Take a tip from a pro: “Location, Location, Location” is the secret to finding the best bottle of wine for your budget.
Throughout my career spanning 30+ years in the wine distribution industry, I have found labels that tie wines as closely as possible to their grape source to be the best indicator of quality vs. price. This closely parallels the concepts of farm-to-table sourcing of foods as a measure of quality.
Working within your budget, check off at least 2 of these 3 items from the bottle label:
1) Region/Appellation (Ex: Napa Valley AVA, Sonoma Co. AVA, Bordeaux or Rhone Valley),
2) Sub-appellation (Ex: Rutherford, Alexander Valley, Haut-Medoc or Chateauneuf-du-Pape),
3) Estate or Chateau bottled and/or named vineyard source.
You will often see unfamiliar wineries on wine lists. Fear not! These small production boutique wineries represent some of the best examples of their varietals.
Having tasted wine from countries, regions, appellations, sub-appellations, estates and vineyards across the globe, I follow these very same guidelines myself when selecting a bottle.
And while you’re searching for that Goldilocks bottle to match your entree selection, think about beginning your dining event with a bottle of sparkling wine or Champagne. Bubbles pair with everything!
I believe all the best bottles of wine reflect a taste of time, place and passion. Welcome to this timeless journey!
— Dale Blankenship
Founder, ProWineGuide.com and Umami.Life