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My adventures in wine started the latter part of last week with a trip to Hastings for a book or magazine on the subject and then a short drive to Spec’s to check out their selection. If you knew me personally, you would know that this could not and would not work out on the first try. Call it Trysta’s Law.

It in fact did not go perfectly, but there were some things I learned along the way.

Lesson No. 1: If it says “world’s best,” don’t believe that is what you want without further investigation.

At Hastings, I scoped out the books on wine, but decided that 10,000 words and $60 was a little much for my first go-around. The magazine aisle felt a little more comfortable with only three or four to choose from, but the question was which one was right for me?

Bold text on glossy really started hurting my brain, so I chose the one with the tagline of “world’s best wine magazine.” Can’t go wrong with that, right?

Of course, “world’s best” should have been the first indicator that something was off and should have gotten more scrutiny, because once back in the comfort of home, I realized the magazine was published in the United Kingdom. Not too helpful for me here in Texas.

Lesson No. 2: Don’t go to the liquor store on Sunday.

Well, where I come from, Walmart has an excellent selection of wines that can be bought any day of the week. Some even have a store connected to the Supercenter to sell alcohol. That’s not the case here.

With a very small selection at the Victoria Walmart, I was directed by several people to Spec’s. Putting the trip off all weekend, I finally got around to driving over on Sunday. Although lights were on inside, the parking lot was eerily vacant. They were closed. Walmart it was.

Lesson No. 3: Sometimes the easiest way is the best.

After all of this, I chose the last resort, intangible route of the Internet for my first source. To others this might be their obvious first choice, but I’m a journalist, sometimes it takes a while for me to get to “obvious.”

I found this quick and easy-to-follow advice on

Three P’s of buying Texas wines (directly quoted from the site):

Price – Quality Texas wines are available in every price range, so choose a bottle that is as pleasing to your pocketbook as it is to your palate.

Preference – Taste is a personal thing and you’ll establish your own preferences as you become familiar with a variety of wines. But for a party or dinner, there are guests’ preferences to consider. For experienced wine enthusiasts, a full-bodied cabernet or syrah might be a wonderful selection. But for those new to wine, the safer choice is a good merlot, pinot noir, sauvignon blanc or muscat.

Process – The selection process might be easier if you’re looking for something to pair with dinner. The general rule is whites with poultry, fish and highly-flavored foods. Choose reds for beef, game dishes and heavier meals. And for dessert, choose a wine that’s sweeter than the dish to be served (Port or Riesling are excellent choices.)

So my saga ends with a lesson I've had to learn over and over again (remember Trysta's Law) - if you don't succeed, try again.