With wine, just drink what you like

With wine, just drink what you like

“Oh, I get it now. Yes, I guess there is a difference.”

My lamentably poor knowledge of wines is pretty much revealed in this reaction to tasting something of really fine quality recently. This means I cannot advise you in your search for a nice bottle to bring to the family Easter dinner, beyond “maybe something French or Italian and over $20.”

Someone out there gifted my wife with a subscription to Wine Spectator magazine about a year ago. Whomever it was, thank you, but it hasn’t helped address the wine ignorance around here, I’m afraid. We tend to flip through the pages looking at the pictures with brilliant observations like “what a pretty label.”

The only wine that is probably cheaper than the stuff we usually grab is the sweet jug wine usually found in communion goblets on Sunday because we usually make choices based on “what a pretty label” and “how much is it?”

We know we don’t like sweet wines at all, and until the past weekend, we never touched rosé. This changed when we saw Martha Stewart on TV putting something together with frozen cubes of rosé wine, slices of blood oranges and limes, and a few mixed berries. It all goes into a big pitcher, then a bottle of champagne over the top.

It was delicious and refreshing, and I highly recommend it for the warmer months ahead. And I guess rosé isn’t so bad after all, but don’t tell anyone you heard it from me. What do I know? My favorite wine is bourbon.

But back to tasting good stuff. A friend of mine who knows a thing or two about wine told me his greatest discovery was you could get a really great bottle in the $25-$40 range that was pretty much indistinguishable from the $75 stuff.

That seems like really great advice to take to heart, but my own contribution to this body of knowledge is there’s a world of difference between the $8 on-sale wine and the lower-good range my friend described.

We have a wine storage rack, which never has any bottles in it, just dust and probably cat hair. Though there is great economic sense in taking advantage of the case discounts offered by most wine sellers, we still get groceries every day for dinner that night and pick up a bottle at the same time. Planning so far ahead as to pick out a hole case of, well, $8 on-sale wine is too much to think about, too much planning, too much forethought, too much work.

This leads me to a couple of observations that may actually be useful to share: Drink whatever you like and ask for help when you need it.

As each of us is unique and has preferences not only in choosing a pretty label but hopefully the wine inside, we have to experiment to find out what suits our palate. If you like dry red wines but aren’t crazy about any white wine, go with that, no matter what you’re eating.

There are certainly wines that pair well with any given dish, sure. But what good is eating a delicious filè of sole with browned butter with a lovely $50 bottle of French white if you think all white wine tastes like goat spit? By all means educate your own palate but drink what you like.

When it comes to seeking out something for a special occasion, ask someone who knows. A wine merchant has to know what they’re talking about or they won’t be around long. Also look for that friend who takes such things seriously.

That way you can show up with something acceptable for Easter, without my nonsense help.

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