My goal is to share wines that are currently available in the Charleston market and directly through online outlets. These wines will be based on our personal preferences. From our experience, I hope that you can learn about new wines and allow you to be more adventurous in your wine buying. The wines you will read about on Strong Coffee to Red Wine are not about Robert Parker or Wine Spectator scores or accolades in magazines. It is about wines that Gary and I enjoy.
There are many wines that Gary and I love but our preferences are actually quite different. So there may be wines I write about that are “not my thing” but Gary loves and visa versa. As well as wines we both enjoy. This way I am able to speak about wine to a broader audience.
Preferences: A Wine History
In the early days of our wine drinking, the criteria we used to buy wine was a bit random. Did the label capture our attention.? Was it rated by one of the superstore employees or one of the nationally recognized experts? Was it on sale? We had no idea what we were doing and stuck with varieties we knew we liked and rarely ventured from that. We would buy wine at Target, wine superstores, any grocery store, Costco… really just about anywhere but an independent wine store. To say we threw away a lot of wine is an understatement. So we needed a new plan.
We then started shopping at a small local wine store where the owner of the store tasted everything that she chose to stock. Daunting, I know but that way she knew exactly what she was buying. She also has an uncanny ability to remember her customers likes and dislikes. I will never forget one of our early visits and I asked her if a wine was good or not. Her comeback was, “Of course, it is good, or I would not sell it. But is it for you or for Gary?” When I said me, she said, “No! Put that down but if it was for Gary then yes.” I was taken aback and bought it anyway. I hated it. But no surprise, Gary loved it.
So her shop became our primary locale for most of our purchases. Gary and I are lucky to have a purveyor who knows and understands our different palates but not everyone is so fortunate. Several years later during a transitionary time for Gary, he worked part-time at this same wine shop. Over the 2 1/2 years, he was able to taste thousands of wines which really refined his palate. I depended on him and the knowledge he gained during that time.
When Gary went back to work in healthcare, I became our primary wine buyer and a switch seemed to flip in my brain. I really got into it. Then I started this blog and the rest is history.
Since then my preferences for wine has expanded exponentially. What used to be mostly wines from France, we are now drinking wine from all over the world. We have found our sweet spot with Northern California wines and have found some truly amazing wines from that region. With the wine conferences that I have attended, the classes I have taken and the weekly tastings I attend, the world of wine has become my oyster.
What We Pay
As my knowledge has grown so has my willingness to pay more for a bottle of wine. That said, our spending budget is as follows.
Our everyday wine or what we like to call “Tuesday wine” needs to be an affordable, easy to drink wine that we always have on hand. Our spend on this wine is $10-$15 per bottle. That said, Gary loves his Italian Pinot Grigio from Trader Joe’s that we get for $4.99 a bottle. Our “go to” rosé is Moulin De Gassac Guilhem. We buy it by the case so the price is $10 per bottle. We really do not have a “Tuesday” red wine. And I do not have a “Tuesday” white as of yet.
The rest of the wines in our coolers range in price from $18 to $50 a bottle with a few outliers above $50. When we drink these wines will depend on the occasion. Are we celebrating, or perhaps pampering ourselves after a particularly rough day? Dinner parties usually mean digging something special out of the cooler too. If I had to give you an average bottle price I would say $20-$30.
All that said, when I first started drinking wine spending $10 was my top spend and over the years it has crept higher as our palates and budgets have grown.
Our Always Evolving Palate Profiles
This section is currently being updated. Please stay tuned…