I've been doing several wine tastings at various communities in Naples and each time I'm reminded how many people continue to drink the same wines year after year. Whether it's a Kendall-Jackson chardonnay, a Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc, a Mark West pinot noir or a Manage et Tois blend, there is a go-to wine day after day.
Such a pity, I tell them as I pour four or five value wines they have never tasted before. With so many wines in the $10-15 category, there is a sea of alternatives to explore. And, once the wine is in their glasses, they enjoy having something different.
They tell me of their fears to buy something they won't like. Going back to the wine they do like is so much more reliable. However, the other wines they will like are just waiting to be discovered.
There was once a time in my life when wine choices were limited. It was hard to find wines from New Zealand, Australia, Portugal, Spain and even parts of the United States. However, as transportation improved with better shipping conditions, our market was flooded with new wines. But with that flood came confusion and fear. Consumers were buying wines not on familiarity but on the eye-catching labels. Even today producers of mediocre wines are putting more effort into their labels than into their wines. They don't own a winery or even vineyards -- they own just the name.
Please continue to try new grape varieties -- godello, verdejo, barbera, gamay, albarino -- and new regions -- Portugal, Croatia, Virginia, Sicily. Your next favorite wine is waiting to be discovered.