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  1. Dr.Meow

    Dr.Meow Contributor Contributor

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    The Wine List

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Dr.Meow, May 8, 2017.

    At the risk of becoming snobbish, I will now make my descent into the world of wine.

    This is a thread for those who are wine connoisseurs, enthusiasts, dabblers, or if you're like me and simply want to start a true exploration into wine itself. Feel free to post opinions about different wines, or just tell us what you're going to be trying next - or what you're having in the moment. If you have recommendations especially, I know I for one would like to hear them.

    I personally do not know too much about wine except for some basics, but I'm wanting to start refining my pallette. I also noticed that there are no wine threads that I can find, so either no one else is interested, or maybe one simply needed to be started. I personally have had my fair share of cheap to extravagant beer, and harsh to exquisite liquors, but I have lost my appetite for most of it, save for a few. Wine has such a variety, plus it holds a middle ground for alcohol content - both of which have begun to appeal to me.

    So...what wine is on your mind?
     
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  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I think @Homer Potvin is a wine-lover.

    For me? I'm trying to learn more, but I don't think I have a very good natural palate. Or a palate memory, maybe? If I taste two wines right next to each other I can generally figure out which is fruitier or smokier or whatever, but if there's a time gap? I can't remember enough to tell one wine from the next. At least not beyond the really obvious.

    Still, it's a fun game to play!
     
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  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Basically there are two types - red and white ... if you want rose you mix them ;)
     
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  4. Dr.Meow

    Dr.Meow Contributor Contributor

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    Yes, @Homer Potvin should be here by now. XD Since I stopped smoking a couple years ago, my sense of taste has improved greatly, so I'm interested in whether my improved sense of smell will assist me in this journey I'm embarking upon. Apparently a lot of the tasting happens in the nose. I also need to get some different glasses, I have some, but only one kind, and I believe there's different ones depending on what you're drinking.

    Haha, that's hilarious, not sure what to say about mixing the two though...uh, from my experience usually a rose, or a "blush", wine has a bit of a sweeter and less bitter taste to it...not sure you get the same results by simply mixing them. lol
     
  5. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    Over the last 10 years or so, my husband and I have become quite the wine aficionados. It really helps that nowadays you can get some fairly excellent wine at a decent price point (under $15). Some of my favorites:

    Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand (esp. Marlborough)
    Pinot Grigio from Italy
    Dry Rose from France
    Riesling from the Pacific Northwest (Washington & Oregon)
    Unoaked Chardonnay from California

    I like reds as well, but I'm in the early stages of exploring them. I do know I prefer something jammy/fruit-forward as opposed to spicy/oaky, and I gravitate toward red blends instead of single grape varietals. Also, I just discovered Tawny Port and it is the nectar of the gods.
     
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  6. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    The only wine I cared for was an apple wine made locally up in WA.
     
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  7. Dr.Meow

    Dr.Meow Contributor Contributor

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    Just the person I was looking for...haha I've had some good Pinot here and there, but I'm not sure that I've ever tried Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling or Chardonnay. Had some blush that I liked, and a couple Rose as well, but I'm always hesitant because I'm expecting one thing from them and sometimes get another. I had one Rose that my fiance and I both loved, but then in the same night we had another that was okay, but not great (I was "okay" with it, but she didn't care for it at all). Sadly, she can't drink much anymore except for the occasional glass, so I'm probably going to be the only one exploring here.

    I typically gravitate towards reds myself. I think some of that is because I was ruined with Yellow Tail white wines... No offense to anyone that does like Yellow Tail, but to be perfectly honest, it's overpriced and over-marketed. Not what it's cracked up to be. I think I had one that wasn't too bad (I think it was a red though anyway)...but that doesn't mean I'll ever buy it myself (at a party you get what you can...but why is it always YT? lol).

    I may branch into some whites though, maybe it's time I got over my fear of them. haha

    What's the brand? I'm not too sold on the apple flavor, but if I can find it somewhere I might give it a shot. :)
     
  8. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    A wine thread? Oh, Lord... just what I need.

    I'm not an expert (like a sommelier, which is about as rarefied as being a heart surgeon) but I'm a restaurant lifer and usually end up being the "wine guy" the writes the wine list and does the training manual/courses for the staff, even if I'm staff instead of management, which depends on the joint and how much they're willing to pay. I can't get too deep into this thread right now (I really need to write) but I will be back.

    ETA: Heh, actually being a wine guy is almost exactly like being a writer. When you're in the presence of the inexperienced who want to learn you turn into Mr. Myagi but when dealing with a better wine guy you shut up, sit down, and listen. Wine is one of those things were you never try to act like you know more than you do because you will get skewered by someone who does. There are more flight qualified astronauts in the world than there are master sommeliers.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2017
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  9. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    I do not remember. Use to get it at Greenbluff up north of Spokane.
    It was called a hard cider, but it was not fizzy. Rather mellow and
    quite smooth actually.
     
