If you are anything like most wine-heads I know, you are always traveling to undiscovered territory, varied by both varietal and producer, on the hunt for the next perfect glass of high. Wine-heads don’t seek to conquer our unquenchable thirst but rather to indulge it.

I recently took a vacation from Cabernet Country and skipped off to Zinfandel Land in search of my next taste of bliss. I’ve had some incredible Napa Valley Zins – Chase Vineyards, Storybook – and I was hoping to recreate these sips of delish that showcase the perfect BASE (balance, acidity, sweetness, extraction) in exquisite, yummy harmony. And for this trip, I took a chance on a few producers from Sonoma Valley – Gnarly Head Old Vine, Dashe Cellars. I was sufficiently disenchanted by these alcohol-bombs, flaunting the taste and smell of alcohol and what I call the too-boozy-to-enjoy factor. When balanced with sufficient acidity, a high-alcohol wine can be fabulous, displaying dense fruit-flavors and excellent extraction. But Zins are tough to manage since the fruit is picked late and very ripe. And the riper the fruit, the more sugar they contain, and sugar converts into alcohol. In short, ripe fruit equals higher alcohol content and if you’re not careful your wine will kind of suck. In short.

However, I am no expert. I’m much more interested in discovering my next quaff of bottled nirvana.

But since we’re on the subject of looking like an expert, I hope we can all agree that there are way too many flabby, adjective heavy tasting notes in the world and they have the stretch marks to prove it! But you know what’s super groovy about that? Even the novice sipper can look like an all-star wine critique and win the hearts of wine-heads all over the globe. It’s super easy, just put some wine in your mouth and ask yourself if it tastes good. If it does, you have discovered an incredible wine you can confidently share with friends and family. And if you want to look like an extra-smart wine-head, you can compose your very own tasting notes with the following recipe:

Da’ Vine Tasting Notes
Choose your favorite words from the list below and insert them liberally in the blank spaces. Hot tip: the comma is your friend.

A well-balanced, elegant wine with aromas of __________and a full mid palette highlighting _____________. The mouth exudes notes of __________. A long lingering finish of______________.

Da’ Vine Words:
balance, floral, tobacco, blueberry, blackberry, elegant, cocoa, coffee, dark cherry, pomegranate, tannic, cola, honeysuckle, berries, plums, apples, pears, fruit-like flavors, spicy, nutmeg, cinnamon, dense, forest floor, pencil lead, guava, fruit-bomb, passion fruit, pineapple, earthy, smoky, dry, oak, toffee, toasted-oak, rich, cedar, pepper, jammy, complex, loganberry, nougat

No wines were harmed or mistreated during the writing of this article.