NORWALK, Conn. -- When it comes to wine and coffee, beginners like it sweet, says Greg Collins, co-manager of Total Wine & More in Norwalk.
"When people start having coffee, they put sugar in it. Then over time, they put less sugar and less milk. Wine is like that. So it is not uncommon for a beginner to like moscato. It's one of the sweetest wines," he said in a Daily Voice interview.
Collins and co-manager Paul Flynn hand out tips at the shop on wine pairings, not just for holiday dinners and parties, but every day to their customers.
The information and wine samples are a highlight at the busy shop that sells all varieties of alcoholic beverages.
Tastings are every Thursday to Sunday, and this week on Wednesday when the shop expects a “gangbuster” kind of day, Collins said.
“A large percentage of people tomorrow will be new shoppers to the store," Collins said. "It will be one of our busiest days. We’ve become a destination. We’ll have people who are traveling back home for the holiday, and hear of us from ones that live in the region.”
Collins said the typical wine shopper will make wine selections in one of two ways. “Either they buy stuff they like or think most of what the people who are going to be there are going to enjoy.”
Selections also hinge on the idea most people don’t drink wine, he said.
"So you will buy something very approachable that is not high in tannins with residual sweetness," he said. "Usually, when you have people for dinner, not everybody is going to like the meal. But eight of ten will. Wine is like that.”
Good choices for beginners, as well as a general crowd, are sweeter selections. Moscato, prosecco and white zinfandel are in this category.
Prosecco, though “extra dry, is actually sweet and a good way to get people who don't normally drink, to drink, because it's bubbly and celebratory," Collins said.
He advises to "keep it simple." An excellent choice for Thanksgiving dinner is pinot noir.
“It is not going to overwhelm the turkey and will be anywhere from light, to medium body, depending on where it's from," he said. "It's low in tannins."
Tannins, he explained, lend a taste to wine that is unfamiliar to newcomers to wine.
"A good way to describe tannins is this. If you accidentally bite the stem or seed of a grape, the dryness that spurts in your mouth, shall we say, is not user-friendly," Collins said.
The taste for those unfamiliar with drinking wine, would be considered unpleasant.
Cabernet is high in tannins. “They tend to be drier, maybe smoky in flavor. Tannings are a great thing for a wine that you plan on aging. It softens the wine."The shop is at 380 Main Ave., Norwalk.
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