the one that’s on sale on the bottom shelf? If it’s under $5, it works for me! Does the display at the end of the aisle work for you? Or do you just close your eyes and reach out and grab something? Just hoping it’s going to be okay. I’m really curious.

Research shows that for some of you it’s the design of the label. And that’s how I ended up down this road. I really like this label on the bottle of Imagery. I’m not sure why (I have a hard time describing what I like about art), but it just captivated me. I did taste the wine before I purchased it though – that’s not usually possible for in-store buyers.

So there you are just strolling the aisle and a label catches your eye. You’ve seen it before? Maybe. But maybe you just like the design. Try it. The only way you’re going to know if you like a wine is if you try it. Period.

I know there are some of you that know about growing regions and varietals and what grows best where. But I’m guessing that’s the minority out there.

So, here’s my recommendations:

*Try the same varietal from different producers in the same area to get an idea of what the varietal tastes like.

*Try different varietals from the same area to see what qualities the area imparts.

Then, when you feel comfortable with that:

*Try the same varietal from different states or countries to see what soil, sunlight and heat can do to change that wine.

*Then move into different varietals from different states.

By then, you’ll be an expert! Or at least your friends will think so. The bottom line is have fun with it. Wine should be fun, not challenging.

And don’t forget to leave some room in there for the labels that catch your eye. You might find a new ‘classic’ wine that has a stunning label.


1 Comment

Filed under choosing wine

One response to “How do you choose wine?

  1. good, informative post Chris!

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