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What's Up Magazine

Learning to Love Wine

Nov 10, 2010 11:58PM ● By Anonymous

• Plan ahead. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or dining out, know what you are planning to eat and decide when you’ll want to have wine with your meal. Will it be as a cocktail before the meal? With the appetizer and/or main course or with dessert? Call the restaurant ahead of time and ask them to e-mail or fax you the wine list so you can research various wines and decide on your selection even before you arrive.

• Keep a record. Start jotting down the names of wines that you’ve had and liked. Take a photo of the label with your cell phone and start training your palate to smell the bouquet, discern the wine’s characteristics, and taste the various flavor notes.

• Start having some fun with wines. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Expand your repertoire beyond the tried-and-true Pinot Noir, and break some rules. Did you know that sparkling wine goes extremely well with your main course? It’s not exclusively red wine with beef and white wine with fish anymore. If you think the wine you’ve uncorked is bad, send it back, or return it to the wine shop where it was purchased. If it was a gift, use it for cooking.

• Try new wineries. Seek out local vineyards when you travel, sample local wines, and keep asking questions. Attend wine-tasting events and develop a relationship with your local wine shop, where the operators are usually quite knowledgeable. Let them tell you about specials, seasonal opportunities, and selections to order, serve, or bring to friends.

• You don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy a great bottle of wine. There are several terrific wines for less than $15. If you love a wine that’s just too pricey for your budget, ask about the wine producers’ “second label.” The characteristics of the wine will be similar, but the price could be shockingly affordable.