You need a wine cellar. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and the wine needn’t be expensive. However, there’s a certain joy in knowing the right wine for a particular meal is at your fingertips. I know wine can be intimidating, but that’s true for many realms of the unknown. Everything you sample and everything you learn adds to your enjoyment. You gain a greater understanding of your palate, and the diversity that the wine world offers, with the more you taste. So let’s begin.
It’s useful to develop a relationship with a particular wine shop, a spot that does regular tastings and offers advice. That said, I’m building this column around wine that’s readily available at Costco. The prices are good, and the selection is an adequate place to begin until you get hooked. When that happens, you’ll probably want to seek out specific producers and vintages, and, perhaps, stretch your budget for a special bottle. But in the meantime, we’ll focus on keeping it simple and affordable with most wines $20 or less. My strong recommendation is to up your game from boxed or bulk wine, and even from bottles under $10. Making that jump to an extra $5 per bottle is actually a quantum leap in wine quality. And as you’ll see, many of these recommendations are quite wallet-friendly.