Some Like it Hot

by Kathleen Dennis
August 09, 2012

No, no, no. I'm not about to suggest that you drink hot wine. That is disgusting and I am appalled at the insinuation. I am merely referring to the hot climate temperature of some of the vast array of regions all over the world. Ah ha! Now my cheesy intro makes sense! Stop me if you've heard this one...

Vastly numbered as the they are, regions are usually classified amongst 3 categories: Mediterranean, Maritime, and Continental climates. Basically, Mediterranean climates have really hot summers and long growing seasons, Maritime (mostly distinguished by their close proximity to large bodies of water) summers are warm with mildly cool winters, and Continental (not neighbored by a body of water) summers have varying degrees of heat, with very cold winters. Obviously, the amount of precipitation, sunlight and temperature, and the nature of the soil create the complexly rich body of each grape. Thus, the general flavors of such varietals are influenced by their region. Following such logic is my point: based on your tastes for wine, you will eventually develop an affinity towards particular regions.

I'm about to admit something to you all, but you CANNOT tell anyone.

Ok, here goes...

I used to pick my wines based on the prettiest bottles.


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Of course, there's nothing wrong with this. Sometimes it's fun to just pick a random wine you know nothing about and have an adventure! However, I'd like to equip you all with my favorite little wine decision tool: Discover your favorite regions. At that point you'll know what too look for amongst the HUGE number of wine walls created to taunt you with your inherent decision making aversion issues (no? Just me?), depending upon what you're in the mood for.

For instance, I happen to know that I'm irrationally obsessed with the Marlborough region of New Zealand (screw caps!), as they produce (for my pallet) a perfect Sauvignon Blanc that has been instrumental in entertaining me through this surprisingly warm summer. However, on other nights, I will be insatiable without the blackcurrent notes of a Spanish grenache. Of course, being from southern California, little impresses me more than the grape varietals of the hot, hot, hot Mediterranean climate.

My point is, of course, you should taste more wine.

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