How to Taste Wine
Types of Wine (varietals)
Glossary of Wine Terms
Pairing Wine with Food
Online Guides and Resources
How To Buy Liquor and Wine?
When you walk into a liquor store and the attendant asks you "May I
help you?" and when you want to bring a bottle of wine to a party, do you know
which one to buy? When someone gives you a bottle of wine, do you know how much it costs?
Here are the helps.
Alcoholic drinks are two kinds based on the volume of alcoholic: 1) liquor
and 2) wine. Liquor has alcoholic volume above 24% and wine, below 24%. The
former have Brandy, Vodka, Rum, Gin, Cordials, etc. and the latter have Chablis,
Chardonnay, Port, Rose Wine, etc.
1. Liquors (Brandy, Whisky, Vodka, Gin, Rum, Cordials)
Brandy is made of grapes. It has V.S., V.S.O.P.,
Napoleon, X.O. V.S. is the lowest and moves up to X.O. which is the highest. It is made
either from French Cognac or from other parts of the world.
Cognac Brandy for the above four kinds have Remy Martin,
Hennessy, Courvoisier and Martell. Remy Martin is strong, Hennessy is less strong,
Courvoisier is a bit sweet and Martell is a bit sour. For a 750ml bottle, V.S. is about
$25, V.S.O.P. is about $30 and X.O. is more than $100. Martell Condon Bleu is between
Napoleon and X.O. and about $80, and Louis XIII is the best, costing sometimes more than
Non-Cognac Brandy has Blansac made from France. It tastes smooth
like Martell, and costs about $10 for a 1000ml bottle. Raynal (Napoleon v.s.o.p.) is like
Remy Martin and costs about $12. Courriere x.o, although called x.o., is much cheaper than
Cognac x.o. and costs about $15 a bottle. It is cheap but tastes very good.
Others include E & J, Christian Brother, Korbel. They cost $10 for
v.s. and $12 for v.s.o.p. Christian Brother x.o. is about $15. These American Brandies
Whiskies' levels of quality are based the years. There
are 21 years, 15 years, 10 years, 8 years and about 5 years which is not labeled. The
longer the years are, the more expensive. Whiskies were originally made from Scott. Now
they are either Scott Whiskies or non-Scott Whiskies.
Scott Whiskies have Johnnie Walker Red (about 6 years and $20),
Johnnie Walker Black (about 12 years and $27), and Johnnie Gold (about 31 years and around
$180). Others are Chivas Regal (about 12 years and $27), Roya Salute (about 21 years and
$140), and Dewar's White Label (about 6 years and $18).
Non-Scott Whiskies have America-made Jack Danil (about 6 years
and $17), Old Grand Dad, Wild Turkey, Philadelphia, Fleischmann, etc (about $8). Most of
Chinese famous liquors belong to whiskies with high alcoholic volume.
Vodka was originally made from Russia. It is very strong.
Vodka can be drunk directly and or is used to mix with others, such as Vodka Martini,
Citrus Vodka (mixed with lime), Orange Vodka, etc. These Vodkas usually have 30% - 35%
Vodka has Stolichnay (made from Russia), the most famous Absolut (made
from Sweden, about $17), Smirnoff Vodka (made from US, about $10), Georgi Vodka (about
Gin was originally made from Holland, and its most famous is now made
from England. It tastes rather dry and sour. It is drunk with ice or mixed with others.
Tanqueray gin, Beefeater gin are made from England and about $16. American Gordon gin,
Seagram gin are good too, costing about $10.
Rum is also year-based. The longer years, the better. Non-labeled are
about one or two years, then it has 4, 8 or even longer years. It is drunk usually with
ice (dark color) or mixed with others (light color). American markets see Bacardi Rum,
Bacardi Limon, Bacardi Spiced, Bacardi Gold Reserve, Bacardi 151 (75% alcoholic). Most of
them are about $10. Of course, the longer years cost more.
Jamaica-made Appleton are about 5 or 12 years. Dominica-made Brugal is very common and
Nigaraga-made Flor de cana is close to Bacardi but costs more.
Cordials are sweet but have high alcoholic volume, for example, Irish
Cream, which is made from Ireland. Baily Irish Cream is about $17 and Emmets Irish Cream
is about $12. Amaratto de Saronno, made from Italy, is about $20. Martini & Rossi
Amaretto is about $13. French Grand Marnier is about $30.
Sour: Chablis, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio are white and sour with 11%
-13% of alcoholic volume. They are from $4 to $12. Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
are red and sour with 10% -14% of alcoholic volume.
Sweet: White Port, White Conxcord, Muscat, Ice Wine are white, from 8%
to 20% alcoholic volume and cost from $4 to $18, and Ice Wine can cost as high as $30 or
$40. The sweet and red are Port , Concord Grape with 8% to 20% alcoholic volume. Concord
Grape is about $4. Port starts from $4 to hundreds of dollars based on the production
places and the years.
Pink semi-sour: White Zinfandel, about 9% alcoholic volume, loved by
women, $4 - $7.
Pink semi-sweet: Rose Wine, about 9% alcoholic volume, $4 - $7.
(Trans. by Lincoln Xia)