Over the last decade, wine has been the topic of our conversations and the centerpiece for our intimate dinner parties. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding wine and those who consume it. Wine is personal. Our pallets are different, and finding the “perfect” bottle may take some time. We chatted with Sommelier, and Educator, Charles Springfield about the misconceptions surrounding the wine industry and his top five things we should consider when buying wine.
Understanding Your Flavor Profiles
Everybody has a different response to wine based on that personal palette. So, if you figure out you like something very citrusy or rich and smooth or deep dark berries. If you can decipher that, it can help you hone in on what kind of wines would be better for your palette. So if you do like citrus, then a light white, like Pinot Grigio, will be right for you. If you’re into something rich and creamy, then maybe you want something that has more oak to it, or perhaps you want a full-body red/white. If you’re the person who likes deep dark berries, a Sauvignon Blanc or a Malbec would be right up your alley. When you don’t know the types of grapes, you want to look for, when in a store or restaurant. The flavor profiles you enjoy is a great place to start to help you find what you’re looking for.
Keeping An Open Mind
There are a lot of different stereotypes about wine and the people who drink it. If someone offers you wine that may be sweet, and you may not inherently like sweet wines. Think about the context; will there be spicy food to follow? Sweet wines work better with spicy foods or salty foods. So if somebody offers you sweet wine, don’t assume they’re trying to stereotype you based on your skin color. It could be that you’re about to eat a Spicy Thai dish. Aside from sweet wines, do not overlook the packaging. Not all screw cap wines mean they’re cheap. Some of the more high ends, white wine producers use screw caps as their way of keeping the wine fresh. A lot of distributors are also packaging wine in cans, to make for a means of secure transport to the beach or picnic. Wine is always growing and changing and evolving, just like everything else in life. So people have to grow and change and develop with that as well.
A lot of people don’t understand that wine changes when it interacts with food. A lot of times, people drink wine on their own. But, historically, the wine was always meant to be with food. If you have a wine that’s a bit too heavy on its own, think about how that can work with your meal. If you have a full-bodied red, maybe pair that with a steak or a pork chop. So if you have a wine that you may be unsure about, try and think about food flavors that would pair well with them. The goal should be to pair wine and food that will complement one another.
Phone A Friend… Or An App
We don’t expect everybody to understand wine and be an expert about it. That’s why we have people in restaurants and stores that can help and even wine apps. So if you feel intimidated, ask someone. They’re there to help and not cast judgment or shame on you. Try to give them as much information as you can. Especially when it comes to price range because if you want to get wine, but you only can spend $20, tell them that I can only pay $20 on this bottle. If you don’t have a person to assist, they have wine apps that can help. Vino is a great wine app, and it’s free. People get so caught up in price. But, there are great wines at different price points. You can also find delicious wines in the 15 and under range.
It’s great to have a base when it comes to flavor profiles. Focus more on your flavor profile and less on the “type” of wine. But in experimenting and trying new things, it’s an excellent price range because you won’t feel guilty about spending $40 and $50 on a bottle of wine, and you don’t like it. Try new packaging. Try wine with food, and then experiment with things and don’t, don’t feel like you have to spend $100 or $50 on a bottle of wine when you can get something great for $10 or $12.