Making wine fit your situation and budget.
By Gary Cunningham
Whether you are listening to Sinatra, sitting under a star lit sky with good friends on the patio, or having an intimate conversation with someone you love at a great restaurant, the wine you are enjoying can reflect the mood of your environment. Drink that same wine in a different environment on a different day and that wine can magically evolve. Of course, we all have our favorites, but what is really fortunate is we have so many wine styles to choose from. The wine you select needs to change with the circumstances in which you expect to enjoy it.
Long gone are the days when white wine meant fish and red wine was the only choice for red meat. The world of wine offers no limits and the introduction and increased availability of such great varietals as Malbec, Viognier, Roussanne and Sangiovese affords us many wonderful options. Pick your wine to fit your plans and try not to be influenced by someone else's perception of what fits for you.
The two most important components to consider when selecting wine are price and situation. What wine can you afford to purchase that best reflects the environment in which it is likely to be enjoyed? Explanations of wine can get quite complicated, so let's keep it simple. I always find it easier to narrow the choices by deciding first where the wine fits into my pocketbook. Understanding the circumstances in which the wine will be consumed helps us make that choice.
Are you going to a private dinner with perhaps 6 people or a spaghetti feed with many people? This matters because at a more private affair, the intimacy of the group allows for wine patter…"Wow, that's great! Where did you get it?" If it's a more sophisticated (wine snobs) group, the conversation could be centered on the wines themselves at some point and you, like all of us, want your wine choice to show well.
If you are going to a large party, it is likely that you will put your bottle on the table with the other wines and no body will know, good or bad, who brung it! (sic) The point is that if you think about where the wine will be enjoyed, you are half way home.
Realistically, there are 3 choices: Jug wine (under $10.00) Premium wine ($12-$25) and Ultra Premium wine ($25 or more). Each wine has its place and understanding what you expect for each different wine experience will help you make the best choice for your budget and the event.
With that decision made you can narrow your choices to a manageable level: white, red, rose` or sparkling wine? This is very subjective and I always find it better to purchase what I like and not succumb to the pressure of trying to match my choice to someone else's palate. Don't be afraid to take a great rose that you know can hold up to the meal you expect. Don't bring a big red if you don't like them, you may get your choice all to yourself. Or better yet, your friends might just fine something lovely about your choice and this time it could be you getting the credit for expanding their world of wine!
Personally, I consider wine, its consumption with friends and the unlimited pairings it offers with food to be one of life's great pleasures. Pair the wine choice with influences of the environment you expect and spend the appropriate amount to fit that particular experience.
Labels: buying wine