There are so many different wines, grapes, styles, and makers no one could ever experience them all. Okay, Robert Parker (world’s most influential wine critic) is giving it a shot; he will fail.

Viticulture’s cornucopia of choices is what makes the wine world wonderful.

This column’s primary advice: snub snobbery. Whatever delights your palate is a 95-point wine for you. Enjoy without guilt.

Related recommendation: expand your palate. Don’t allow tried and true to become tired and tedious—the world of wine is far too big for that calamity.

Caveat: experiment sensibly. Don’t go from sandlot softball to Game 7 of the World Series in one tasting. If you enjoy White Zinfandel—choice for one in 10—don’t move to an inky-black, mouth-puckering, tannic-terror red that sends your traumatized taste buds yelping for mercy. Instead, sidle up to semi-dry (sorta-sweet) Riesling, then to buttery Chardonnay and more acidic Sauvignon Blanc. Big reds come later. The longest wine journey begins with a single sip.

On the other hand, if you’re into massive fruit-candy Syrahs/Sirahs that embed oak splinters in your tongue as they bound about your mouth like yellowtail kangaroos, experiment with Chilean Carmenere, Argentinian Malbec, or Santa Barbara Pinot Noir. To be delicious, wine doesn’t have to treat you like Mike Tyson with a high-alcohol, fruit-soaked oak chip on his shoulder.

Whatever you drink today, try something different tomorrow.


• Santa Alicia Carmenere. Rustic value play; red cherry and toast; Chile. $8

• Bridgeview Blue Moon Riesling. Noteworthy blue bottle, apples and honey; Oregon. $12

• McManis Chardonnay. Citrus and peach; California. $12

• Blind Trail Pinot Noir. New Zealand emerges as quality Pinot maker, taste why. $24