We have found that the BEST way to find new great wines is to go to tastings. Forget about online stores’ descriptions and even the reviews: it’s really best to build your own list from direct experience.

And, we’ve learned to create our own tastings—when we dine out, instead of ordering a bottle of wine, we create our own “flights” by ordering two glasses each of contrasting reds and whites. Fun!

Keep tasting notes on everything you sample. I don’t know about you, but once I pass three or four items, I MUST keep a list. If it weren’t for our tasting notes, it would be impossible to remember all of our impressions. My little diary-style book with lined paper is just fine. Other people prefer spiral notebooks.

You can also start a tasting group with your fellow wine-geek friends. Meet once a week or once a month; agree on a price point, or vintage (i.e. 2008), or appellation (such as Napa Valley), or varietal (such as Pinot Noir). You can do blind tastings if you wish by placing each person’s “pot luck” offering into a paper bag.

Just a few ideas for having fun and deepening your wine experience. Don’t forget to swish and chew! 🙂

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