Need Help, In a Wine Bind

October 23, 2012

I may often paint my fellow Noblers as booze-fiending, loyal followers of the experiment but…Well that’s true. However, some of them can write…

A ton of us have been in this scenario before: we’re on our way to a friend’s house for dinner and we forgot to pick up a bottle of wine beforehand from our go-to store.  We pop into the closest place we can find that is selling wine and we’re at a loss of what to buy.  While there is a ton of amazing wine out there, there’s also a lot of plonk, and if you too have been in this situation before, you’ve probably found yourself wondering if the hosts would be ok with you bringing a nice six-pack of craft beer instead of risking a bad bottle. DON’T DESPAIR! If you follow these five scenarios, you’ll make it out just fine, with good bottle of wine in hand:

Scenario 1:  As my friend Keith Beavers, of Alphabet City Wine Company, always says: trust the wine merchant.  If you’ve happened upon a true wine shop and you didn’t have to pop into a corner liquor store or a big box spot like Kroger, there is a good possibility that the guy or gal behind the counter has tasted the majority of the wine they are selling.  Don’t be afraid to go right up to them, tell them what type of wine you like and what you are willing to spend and let them recommend a bottle.  They want to make sure you’re happy, so don’t be intimidated, just ask.
Scenario 2:  So you aren’t in a wine shop and the guy behind the counter seems more well-versed in wines like Boons Farm than Merlot’s from California’s central coast. What do do? First take a quick survey of the store and see if they have anything from the Languedoc region of France.  The guy behind the counter probably won’t know what you are talking about, so you’ll have to check the labels, but Keith taught me a long time ago that the most consistent affordable wine comes from this region of France, so you’re safe with a bottle from here.  This trick goes for wine lists too!
Scenario 3:  Shit, you looked at the back of the labels, talked to the stock boy/girl and still no luck.  At this point you just want to grab a red and get out of there.  One of the most crowd pleasing reds is Malbec, so see if you can’t find one from Argentina.  One winery I particularly like is Punto Final. If you can find it, grab it.
Scenario 4:  You hate red.  So, grab a white Bordeaux.  It’s crisp, clean and you can generally find a really nice one for under 20 bucks.  It’s a reliable go-to, especially nice if you know your hosts aren’t red drinkers.
Scenario 5:  You found a store that doesn’t sell wine at all!  In this case, a nice IPA always does the trick! 

One comment

  1. This is a great post! Asking the merchant is such an important way to go, especially if you have no clue what you’re buying.

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