Sometimes wine’s kaleidoscope of terms and traditions, wine’s labyrinth of grape varieties and vinification techniques, and the obnoxious actions of wine snobs can overwhelm and discourage people from getting into wine.
Please, it does not have to be that way. Here are a few key points that, hopefully, may nudge you, or help you nudge a wine-timid friend, into giving wine a whirl.
• First and foremost, drink what you enjoy without shame. Buy wine that fits your lifestyle; do not try to fit your lifestyle to a wine. If an insufferable wine snob looks down his nose at your choice, that is his pathetic shortcoming, not yours.
• Don’t be intimidated. Yes, wine can be complicated, but in the end it is a consumable product people want to sell to you, and—even more—they want you to find joy and pleasure in their product. The huge majority of people in the wine industry are good people who make wine because they love wine, and they graciously invite you to join them. When in doubt, ask directions. Almost all true wine people will be eager to help without making judgments.
• Don’t go into debt to enjoy wine. Price does not ensure quality. There is an overabundance of delicious wine available for less than $25, many in the $10-15 range. If you enjoy stuff that is even cheaper, refer to the first point above.
• Once you have found what you like, experiment with new wines. A great joy of wine is there are so many tastes and styles of wine. You won’t find just one that suits you, you will find many. And, voilà, you will be part of the wine world.
• Cline Cellars Farmhouse California Red Wine 2016: If you lust for ripe and tasty red fruits, this certainly will sate your ardor. $12 Link to my tasting notes
• Bertoldi Gran Passione Rosso Veneto 2013: Astonishing value. Rich, lush, juicy dark fruits with hints of amarone thanks to the portion of grapes air-dried—at a fraction of the price. $13 Link to my tasting notes
• Stella Wines Prosecco NV: Nice-for-price, very clean, bright easy-drinking, very food-friendly effort. $13 Link to my tasting notes
• Hess Select North Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2016: Rich, rounded citrus, tropical fruits, good acidity, nice balance. With hint of sweetness, both from nip of residual sugar and ripe fruitiness, will easily please palates of folks intimidated by more assertive wines. $13 Link to my tasting notes
Last round: A wine snob’s snobbery is inversely proportional to the wine snob’s capacity to truly appreciate wine.