Reaching for a new bottle of wine can be a daunting feat, especially for those who already have a few go-to bottles that they like. However, we at Wired for Wine believe that discovering new grape varieties, regions, and producers is one of the most exciting things about wine. Curious to try something new but hesitant about where to start? Follow our five simple tips below and you’ll be on your way to your new favorite bottle in no time.
Think About What You Generally Like
Beyond red, white, and rosé, consider the elements in wine that you tend to gravitate towards. Do you generally go for wines that keep your palate salivating? Then acid-forward bottles are for you. Love (or can’t stand) red wines that leave a dry sensation on the sides of your cheek and tongue? Then grippy or prominent tannins are definitely in your wheelhouse. Additionally, think about the type of flavors you enjoy in wine. If you tend to love non-fruit flavors (earth, crushed stones, salt, or smoked meats), look to regions and varieties that tend to evoke these notes. Not sure which ones do? Ask your local sommelier (or shoot us a text!) and our in-house team will lead you down the right path.
Explore Your Favorite Producers’ Lineups
We all have that one go-to bottle that we find ourselves reaching for over and over again. Here at Wired for Wine, we tend to believe that if you can’t get enough of a specific wine from a producer, you’ll likely enjoy the other cuvées produced at their hands. Next time you’re tempted to reach for what you know, take your curiosity a step further and grab a different wine crafted by a winery you already love. The results are likely to be promising!
Consider Similar Grape Varieties
Although the world of grape varieties is vast, most varieties are more similar than you think. Sure, this step may require a bit of studying and memorization, but worry not – we’ll share a few tricks with you here. If you love Pinot Noir, you’ll likely enjoy other high-acid / low-tannin red wines produced from grapes such as Gamay, Schiava, Frappato, or Nerello Mascalese. For fans of high-acid, fruit-forward Sauvignon Blanc, dive into the world of Albariño or Verdejo. Cabernet Sauvignon lovers, check out other full-bodied reds produced from Tempranillo, Syrah, or GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) blends. Pinot Grigio aficionados, explore the world of other northern Italian white varieties, such as Friulano, Garganega (wines of Soave), or Arneis.
Ponder Regions and Climates
This tip may sound tricky at first, but we promise that it’s really not as hard as it seems. For example, if you tend to love red wines from warmer climates (think Napa Cabernet Sauvignon or Washington State Merlot), dive into other regions that experience similar temperatures, such as the south of France, southern Italy (Campania, Sicily, Puglia), or central Spain. If you generally reach for bottles from cooler-climate areas, think high-altitude areas like Alto Adige or the Mosel, dive into other areas with similar temperatures and topography.
Remember the Food!
More likely than not, where there’s wine, food tends to follow. When reaching for your next bottle of wine, consider which ingredients / dishes will find themselves on your plate. As much as you may love Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s likely not the best choice for sipping with oysters or raw bar favorites. Pairing wine with food is one of the best ways to explore new regions and varieties, as the act of marrying flavors promises to open your mind to new wines like never before. Not sure where to begin? Check out our Food & Wine Pairing guide or shoot our in-house team of sommeliers a rec request to get started!