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Thread: Wine...Where to Start?!

  1. #21
    Senior Member chinacats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpukas View Post
    Many of my friends that know wine are going with Old World wines rather than New World wines from Cali, South America & Australia. Some New Word wines have been getting a bad rap for being made with big bold, fruit forward and sweet flavor profiles – they’re being dubbed as made for uneducated people who are easily wowed and impressed.
    Old world wines do seem to have more finesse than some of the 'big' Cali wines. I'm not so sure about the uneducated part though as everyone's tastes vary and there are more than a few aficionados who dig big wines.

    Only other thing that should be added to this is to find a place that has a knowledgeable buyer--you'll find better low-end wines (15-40$) more consistency than buying from some of the larger box stores.

    Cheers!
    once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by mpukas View Post
    Beware hype
    Yeah, the Award of Excellence is, for the most part, BS. I remember when a friend of mine who was a manager of an LA restaurant was applying for the Award of Excellence around 2005. Granted, the restaurant had a relatively nice wine list, but all he had to do was mail a bunch of stuff in and pay the fee.
    Michael
    "Don't you know who he is?"

  3. #23
    Senior Member AFKitchenknivesguy's Avatar
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    Wow a lot of great advice. I do have some basic knowledge. I've read books, especially when I lived in Germany. I brought back 150 wines from local wineries (and not the sweet stuff); so I had great wines (I kept them at my mothers house, and she sold bottles to doctors in the hospital she worked at...apparently at $30 it was a bargain to them). I certainly know the differences between merlot, shiraz, pinoit noir, cabernet, etc and how they are supposed to match up with food. It's the practical application and general opinions I find most interesting! Plus, tips and lessons learned are always awesome. I knew we had some very knowledgeable people here.
    Jason

  4. #24
    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
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    Looks like I am unedumacated also I prefer a bold Aussie Shiraz over an anaemic pinot noir Again, try to find what you like and can afford. If I had the money to drink myself through some fine burgundies, I am sure I would learn to appreciate them as well... Craig's suggestions for starter grapes/blends sound good. Oh, and don't forget that there are also white wines. Having grown up in Germany and now living in the tropics, I still drink more white than red.


    Stefan

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by mpukas View Post
    Pretty much what Salty, Son & Bieniek said.

    Drink, listen, read, learn, ask questions, and drink some more. Drink what you like, and don’t get caught up in the hype. There are so may nice wines out there, but there’s also so so much hype and BS. Is a $150 bottle better than a $25 bottle? Not necessarily…

    One rule of thumb another good friend who’s a pretty good wine buff and I have – only drink one really nice bottle of wine at a time, and have it before you have ANYTHING else. After that it’s a waste.

    Wine tastings can be fun, but after about 4-5-6 wines I’m overwhelmed.

    Many of my friends that know wine are going with Old World wines rather than New World wines from Cali, South America & Australia. Some New Word wines have been getting a bad rap for being made with big bold, fruit forward and sweet flavor profiles – they’re being dubbed as made for uneducated people who are easily wowed and impressed.
    I agree with most everything that's been written here, especially the drinking part. My thought is - DRINK EVERYTHING. LOL.

    Frankly, I think going to cheap wine tastings can be beneficial - you'll be able to try all kinds of things, and you'll learn what you DON'T like more than what you DO like. I've found more and more that if you go somewhere to shop, if you say "I like this . . ." someone will rattle off a number of wines that you'll supposedly like, and most of which, you probably won't. If you say, "I don't like this . . ." then you'll likely not get a wine that has a few things you really don't prefer or like in a wine.

    For example, Total Wine has regular tastings. Most of the wines are absolute crap because they're cheap and chosen by people who don't know wine. But, the tastings are a a dime (IIRC). If you don't like the wines, you'll know to never buy them - they'll never even be an impulse buy. Also, Whole Foods markets generally have weekend wine tastings. They're relatively inexpensive as well (IIRC around $10). Build up your mental inventory of what you like and don't like.

    But, as Son said, drink what you like. I'll admit that I've had some Two Buck Chuck (whites) recently. They're better than some of the swill I tried at Total Wine. Although I wouldn't buy it, if someone served it, I would drink it.

    I forgot about some wines that I've had regularly and they're reasonable: Castle Rock Winery Pinot Noirs. I preferred the Monterey County to the Mendocino County, but they're solid wines.
    Michael
    "Don't you know who he is?"

  6. #26
    Senior Member AFKitchenknivesguy's Avatar
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    I went to this winery this spring and bought a couple cases: http://www.abbeywinery.com/

    It was pretty cool to see a winery at a very old ex-abbey. Wine was pretty good and of course they have free wine tastings. I think I got some merlots, cabernets, and blancs. It was drank up months ago.
    Jason

  7. #27
    Senior Member mpukas's Avatar
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    For a few years now I've been threatening to do an ad hoc at home blind wine tasting with black coffee mugs just to see if poeple can even tell the difference between white and red when they can't see the color.
    Shibui - simplicity devoid of unnecessary elements

  8. #28
    Senior Member Crothcipt's Avatar
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    One thing I haven't seen anyone talk about yet. Keep a log of what you drink, what you tasted and smelled. Compare that with what was listed about the wine. As your tastings grow you def. want to go back and see if your taste has changed (it will) and how. Doing this will also help understand what is written and whether or not it is worth even tasting. Don't go by the stupid number system, I have tried some crappy 98's that was supposed to blow off my socks.
    Chewie's the man.

  9. #29
    For me I was never into wine until I started at my last 2 jobs. I am pretty hooked on Russian river valley wines with falcor being my favorite so far

  10. #30
    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpukas View Post
    For a few years now I've been threatening to do an ad hoc at home blind wine tasting with black coffee mugs just to see if poeple can even tell the difference between white and red when they can't see the color.
    Never tried that with wine but lost a bet on that with beer a long time ago. Two distinctly different beers in the same type of glass, you are blindfolded, someone randomly gives you a glass and you just say beer A or beer B, 10 times, reasonably fast succession. Noboby in our group of beer drinkers got it 100% correct. Maybe I should try that with red and white wine some day. Amazing how taste buds adapt.

    Friends of mine are in the wine business and I hung out with them during a large wine fair in Germany a few times (forum vini, hundreds of producers). i learned that systematic tasting is hard work, that spitting is a must and over the course of a day you still get drunk, and how great a beer can taste if you tried wines all day... With spitting, lots of water and bread in between, I think I could taste maybe 30-40 wines during a day and still get nuances. Beyond that, I can't tell them apart anymore. Today I could probably do 10 or so... Just mentioning this to support the 'Try as much as you can' recommendation, but there is a limit of what you can try during a tasting.

    Stefan

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