Lots of people that know me think that I know a lot about wine and I guess that spending a lot of time in the Napa Valley while growing up and being acquainted with family and friends that greatly enjoy wine helps a lot. However, I'm going to share my advice about wine with everyone:
- Drink what tastes good to you at the time. Sure, there are all kinds of "rules" about what to drink with what, but if you really want a glass of white wine with your steak, by all means drink a glass of white wine.
- Don't care about what others think. This is especially true if you're ordering bottles based on price -- the only person in a restaurant that is likely to care about how much you spend on a bottle is the waiter that's watching his tip go up geometrically.
- Hold a sip of wine on your tongue and taste the flavors, but don't announce them. If you think your wine is earthy and peaty and has notes of currant, keep that stuff to yourself -- think in terms of it being undrinkable, crap, ok, good, or awesome.
- Don't be intimidated. If you find yourself in situations where you are frequently choosing wines, go spend an afternoon at a good wine bar with a wide selection and make friends with the bartender. Find a couple of mainstream whites and reds that you like that are likely to be on most wine menus and find a couple of lower production whites and reds that are less likely to be on most menus, but will seem impressive if you dig them out of a menu.
- Don't get upsold. If you get the sense that a waiter, sommelier, dude at a liquor store, etc. is trying to upsell you into expensive bottles, go somewhere else or order a beer. Knowledgeable waiters, sommeliers, etc. know that if they find you a solid bottle at a reasonable price, you are likely to drink more than one and you are likely to come back to their establishment.
- High price is not always directly related to good taste. I once was able to view one of the oldest bottles of wine in the world at the Graycliff restaurant in the Bahamas from 1726 that sells for $200K -- I have to imagine that stuff probably tastes like straight vinegar at this point.
Let me share this quote from Richard Betts, Master Somelier of the Little Nell in Aspen (this is from a recently published article in 5280 Magazine):
Easy enough."My philosophy? Wine should be fun. People get all freaked out about ordering the right wine, but there is not such thing. The right wine is the wine you like. That's it. So find what you like and go for it."
Picture from glovsky225