Let’s get real: it can be all too easy to grab whatever wine is available (and cheapest) at your local store. But the truth is you can probably do much better. There’s no reason to settle when it comes to wine, because the affordable options are endless, and you can end up finding something you really love.
Except you might have no clue where to start. That’s where Brian Smith comes in. Smith is a winemaker, sommelier and the CEO of Club W, an online personalized wine club. New Club W members take a “palate profile” quiz to help the service determine which wines they should send to each person every month. Questions like how you take your coffee and if you prefer fresh or cooked fruit help Smith determine a person’s wine palate.
We spoke with Smith to break down each quiz question to help you figure out your drinking tastes, and learn about some wines you love in the process. Click through to discover your wine personality.
How do you like your coffee?
Black: You’ll prefer drier, more structural wins with high tannins, which is an element that makes wine taste dry.
Recommendation: Alcalá Monastrell
With milk: You use milk to soften the coffee, adding more texture and weight, so try a syrah that feels the same way.
Recommendation: 9 Sisters Syrah
Frappuccino, baby: Really rich, sweet coffee drinks translate to juicy, sweet red wines with soft tannins.
Recommendation: Wonderful Wine Co. Red Blend
How do you feel about salt?
I put it on everything: Then look for really fresh white wines with no oak, like a sauvignon blanc or a lighter, French-style red.
Recommendation: Redux Sauvignon Blanc
Trying to watch my blood pressure over here: So stick to sweeter wines, like a tropical chardonnay or juicy merlot made in warmer climates, like California.
Recommendation: XXI Merlot
Are you into citrus?
Yes: Then you love acidity, so search for acidic wines, like sauvignon blancs from Oregon and Washington.
Recommendation: Porter & Plot Pinot Gris
No: Then you should stick to a softer, more fruity white blend or a dry Riesling.
Recommendation: Wonderful Wine Co. Riesling
Do you like earthy flavors like mushrooms and black truffles?
Yes, I’m a shroom head: Try wines that aren’t fruit-forward, then, which is most Old World wines, meaning they’re made in Europe (New World wines are made anywhere else). European wines are made in more classic styles that tend to have earthier notes to them.
Recommendation: L'Atelier Grenache Blend
No way: Stick to more fruit-driven, New World wines that employ more modern wine-making techniques in warmer regions.
Recommendation: Butcherblock Cabernet Sauvignon
What are your thoughts on berries?
I love them fresh: Fresh-picked berries, while sweet, have a tartness similar to fresher, lighter wines like pinot noirs, which finish dry, like a sour cherry.
Recommendation: Porter & Plot Pinot Noir
I’m more into jams and pies: For the same sugary sweet character in jams and pies, try California zinfandels, cabernets and shirazes, which all have baked fruit notes.
Recommendation: Redux Zinfandel
How adventurous are you with food?
I’ll eat anything: Chances are you’ve never seen orange wine, which is crafted like a red wine (grape skins left on), but tastes more like a full-bodied white.
Recommendation: Rust Grenache Blanc
Not at all: You can’t go wrong with a crowd-pleaser red blend.
Recommendation: Pregame Red Blend