You’re in the liquor store looking for a good bottle of French wine, but you’re in far too much a rush to recall all those regional appellations or decipher all those complicated French words on the label.
So how do you know if a bottle will be good?
Start flipping the bottles around and look at the names of the importers.
“This trick changed my life. When I’m in a rush and don’t have time to do the research, I just start flipping all the bottles around and looking at the back label,” said my friend and co-host of The Main Course on Denver’s KEZW, Elizabeth Woessner over dinner.
Elizabeth knows French wine, but there’s just so much of it – it’s hard to know it all. She’s found that knowing the best US distributers makes all the difference when you’re short on time in the states.
“They obviously offer a range of quality, but a good importer will have a baseline level you know won’t steer you in a bad direction.”
According to Elizabeth, if you see a wine imported by Robert Kacher or Kermit Lynch, you’ve got a good one. Eli Kerlin, who heads up the bar at Z Cuisine and À Côté suggests that Eric Solomon is also generally good and Terry Theise has a great Germanic wines portfolio.
You see, the importers taste far more wines than they import and select only the wines they think will make a good portfolio. Some importers have a portfolio that’s developed to drive profits while others, like those mentioned above, seem to really try to offer only quality tasting wines.
The great thing about picking out a wine based on an importer is that you may also end up with a really tasty value wine – in other words, a wine that doesn’t have lots of name recognition, but has still passed the taste-test of a wine connoisseur in order to make it into their portfolio.
These are some really wines to bring to parties, because your guests will be pleasantly surprised as well.
How do you select your wine? What’s the first thing you look at on a label? let me know in the comments.