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Thread: Wine...Where to Start?!

  1. #31
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    I'll second keeping some kind of notebook -- at least at first. When I first started getting into wine, I subscribed to a couple of wine magazines, and what I would do is go through the ratings in the back (not for the ratings themselves) but to gain a better idea of which producers in my price range were good. I would only buy wines in the $10-17 range so I would skim the buying guides, and when a producer would put out several bottles with good-ish ratings (88-92+ for instance), I would note the name of the winery in my notebook. After a year of doing that, it was amazing how good of a pulse I had on value wines. I can still go into most wine stores and pick out a case of solid value wines in 5-10 minutes.

    k.
    "In Japan they don't call it Japanese food, they just call it food." -- Children's Hospital Quote

  2. #32
    Senior Member welshstar's Avatar
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    I was fortunate to start drinking wine in the early eighties when you could get first growths for a reasonable price, I remember that Chateau Lafite 1982 was $800 a case en primeur and I thought it was way to high !!!! Of course it now sells for $30,000+ I did have the luxury of trying great chateaus and really enjoyed them. The quality of winemaking has increased massively over the last twenty years and cru bourgeois wines now seem as good as 2nd or 3rd growths twenty years ago.

    The way I do it is to establish a collection, I buy from wineries in the US and en primeur bordeaux, I buy in the $20-$60 range and get I believe superb wines. California wines like Shafer Relentless, Denner, Kosta Browne and other smaller wineries are fantastic wines and are at a great price point. I agree with Mrdinky that the diminishing returns really start at arounf$50-$70, above that you really have to know the particular wine and year to know if it's worth the extra

    Also good fun is to just goto the wine shop and just pick up a case of $15 bottles and just try all regions and styles.

  3. #33
    Senior Member welshstar's Avatar
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    One more thing, don't forgot about Costco they have a great selection and sometimes u get great bottles cheap

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by welshstar View Post
    The way I do it is to establish a collection, I buy from wineries in the US and en primeur bordeaux, I buy in the $20-$60 range and get I believe superb wines. California wines like Shafer Relentless, Denner, Kosta Browne and other smaller wineries are fantastic wines and are at a great price point. I agree with Mrdinky that the diminishing returns really start at arounf$50-$70, above that you really have to know the particular wine and year to know if it's worth the extra

    Also good fun is to just goto the wine shop and just pick up a case of $15 bottles and just try all regions and styles.
    I LOVE Denner. I would add to Welshstar's list from CA: Booker, Loring Wine Co., A.P. Vin, Demetria, Byron, Tensley, and Stolpman. Loring is probably the most reasonable in price and they have screw tops.

    Btw, for sparkling wine Gloria Ferrer (CA) and Gruet out of New Mexico are two of my go-to for value sparkling.

    k.
    "In Japan they don't call it Japanese food, they just call it food." -- Children's Hospital Quote

  5. #35

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    Drink a lot of different wines. When you find something that really agrees with your palate, find out who the winemaker is and follow him wherever he goes because you will probably like everything he makes. Stay in the $20 to $35 range for your best value.

  6. #36

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    Yeah, I remember not to long after that when you could get a bottle of the red headed stepchild of the first growths, Mouton Rothschild for about what you would expect to pay for a bottle of Jordan cab today or maybe less. I have had Mouton and Lafitte a couple of times and Haut Brion and Latour once each. Amazing stuff, but with bottles NOT bottled in 1982, 1989 or what have you going for $1300, those days are long gone for me, even if I am ever in a position to afford them again. I will say this. With the few times that I have had basci table grade Bordeaux over in France, I have the sneakng suspicion that they are keeping most of the good cheap stuff for themselves and sending the rotgut at jacked up prices over here, much like the Colombians have always done to us with coffee. I recall buying a half liter carafe of the basic house St. Emilion at a bistro in a not very cheap part of Paris for like 10-12 Euros in 2007 and being very impressed.
    Quote Originally Posted by welshstar View Post
    I was fortunate to start drinking wine in the early eighties when you could get first growths for a reasonable price, I remember that Chateau Lafite 1982 was $800 a case en primeur and I thought it was way to high !!!! Of course it now sells for $30,000+ I did have the luxury of trying great chateaus and really enjoyed them. The quality of winemaking has increased massively over the last twenty years and cru bourgeois wines now seem as good as 2nd or 3rd growths twenty years ago.

    The way I do it is to establish a collection, I buy from wineries in the US and en primeur bordeaux, I buy in the $20-$60 range and get I believe superb wines. California wines like Shafer Relentless, Denner, Kosta Browne and other smaller wineries are fantastic wines and are at a great price point. I agree with Mrdinky that the diminishing returns really start at arounf$50-$70, above that you really have to know the particular wine and year to know if it's worth the extra

    Also good fun is to just goto the wine shop and just pick up a case of $15 bottles and just try all regions and styles.

  7. #37
    Senior Member welshstar's Avatar
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    The way to beat the French game is to buy cases en primeur, I bought two cases of Lilian Ladouys 2009 @ $18.50 a bottle and it is superb, it drinks like a $50 wine and is only getting better.

    Other good Californian wines are Lucia for Pinots and Booekenogen for Pinots, Syrahs and great Chardonnays.

    Another thing is that the wine makers all are very friendly and will point you in the right direction of great wines in their area, for example it was Jeff Pisoni of Lucia who turned me onto Boekenoogen.

    There are also the unobtainable wines from California that will frustrate the crap out of you, Kosta Browne for example is a 3-5 year wait list for generics and 5-7 years for estate bottlings, Denners is now closed for general sale. Ive been waiting over 5 years for Saxum, Alban and Carlisle and still have no allocation. Mr Dinky mentiosn Booker, also hard to get.

    One thing i do disagree on is that i cannot find a US sparkling wine worth a damn, I just think that there is real champgne and no substitute.

  8. #38
    Senior Member geezr's Avatar
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    Great thread! Thanks to O/P and all the posts - esp. re. California wines

  9. #39
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    Costco has some great buys in the $15-20 range. Bottles in that price range are an average of $5-7 less than other retailers in my area. I pick up a lot of Chilean and Argentian wine in that range that keeps up with many California labels up to about the $50 price point. Opus 1 at the Costco here sells for around $160 and Duckhorn under $40. Both great buys.
    Today I think my favorites are the gems I find in the $15 range or Duckhorn I order from the Winery.
    Who you jivin' with that Cosmik Debris?

  10. #40
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    I fully endorse buying online if your state allows it and you have a place to ship it to (because you will have to sign for it). You can almost always find the wine 3-5 dollars cheaper and most of the times you won't pay tax on it either, which can be steep in some states. Of course in general you will pay $2 per bottle in shipping, but the other cost savings almost always exceed that amount. Good sites let you sort by price, rating, region, etc. to make finding good wine (especially value wine) a lot faster. Since buying online, the quality of the wine I drink has gone up significantly. I have the internet at my fingertips to double check a wine rating or get more information.

    k.
    "In Japan they don't call it Japanese food, they just call it food." -- Children's Hospital Quote

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