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Look for alcohol: 12.5-14%, function of sugar
Look at the appellation (source of grapes): more specific, better the grapes
Pay for the wine, not the marketing
look for varietals (1 grape) as opposed to blends
look for oak in reds; seek oak in white only if you want an oaken white (says "barrel aged" or "barrel fermented" on bottle)
Look for sweetness level and buy accordingly (dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet, sweet)
Forget legs: just read label for alcohol content
forget blushes; domestics are usually mass produced, simple sweet wines
Forget "breathing" unless sulfites abound
- Look at color: Reds should be "inky"
- Whites should be clear, faintly straw colored (avoid brownish tinge-->oxidation)
if spoiled, return to retailer
Appellation-specific generics (blends) are a bargain
- Look at year of harvest:
- Whites: 1-3 years
- Reds: 4-6 years
- NV for sparklings OK
Forget the pairing rules; EXPERIMENT!
"Vinted and Bottled" vs "Cellared and Bottled": purchase "Cellared and Bottled" if appellation-specific!
Beware of last year's _________.
Home Wine Tasting Events
- Twelve 2oz pours from a 0.75L bottle
- Six 4oz pours
Corks from Tree Bark
- Quercus Suber
- 52% from Portugal
- Don't sniff cork, sniff wine!
- Cork taint most often due to TCA
Other ways to "cork" wine
- Stelvin Openers (screw caps)
- Boxes w/ pressure-sealed, durable plastic bags