***Disclosure: I received a free app and a bottle of wine in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was provided, and all opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
My favorite wines are sweeter, fruity ones, like the gorgeous bottle of Italian Moscato you see to the left. I also love some of the sweeter red wines, and of course, there is champagne. Oooh. Moscato Spumante. I'd better put that on my shopping list! Anyway...Sorry about that. I got distracted thinking about some nice bubbly! I'm sure some of you can relate. While I like a sweeter wine, my husband prefers drier whites, like Pinot Grigio. I think they're okay, but a bit bitter for my tastes. What can I say...I am a typical girl, and I like fruity, girly drinks.
I also use wine for cooking a lot. Now I don't insult my food by using "cooking wines" that are high in sodium and seriously lacking in flavor. I use the good stuff. Trust me, it really does make a big difference. My Burgundy Beef Tips are amazing, and I get tons of compliments on that dish. My secret? Well, other than the fact that I add some fresh organic butter to it, the real key is the wine. Chicken Marsala? That's SO much better with a higher quality wine as well.
But how do you choose the best wines? Whether it's for drinking or cooking or both, this can be an incredibly daunting task. With over 150,000 new wine labels approved in the country in 2011 alone, it can be really hard choosing the best wine for your buck. I used to assume that the higher the price tag, the better the wine. Until I bought a $50 bottle of wine that smelled like dirt and tasted like sweaty socks. Lesson learned. Actually, some of the best wines I have ever tried cost less than $10 a bottle. Who knew?!
Recently, my favorite wine guy shared a brand new app with me that takes the pain out of finding that perfect bottle of wine. The Thumbs Up WineFinder App takes all of the guesswork out of shopping for the best wines, no matter what your budget is or what stores you shop at.
10 Reasons You Need the Thumbs Up Wine App :
Using the Thumbs Up WineFinder app, you can literally shop based on the exact occasion. Formal dinner? Housewarming gift? Casual party or BBQ? Intimate dinner for two? You can plug this info right into the app along with your budget and preferred varietal, and like magic, a ton of wonderful wine options will appear.
One of the things I really like about this app is that you can search the stores you shop at. No more going on a wild goose chase to find that one bottle of wine that no one seems to carry. That's right! Whether it be a warehouse club like Costco or a regional supermarket chain like Acme, this ingenious app can tap right into the particular store's inventory and tell you which wines stand out among the rest. This comes in very handy, since many stores stock hundreds of different wines.
If you happen to find a wine that looks interesting, you can pull up a detailed profile of that wine. This will include the vintage of the wine, the type, as well as price point, food pairings, and a very comprehensive and descriptive flavor profile of that particular bottle. You can also check out other years as well, since wines do vary by year! If you're interested in a particular bottle, you can click "Where to Buy" to find a retailer near you.
Have you ever had an unbelievable bottle of wine, and then forgotten exactly what it was? I have had this happen before after a stay in Los Angeles area for a Disney Press trip. We dined at a fabulous restaurant inside the Langham Huntington Pasadena, and there was a Chardonnay that was beyond amazing. It came from one of the local, CA vineyards, and the waiter was kind enough to tell me exactly what it was. Of course, by the time I got home to Ohio, I had jet-lag and totally forgot what it was. I am still kicking myself over that!
Now, thanks to the Thumbs Up WineFinder App, when I come across something I absolutely love, I can save it to My Wines. This is a list that will keep track all of those great finds so you don't have to! Talk about easy reference!
Have you ever seen a wine on a restaurant menu that you simply couldn't pronounce? Yeah. Me, too. The embarrassment of not being able to say the words has actually stopped me from trying interesting looking imported wines. Well, the folks at Thumbs Up WineFinder App come to the rescue there, too! In their extensive and often entertaining "Browse" section, there are tutorials that will teach you how to pronounce those intimidating wine names, like "Gewurztraminer". Can you say that? I can! But only because this app taught me how! The next time I am at a fancy dinner party, whether it be with friends locally or on a blogging trip, I will look like a total smarty-pants. I like that.
Have you ever wondered what kind of wines go with specific foods the best? Again, I turned to the "Browse" section of the Thumbs Up WineFinder App. Here, there are a lot of flavor specific videos that walk you through the absolute best food pairings. Whether you like spicy steak or BBQ, the guys make some great suggestions that will ensure the best experience possible. They even visit some very cool restaurants like Guy Fieri's Tex Wasabi, which fuses traditional Japanese cuisine with Southern BBQ.
Okay...I am a woman in my early 30's, and I have 3 kids. All by C-section. Needless to say, I do not look like a Barbie Doll anywhere other than in my dreams or through someone's Beer Goggles. I do not have the "perfect" body, and until I win the lotto, I never will. So the idea of "Diet Wines" definitely sounded intriguing to me. Drink wine and lose weight? Where do I sign up for that?! Well....Not so fast....Sometimes, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The guys at Thumbs Up Wine actually tried this so-called miracle wine, and well...Let's just say I won't be trying it anytime soon. But they DID offer a neat trick to help cut the calories of a decent wine. Want to know what they had to say? Download the app!
Sure, you might think that all you need to do is take a gulp. While this is definitely one method of drinking wine, it won't give you the complete wine drinking experience. Yes folks, it is an experience...One to be relished and enjoyed. In the "Browse" section of the Thumbs Up WineFinder app, you'll find an in-depth tutorial that shows you exactly how to properly taste and assess wine. It really does make a difference how you sample wine. Yes, you can just drink it...But for an entirely sensory and blissful experience that takes wine tasting to a whole new level, you're going to want to check out this tutorial.
Have you ever been to a grand, European castle with a long, winding driveway that passes through beautiful vineyards? Yeah...Me, neither. Maybe one day, right? Of course that will be after I win the lottery and get the plastic surgery I mentioned a bit ago. Well, with this wine app, you can check out various wineries at exotic and beautiful places all around the world. It's a mini-vacation, right from your mobile device!
Okay, so I may be giving away my age here, but when I was a child, I loved New Kids On The Block. I was truly obsessed. I had all their cassette tapes, tons of clothing, the dolls, and even bedding and curtains featuring this boy band sensation. My bedroom wall was plastered with so many posters of these guys that you couldn't physically see any of the walls themselves. I was absolutely convinced...CONVINCED...that I was going to marry Joey McIntyre and have like, 10 million of his babies. So when I saw an intimate performance by New Kids On The Block at a California winery on this app, I got a little giddy and nostalgic. And then I felt a bit strange...When did these guys get so OLD?! When did I get so old?! Anyway, it was definitely fun to see, and something ladies around my age are sure to appreciate.
I also love, love, LOVE the "Browse" section of the app. This is probably my favorite thing. Here you'll find a ton of informational tutorials, funny videos, and a lot of reviews. These guys actually try a ton of different wines on video, from good ones to truly ugly, nasty wines that aren't fit for your worst enemy. I am actually kind of convinced the guys at Thumbs Up Wine are masochists. Some of the swill they try looks absolutely horrid, and their facial expressions show it! I am very thankful they're willing to do this, because it means I know to steer clear of certain wines.
So whether you'd like to know the best wines at your local stores, find the perfect gift for the wine lovers in your life, or if you just want to look like a cultured smarty-pants while dining out, this is definitely the app for you! The fact that it's entertaining as well? Added bonus!