One of my most educational experiences was shopping at Costco with sommelier Kelly Wooldridge. He didn't mind me recording his wisdom and the post about his tips for picking out the perfect wine remains a personal favorite.
Wooldridge has been working in the wine business since before he was legally allowed to drink (at least drink in America) and acquired his knowledge through years of work. But getting to a knowledgeable level doesn't take 24/7 devotion.
The most daunting task in learning about wine is where to start. Author and Gut Check blogger Dave Nelson has put together a list of jumping-off points that will have you being a wine geek quicker than you can decant a bottle of really old pinot.
Nelson and Wooldridge overlap in many of their points -- the importance of splurging on
an expensive bottle of wine now and again, for instance -- but while
Wooldridge is focused on the short-term, Nelson makes sure you've got
enough info to
bore entertain a party for a whole night. His main point: The only way to learn about wine is to drink a lot of it.
Sure books like the Oxford Companion to Wine
are good, but Nelson says people have a "tendency to extrapolate too much or reach too
definitive a conclusion
based solely on something they read, particularly when it relates to a
subject with which they're not familiar." The only way to get
familiar with wine is to drink it, and the only way to remember exactly
how you felt while drinking it is to write down what you thought. A time-consuming process but one that is invaluable after the event.
Nelson shares three other tips and I have one, too: As I've slowly learned about wine, it's been my
natural response to share my new-found information with friends, even
ones who don't drink. Don't be that guy! Seeing all the wine apps on your phone,
along with books and bottles around your house, they'll ask you if they
have any questions.
(Image via Flickr: WTL Photos)