Falling For Wine

Forget flaming shots, smoky single malts, and even overproof rum—the scariest of beverages is the simplest: wine. The alcohol made from moldy grapes can humble even the most ardent of drinkers. Between the unpronounceable winery names and confusing terminology it’s no mystery why you buy the same bottle over and over again. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s time for you to explore the wine world beyond merlot and chardonnay. There’s a huge selection of wines from around the world, and from the top shelf to the bottom shelf quality has improved in recent years—which means no matter how much or little you spend, you are unlikely to buy something terrible.
To help you find a new favorite fall wine, we got advice from Jennifer Lowe, a wine consultant at Crush Wine Shop in Dallas, who says that finding the right bottle does take some homework. “Try as many wines as you can,” she says. “People just need to know what tastes good to them.” Not only will tasting help you figure out what flavors and grape varieties you like, but, according to Lowe, it will also make it easier for you to talk to a sommelier or a wine store salesperson. Reason enough to raise a glass.

Remelluri Reserva 2004

One of the best values is Spanish wine. The vino produced in Rioja is particularly good and is growing in popularity around the world. Try the rich and complex Remelluri Reserva 2004 ($23, remelluri.com), made mostly from Tempranillo grapes. Before releasing it, Remelluri ages the wine in the bottle, so you can drink it immediately.

Rocca Family Vineyards Syrah 2006

A glass of Rocca’s spicy, full-bodied Syrah ($45, roccawines.com) is perfect on a cool October night. The Australians call it Shiraz and the French call it Syrah, but whatever you call it, this flavorful grape is quickly becoming one of America’s favorites.

Stags’ Leap Viognier 2007

Next time you’re about to reach for a bottle of chardonnay, try Stags’ Leap Viognier ($25, stagsleap.com) instead. Unlike that other oaky white, the viognier has a lot of acid and fruit (think pear, lime, and peach), helping to stimulate the appetite and pairing well with rich foods like cheese.

Perrier-Jouët Blason Rosé

There’s one rule to champagne: Don’t drink it with dessert. Most bubbly is too dry for sweets and actually tastes better before and during a meal. Perrier-Jouët’s rosé ($75, perrier-jouet.com) is no exception. The dry, crisp sparkling wine may be the perfect aperitif—but you’ll want to keep drinking it all night.

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