Finding the right wine can feel as impossible as finding the right guy on Tinder; filtering through endless aisles of labels, armed with only your first instinct. And as Valentine's Day approaches finding a match becomes more complicated still. Maybe you want a fling, maybe you want something more serious? Or maybe you just want to say "screw it", and wallow with your ladies. Whatever your heart desires, you'll still need wine. You may be single for Valentine's Day, but I promise this, you won't be sober. Here are a few ground rules to help you find a wine that'll make you swoon:
There are a lot of wine advice columns out there that claim to understand your palate. (Exp. "If you like blackberry jam, you'll love Malbec.") Personally, I don't buy it. We are not as simple as all that. I like my coffee black, that doesn't mean I don't like Riesling. Try not to get pigeonholed, no matter what those "match makers" claim.
Trust the Small Guys
If you are looking for something unique, don't go to Safeway; check out that small wine shop around the corner, which is more likely to carry smaller, artisan brands and whose employees are dedicated to finding you the wine of your dreams.
Don't Judge a Book by its Cover
I know, I know. It's hard not to fall for the bottle with a catchy saying or a cute critter on it. But trust me ladies, sometimes the outwardly charming has something to hide. Maybe it's overpriced, maybe it's unbalanced, or maybe if you're lucky, it is that Mr. Right you're pining for. All I'm saying is, that Southern Italian in the corner may not be flashy, but it's probably damn good.
Price Doesn't Always Matter
There are a lot of factors that go into pricing a wine. What the market will handle, supply + demand, vintage, point systems, inflated ego, etc. A hefty price tag doesn't necessarily make it the wine for you. If you are looking for a terrific value seek out more off-the-beaten-path regions such as Loire Valley whites, or Cru Beaujolais as an alternative to the high price tag of Burgundy. Northern Italian regions like Valle d'Aosta are also great for unique reds, and for pre-aged beauties look to Spain's Rioja region.
Stick with what you know
I'm not suggesting you buy the same bottle you always get, that's no fun! I'm just saying there is no harm in making it easy on yourself. Use what you know; if you like "that one" Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast, try a different winery that makes Chardonnay from Sonoma Coast. Or if you know you love wines from the Rhone Valley, try a Syrah or Grenache from an alternative region. This way you're tossing the dice, but at least there are some parameters.
Those bottles aren't going to drink themselves, so go get 'em ladies!