- Subscribe to the major publications and go shopping with their recommendations
- Get to know and trust a retailer or sommelier and follow their lead
- Close your eyes and grab
Which method is best is really determined by what we want our wine experiences to be. If we just want something to drink then it probably does not matter what the selection process is. For others the reviews in the big publications will be useful . And for others it will involve a sense places and people.
Here are some ideas for those who want a connection to people and places. If you are of a certain age you will have memories of shopping for records. Albums had creative cover art and detailed liner notes on the back. Because of the physical size of a record album it was possible to have lots of information about the people, recording location and this all became part of the buying process.
As we flipped thru albums and read notes we often learned about guest musicians who sat in for a song or two. Sometimes these were well known musicians or unknown players. Their appearances introduced them as musicians who had something to offer. As we flipped thru and read the notes we would see patterns repeat themselves, session players showing up in different places or even having their own albums. Buying these newly discovered musicians would lead us to new places and created new listening opportunities. It was usually a success and the pattern repeated. More liner notes and more new discoveries.
So it is with wine too.
If you have visited Marlborough New Zealand you may have visited and tasted wines from Domaine Georges Michel. As you read the liner notes you learn Georges is French and had the good fortune to have his New Zealand wine project guided by Guy Brac de la Perriere, a man from one of France’s oldest wine making dynasties. Locally, New Zealander Peter Saunders was the assistant wine maker working and learning from Georges and Guy. Today, Peter produces his own wine in Waipara.
The patterns continue today with Georges daughter Swan providing the winemaking leadership. Swan has benefited from working not only with Guy but also with winemakers Patrick Valette in Bordeaux and in Burgundy with Clos des Lambray.
Do you see these patterns creating choices for finding new wines? The patterns go both ways and include people and regions.
Or, maybe you visit the Central Coast region in California and you notice Bob Lindquist and Jim Clendenen have family members with their own labels. Verdad and Cold Heaven Cellars. Should be fun and worth finding.
These patterns are everywhere and I believe a great way to find new wines. This path may or may not go thru the big publications or even the better retailers and sommeliers. For some this will make the path more interesting as it is self directed.
To find new wines this way we need to take the time to find out something about the people behind the wine. It circles back to the earlier questions about who grew the grapes, who made the wine and what do you know about them? Good questions guiding us in the treasure hunt for new wines.