Nothing’s quite as comforting as heading to your local wine shop after a long day at work and grabbing a bottle of your preferred go-to wine. Better yet, there’s no solace like meeting up with a friend at your favorite wine bar and letting loose over your usual glass of chilled white. We all have our specifically chosen bottles that we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts; the usual red for pasta night, that beloved Pinot Grigio for a Friday evening in, and, of course, that same, repeat bottle of bubbly we buy for every single birthday, anniversary, and special occasion on our calendars. But on behalf of all wine industry folk, I’d like to put a recommendation out there, one that might scare you at first, though I promise it won’t bring you any form of regret. Please do yourself a favor and stop selecting the same damn bottle of wine every time you make a purchase.
I’m not advocating against having favorites or go-to bottles. We all have them. All I’m saying is that with the endless number of grape varieties and wine-producing regions in the world, there’s so much incredible wine to taste and discover. If you consider yourself a wine lover, why would you close yourself off with that same, repeat bottle day in and day out? Every wine professional out there will rattle off their lists of preferred regions and grape varieties, too; however, that doesn’t mean that even the most seasoned sommeliers or longtime wine-shop buyers don’t switch up their by-the-glass lists and shop inventory every so often. Change is good. Discovering new wines is even better.
To love wine is to take extreme pleasure in sipping on the stuff regularly. But to really love wine is to be mesmerized by the world of possibilities and unique craftsmanship behind it. Every winemaker, grape variety, and appellation throughout the world brings something different to the table — that’s what makes the concept of terroir so fascinating. And ultimately, even the most qualified professionals will continue to admit that there’s still a world of wine knowledge out there just waiting for them to dive into. No one can ever fully, truly, one thousand percent master wine — but that’s what makes it so undeniably compelling.
While venturing out into the unknown might seem intimidating at first, the payoff is a world of riveting bottles ahead, just waiting for you to pop them. If you’re unsure where to start, seek advice from your restaurant sommeliers or local wine shop clerks; besides being experts in their field, their job first and foremost is to lead you through those mystical lists of appellations and varieties. Now of course this does come with a disclaimer: Provided that we don’t all have the same palates, there may be a few disappointments here and there. But take heart — learning what you don’t like is just as important as learning what you do. Fine-tuning our palates and getting acquainted with what works for us and what doesn’t draws us one step closer to grasping the world of wine through each sip we take. However, chances are that if there’s a wine out there that you really like, there’s most likely another that you’ll like just as much, if not more.
And for those who still remain content sipping on that same, everyday bottle of Sauvignon Blanc? I’ll still raise a glass to you. But you can rest assured that mine will be brimming with Hondarrabi Zuri.