Are You Asking the Right Wine Questions?

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by Anthony Verdoni “The Wine Professor”

It is imperative that you find a good resource, whether a wine shop or a website, to answer your wine questions to your satisfaction. What questions should you ask? Precisely, those that deal with the quality factors of wine. I will list them in order of importance.

I. Where is this wine from? Terroir, that is, territorio is the chief quality factor. Wine laws are based on territorio first.

II. Exactly where is it from? Is it from an estate? A coop? For me, when it comes to food and wine, traceability is important.

III. Who, precisely who, made the wine? An enologist’s intercession can maximize what nature gives him or her.

IV. Please describe the vinification process. I know, that’s not a question. Well, is it wood aged? Large oak? Small oak? How many months? No oak? Is it bottle aged?

V. Which grape varietal(s) is/are used? We generally emphasize varietals too much. Wine laws usually specify permissible grapes. Also, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Spring Mountain is very different from one, let’s say, from the North Coast in California, both in style, purpose and price.

VI. How important is the vintage? Will this wine benefit from cellaring? Should I drink it young?

VII. What should the wine taste like? The characteristics of a wine are based upon the questions that you just asked.
You should be prepared to tell the wine merchant what wines you enjoy and the purpose of your buying the specific wine in question. You are finding out the anatomy of a wine. He or she is discovering how to satisfy your wine needs. Your relationship will grow.

Tip: Buy a bottle before you buy a case.

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