Age is just a number. It's totally irrelevant unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine.
Today I'm excited to introduce a series of posts dedicated to one of my greatest pleasures - wine. I celebrated my birthday last week with a case of wine from Naked Wines. I'm not a member, but it was a fantastic gift! If you've never heard of Naked Wines, it's a wine club devoted exclusively to wines that are crafted by up-and-coming wine makers. The selection can be hit or miss, so the members rate the wines, leaving feedback for the vintners. I selected the wines in my case by following a few basic criteria. It's what I always look for when choosing a new wine:
- Is it French? I've never had a bad French wine. I'm sure they exist, but I have yet to find one. The French have such high quality standards, I'm quite convinced that nothing bad comes out of France. Here's a quick rule of thumb, though: Because of the harsh (I use that term very loosely) and shorter growing season in France, French grapes do not develop sugar as quickly as those grown in California. Therefore, French wines age better, and are best after they've rested for a while. Grapes grown in the California sunshine produce more sugar and are best consumed sooner. A Cabernet Sauvignon from Bordeaux will taste entirely different than one from Napa Valley. I love them both! Of course, great wines can come from anywhere. If I'm feeling adventurous I'll choose one from Chile or Australia.
- Will it go with the food? Wine is an integral element of a meal, and therefore, I always consider the food with which it's served. In the summer, I cook foods that are light in both texture and flavor. I love a good, chilled white wine that's a tad sparkly or a light Rosé. In the winter, there's nothing better than a rich Pinot Noir with a bowl of hearty stew.
- Is the price right? Good wine should never be inaccessible because of price! Don't get me wrong, I love a fancy bottle of wine every once in a while, but I drink wine every single day, so I'm always searching for good wines that are in the $8 - $10 per bottle price range. There are some great ones out there. I can't wait to share!
- Know what you like! This, of course, is completely subjective, and takes a bit of experimentation. Everyone has different tastes and preferences. I know I can rely on a crisp Pinot Grigio in the summer to go with just about everything. Chardonnays are iffy. There are a lot of so-so ones, but if you can find a good one, it's very good! I don't like a lot of heavy tannins, so when choosing reds I look for lighter varieties like Merlot or Grenache, or blends of those. Knowing what you like makes choosing a wine so much easier. But don't be afraid to step outside your comfort zone from time to time.
- Champagne goes with everything! Enough said.
In case you're wondering, the book in the photo is Audrey In Rome, which also makes a very good pairing with this wine. Especially on a quiet week night after everyone has gone to bed. Written by her son, Luca, it's a gorgeous collection of never before seen photos of Audrey Hepburn from the 1950s through the 1970s - the twenty years she made Rome her home. If you're as big of a fan as I am, this is a must read! Cheers!
*This is part of a series of posts that are dedicated to the wines I love. I choose wines based on their availability, affordability, and quality. This is NOT a sponsored post, and I'm in no way receiving compensation. I simply love to share what I enjoy, and if I don't like it, I wont recommend it!