The enormous liquor shop is the most intimidating component of choosing wine for me. The enormous selection is so overwhelming that Nate and I always end up buying the first bottle we discover in our price range with the “prettiest” label after searching for several minutes (or more). Are you surprised? I acknowledge that the variety might easily overwhelm us. Worse, we frequently discover that the personnel has just a rudimentary understanding of the wines on offer. There’s no way they could have sampled all of these wines, just like the customer. It’s like playing a game of roulette. If you would like to learn more about this, please check out The Savory Grape-Wine Of The Month Club.
Fortunately, we have only ever been disappointed by one bottle, and we would never criticise someone who picks a bottle “just to see” what it tastes like. It’s all in good humour. However, because our purpose is to help you gain confidence in your wine selection, here are some suggestions for approaching a major liquor shop for your wine purchase:
- Determine what’s most essential to you ahead of time: place of origin, price, grape variety, wine vs. red vs. rose vs. sparkling, and so on.
- Explain your requirements to the on-site personnel. (Keep in mind that liquor stores organise their shelves by region, so if you’re looking for a certain varietal (grape), you may have to browse through many areas to compare.)
- You are welcome to inquire about the popularity of a certain wine or brand among customers.
- Get used to reading labels. If you don’t know French, Italian, or another language, the quickest option is to ask the employees on hand to assist you in translating the label. We were considerably more secure in purchasing Riesling wine after we realised that “trocken” and “sekt” in German meant “dry,” as we are die-hard dry Riesling aficionados who avoid sweeter Riesling wines at all costs.
- Consider the weather in your area. This is new information for us, but we now know that California and Australian wines are likely to be richer and more “ripe” than French and Northern New York wines. Grapes mature more quickly in places that are hot all year. Isn’t it true that ripe fruit has its unique flavour? Cooler year-round conditions, on the other hand, result in a lighter, fresher flavour.
- There’s no harm in trying something new. So go ahead and do it! The worst-case scenario is that you don’t enjoy the wine you’ve chosen. The great thing is that you’ll get another shot tomorrow.