Reading: How To Combat Wine Anxiety
How To Combat Wine Anxiety
Walking through the wine aisles can be intimidating. More often than not you want to crack open a bottle to simmer the anxiety as you navigate the endless options, although, apparently this is frowned upon. Shopping for a bottle to enjoy by yourself, while curled up streaming Netlfix (don’t judge, we all do it) is one thing, but having to choose an impressive wine to serve or bring to a dinner, can ignite a full-on panic attack. As a certified sommelier, I’m immersed into the wine world daily and have a few tips to get you through the wine store trip:
This isn’t a trip to Anthropologie, don’t be enticed by kitschy label designs.
Labels have little to do with the wine itself and more about marketing a lifestyle. If the back label tells a fluffy story and gives minimal detail about the wine itself, it’s likely because there is not much to say about what’s in the bottle.
You don’t need a decoder ring to understand wine labels.
You want to see real information such as the type of grapes used, the age of the vines or if they used oak barrels. Things that the winery is proud to tell you about. But if there isn’t this type of information it doesn’t necessarily mean the wine isn’t good, they may have just chosen to go with a more traditional label.
What’s old is new again.
While it is good to give new world wineries a chance, there is something to be said about countries that have a rich and long wine history. Older vines are less productive, which actually makes for better wine. As you want the grapes to have to struggle a bit so that their juice is more complex. One of the great advantages that Gabbiano has is the luxury of a long winemaking history, therefore lots of experience. But with the addition of a winemaker that appreciates a modern approach to the styles they produce. This combination makes for really great wine.
Tap into the knowledgeable.
There is a reason that most LCBO employees look so happy, and it’s not just the retirement benefits. While it would be amazing to have a sommelier to hold your hand every time you need a bottle of wine, that’s not possible. Go for the next best thing and tap into the experience of the person working at your local store. Let them know that you enjoy Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile, and would like to try a new grape with a similar profile. Or I’m getting a pepperoni pizza delivered for dinner, any suggestions?
Compare and contrast.
Sure when you were learning Venn diagram’s in math you thought you’d never use it again. But comparing and contrasting wines is one of the best ways to hone your tasting skills. Get to know a grape variety! Buy two bottles made from the same grape, but from two different countries. It will allow you to get familiar with the distinct characteristics of the grape, as well as the characteristics of two different regions. If you want Italian you could say Primitivo from Puglia and Zinfandel from California, they are the same grape.