The best way to buy wine is to taste it first. Especially, if the wines price tag is a bit more than you usually spend. However, not all wine shops offer tastings on a regular basis. Two stores in particular that do offer tastings on a somewhat regular basis are Total Wine & More and Trader Joe's. Trader Joe's tastings consist of their very affordable wines with the occasional pricey wine ($15 to $20) and usually some cheese to munch on as well. If you have ever been to Total Wine you know it can be a bit intimidating with those massive aisles stacked to the ceiling with wine. When Total Wine holds a tasting they generally have an affordable wine, medium priced and a tad more pricey wine.
A recent trip to Total Wine with the intention to buy a Riesling ended in not only a bottle of Riesling, but a bottle of Chardonnay as well. There was a great lineup at Total that day, and passing up a free tasting is not something I recommend. There were four wines to taste: a white blend, chardonnay and two reds. The winner of the bunch was the Sonoma-Loeb Chardonnay. A pleasing Chardonnay that resembles what some in the wine world say is the best Chardonnay in the world - Montrachet. This is a Burgundy style Chardonnay with a brilliant yellow/straw color that shines in the glass. The nose displays aromas of pear, lemon and tropical fruit. Sip this wine and be prepared to be wowed by the very pleasant creaminess this wine exhibits. A very tiny hint of oak can be tasted on the finish, but it is mostly masked by the subtle pear and melon flavors and richness of the wine. This is the wine for someone who doesn't like Chardonnays because they are too oaky or heavy. This may very well change the way you think and drink Chardonnay.
This wine can be found at Total Wine for $19.99. A perfect wine for a special occasion or just a weeknight meal. Tasting before buying is the best way to expand your wine palate. Always take advantage of tastings wherever you see them and try new wines. You might find a new one you like. Total Wine & More offers a 10% coupon when you taste and buy one of the wines on the tasting table. Trying new wines and getting a coupon, what's better than that?
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