The drinking of wine transcends mere slaking of thirst or pleasant inebriation. Wine is an ineffable catalyst for celebration, whether with family or friends, for a holiday, a rite of passage, or simply to relish a poignant moment with loved ones. Often, drinking a bottle of wine can be a revelatory experience, imparting the truth and beauty of life by its very richness and infinite variation. When taken with food, each complements the other, each reveals the other's true essence, and you pause in wonder.
In pursuit of enlightenment, a few of my friends keep wine cellars full of priceless wines, get on the mailing lists of the racy boutique California wineries, or go for the prestige wine on the wine list. But I feel that wine drinking can be revelatory without spending a lot of money. However, it takes knowledge, skill, persistence, and sometimes luck to find affordable quality wines and to create a setting in which they can be best enjoyed. My goal is to impart some of my experience to ease this process. Although you may find some pretension here, it won't be costing you a lot of money.
There are several components to creating an enjoyable wine experience. Wines vary widely in flavor and body. Knowing which you like and how they match with food is helpful. Wines also vary widely in cost, but fortunately the variance is not directly related to quality. In fact, many of the most expensive wines--and some modestly priced ones--will not yield the most pleasant drinking experience unless aged and handled properly. How a wine is opened, poured, and drunk can profoundly enhance the experience at little effort or cost. Because the wines produced each year vary significantly from previous years, choosing a wine is often a guessing game. The pages listed below might remove some of the guessing and dramatically improve your wine-drinking experiences.