Getting Into Wine

A number of people think that getting into wine is complicated. To be fair, getting deeply into wine can become that complicated, what with all the varietals, blends, and regions, not to mention the terminology. We’re not doing that kind of a deep dive today. For now, we’re all about just getting into wine.

I don’t particularly remember what wines I first had. Based on pictures, there were some sweet wines at holiday tables. There was also the sangria we made in college, but I was mainly exploring beer and bourbon in those days.

When I was in my 30’s and dating again after a divorce, I made the decision to begin my wine journey. What made it additionally challenging was the fact that I lived in Pennsylvania at the time, and state stores aren’t very shopper-friendly. I was fortunate, however, to end up with a Louis Jadot Pouilly Fuisse.

That wine, which is currently available, is a 100% Chardonnay from the  Mâconnais region of Burgundy. It’s partly barrel fermented, and sees six months of oak. The nose is all apple, honey, and flowers. The palate is fresh, with citrus and a hint of nuts. This wine illustrates why Chardonnay is the top-selling varietal. We have the 750ml bottle on sale for only $23.97.

From there, I actually went a little backward and got into Riesling for a while. I like to say, with only a little hyperbole, that I could make a bag of hard pretzels and a bottle of Dr. L Riesling disappear in one sitting. I’ve made Dr. L my go-to Riesling, and there’s usually a bottle or two in my wine fridge. It’s a nicely balanced Mosel Riesling, with notes of green apple, pear, and peach, with a crisp finish. The alcohol is a modest 8.5%, and it’s also vegan. If you like spicy food, this is a great pairing. We have this on sale for only $9.97.

It took a trip to Italy for me to gain an interest in red wine. For a setting, it’s hard to beat sitting in a sunny piazza with a margarita pizza and a dry red. I started with a house chianti at that restaurant, and never stopped exploring reds. A chianti is pretty straight-forward and food friendly, so that may be a good place for you to start your own red wine journey. At $9.99, the Fontella Chianti is a wine with a great price to value ratio. It earned 91 points from James Suckling, who wrote that it is “a structured Chianti with ripe fruit and lightly chewy tannins. Shows spice and bark undertones. Medium body. Drink now.”

In the end, there’s no right or wrong way to enjoy wine. Whether you’re starting out in the world of wine, trying to expand your palate, or just looking for a Rule 2 wine (Rule 2: Try Something Different), the team at the Hopewell and Hamilton Super Buy Rite’s are ready to suggest something for you.

—Steve Wernick, Wine Manager

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