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Wine Connoisseur in Training

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I've always wanted to learn more about wines, and actually know what I'm looking at when I walk around the aisles and aisles of wine in the liquor store. Right now I can pretty much tell you what is a red and what is a white, but that's about as far as it goes. I've always wanted to have a "wine collection" where I can just pull out the perfect bottle with whatever meal we're having, or can bring a nice bottle to a friend's house.

Well, last night as we were driving to get to dinner, I saw that a liquor store was going out of business (which you never see happening!) and everything in the store was 50% off. So we went a little nuts - OK, I went a little nuts buys different kinds of wine. I got a couple of fairly cheapy wines (a Blackberry and a Cherry wine, and a German spiced Chrismas wine), and then I got a selection of different reds and whites:

Pinot Grigio
Pinot Noir
2 Reislings
Savignon Blanc

I also made sure that I was getting wines from more than just California - I got a couple of Southern Australian wines, an Italian, and a German wine.

What's your favorite kind of wine(s) and what kind of flavor does it have? I'm going to do research online about these wines, but nothing beats personal experience from others.
post #2 of 21
I am also no expert. Aaron did get " Wine for Dummies" for Christmas, but hasn't read it yet.

I like the Gewürztraminer in the summer. It's sweeter than a Chardonnay (which I also like), but not as sweet as a Pinot Grigio.

As far as reds, I like merlot, cabernet, and shiraz. Cabernet is probably the heaviest out of those three. Shiraz normally has a spicy/peppery taste to it.

I like a lot of the Australian wines, as well as wines by Kendall Jackson in California. Black Opal from Australia is good for the price.
post #3 of 21
The best bottle of wine I ever had the pleasure to taste (a friend was teaching me more about wine) was a late 1990's bottle of Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon.

I love reds, but I also learned they do not love me...tiny amounts for me are best.

My husband and I do the occasional try of various wines, he loves the rieslings and Gewürztraminer's and chardonnays, I always prefer the reds, from a really good Chianti Classico to Cabs.

I learned a bit from buying the Wine Spectator's Guide one year, and then paying attention to the rating of the wines I was buying, taking notes on what I liked and didn't like about each one I tried.

Enjoy, this can be a many year, enjoyable bit of research!

I would probably push more for a small collection of wine except I now have to count it as a carb in my diet (grumble) which makes me not choose to have it all that often!

We also like to try various fruit wines - found a decent cranberry (think it was by Pasek) this past Fall (I had all of 4 sips but it was SO good with turkey!)
post #4 of 21
WHen i worked at the restaurant one night i tried out all the open wines (mind you i could barely walk up the stairs when i went home)
None of the Reds i liked most of them tasted like stale wood and they costed well over 100 euros per bottle.

My personal favourite is Falanghina but has to be kept at the right temperature.

Pinot Griggio is my favourite for cooking

My dad always told me that white wine was for fish and chicken
and red wine went well with Red meats. Have no clue what goes well with what because i am not such a wine drinker.
post #5 of 21
I love wine and I'm pretty picky: Though I know price doesn't mean quality, I can't see myself buying a really cheap wine. I hate it when I'm forced to drink a glass of some Hungarian bulk vinegar when visiting someone.

Of whites, I like gewürztraminer and muscat, I love their flowery taste. A buttery chardonnay is ok too.

Of reds, I kind of like wines with a backbone, I like shiraz and cabernet, merlot is a bit too bland to my taste. I'm not a huge fan of French, Australian etc. reds, IMO they are often boring.

On the other hand, I think as long as the wine is well made, it's just a matter of matching it with the right food.
post #6 of 21
Although i drink it i'm no expert, but the wine i prefer is a Rose wine, i believe some call it blush wine?.

I like the Rose because it's very easy to drink unlike some white wines that can suck your cheeks in, or a red thats way too dry

If i have a white wine i do like the German wines
post #7 of 21
I'm not much of a drinker either, but last Thanksgiving our daughter brought over a bottle of Sutter Home Muscotto, and we absolutely fell in love with it!
post #8 of 21
I like red zinfandels (NOT white zinfandel). A winery named Ravenswood has a number of zinfandels at various price points, all of which are dependably good
I also really like Pinot Noirs, I have one I'm working on right now by Rodney Strong.
I like a good Cab every now and then, too, but my husband doesn't like a high tannin level in his reds, so we usually drink either Zin, Pinot or occasionally Merlot at home.
My favorite chardonnay is Edna Valley. Buttery, oaky, and around 13 dollars a bottle. Can't beat it.

