Sure, wine's great with cheese. But it's better with technology.
As the digital world continues to refine this pairing, average oenophiles can find themselves in a bit of sensory overload.
There are so many options, it's hard to know what website or smartphone app is going to help you reach wine nirvana. Don't fret. I've sipped and searched my way through the 2.0. Whether you're a novice or a connoisseur, here are four sources you can't live without.
Type "wine" into Google and you get 297,000,000 hits. You could age your wine in the time it took to click those links, or you could go straight to www.ablegrape.com. Able Grape is a search engine for wine information. Currently in beta, it returns fewer and more relevant results because it weeds out commercial content.
It's also smart. Type "Chateau La Tour de By" into larger search engines and they will return every document with the terms La, Tour, de, and By. Able Grape returns information for the Bordeaux winery. Filters on Able Grape allow you to narrow the results to a particular topic, type of website, or region.
Unless you drink wine under a rock, you've probably watched an episode of Gary Vaynerchuk's daily video blog, "The Thunder Show," at http://tv.winelibrary.com. As Vaynerchuk nears
While many writers and bloggers have dedicated themselves to making wine accessible and engaging to a new and hungry generation, it is Vaynerchuk's passionate antics -- spitting into a New York Jets bucket, getting Conan O'Brien to lick salted rocks in the name of palate expansion -- that have truly hooked wine lovers.
He is the industry's answer to "Mad Money" commentator Jim Cramer, with a dose of Donald Trump. Watch his vlog, read his books, listen to his new Sirius XM radio show and you too will become a Vayniac.
Snooth one-stop shop
There are tons of wine websites that try to do it all. Snooth.com succeeds. It features wine reviews, comparison shopping among 10,000 wine merchants, virtual cellar inventory, and a social networking tool that helps you connect with your vino friends. You can also interact with brilliant winemakers and other wine professionals from around the globe.
Want to compare a magazine wine critic's opinion with a hobbyist blogger's? Snooth features two million wine reviews and powers the wine results for many other sites, including Epicurious.com, so the information is timely and trustworthy.
Sign up for the Snooth app and you can even find a store near you that sells the wine you're interested in. The free app allows you to search for wines by keyword, price, vintage and region. So if you live in Orinda and want a 2006 California pinot noir for less than $30, it'll tell you where to go.
Stay tuned for Snooth's new iPhone app ($4.99), due out later this month. It adds image recognition technology: Snap a picture of a wine label and learn everything about it.
Pair It: Shake and match
At the store and can't decide what wine to pair with your meal? Take Sonoma chef and educator Bruce Riezenman with you. His app, Pair It!, helps you discover and experiment with more than 20,000 food and wine pairings.
Available for iPhone, iPod Touch and recently released on the Android, the app ($4.99) offers practical guidelines and suggestions to match over 180 varietals with more than 1,000 food items and dishes. Pairing suggestions are based on relative weights, flavor bridges, and elements of taste.
Just select the wine or food, and tap the swirl icon above it. Not committed to a particular dish or bottle? Swirl or shake your phone. The app will deliver a random food and wine pairing.
To read Jessica Yadegaran's wine blog, go to www.ibabuzz.com/bottomsup and click on Corkheads.