I don’t know much about wine” are words I’ve heard from countless guests, clients and friends. The truth is that if you drink wine, you know what you like and what you don’t. Although we often talk about liking reds or whites better, what really matters is style.
Wine style, in the most basic terms, can be boiled down to Old World versus New World. New World wines come from places such as the U.S., Argentina, New Zealand, Australia and Chile. Old World wines typically come from France, Italy, Spain, Slovenia and Austria. New World wines tend to be bolder and rounder in aromatics on the nose and on the palate and often higher in alcohol. Old World wines are more restrained with nuanced aromas and layered, integrated notes on the palate. And they are typically lower in alcohol.
To find your preferred style, choose two wines made from the same grape but from an Old World and New World region. Then taste them next to each other. Talk about what you like and what you don’t—there are no wrong answers. Use your imagination to describe what you are smelling and tasting. Maybe it’s grass or apples or leather.
Do this technique with several different grapes and choose wines from winemakers you’ve not tried before. Keep track of which wines you like and why. You may or may not determine a favorite. But you will have ventured into a new land of wine and tastes, and that is half the fun.
Need help? A sommelier helps demystify wine and empowers you to taste and choose wines with a sense of joy and adventure. No one wants to spend money on something they don’t like, and by learning what you like, you can find fabulous wines across price ranges.