Congratulations!! You have decided to start your wine cellar. You have the place, but you need to start buying more and drinking less. It sounds easy and it is. If you plan on doing a 50 bottle cellar some day, you could take this case as one of four. You could just get three more cases like this one to complete your cellar, but for now we are going to concentrate on your first case.
I would suggest that your first case purchase consist of twelve bottles and that four of the twelve will be wine that has some FIZZ! You will need four bottles of sparkling and I would like to bring your attention to a nice sparkling from Spain called Cristalino. This wine is made in Cristaline Method Tradicional. It is a Brut Cava and it is in the $6.00 price range. If you get this recommendation you will not be sorry. It is not a sweet sparkling. If your tastes run to cold duck, donít get this one. It tends to be a little drier with a light sweet taste. Get two of these.
I would also suggest two more bottles - one bottle of Korbel Brut and one bottle of Korbel Rose'.
If you like red better than white, you'll be getting five red and three white. If you like white better than red, you'll be getting five white and three red. For now, skip the white Zinfandel. As you expand your cellar, you can add the white Zinfandel.
If your tastes run to the lighter of the reds, consider two Pinot Noir, two red Zinfandels and one Cabernet Sauvignon. If your tastes run the the heavier wines, reverse the order; two Cabernet, two Zins and one Pinot. I like Merlot and would substitute the Merlot for red Zinfandel, but that is up to you. Since everyone's tastes run a little differently, I would stick with wines that are between $8 and $15 per bottle. I have reds that I buy all the time for under these prices, but as a rule you can not go wrong in this price range.
For whites, select Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Grigio. Most Italian Pinot Grigios are very nice and are available for under $9.00. The German whites are, for the most part, a little on the sweet side. While they were a steady fare for me 20 years ago, my taste buds are more on the dry side of the white now a days.
When buying a case, always, always, always, make sure you can get a case price even on a mixed lot. The case price will be a minimum of 10% and oftentimes 15% off the price of the case. I always confirm that I can get a case price if I purchase 12 bottles ahead of time, if I am going in a place where I have not done business before. It doesn't hurt to check. I have known some people to just walk in, ask for a wine cardboard case and start picking out some many of this and so many of that and walk up to the counter. When they got there they asked if they could get the case price and if not, just walked out of the store. I have personally seen where the merchant would rather give the case price than go back and restock the purchase back on the shelves. I think that is rude and shows disrespect for the merchant. I would rather make my arrangements up front and often have found that if I ask for 10% will many times get 15%.
Until next time, let me know what is on your mind, and how you are doing, O.K.?
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Jim Fortune - the Bella Online Wine Guy