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Wine Speak

Building your very own wine collection

So, you’ve been bitten by the wine bug and are seriously thinking of investing in and putting together a wine collection. Hey, who doesn’t love the idea of walking over to a wine cooler in your robe and big, fuzzy slippers and plucking a bottle of your choosing to look forward to with dinner? When entertaining, if you casually sashay over in front of your guests, it certainly looks like you know what you’re doing!

The different ways in which you can start a collection are endless, and it really depends upon your needs and wants. Ask yourself the following questions:

Do I like the idea of drinking wines every night from different regions of the world?

Or do I really prefer to just stick to certain types of grapes that are my favorites?

If you are the former, I would suggest you go to your best fine wine shop, give them an idea of your budget — a range of pricing, but don’t be shy about your top end price — then ask him/her to give you a mixed case of reds/whites, depending on your preference.

Tell them what types of wines you already drink and try to be as specific as you can in describing, stylistically, what you like. Do you drink whites that are higher in acid and lower in oak? Do you like very “fruit-driven” wines? “Fruit-driven” is a term that means exactly what it sounds like — more, upfront fruit vs more subtle, mineral- driven whites. Think New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc vs an SB from the Loire Valley, France. Speaking of New Zealand vs France, tell the retailer if you prefer “New World” vs “Old World” wines. As I’ve described in many of my blogs, there are many differences between European wines and the rest of the world which are good indicators of your preferences.

If you’re the kind of person who prefers to delve more deeply into a certain grape or region and love the idea of exploring all that that region has to offer, then heck! Go visit! If you do a little research, beforehand, of top producers in that area to get a better representation of the wines, you’ll be better off.

Let’s say you are a huge Cabernet lover, and Napa is your go-to region. The more you can taste from different wineries, the more you can dial into your likes and dislikes. If Napa’s not on your calendar in the foreseeable future, then, just work with what you know and like so far. In time, if you focus, you will learn some of the differences and what really floats your boat vs sinks your ship. Once you feel your collection is rockin' and rollin' with some awesome Napa Cabs, then you can move to another region/grape that you love and do more exploring.

There’s really no right and wrong when it comes to collecting. The beauty is that no one can tell you what you like or don’t like — it’s all you!!! Soon, you’ll feel more and more confident about your stash, and the more you can share some of your finds with family and friends. The great thing about wine is that the more you learn, the more fun it becomes.


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