By Thomas Morrone, CFP®, CPA
I have always enjoyed a nice glass of wine. It does not matter where the wine is from, what type of grape or grapes are used, from what year the grapes were harvested or how much it costs. What does matter is how the wine tastes. To go into your local liquor store/wine shop and attempt to find the right bottle of wine for whatever the occasion can be a daunting task. The same can hold true when reviewing the wine list while dining out at your favorite restaurant. Hopefully, you recognize something on the list that you have tasted before. But, if you do not recognize anything, what do we order? Of course, you can ask the server and if you are lucky, you have a good server that understands the wines available and can be of assistance in navigating through the list. A good server should ask you questions. What will you be eating? Do you have a preference between white, red, or rose? Is the price a concern for you? Without these answers, be weary of any recommendation. While there is no silver bullet to help with these dilemmas, (these are great problems to have by the way) there is a process to help ease the burden and educate yourself on the wine “juggernaut”. Attend a wine tasting.
Wine tastings not only offer the opportunity to sample various wines but there should also be an educational element on wine basics that can be helpful. We have not only attended but also hosted numerous wine tastings over the years. Recently, Cathy and I hosted one of those tastings at our home for friends. There were ten of us in total, so it was a decent size group but still it was intimate. We provided each person with a scorecard that identified what we were sampling. The scorecard also had for each item, the vineyard, type of wine, vintage, and alcohol content. There was a section on the scorecard for notes, price and one-to-five-star ratings on three categories, color, bouquet and of course taste. We started the evening with a French Champagne to set the tone for the event. We then sampled a white, 2022 Classico Superior from the Palazone vineyard in Orvieto, Italy. We came back across the pond to Napa Vally for a 2021 Merlot from Oberon. Next, we went back to Italy for a 2021 Chianti Classico from Volpaia. On to Argentina for our next selection which was a 2020 Malbec from the Gouguenheim vineyard in the Mendoza Valley. We capped off the evening back in Italy with a 2018 Barolo from Franco Amorosso.
Everyone brought food or dessert to share so no one was drinking on an empty stomach or left hungry. After each wine, we offered a spoonful of lemon sorbet to cleanse the palate. Once we sampled all the wines, we did a guessing game on the price and had a discussion on each of them. The highest price item was not always the selection enjoyed most. The prices ranged from $13 to $33, all reasonable and nothing to break the bank. The wines selected were ones that I had hoped those attending had not tasted before and took into consideration it was the middle of winter. If it were the summertime, different wines, lighter in nature, would have been sampled. I had selected carefully, and luckily, everything was a new experience for all. There were lots of laughs, great discussions about wine in general and hopefully everyone had a good of a time as I did.
I will gladly share the scorecard used if anyone wants to host their own wine tasting. Let me know. Do not be afraid to attempt this with some friends. I assure you it will be a fun night.
Drink wine with those you love. Life is good!
Until the Next Tom’s Take………………