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Personality

Get to know a wine as you would a person. Think about the traits or quirks that stand out.

Ask yourself: How would I introduce this wine at a party?

Examples: Rofe may describe a wine as “generous” if it’s rich, full-bodied and giving, while she may consider a wine with springy lightness to be “charming.”

Pairability

Consider wine a costar to the current menu or in relation to your own personal preferences.

Ask yourself: How does this jive with the flavors on my table right now?

Examples: “When I started out, a fiasco [of Chianti] was the classic pizza wine,” says Towns Franken. But you might prefer “a fruity Lambrusco, or… pricy Champagne.” The perfect pairing is the one you like best.

Sensory Experience

Our own sense of a wine depends on more than taste or smell. “[The] type of day I’ve had… who I’m with, even my body temperature,” says Towns Franken, can all play a role.

Ask yourself: How does this wine make me feel? Does it remind me of a certain moment

Examples: A glass savored on vacation may recall rest and relaxation or may taste totally different at your kitchen table.