Find a Good Wine That’s Right for You

by Eunice Fried

Apr 1, 2018
April 2018

OFTEN, AFTER I’VE PRESENTED a wine tasting to people relatively new to wine, they are eager to ask questions: “How do I know I’ll like a wine?” “What’s an interesting wine?” “What’s a wine that tastes good and won’t cost too much?” “What would you drink with spaghetti? With salad?” And always, “What’s a good wine?”

Spaghetti and other Italian dishes are easy. Choose an Italian wine, especially one you’ve never had before. An excellent choice is Castello di Albola Chianti Classico Riserva ($28), particularly the 2013 vintage, currently on the market. It is Sangiovese-based, well-balanced, velvety and elegant. As for salad, since salad dressing is usually made with vinegar and vinegar is the enemy of wine, I suggest you never, ever drink wine with salad.

As for an interesting wine, try one from a country you may not realize makes wine. Lebanon, for instance. And a fine Lebanese choice is Château Kefraya — whose fascinating red wine ($20) blends Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah — dark ruby in color, round and inviting with a hint of cherries in the aroma.

Another interesting choice is a wine made of grapes associated with one region — Pinot Noir in cool Burgundy, for instance — which is made in a different part of the world. For example, try a Pinot Noir made in California’s Sonoma County. The large Sonoma region includes areas that differ widely in climate. Its Russian River Valley, for one, tends to be cooler and, while not as cool as Burgundy’s vineyards, it is closer to what Pinot Noir likes than are many other areas in the world trying to imitate Burgundy. One of the finest makers of California Pinot Noir is Patz & Hall, a Sonoma County-based winery. Its wide array of Pinot Noir ranges across those from Sonoma County generally to single-vineyard bottlings within the county ($43–90), all of which I’ve found offer complexity, elegance, balance and pure delight.

And, finally, the question of what’s a good wine. Put simply, wine is about pleasure. If you are drinking a wine and enjoying that wine, no matter what the wine, it is indeed a good wine.

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