SNOG, MARRY, AVOID WINES..
Love can appear complicated. However, it really boils down to one thing - you like someone or you don't.
Wine is just as simple. Unfortunately it has been made confusing and elitist, hijacked since the first amphora by pseudo-intellectuals, meaning many people miss the enjoyment of exploration for fear of making mistakes.
Wine, like human attraction, falls into three categories - Snog, Marry, Avoid - as in the seemingly facile but perceptive TV programme.
You can either strike out on your own, take advice from experts online and in print, or best of all, attend events and classes. Here is a basic guide to get you started:
Snog wines - trade secrets. The indigenous varieties of Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Turkey and revitalised areas in France offer exciting, great value wines that the trade loves to rave about but are still new to the consumer. Independent merchants are the best source with interesting wines from small producers, many at the same price as brands in supermarkets. Indies in London include The Sampler, Planet of the Grapes and Amathus.
Marry wines - the romantic big boys. Bordeaux, Burgundy, Barolo, Napa and Aussie 'icons' are all names to make you swoon. Unless you're rubbing your hands over a guilty bonus, the best way to sample the supermodels of the wine world is at tastings. London merchants Berry Bros, Roberson and ViniItaliani have exciting calendars of events where you can taste wine nirvana for a fair price. A whole new world of fine wine appreciation awaits for minimal effort.
Avoid wines - rip offs and bogus offers. The names most people have heard of are often over priced and second rate at supermarkets: Rioja, Chablis, Sancerre, Chateauneuf du Pape, St Emilion etc. If you're going to spend ÂŁ10, you're better off at an indie. Avoid half price deals they're not real bargains. If you're too busy to visit small shops or on a tight budget, good inexpensive wines are available online from Waitrose and Majestic.
(pic - Tracy Emin Exhibition at Turner Contemporary until 23rd September 2012)
A different kind of wine writing