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Changing Wine Tastes Through Wine Clubs

[custom_frame_left shadow=”on”]Wine Tasting Menu[/custom_frame_left]Last Saturday my husband and I went to Coopers Hawk Winery to catch up on our wine club subscription. We get a bottle a month through the club but because we have to pick them up, we usually end up behind 2 or 3 months (one good reason to do online clubs!). We decided to do a full tasting because we hadn't done one there before and because I have found that my taste in wines has really been changing the longer that I do wine club reviews. I started wondering why that may be.

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From Sweet to Dry Wines

When I started drinking wine, I liked it really sweet. We're talking white zinfandel sweet. I often drank fruit flavored wines like Blackberry and Strawberry. When I started ordering wines with my dinner, I had no choice but to move to white wines because most restaurants didn't even serve the very sweet wines with food.

That took me into about a decade of drinking sweet white wines. Riesling was my favorite. When my husband and I took a trip to California and did a wine bus tour, I enjoyed expanding my choices to similar wines such as the Viognier and Moscato. For the most part, I avoided red and any chardonnay that had too much oak.

Then I started joining wine clubs. I was brazen in my selections and chose clubs with a full variety of mixed wines. After a couple of years, I found myself preferring the dry whites and even expanding into some of the reds, especially Pinot Noir and Malbec. Now I would never drink white zinfandel and usually can't even stand any sweet wines!

What Changed My Tastes?

As far as I can tell, a few different things had a huge impact on my wine tastes. I would say it was just age, but my husband has aged right along with me and he still prefers the Rieslings and Viogniers. He'll drink some of the others with me, but they are not his preference. I think that trying the different varieties and getting educated about them has made a huge difference for me.

For instance, I didn't know to drink Malbec with steak until I read about it in the tasting notes from my WSJ Wine Club selection. Once I paired the Malbec with steaks one night, my husband and I both declared that we would be Malbec fans forever. It's not my first choice to break into for a night with friends, but it's ALWAYS my first choice now when we grill out.

How you pair the wine makes a huge difference! That's one of the reasons that I love buying wines from the wine clubs. They almost always come with some kind of tasting and pairing notes that help me pair it perfectly so that I will enjoy it more. In fact, I would say that 95% of the time I like every wine in every wine club when I pair it the way that they tell me to.

I've also learned that not all wines of the same varietal taste the same. Just because I try one Petite Syrah and hate it, it doesn't mean that I will hate all Petite Syrahs. There are so many other factors. Wine clubs tend to pick wines that are going to please a wide variety of people. So the wines they pick are usually a safe bet for me versus just choosing a wine at the grocery store because I like the varietal itself.

I guess the moral of the story is that if you are a wine drinker, you owe it to yourself to try to expand your horizons. Yes, you can order a Chardonnay of the Month club if you like chardonnay. But why not take a chance and order a club with some variety so that you can try something new? You might be surprised at what you find that you like.

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