Other types of wines: In summer I love a sparkling white Portuguese wine called Vinho Verde. Great for drinking on the porch! Another type of sparkling I've enjoyed lately has been a sparkling shiraz- yup, sparkling red wine! It sounds bizarre but its really quite enjoyable. Good with a cheese plate.

I grew up drinking wine and at this point know a little bit about most types- my father owned a wine store as a while as a "side" business, and he knows more about wine than I can ever know. Wine Spectator has a good yearly guide they publish that has a great selection of "budget-friendly" wines for those of us who aren't going to drop $100 on a bottle. My personal cap is $20- I generally buy wines between 12 and 15 and stretch my budget only to buy my favorite champagne- veuve cliquot- the orange label is usually about $30 a bottle--I buy it maybe once a year.

Enjoy, learning about wine is a fun endeavor!
post #9 of 21
This is my favorite subject as of late...I have been studying (and by studying I mean sampling. )

Shiraz- I find really perfect for red meats, and to have a glass of now and then
Pinot Grigio- I like this one with chicken or seafood, and it can be a little bitter at some places, but good at others. I guess it depends on where you go. I like it though.
Geweztaminer- never heard of?
Pinot Noir- WAY too dry for me, I like them sweeter
2 Reislings- Haven't tried yet
Savignon Blanc-Haven't tried yet
I love trying new wines. I tried Cabernet Sauvingnon (sp?) the other day but I don't really love it by itself, definitley have to drink this one with food. Another favorite of mine is Mamertino. It's almost a mix between wine and champagne. It's a good wine to have for a romantic evening served with strawberries.
I just saw a show called America's Test Kitchen: americastestkitchen.com
They cooked a pot roast in a wine called Barolo. (Never heard of it) It looked soooo good, and the recipe is on their website. When I can splurge for a $15 bottle of wine, I might try it...
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Gewurztraminer is one of my father's favorite wines, and he has excellent taste. I know it's a semi-dry to dry, but a very flavorful white wine. Just looked it up and it said that the name means "spicy" and that it is a very aromatic wine; flowery and fruity.

Of course, I also remember that as small children we couldn't say Gewurztraminer (gev-urtz-trem-in-eir), so we called Dad's wine Goats-In-The-Cow-Manure, which he thought was supremely funny. The grandparents didn't think it was so funny when they took us all to a very nice restaurant, and we saw that they had Gewurtztraminer as one of the wine specials, and in a loud voice one of us small girls announced to the whole place that they had Goats-In-The-Cow-Manure wine for Dad!
post #11 of 21
Heidi if you need more testers i'm sure theres a couple here who could help you out!
post #12 of 21
I forgot, I know certain wines are supposed to be room temp, but I prefer mine all chilled...
post #13 of 21
Originally Posted by menagerie mama
I forgot, I know certain wines are supposed to be room temp, but I prefer mine all chilled...
My boyfriend is the same way. I love chilled white wines, but hate it when he puts the reds in the refridgerature. Those I love at room temperature.

MY personals are a Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon mix, German Reisling (preferrably from the Rhine Valley), and then on occassion a Merlot (although they tend to put me right to sleep so I spare them for help falling asleep ).
A couple of years ago, we found this place that will brew your own wine for you. They have the ingredients, experiment around and then based on what you like they'll make for you (the best part was all the FREE sampling! we went through a lot that night and were quite happy leaving). Then wehn the wine is ready, you return to bottle, label (your own label of choice) and box it. That's the other fun part...siphoning the wine it the bottle and whoops! A little went in my mouth!
Last batch we got from there (under the label "Le Lush") was a apple reisling SOOO GOOD
post #14 of 21
I wouldn't by any means call myself an expert, but we do enjoy our wine, frequently. The wine rack is a little bare at the moment, so soon I'll need to go shopping.

There's a good wine industry here in BC and we drink lots of BC wines -- very good value for the buck. But there are lot of others we like, too. Chilean wines are excellent, as are South African and Australian.