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  10. Dr.Meow

    Dr.Meow Contributor Contributor

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    I just popped into a store earlier today and picked up a local wine by Wildside Winery. Kentucky takes an odd pride in its wines, none of them are by any means famous or world renowned, but in Ky we think some of them are at least. We should stick to the bourbon, but I still enjoy trying something from our backwards state.

    This one is Wild Duet Kentucky Red Wine. Apparently it's a blend of two different grapes, and I have to admit it is rather smooth for a dry, red wine. It has a more subtle aftertaste that fades off rather quickly. The fruity notes come through easily, though I think it needs a bit of time to open up even after pouring. All and all I'm delighted with my choice, off to a good start here.

    As usual, your assessment is spot on. Yes, it's a lot like what you described. I'm aware of my ignorance, however, so you'll get no pleasure in skewering me, I'm afraid. haha

    Glad you could join us, looking forward to what you have to add on here.

    Sounds interesting, of course me finding it out here in Bumfuck Egypt is not too likely, but if you do recall the name I'll be sure and keep my eyes out. Thankfully there is a city not too far from me and a few places with very extensive selections.
     
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  11. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    @Dr.Meow okie dokey. I will let you know if it comes back to me.
     
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  12. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    Kentucky makes wine, huh? Interesting. I'd imagine it would be fruity as hell because the Kentucky climate doesn't age the grapes well. I had some local Vermont wine not too long ago and the acidity nearly peeled my tongue off. The cooler the climate, the more acidic a wine is because the grapes don't have long to mature. Try a Californian North Coast pinot noir (or better yet, one from Oregon or Washington) next to an Italian one and you'll see what I mean. Higher acidity will make fruit notes more prominent. I'd imagine the Kentucky wine is better than the Vermont stuff, which wasn't bad but not worth the $15 a bottle they were charging. I mean, how the hell do you grow grapes in Vermont? We had snow on the ground on May 1st and will have hard frosts in early October. There was a time when most of the local wines were made with grapes outsourced from California and the Pacific Coast, which is essentially the only place where "real" grapes can grow in the US. Now they're growing grapes wherever, which is cool, but it took decades for Californian grapes to acquire the sophistication and maturity of the French clipping that were planted there, some of which, like the Bordeaux and Burgundy breeds, are centuries and sometimes millennia old.
     
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  13. Dr.Meow

    Dr.Meow Contributor Contributor

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    Yes...Kentucky does make wine...(shhh, don't tell anyone, it's a secret). There's only a handful that are worth trying, but actually this one I have here is not too fruity, believe it or not. Kentucky...great for weed, bad for wine...both start with W...go figure. I will have to try your suggestion though, I'll get some Italy and Cali and experience the difference. What you're saying though is that it takes a very specific climate to grow the grapes properly? That's something I was not fully aware of, obviously it's not good if the climate is dreadful and not suited to growing anything, but I didn't realize that it was quite so specific. See, you've already taught me something.
     
  14. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    Yep. Climate and dirt. That's it. There are no other factors. That's why there's a vintage listed on the bottles and good years and bad years. How hot was it? Too much rain? Not enough rain? Was the valley water table high or low? Was there an ordinate amount of fog collecting in the Russian River Valley from the Pacific ocean? Was it cloudy? Did the east side of the hilltop get more sun than than the west? That's why a 2007 Super Tuscan can cost four times as much a 2006 from the same estate.

    And than there's the dirt. How much minerality, moisture, acidity, etc... Dirt is more stable, but good dirt is hard to fine. Try a Russian River Chardonnay next to a Sonoma Chardonnay (both are Californian and right next to each other geographically) and taste the awesomeness of the dirt in the former.

    It's a rabbit hole. And I seriously want to start to drinking now.
     
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  15. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    There is a great documentary on Netflix called Somm: Into the Bottle that does a great job of teaching an introduction to wine in an entertaining and accessible way.
     
  16. Dr.Meow

    Dr.Meow Contributor Contributor

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    Wow, you know a lot, I'm somewhat stunned (takes a sip of wine), okay, I'm better now. This makes a lot of sense though, my head has illuminated like a light bulb. So I can judge a wine by where it was brewed, not just by region but by soil, before ever tasting it? So why are some wines that are obviously poor the same price as others that are much better? Like you were saying with Vermont and how some of their wines are $15, when currently I'm drinking a $13 bottle that I'd prefer over something that was a bit more expensive. Is that just my taste, or is it possible that the wine is really just different? The same place, Wildside Winery, has a $20 bottle that I passed up since I wanted to experience something from them before shelling out the extra seven bucks (I'm not made of money anymore like I used to be lol). I'll eventually try it, now that I like the one I'm drinking that is, but is it worth it?
     
