Do you have trouble finding a wine you truly enjoy? Maybe first you should look within to see what type of personality you have and then match the wine to fit your passions. Local wine merchants suggest the following varietals to help you discover your wine personality. All wines are available locally and prices can vary among retailers.
THE LITERARY TYPE
If you still have your copy of “Grapes of Wrath” from high school literature class and can quote “Of Mice and Men” in everyday conversations, you probably are a literary type. You enjoy well-written books, and literary people like you often love the good things in life — especially fine wine. California’s Monterey County gave the world John Steinbeck, and now it produces world class pinot noirs. Always a consistent producer, La Crema offers an excellent pinot noir from its Monterey vineyards. The 2012 vintage has been described as perfect because mild conditions in the area allowed the fruit to slowly ripen, resulting in a wine with character and complexity — much like your favorite book.
REGION: Monterey, California
WINE: La Crema Pinot Noir
THE THRILL SEEKER
Diving amid the sharks on the Great Barrier Reef or driving a Formula One race car is on your bucket list. You live life to the hilt with adrenalin pumping at full throttle. Look no further than Australia for a wine that is… well… wild. The Wild Ride, by winemaker Bruno Tait, is a bold blend of 20 percent grenache, 60 percent shiraz and 20 percent mataro (known as Mourvèdre in France) grapes. Buckle your seatbelts for an intense taste of explosive red fruits with head-on savory nuances.
REGION: Barossa Valley, Australia
WINE: The Wild Ride GSM
When you entertain, it’s all about the food… fresh, flavorful and plenty of it. If you want cuisine to take center stage, then you most definitely are a gastronome, more commonly known as a foodie. In the art of good eating, Italian wines are an excellent choice, especially the ones from the Toscana region. Capanne Vecchie is a single vineyard near Cortona, the town where Frances Mayes wrote her best-selling novel “Under the Tuscan Sun.” A blend of 80 percent sangiovese and 20 percent cabernet sauvignon, Capanne Vecchie has notes of blackberry, cocoa and pepper, and it pairs well with simple pasta dishes. It also is a great value, allowing you a bigger budget for your gourmet menu.
REGION: Toscana, Italy
WINE: Capanne Vecchie
THE ART LOVER
You wander for hours in museums, and paintings by emerging artists fill your walls. You may even dabble at your own easel. From the land of Monet and Matisse come French wines that are artistic creations in a bottle. Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a historic village in southern France’s Rhone Valley that is famous for full-bodied red wines predominantly made from grenache, syrah and mourvedre grapes. I’ve never had a Chateauneuf-du-Pape that I didn’t love, so it’s hard to recommend just one. They are expensive, usually upward of $50 a bottle, so it was nice surprise to find the 2012 Domaine Durieu for significantly less.
REGION: Rhone Valley, France
WINE: Domaine Durieu Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Kayaking, fishing, hunting and rock climbing are among the things you like to do in your free time. The sandy, rocky soils in Washington’s Columbia Valley produce wines that are complex and full of surprises, much like your passions. Named after the large rock formation that overlooks the vast Columbia River landscape, Watchdog Rock merlot delivers supple tannins and strong flavors of black cherries, vanilla, raspberries and spices.
“It has the grand complexity of a Napa Valley cab,” said Michael Jean, a wine consultant with ABC Fine Wine & Spririts in Lady Lake.
Indeed a glass of this merlot just might inspire you to climb Watchdog Rock someday.
REGION: Columbia Valley, Washington State
WINE: Watchdog Rock
THE BEACH BUNNY
Let’s face it. Taking an expensive wine to the beach or poolside doesn’t make sense. Wine snobs may turn up their noses at Barefoot Wines, which are found in local supermarkets, but they can’t argue with the company’s success. Last year, more than 100 million bottles were sold in the U.S., and the company said repeat customers who tend to be loyal to the brand bought most of them. Barefoot Pinot Grigio is dry, but not bone-dry. It bursts with citrus and apple flavors that pair well with casual snacks. Kick off your flip-flops and enjoy this award-winning summer sipper at the beach or anywhere you want to enjoy a crisp, refreshing wine.
WINE: Barefoot Pinot Grigio
PRICE: $10 or less