For some of us, trying new wines is fun, but it can also be a little scary. Especially if we’re bringing something new to a social gathering or dinner party. What if it’s terrible? How will that reflect on me?
I’ve gone so far before as to inconspicuously slip a bottle onto a bar or table upon entry, and if anyone asks what I brought I just say “oh, I put some wine on the bar” or something equally ambiguous. That way, if the wine disappoints I will know not to buy it again and no one has to know I’m the perpetrator of the offensive bottle crime. I’ve also completely owned my wine faux pas at times – it doesn’t always have to be so serious! Chalk it up to a swing and a miss. But if the wine is fabulous, don’t we want credit for unearthing a new treasure to share with our friends?
With a mind boggling number of choices, how do we know what to try and what to leave on the shelf? Whether you’ve been drinking wine for two weeks or twenty years, there will always be a new wine to try. That’s just a fact! If we all lived to be 100, we’d never be able to try every wine on the market. Who could keep up?
The first thing to consider is the occasion. Are you taking wine to a celebration of some sort, or to a dinner party? If it’s a more formal celebration, like an anniversary or holiday party, your first job is to find out what your host prefers. Don’t assume that because you’re bringing wine to a party it will be opened there – if it’s a particularly nice wine, your friend might set it aside to enjoy later so it’s important to have a good idea what (s)he likes.
If wine is your contribution to a dinner party, you must know what is being served. You wouldn’t want to bring a Bordeaux to a fish fry! If you’re unsure about wine pairing, there are literally 100s of guides online. An even better option, though, is to go to a wine shop and talk to the staff there. Go over the menu and your budget with someone who really knows their wine and let them help you choose.
If you’re trying new wines at home, you can afford to be more adventurous. What do you like? Do you normally prefer red or white wine? Are you willing to step outside of your comfort zone?
When I’m looking for a new wine to try I go in with a completely open mind. I love and prefer red wine, so I start in the white wine section. I pick up bottles that appeal to me whether it’s the label, the name of the wine, or because it’s made by a familiar vintner. I read the labels, if the store has descriptions, I read those too, and before long I’ve found a new bottle (or 3) I really want to try. Sometimes they’re white wines, sometimes red, but the fun is in being bold!
Are you ready for the adventure of trying new wines?