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Two Women on Wine: Choosing the perfect wine

Posted: April 2, 2010 2:02 p.m.
Updated: April 2, 2010 2:00 p.m.
 

We've all been there - tying to select the perfect wine when faced with mesmerizing choices, each bottle temptingly displayed with hopes that you'll give its prized contents a try. It can be a real beauty pageant as each label competes to be the one chosen.
Beautiful labels and sultry bottle shapes aside, the perfect wine is actually the one well-suited to your palate.

The first step to understanding your palate is to do so some soul searching, wine tasting and seek professional advice. It's easier than you might think.

Consider the proprietor of a neighborhood wine store to be your own personal shopper, wine consultant or sommelier. When the world of wines can seem overwhelming, they are the people who will be there helping guide your selections to fit your tastes.
Every wine has a story. A wine store expert can tell you the story behind the wine, while helping guide you through the decision-making process. Most will know the questions to ask and the answers you're hoping to find.

But keep in mind that not all stores are created equal. Find a wine merchant that is willing to spend time with customers talking about wine. Make sure you feel comfortable asking questions and the staff is willing to help and assist. Finding a store with exceptional customer service in a warm, friendly and inviting environment should keep you coming back.

Dispelling the misconception of price, wine doesn't have to be expensive to be good. Also, you can't assume that you'll pay more in a wine store than you would in a supermarket or big box store. In today's competitive market a wine store typically carries a wide array of price levels. Consider buying a wine under $20 to receive great value for a good quality wine.

When it comes to wine, it's not what you know it's what you like. Overall, finding something you like has less to do with price and everything to do with what suits your palate. Understanding your palate is essential for determining the wines you'll like.

So how do you begin to understand your palate? One way is to learn by doing - exploring the differences through tastings will help train and develop your senses. There's no reason you shouldn't be able to find the right wine every time once you understand your tastes.

Tasting wine whenever and wherever you can will help train and develop your palate. Opting for a flight of wine, which allows you to sample three to four different wines in one sitting, is a good way to taste and learn about various wines. With practice you can learn to distinguish wines from different regions, refine your palate and take pleasure in the unique characteristics of a variety of wines. Perhaps you'll gain a few new favorites or you may come to love them all.

If you're looking to try something new, venture out to lesser-known wine producing areas and varietals. Move out of your comfort zone and explore new regions. In fact, small artisan vineyards rely upon a savvy wine store owner to carry their label and a curious consumer to seek them out.

Last but not least is the wine critic. We recommend caution when basing decisions on their reviews. After all, it's about what you like and since you don't share the same palate as the person offering the critique, your opinions and tastes are bound to differ.

Buying wine should be as enjoyable as drinking it. There's no right or wrong wine - only what's right for you. We think you'll be pleased with what is available on the market today and many at affordable prices.

Again, we would like to thank the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce along with the entire community for naming Vino 100 "Small Business of the Year" for 2009. It is truly a pleasure and honor to serve you (pun intended!).

Lil Lepore and Shari Frazier are owners of Vino 100 in Valencia, a unique specialty wine store offering boutique, handcrafted wines from small, artisan vineyards, as well as a large selection of gifts and accessories. Daily tastings, weekly specials and monthly events. Visit Vino 100 located at 28112 Newhall Ranch Road in the HighRidge Crossing Center at the corner of Copper Hill Drive in Valencia. (661) 294-6886, www.vino100valencia.com.

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