The Quintessential Guide to Choosing Wine for the First Time

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Around 26% of table wines are consumed by African Americans, according to a study by researchers at Purdue University. If in the past, the typical wine consumer was white and middle-aged, today, the growth of the African-American population and its increased interest in wine means that a good bottle is often a component of an elegant or romantic meal. If you have planned a date with a special someone or you are visiting a fine dining restaurant with friends, how can you ensure that everyone at the table enjoys the perfect bottle of wine?

Research into Local Wines

The idea of ‘zero kilometre cuisine’ has taken hold of the culinary industry on a global scale. Sustainability is increasingly becoming a core value that shapes customers’ purchasing decisions. Sustainable and local wines are therefore enjoying a big boom. Find out what locally made bottles have won prizes and read up on wine rating systems. Wine Spectator magazine is considered to be the ultimate ‘wine bible’ and it rates wines based on a 100-point system. Ensure the bottle you choose has a 85-89 (very good) rating if you want to ensure quality and flavor is top-level.

Hone the Skill of Wine Pairing

If you are having a long meal at a gourmet restaurant, check first if they have wine pairing menus. Top wine-centered restaurants like Boucherie Union Square in New York, Severance Wine Bar in Los Angeles, Atmosphere in Atlanta, or Sonoma Wine Bar & Restaurant in Houston are famed for this service, which takes the pressure off wine ordering. The whole point about choosing bottles is to discover excellent ones that may not necessarily be featured in commercial publications. Wine restaurants can pair world wines with international dishes, thereby opening your world to top bottles you may never have come across in your own reading. Don’t be shy about listing down (or simply taking a quick photo of) the labels you particularly enjoyed.

Excellent Wines by Black Winegrowers

If you’ve never tried a handcrafted bottle of wine by Theodora Lee (Theopolis Vineyards), Bertony Faustin (Abbey Creek Vineyard) or Phil Long (Longevity Wines), what are you waiting for? As noted by Ray Smith, owner of Indigene Cellars, there is a rising group of black winemakers whose bottles are receiving notable mentions in prestigious publications. For a top white, try MNW’s Knock on Wood Chardonnay – a 2017 bottle that retails for around €25. For a full-bodied, exclusive red, ask for Brown Estate’s Phat Vine Charbono, which retails at $125.

If you want to impress a date or your friends when dining out, try to celebrate your city or town by choosing a wine made in the near vicinity. Opt for bottles with good ratings, but be open to try out a recommended wine or one you have come across in your research. For a home dinner, consider a wine made by black winegrowers, many of which have a fascinating history that is worthy of discovery.

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