Become the Ultimate Wine Connoisseur—In 4 Easy Steps

Why You Need to Keep an Open Mind About Wine

Sbrocco’s final piece of advice: Don't get too hung up on how long a wine has been aged or whether it has a screw top.

“When it comes to white wine, it can be produced very quickly—I just tried a great bottle from 2012. You won’t see good reds quite as quickly, but there are definitely solid options from 2011, 2010 and 2009,” says Sbrocco. “A lot of reds will benefit from more age, but there’s no hard and fast rule. Sure, you can age a California Cabernet for 25 years, but it could be just as good—if not better—after 10.”

And skeptics needn’t be put off by screw tops. “It’s good to be screwed!” she says. “In all seriousness, the container doesn’t predict the quality of the wine. There are fantastic wines that come with screw tops, and bad wines with corks.”

Sbrocco is also a huge fan of the recent resurgence of boxed wines: “The value is tremendous--a 3-liter box is equivalent to four bottles of wine. At $25-35 a box, that comes to $6 per bottle. Plus, the technology helps the wine stay fresh for months.”

Luckily, it's clear that becoming a wine connoisseur doesn't necessarily depend on spending a ton of money--it really comes down to paying attention (and drinking more)!

  • LeeLee

    Concha y Toro is a great pick!  So glad to see it on the list of affordable gems.

  • ranavain

    I’m a bit sad that the Pinot Noir location isn’t Oregon, which holds the annual Pinot Noir festival and is the Pinot capital of the world! Also, are those spectrums really accurate? I can’t imagine that Riesling is lighter or juicier than Moscato, but maybe I’m just thinking of sweetness? I was also surprised to see Zinfandel on the bottom of the red side, but I have a lot less experience with Zins.

    I love wine, but I didn’t use to. A friend bought me a semi-sparkling Moscato, knowing that I like sweet drinks, and it was the perfect introduction! Now I’m a big fan of everything, red and white. It’s well worth a little experimentation, and having a friend who can select something based on your other tastes is a great way to go.

    Also, definitely buy cheap! I lived in a town with a Grocery Outlet, and they had a pretty good selection of wine, including $3-$5 bottles. It’s a great way to just try everything and become familiar with all the flavors.

    • Leslie

       you’re exactly right about oregon pinot. i’m a big fan having spoken twice at the IPNC festival in mcminnville. we just didn’t have room for all the wonderful wines to talk about! cheers and happy holidays. leslie sbrocco