Confessions of a Wine Newb Headed for Napa

It isn’t that I am new to wine. I have enjoyed reds and whites for years, and certainly did my turn with blush wines in college. I believe my taste in wine has evolved from “easy-drinking” to a…more sophisticated range of flavors and tannins? I am sort of grasping here.  My knowledge and vocabulary haven’t gotten the kind of workout my taste buds have, so they have fallen behind. I like wine, okay? Without a label, I can’t tell a Malbec from a Merlot, and the names of wines I learn while drinking them spill out of my head like water (not wine, wine would leave a stain, and these names do not leave a TRACE.) If I want to tell my husband which wine I liked that we tried, I’ll use landmarks, such as “You know the one; we had it last week with roasted pork, and I finished it off while you were talking to your dad on the phone. It was red.”  My husband, an informed and inquisitive cork dork, can usually figure it out. His brother, a true wine snob, just shakes his head at me. The highest praise I have gotten from HIM (following a five minute tutorial on the flavor profile of one particular wine) was a perplexed, “Well, I’ll give you credit; you stick to your guns. You don’t say you taste chocolate overtones, just because everyone else does.”

I admit I don’t know if I have all the requisite tools to become a connoisseur, but I have a taste for wine, a plane ticket, and some expendable income dedicated to winery visits, and that is a good start for an enjoyable trip to wine country. Mr. Wordtabulous and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary (17 months late) in California. And who knows, maybe while there the switch will flip on and I’ll come back with the lightbulbs in my mental wine vault glowing brightly (but not warmly—mustn’t heat the wine.) We’ll be in Calistoga for a few days, any recommendations for a must-see winery?

6 thoughts on “Confessions of a Wine Newb Headed for Napa

  1. Roberta Schult

    We were in Napa about 12 years ago and liked it then but when we went back 2 years ago we preferred the Sonoma area as Napa has become very crowded, comercial & VERY expensive. We loved the Dry Creek Valley area near Healdsburg, CA ~ They had smaller family owned wineries that really took their time and gave you the full experience ~ Check out Kokimo’s winery @ Only about 20 minutes from where you are staying!! Also if you have a Visa signature card (says this right on the front of the card) they have free tastings at over 60 wineries in Sonoma Cty and discounts on wines purchased at the winery, this saved us a ton of money ~ HAVE FUN!!
    Check it out @

    1. lynnettedobberpuhl Post author

      I like beer because I will NEVER drink too much of it. Great drink for a long, drawn out, hot afternoon gathering with the neighbors. Portion control with wine is a little more problematic. Here is hoping I don’t wreck my vacation! Thanks!

  2. Mich

    Does your wine snob brother-in-law realize his palate is not the only palate in the world? Of COURSE you should stick to your guns. What you taste is not necessarily what he tastes as studies have shown that people do have physical differences in their tongues. And with their noses which have a HUGE impact on taste perception. There is even a wine competition in Lodi, California that divides their judges into three different tasting profiles because of that. Tell him to lighten up and stop taking the fun out of wine enjoyment! Here’s an interesting article we should all read, if interested in wine:

  3. Pingback: A Love Letter to Discover | wordtabulous

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