I used to be a total zombie at the liquor store. I'd walk in, stick out my arms, grab the same bottles I always grabbed, pay, and then leave. I was just going through the motions, no thinking required. I knew this one was good, that one was bad, my friend loves this one… The wine I bought was average, but I was afraid to try anything new in case I bought a serious dud.
I went online to search for wines people loved, and that's how I found Tasting Room. In addition to offering top-of-the-line wines, they offer fun facts and detailed descriptions on the wines and wine in general. So I learned about why I liked what I liked and what was trending. A few months ago, I couldn't tell you what a tannin was, and now I know that they can make or break a wine for me.
Tasting Room opened me up to new and amazing winemakers, regions, and grapes. Here are my new favorites from Tasting Room that beat out my old stand-bys.
Chateau d'Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé is the "it" blend from rosé country, The Côtes de Provence in France. This classic led to the rosé boom of the mid-2010s, but in my personal opinion, it's overrated.
From the Languedoc region comes 2017's Flamboyance. This fun bottle, covered in flamingos, is made with the high quality you'd expect from French winemakers. This gorgeous medium-bodied blend is perfect with seafood, tacos, and antipasti, but holds up on its own for a post-brunch or pre-dinner glass.
Each November, France releases the Beaujolais Nouveau. Gamay may never impress a true wine critic, because it's best served young, light, and chilled, but the right Gamay can make a huge impact.
The 2017 Ça Roule? Beaujolais, made from 100% Gamay Noir is an explosion of fruits, with notes of maraschino cherry, strawberry, and plum. Great with chicken, but it can still hold its own with a strong charcuterie plate. The cheeky "Ça roule?" or, "How's it going?" (in French) can lead to big conversations.
West Coast Cabernet Sauvignon
Now that I've pointed this out, you'll notice it forever; at every dinner party ever, you'll find a bottle of Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon at the table. It's a good wine with a classy-looking bottle that appears more expensive than it is, but sadly, it's not very exciting. It's a classic bold California red, but the notes get lost in its giant flavor.
If you need an upgrade, try a fresh take with a Cab Sav from Oregon's Rogue Valley. It's only one state away, but there's a world of difference in between. This Fortuna is big and bold, but has a darker side, with notes of coffee, black currant, herbs, smoke, and black cherry. Big, but even better with meat, this is a tannin-lovers' dream.
Want a Cali Chardonnay that's made to go with food? You're probably aware of the one by Cupcake; it's a liquor store sale classic. This buttery wine has a fellow Monterey County rival; Morningside. With aromas of apple and lemon, this luscious wine complements chicken and fish dishes, or tops off a decadent meal. Not to mention that label is exquisite.
The Yellowtail Malbec could be on a bingo card for last-minute gifts. Although this Australian Malbec's low price has won over millions, for the quintessential Malbec, you need to go to Argentina. For fans of dark chocolate and berries, Ruta del Vino is a full-bodied masterpiece. Mendoza's arid summers make it a hot spot for grapes and olives, so pair your Malbec with a bountiful cheese plate for the full experience.
If you grab the same wines time and again, you can avoid a bad wine with Tasting Room. They offer select wines, at an affordable price, that beat out some of the ol' classics. Now that I know which wines I like, I only drink great wine.