  17. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    My elderflower and dandelion 2015 was an epic year, the dandelion flowers had just the right sugar content to counterpoint the crispness of the elderflowers and the bore hole water was at just the right acidity level. It was far in excess of 2016 and would be worth more had the whole lot not got drunk at xmas 2015 :D
     
  18. Historical Science

    Historical Science Contributor Contributor

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    Sommeliers are actually quite common. Its only the top tier certification (Master Sommelier) which is incredibly hard to reach. I'm a level 1 Sommelier and all I had to do to get that certification was take a weekend seminar and then pass an easy test with questions like - What grapes are Burgundy known for? Level 2 of course gets much more intense.

    If you're trying to get into wine, I would start by trying as many different kinds as possible. And don't be afraid of Old World (European) wines! Drinking with someone else is always helpful as you can talk about the wine(s), etc.

    I find most wine enjoyable but I typically lean toward reds. Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Tempranillo, Cotes du Rhone (GSM), etc. I've found that Spain offers some of the best values for their wines. Really great wines for around or under $10.
     
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  19. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    No. There's plenty of dogshit made in Napa or Tuscany or Cotes de Rhone. And there are many different varietals (grapes) and blends made from the same winery. Some may not be to your liking. You can however get a decent idea of the quality of the wine by the region that "claims" it, if any. There are very strict and serious laws about who can claim ownership of a wine. Chianti must be harvested, fermented, casked, aged and bottled in the Chianti region of Italy. Ditto for champagne. Unless it's from the champagne region of France it must, by law, be called sparkling wine. The French and Italians are fanatic about this. Wars have broken out over wine (well, trade wars, not real ones, but you get the idea).

    To take it a step further California, France, and Italy are not regions. If you see a bottle of wine that says "France" or "California" with no appellation listed (like Burgundy, Bordeaux, Sonoma, Napa, etc) that means that the grapes were sourced from here, there, or wherever and no protected region will lay claim to the grapes. Often times this mines that the winemaker buys her grapes from the lowest bidder and doesn't really care where they come from. It doesn't make the wine bad by any means, but unless a very specific, protected area is listed on the bottle there's a good chance the wine will be inferior. Again, there's nothing wrong with that at all. There are plenty of awesome, cheap, unprotected wines out there. And just because a wine is from Napa or Cotes de Rhone doesn't make it good, though it will almost always be more expensive.

    For example: Tuscan (region) wines are almost always made with Sangiovese grapes. So while all Tuscan wines are Sangioveses (for the most part) NOT ALL SANGIOVESES ARE TUSCAN.

    Also you have consider whether wine is labeled by region or by varietal (the species of grape). Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grigio are all GRAPES. They can be grown anywhere in the world with a suitable climate and will taste nothing like each other when compared directly. Try a Cabernet Sauvignon from California, Washington, Chile, Argentina, and France and you'll see what I mean. When you see Chianti, Tuscany (Toscana), Bordeaux or Burgundy on a bottle those are all REGIONS and can made of any grape native to the area. Bordeaux can be red or white and nearly all red Bordeauxs are a mix of Merlot and Cabernet (that's the famous Bordeaux blend that has been copied a billion times over in the US) but the blend can be in different ratios or add a little Sirah, Zinfandel, or even Cab Franc. So there you have a bunch of wines all labeled as "Bordeaux" but they will have dramatically different characteristics despite being from the same small geographic region.

    And then they age shit in oak barrels or stainless steel barrels or cognac barrels and some are aged longer and some are aged shorter and some are left longer on the lees (yeast sediment) etcetera etcetera etcetera... all of which impart a different note or character to the wine.

    Price is funny thing and it's the same with wine as it is with any other product--it's worth whatever somebody is willing to pay. Local shit is always more expensive because people are attracted to local things. Also a local winemaker has a much smaller operation (less profit potential through volume) than a massive Californian vineyard that sells tens of thousands of bottles. And then you pay for prestige. Why does a Ferrari cost ten times as much as a nice Toyota that serves the same purpose? Ditto for wine. People pay for the name Napa, Medoc, or Chateau Latour. Not to mention all the wine snobs that wouldn't be caught dead with anything less than a $400 bottle of Joseph Phelps on the table. BOOM... we sell them what they want. Back when I lived in civilization with swanky restaurants I had a guy (you'd recognize his name) come in and order 3 bottles of 500 Acres at $650 a pop. That was nearly $2000 (and $400 in tip to me) before the rest of his party had even pulled into the parking lot.

