For the casual wine drinker, a wine store or the wine area in a liquor store can be intimidating. How do you choose a wine? Putting aside the red, white, rose or sparkling options, the rows of bottles can become overwhelming. Do you choose the bottle with a pretty label or do you choose the bottle on sale? In reality, the primary factor in choosing a wine should focus on flavor.
Wine can be a jumble of terms that can make the occasional wine drinker flabbergasted. From jammy to well-balanced to oaky and fruit-forward, these descriptions can be confusing. Ideally, think of what these terms mean. Do you like citrus flavors? Do you like cherries? Will you be eating when drinking this wine? A few easy questions can help to narrow down the wine choices.
For red wines, many of the flavors relate to berry fruits, cherries and strong fruity flavors. These stronger flavors often pair well with red meats, like steak, lamb or even bison. Sometimes the labels of wine bottles can help narrow choices. Blends of red wine, like the Santa Cristina Toscana, a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet, Merlot, and Syrah can be a lovely starting point. The blend of grapes offers the best of each variety. For example, the Santa Cristina Toscana offers fruity aromas, with berry notes forward. While the wine tends to be strong, the balance is easily drinkable for all. Whether served with a juicy tenderloin or even a grilled bison burger, the Toscana can be served all night long without ever becoming boring. Plus, the Toscana retails for around $15 a bottle, which is quite reasonable for a bottle of wine.
If you prefer to start your wine journey with lighter options, white wine can serve as a lovely apetif on a leisurely evening. Putting aside oaky chardonnays, a Pinot Grigio can be sipped on its own or paired with a light appetizer. Many Pinot Grigios offer citrus flavors. The Santa Cristina Pinot Grigio blends orange flowers, lemon rind and golden delicious apples to create a beautiful aromatic quality. The wine is crisp without becoming cloying sweet. Served chilled, a glass of the Pinot Grigio is lovely with a soft cheese or spicy seafood dish. At under $15 a bottle, the Santa Cristina Pinot Grigio can be the wine served for a large dinner party or impromptu outdoor gathering.
When it comes to choosing a wine, the decision lies with your preferences. Price, labels or other randomness does not have to be the deciding factor. Think about the flavors that you prefer and let them guide your decision. Raise a glass to wine and all the varieties that can be tasted. Salud!