On Becoming A Wine Expert — The Essential Bottles to Try

at the Wine Rack

with Christopher Reckord

Thursday, May 17, 2018

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Several years ago, I began working on a wine appreciation maturity model. The aim was to categorise the different types of wine lovers — what those in sales and marketing might label the “buyer persona”.

I wanted to create this list of characteristics in order to ensure that I would be able to deliver the right information to the right audiences, whether in a classroom setting or via this medium. It is this maturity model that I have used to help associates in the purchase of wine gifts for friends and family.


Categories of Wine Drinkers

For simplicity, these wine drinkers fall into one of three broad categories: (a) Connoisseur: a collector who knows what varietals and producers they like and why, usually buys by the case, studies vintages and does research on wine before they buy (b) Enthusiast: generally enjoys most types of wines, always willing to learn about wine, knows what varietals and style of wine they prefer and can usually be convinced to try different producers (c) Newbie: new to wine, prefers sweet wines, they prefer to drink wine rather than to talk about it.


Novice to Expert

How does one move from beginner status to becoming a wine connoisseur? you might ask. The simple answer is this: taste as many different types of wines as you can. Various wine experts and wine writers have made many lists of anywhere between 15 to 30 wines that you should taste in order to get a decent introductory overview of the main types of wine out there.

Here is Part 1 of my essential list of about 20 whites, rosés, reds and sparkling wines & the essential white wines to try, in this order, if possible:

Chardonnay - California: Chardonnay is the most popular white wine varietal. It is grown in cool (France), moderate (California) and warm (Australia) climate zones. Get to know this California wine style which is tropical fruit supported by some oak. Try a bottle of Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve Chardonnay.

Chardonnay - Burgundy, France: Chardonnay originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France, so let's try something close to its ancestral home like the William Fevre Chablis - delicate, soft and refreshing. Same Chardonnay grape, different style.

Sauvignon Blanc - Sancerre: It is generally agreed that the Sancerre region in the eastern part of the Loire valley in France produces one of the finest expressions of the Sauvignon Blanc grape. To experience this, try the Michelle Redde Sancerre.

Sauvignon Blanc - New Zealand: This grape varietal put this country on the map. For a great example of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc try Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc.

Riesling (Dry) - Alsace, France: Not all Rieslings are sweet; Rieslings from the Alsace region of France and Washington State tend to be dry while Rieslings from Germany and California tend to be of the sweeter variety. The closest example of a dry Riesling I could find in Jamaica was the off-dry Kung Fu Girl Riesling.

Riesling (Sweet) - Germany: While dry German Rieslings do exist (look for the German word Trocken on the bottle), the sweeter wines are where they shine - try a bottle of Dr L Riesling.


Do spread your tasting over a few weeks to ensure it's fun, stress-free and affordable.


Christopher Reckord - Information Technology Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to creckord@gmail.com. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram @chrisreckord and on Twitter: @Reckord

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