I often get asked how wine became such an important part of my life. Wine is a beverage that opened doors in my career. It's a topic that connects me to people from all backgrounds. It's a culture for both young and old. As the industry evolves so will the faces that represent these brands from around the world. I sometimes joke that I didn't choose wine, wine chose me. There's a story in every bottle and I love sharing those stories with others. So how do you get started learning about wine? Here are a few tips:
There are books, blogs, and magazines on everything from grape types to geography and travel destinations to wine certifications and everything in between. Start learning about classic grapes and famous wine regions first and then let your curiosity lead you further. I personally love the Flipboard app for on-the-go reading. The articles curated from the wine industry are always super interesting.
The only way you're going to train your palate to identify what it likes and remember what certain brands can offer is to drink it and take decent notes so that you have something to reference easily. Like everything in life, moderation is key. Drink responsibly!
Balance your independent study with events and programs from tastings and tours in your area to social media groups and programs offered by hobbyist organizations.
Wine culture isn't the pretentious elitist club that turns it's nose at "commoners." Wine is a global community of farmers, sommeliers, wine specialists, young entrepreneurs, licensed professionals, seasoned distributor veterans, historians, teachers, corporate types, blue collar types, homemakers, chefs, creators, activists, naturalists, every other "ist" you can think of and those without labels at all.
So: Read * Drink * Hang
On to the wine:
Little J (2015) is an awesome house party wine by Joostenberg Wines. I served it at a private tasting and paint night experience last summer. The great part about this South African (Paarl region) red blend is that the flavor and grape choices were inspired by grape blends usually found in the Rhône region of France. This wine is 86% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, 5% Cinsault, and 4% Grenache. As a "Syrah-led" wine, expect flavors of dark fruits like blackberry and blueberry with hints of pepper. The other grapes add a bit of body, complexity and smoothness to the wine. It's such a great value at ~$13 a bottle that you could stock your next event by the case and serve it all night! Cheers.
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