The Wine Report

By Dan Parsons, Downtown Wine & Spirits

When we buy wine, we usually don’t intend to finish the bottle by ourselves. Whether we intend to share it over a casual dinner or during a family get-together, we have to consider more palettes than our own. What with autumn ushering in its wave of holidays and their respective parties, the coming months can get a little overwhelming when it comes to selecting wines. How to reconcile grandma’s old-fashioned tastes with your cousin’s cutting-edge preferences? It isn’t as hard as you might think. Here are a few suggestions that might help you avoid any anti-festive behavior and save you a lot of headaches.

First, look for variations within the most popular categories. Chardonnay, for instance, isn’t restricted to the buttery, toasty juices with which we are most familiar. Unwooded chards express more fruit, pair better with foods, and appeal to a wider audience. You’ll surprise guests with a wine they thought they knew well.

Try looking outside the most obvious regions. If Aunt Edna demands a cabernet with her Thanksgiving meal, don’t assume you need to sift through the dozens of California offerings. Take a look at Bordeaux. Most of these French wines have copious amounts of the grape in their blends, but stand on the opposite end of the spectrum from their American counterparts.

When all else fails, follow the one piece of advice that applies in any situation: Ask your local wine shop. There are dozens and dozens of grapes that make excellent wines. An expert from your local wine shop can point you towards varietals you might never have heard of that will satisfy lovers of jammy wines and delicate ones. And that way, you’ll have someone else to blame in the event of a catastrophe.

Happy holidays and best of luck.

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