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The wonderfully complex world of wine
For those that are so inclined, the most enjoyable way to experience all that Italian food has to offer is with a glass of wine. We all know someone who is a wine connoisseur (or thinks they are) but most of us just order based on the best description. This is not a bad tactic, but following some basic guidelines will help you delight in a wonderful glass of vino. On your next date be sure to read the bottle, swirl and sniff, expand on what you like, and ask for a recommendation.
1) Read The Bottle
Most fine restaurants will allow you to read the back labels of the wine they offer. This can provide important clues like fruit flavors or spices you find interesting or appealing. The bottle is also the most likely place to spot any awards or stamps of approval. These are signs of a wine enjoyed by many people. In the beginning, information like the aging process and region the wine comes from will seem like foreign concepts but take note. Over time you may discover trends that can help you choose a variety based on what you’ve previously ordered and loved.
2) Swirl and Sniff
These are more than just buzzwords in the wine world! While the swirl part has more to do with the total alcohol content, it can help to “open” the wine for better sniffing. This tactic uses your sense of smell to guide you to great wine. In a fine Chianti you’re likely to notice, and be able to pinpoint, scents of fruit and other flavors you like. Generally speaking, the more you smell, the better the wine is going to taste. Of course if a wine smells bad to you, you’re not going to want to drink it. For any wine to be enjoyable, the taste and smell have to work well together.
3) Expand On What You Like
This is where taste trends will play a larger role. If you’ve noticed that you’re fond of Cabernet Sauvignon from California, you might like a Pinot Noir from the same region. This is a great way to slowly lengthen the list of wine you enjoy while minimizing the risk. Just because the wine comes in a box or has a screw cap doesn’t mean you aren’t going to like it as much. If the back of the bottle points out honey, vanilla, plums and blackberries and you like all of those, go for it. Finding an affordable wine that you love is a great way to discover other varieties.
4) Ask For A Recommendation
Often, the menu will suggest a wine pairing based on the entree you choose but if not, just ask! Your server can provide a wealth of information about which wine pairs well with your gnocchi, fish or steak, or which wines are most popular in the restaurant. Don’t be too shy to ask an expert! Asking for a wine suggestion might open you up to a wine that you may have otherwise overlooked!
These basic tips can help you crack the code to finding the perfect wine. Fine wines come from all over the world, don’t be afraid to experiment and try something new! You might find your next favorite in your next order at Cucina Toscana because remember, Italian food and wine were made for eachother.