Celebrity Wine FAQ – Michelle Dockery

Michelle Dockery being interviewed at the TCA Summer Press Tour, 2012, courtesy PBS

Okay, maybe it’s a little late after the Downton Abbey Season 3 finale to be posting this, but it took us this long to recover from that all too shocking (and annoying) ending.

We talked to Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary on the series, last summer at the TV Critics Press Tour and asked our usual question. Dockery’s was a doozie.

“What’s your favorite wine?” she asked.

Our favorite? All of them? Okay, Anne doesn’t particularly care for overly fruity or sweet wines, while Michael is a little more universal in his tastes. And dry pink sparkling wine is getting Anne more excited that anything else, although an elegant pinot noir will make her drool, as well. As for Michael, it depends on the day of the week, which way the wind is blowing and what’s in his glass.

You’ll note we’re not mentioning any labels here. That’s because the reason most people ask a question like Dockery’s because they want to know what wine to buy. It’s still an unfortunate reality that people think that you have to buy the “right” wine and those are very limited and expensive. Neither is true. In fact, these days, it’s hard to find a bad wine, even in the cheaper ranges.

Now, that doesn’t mean you won’t find wines that you like better than others. And, yes, it can be a little intimidating to look at a long series of shelves at the supermarket and try to figure out what you want. But that’s more because you have so many options, not because you need to ferret out the one or two “good” wines out of the bazillions there.

At the supermarket, a couple rules of thumb and you’ll probably pick something reasonably drinkable and maybe even darned good. First up, avoid the jugs, magnums and boxes. Those are usually the lower quality genuinely bad wines (although there are exceptions) that most people think of when they start stressing out about buying wine. Secondly, avoid the very expensive wines, usually the ones on the higher shelves. Because people don’t buy these as often, they’ve probably been on the shelf longer than the others and supermarket shelves are hardly ideal storage spaces. Look for a brand you know and like – should be easy because supermarkets do carry more familiar brands from the larger wineries. Fetzer is a brand we generally trust, as are Geyser Peak, Blackstone and Meridian. Callaway isn’t that great, but it is drinkable and frequently available. Finally, look for wines from areas you like, such as California’s Central Coast. The smaller, more specific an area, the better the wine is likely to be.

And who knows, maybe you’ll find a new favorite. Like pink bubbly.

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