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Boston sommelier’s tips for how to pick wine that's right for you

Abe & Louie’s Benjamin Appleby shares his strategies for finding a great glass of vino.
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Are you and old world or new world wine fan? Photo Provided

Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, National Drink Wine Day (yes, that’s a thing) or just a night out on the town, finding the perfect glass of wine that fit your taste buds can get tricky.

Luckily, Benjamin Appleby of Abe & Louie’s has a few tips that should help even vino amateurs sift through the nearly endless selections of styles that are out there. The Court of Master Sommeliers-certified sommelier manages over 700 wines at the fan-favorite Boston steakhouse, so he definitely knows a thing or two when it comes to choosing the right bottle for any occasion.

Although there are always exceptions, Appleby tells Metro that an easy rule of thumb to follow is making selections based on whether you prefer old world wines that tend to hail from Europe, or new world wines from places like Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, as well as North and South America.

“New world wines tend to be more about the fruit,” Appleby says. “Old world wines tend to be more about the earth, the place they come from, and they literally are earthy wines.”

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The Abe & Louie’s sommelier notes that old world wines are usually drier, more acidic, contain less alcohol and serve as great companions to food. Meanwhile, new world wines are lusher, silkier in texture and have sweeter aromas.

“An old world wine without food is almost half the picture,” Appleby says. “They’re all really focused on being part of a meal. New world wines tend to be more about the whole package.”

So if you like a dryer, leaner drink to go with your meal, pick and old world wine. But if you’re in the mood for a fruiter beverage to drink on its own, new world is the way to go.

He adds that other factors like the time of year also play a big part in choosing the right wine to drink in the moment.

“For sheer wine drinking pleasure, it’s all about mood, what you’re eating and seasonal, what time of year it is,” Appleby says. “I’m much more inclined to drink white wine in the summer and red wine in the winter.”

As a Berklee College of Music graduate and professional musician, Appleby believes there’s a lot in common between the worlds of wine and music. It’s all about making a selection that fits each person’s tastes.

“Being a professional musician and a professional wine guy have a lot in common,” Appleby says. “When you’re a pro, you’ve got to learn how to appreciate what’s good about what the job calls for and cater to the people that you try to serve.”

 
 
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