    Sigh.
     
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  20. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    That's not really true.
     
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  21. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    No, not really I suppose. That's the old joke they always told us. That and master chefs. I worked with one in a casino that was one of only 53 in the world at the time (or so he said).

    No doubt, no doubt. $15 is usually my cap and even $12 gets you there depending on where you live. I'm going to the state wine outlet right now!
     
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  22. Dr.Meow

    Dr.Meow Contributor Contributor

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    Yes, I want to try different wines, but I have a problem... It also relates to me wanting to drink with someone else. I don't have any friends really, and my fiance has suddenly stopped drinking (for good reason, but it would be nice if she understood that I still want to have the occasional drink...she gets the good meds anyway, I'm stuck with non-controlled substances. lol) Apparently my drinking wine just caused a problem... >_>

    Damn...2k plus tip on wine?...holy mother of bleeeeeep. Interesting about Chianti, I've never had any so I must try that next, any recommendations for a 15-25 dollar bottle? There's a lot of information you've posted here, I'll be taking it all in as I can, but suddenly wine seems so much more complex than whiskey or gin. haha So wine is something that you can enjoy on a modest income, but not really as much as a more disposable income can bring. Of course, even if I was fabulously wealthy, I would still balk at the price of anything over $50. Good god, I want to actually keep my money...it's not a status symbol, despite what so many would claim. Of course, I've always been modest, despite how much I make, so I'm the black sheep I guess. lol

    Do tell what you pick out. :)
     
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  23. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    as a general guide if its got a screw cap or a pop cap or its made by Mogen David and its bright green its best avoided
     
  24. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    Lots of peeps are moving to screw caps now. Even the French and Italians. They hold the wine better (apparently) and there are these periodic global cork shortages (????).

    Haha, yep. That's very rare, but hitting $600-$800 in wine sales was feasible in the right joint on a good night with a little luck and rich people with nothing better to do with their money. They're like marks in a con game. You spot them coming, set them up, do a little bait and switch with the private stock and BOOM! Restaurant wine is usually marked up 40-70% too. The trick is buy a good $15 bottle when it goes on sale for $10 and sell it for $39. All our booze is state controlled/owned/distributed in NH so we get crazy sales all the time.

    At the casino we had a few wines that went for $5000... Chateau Latours from the 1950s I think. That's the casino markup though, which makes a restaurant look like a dollar store. They probably went for less than $1000 apiece wholesale. I usually have to fight tooth and nail with regular restaurant owners to get them to stuck anything that retails over $75. They don't seem to realize that it doesn't perish and one bottle pays for the other two. But then again if they had any fucking financial acumen they wouldn't need people like me to tell them how to sell food and booze. I mean, how hard is it to sell food? People die without it. And booze? If there's an easier product to push (besides sex) I'd love to hear about it.

    Eh, tough to tell. Depends on what you have where you live, and the selection is all over the place. Most wine is only distributed in limited regions. Unless it's Yellow Tail or Sutter Home. And Chianti isn't my favorite at all. You're better off with a Toscana. Centine by Banfi is a great one and it's only about $10. The 2013 is the highest rated I think, but the others aren't bad either. For Chianti the Ruffino Ducale is kind of like the Cadillac of common Chiantis. If you watch The Sopranos that's the bottle on almost every table (with the label turned toward the camera, of course). It's maybe $22-$25, which is a lot for a bottle of wine. It's good, but you can easily find get two $12 bottles that are just as good. Banfi (Italy's largest winery, I believe) has a bunch of different Chiantis. Play around with it. See what you like.
     
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  25. Soapbox

    Soapbox Member

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    The screw caps are nice if you don't finish a bottle quickly after opening it. Which, I can't say I have much of a problem with, ha!

    For those who have said that they have trouble remembering what nuances a wine had or what the differences were between two, I suggest a wine journal. It helped me sooo much. I started by reading the label, sometimes they'll tell you what to expect, then I searched for those flavors and wrote down what I experienced. Once you get better at figuring out the flavors, then you can even improve your descriptive writing this way ;) I don't keep a journal anymore, because I either get something totally new to me or go with the same thing over and over.

    I make my own as well. Someone wrote that they've made dandelion. That's cool, I tend to stick with the fruits. I grow my own blackberries and ended up with a fabulous 2016. I tend to go with the fruiter reds and this was amazing, if I do say so myself. Plus, with homemade I can get a high alcohol percentage. Which isn't necessarily the point, but it doesn't hurt, either.

    Arizona actually has a great wine country, both in the southern part of the state and in the western part.

    Dr. Meow, I'd be happy to drink a glass with you, virtually of course. That doesn't count as drinking alone, does it? :)
     
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