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Wine Basics: A Savvy Girls’ Guide to Wine

Do you have your wine basics down? Or does one look at the wine section of the liquor store or the wine list at a restaurant have you ordering a more familiar favorite like a cosmo or a glass of scotch? No worries! We got to pick the wine-loving brain of Brittany Deal, author of Savvy Girl: A Guide to Wine, for the five-minute wine basics. Not the wine details to get you into full wine snob territory, but the real 411 on what to order, what to buy on the cheap that’s good (at Trader Joe’s even!) — and even how to impress your friends.
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Wine Basics With Brittany Deal

Why did you write this as your first book? I chose wine because women love wine, yet many wish they were more wine savvy. I also knew wine would be a lot more fun to research than taxes.
How can you tell a really good wine from a not-so-good wine? Most importantly, the difference between a good wine and a not-so-good wine is whether that wine is “yum or yuck” to you. The same way no one can tell you what types or foods you like, no one can tell you what styles of wine you will like. Whether a wine is expensive or inexpensive, a chardonnay or a merlot, if you think the wine is a “yum,” then you are correct!
What’s the one mistake people make when it comes to wine? Sweetness and fruitiness are often confused. Fruitiness refers to fruit-like aromas that you smell (cherry, apple, blackberry), whereas sweetness is a sensation you feel on your tongue. A wine with fruity aromas can be totally dry (meaning not sweet).
What are three wine terms that you can impress your friends with? Most people don’t know that there is more than one “stage” to a taste of wine. Impress your friends by knowing all three:
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Any tips for navigating a long wine list? Where do you start? First start with what you are ordering, and then consider how your food will pair with the wine. If you are a beginner you can’t go wrong with a Sauvignon Blanc with fish or Cabernet Sauvignon with steak.
Next look for your favorite regions and/or producers. If you don’t recognize the wines, ask the sommelier for a recommendation. The sommelier has tried all of the wines on the menu and can help you pick a wine that is made in a style you will enjoy and one that will pair best with your meal.
Any cheap wines you’re in love with right now? (Bonus if you can get them at Trader Joe’s!) Oh, yes! Here are two of my favorite wines available at Trader Joe’s:

  • Nobilo, Sauvignon Blanc: My favorite Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. A crisp, dry white wine with citrus flavors. Perfect for a hot day.
  • J. Lohr, Chardonnay: For all you oaky chard lovers. If you like Rombauer Chardonnay you will love this wine. It’s one-third the price and tastes almost the same!

We love how easy she makes the wine basics. Drink what you like! Time to hit up TJ’s for some Nobilo and J. Lohr! —Jenn

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!

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