Welcome To POW! Wines
The importance of "Terroir"
Each wine grape varietal, such as Cabarnet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Tempranillo exhibits distinctly different character, based on where it is grown. POW! is working with wine industry and academic partners to build the first searchable worldwide GIS map tool to identify the best growing conditions for each wine grape varietal.
How to Select Fine Wines at Reasonable Prices
The key to finding excellent wine at a reasonable price is to learn the key differences between different wine grape varietals and the regions in whcih they are grown. Your local wine merchant or sommelier usually is a great source of expert guidance. Find a wine merchant who is helpful and whose judgment you trust. Try out several recommendations and discuss your opinion of the wines with the merchant and friends to get more input. It helps to attend wine tasting events which are informative in nature, and which focus on individual wine growing regions or specific grape varietals.
If you are looking for a good wine at an inexpensive price, examine the bottle and label carefully. Some wines are made to be sold "cheaply." They usually are bottled in light-weight bottles and with artful labels that fail to identify the specific viticultural area where they were grown or the winery where they were made. By contrast, heavier, more expensive bottles, particularly those with an indented "punt" in the bottom of the bottle, tend to be labeled with with the producing winery's name, and even the particular vineyard from which the grapes came. As a general rule, the less specific the label, the lower quality is the wine.
Sometimes when a wine does not sell well, due to its being made from a grape varietal unfamiliar to most people, it may eventually be deeply-discounted, in spite of being well-crafted. At other times, due to an impending excellent harvest of new grapes, wine producers need to make space and sell some of their stockpile at reduced prices. After bumper crops are made into wine, some high-quality producers may have surplus grapes. Rather than "cheapen" their main "brands" and "labels" by reducing prices to ease the oversupply, they bottle the excess under a "second label," to be sold at lower prices to clear out the inventory. Such second labels often are nearly as good as the better-known "first" labels, and can be a terrific bargain. Other bargains may result from a winery being acquired by a new owner, who applies new branding and labels to future production. The older wine in inventory may be sold at deeply-discounted prices.
Building Your Wine Collection
Starting a wine collection does not require the ultimate in patience and forebearance. You don't need to put aside a wine you might like for years and years, putting off the enjoyment of it. When you try a wine that you like, simply buy several more bottles of it and store it in a cool, unlit place. (Wine can handle changes in temperature, so long as the changes happen slowly, such as from season to season.) When you find a wine that you like that is well-priced, buy a case to put away.
When you find an exceptionally good wine at an exceptional price, buy several cases. Once you get into this habit, years will pass by and you'll look at your growing collection of wine and realize it's time to start drinking some of the older bottles. Keep notes on your tasting experience as you pull each bottle from a case, including whether the wine might need a bit more age or is then-ready for immediate consumption.
As your wine collection grows, experiment with more wine-growing regions and grape varietals. A well-diversified wine collection will provide years of enjoyment, and can be a lot of fun when you have guests over.