September 17, 2023 by Alyssa Taylor
The Sunday Sip: How To Buy Wine
Q: I don’t know anything about wine, except that I love to drink it. How do I know what wine to buy?
A: Choosing a wine from the market shelf, restaurant list, or online shop can be overwhelming and daunting. The most important thing before you begin to decide what wine to purchase is understanding your individual preferences – Do you like a specific grape or red vs white? Are you particular to a region or country? Do you have a budget? Is there a meal involved?
From there, these are my top tips for choosing a wine:
- Find a good local wine shop, and form a relationship with that retailer: We like to suggest the smaller, independent, wine shops as their staff generally understand and care about every bottle they sell, and they’re likely sourcing a bit more responsibly with careful attention to what is in their offerings. At Argaux, we vet every wine we sell and focus on small batch, responsibly farmed, family owned wines from around the world. You can shop by price point, style, food pairing, or consider joining our wine club where you get access via sms to your very own sommelier.
- Ask! Consult the experts face to face by utilizing the staff on hand, sommelier at a restaurant, etc. I highly recommend doing this as they are purposefully there to help. It’s their area of expertise, so ask away! Two helpful items for consulting: (1) Have some basic information ready: Mention if the bottle is for a particular occasion — to accompany sushi or a roast chicken. Keep a list or photos on your phone of wines you have liked, which may offer clues to styles you appreciate (2) Know your budget. (3) If you don’t love the advice, try another one until you’re happy! At most restaurants, it’s ok to let them know you didn’t like the selection. Don’t be shy.
- Look for specifics on the wine label. i.e. region, grape, alcohol level, detailed info on how the wine was made (not flavors). The less information provided on the label the more skeptical I get as to what is inside the bottle. Also, look for wines bottled as close as possible to where the grapes were grown. I.e ‘Mis en bouteille au domaine” which means bottled at the domaine on French wine labels. See if the bottling address / post code matches the country of the wine. Helpful online resources or apps: Vivino, Vinous, Delectable, Hello Vino, or if you want something a little more personable, our team of sommeliers are available via sms when you join Club Argaux.
- Don’t sweat awards or points.