The three "P"s of selecting wines: price,
preference and pairing; keep these in mind when
visiting your local wine merchant and you will likely come away
with a winning wine.
The price you are willing to pay (or not pay)
for a bottle of wine is a key determining factor in selecting a
wine that is right for you. Gone are the days when you could
only buy a "good" bottle of wine for over $30. In today's market
there are plenty of great wines available for around $15, some
for considerably less. So rest assured that you won't have to
drop a bundle of money to experiment with various wines. A
decent wine merchant will be able to give you plenty of
suggestions in your stated price range.
Ahh, preferences. We all have them and they
often change in a moments notice, but with wine preferences let
them be swayed by what you will be drinking them with or who you
will be sharing them with.For example, if you are hosting a
happy hour get together, your preferences might lean towards
"safe" reds and whites. For people that may not be accustomed to
heavier-bodied, heartier wines, give them a break - buy a softer
Merlot or Pinot Noir (sometimes referred to as "Starter Reds").
For a white, who doesn't enjoy a refreshing Gewurztraminer? If
you are seeking to experiment with a new varietal, then talking
to your local wine merchant about wines, styles and labels, that
you have enjoyed in the past and asking for specific
recommendations should provide sufficient direction for another
great find. If you are new to wines and are looking for a few
suggestions - try a Riesling, Gewurztraminer, or a Muscat
dessert wine if sweeter wines suit your fancy. If you prefer a
dry white wine then look for a Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot
Gris or Sauvignon Blanc. As for reds, starting with a Gamay,
Pinot Noir, or Merlot if you do not want anything too complex or
full-bodied. If you are looking to turn up the complexity meter,
then go with a great California Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah (or
Shiraz if its from Australia) or a Zinfandel.
If you are looking for a wine specifically
to pair with dinner tonight, then take into account what the key
ingredients will be. Will it be white or red meat? Will you be
using fresh or dried herbs and what types? Will the dish be
spicy or fruit-filled? These questions can play a key role in
deciding which wines will pair well with specific entrees. In
general, white wines accent lighter flavored meals really well;
while, red wines often compliment heartier meals a bit better.
Keep in mind that pairing foods and wines is 99% personal
preference and 1% science.