Because I know I don't know a lot about what I'm buying, I tend to buy wines whose vintner will tell me something on the label about what he thinks it goes with -- who has a greater interest in seeing that the wine is appropriately paired than the vintner?? I find that very helpful.

We lean towards the reds, and often even have reds with meals that are traditionally considered "white" meals -- chicken, pork or veal, especially if prepared with robust seasonings or sauces, stand up well to reds, as long as they are not too heavy -- I wouldn't serve a Cabernet Sauvignon. Salmon is happy with a Merlot or Pinot Noir.

We have pretty eclectic taste, actually, but prefer our wines on the dry side. A relatively recent discovery is a Spanish red: Castillo de Almansa Tempranillo. It's in my mind at the moment because we had it last night with prime rib -- but it's equally excellent for late night sipping with snacks -- and very reasonable in price.

Have a ball, Heidi -- wine is fun!
post #15 of 21
Okay so I'm a wino!!!!
My favorite is New Zeeland Sauvignon Blancs preferably young and from the Marlborough region. I good one a bought a case of last year was made by Monkey Bay. I really like the wines from this region. Also while I haven't bought any yet New Zeeland also is supposed to have marvelous Pinot Noirs-a bit more expensive though!!
Alastian Reislings are very good too.
As for reds-I agree that Ravenswood vineyard makes good Zinfandels.
And the 3rd thursday of November the Beaujolis Nuevos are introduced. I haven't missed that intro day for 12 yrs!!! Its a very young wine good with pizza and Italian food as well as a glass by itself.
Cabernet Sauvignon's are good with hamburgers!!
I want to try the Vino Verde as I've heard that they are good.
For something special try the 'ice wines" from either the Finger Lakes region of NY state or Canada. Its not a cheap wine however!!
When I go to Virginia next week they have lots of vineyards that have good wines.
South African Pinotage is a good one to try too!!!
I just enjoy trying all sorts of new wines.
Find a good independent store and ask the owners opinions.
post #16 of 21
I had an ice wine made in Northern Vermont, and it was fantastic!!! You are right though, it was a very small bottle wtih a very high price.

The area I live in has a very large Portugeuse population. Vino Verde is sold by the gallon jug in all the liquor stores.
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
I really want to try a nice Ice Wine. There are quite a few wineries in the area of Ohio that I visit every year (Catawba Island area). One of them I visit every year - Mon Ami (www.monamiwinery.com) - has an Ice Wine that is $32.95 for 375 ML (for comparison, their Port is $6.50 for 750 ML). All of their wine is very good - most of the coaches for our team buy a case of their wine to bring home. If I remember right, Christy (okeefecl) gets their Reisling.
post #18 of 21
I have never been a big wine drinker, BUT I found this really tasty white zinfandel (Beringer, 2004) that is very inexpensive and yet very yummy. I'm told at work that zinfandel is a "starter wine" and that soon I will be moving on to other wines. I do look forward to experimenting, but I can't imagine me ever liking a really dry wine.
post #19 of 21
Heidi, you ought to seek out a wine tasting where you live.
post #20 of 21
Originally Posted by fwan
WHen i worked at the restaurant one night i tried out all the open wines (mind you i could barely walk up the stairs when i went home)
None of the Reds i liked most of them tasted like stale wood and they costed well over 100 euros per bottle.

My personal favourite is Falanghina but has to be kept at the right temperature.

Pinot Griggio is my favourite for cooking

My dad always told me that white wine was for fish and chicken
and red wine went well with Red meats. Have no clue what goes well with what because i am not such a wine drinker.

That is true about white with light meats, and red with heavier meats. Wine is just about the only kind of alcohol I drink. I love reds, but whites have their occasions. Most recent fave is White Merlot. (I know, kind of an oxymoron, right?) It is a blush color, and light but heedy, very nice!
post #21 of 21
I'll go for a German Reisling.

Of course the only thing I know about wine is what cheese to pair it with. Swiss for fruity reds, etc etc. If you have a cheese, I'll give you a wine. If you want a good cheese to try, ask.

I much prefer Jack Daniels as my posion.

As for other wines...Rioja with a Manchego (6 months is best, IMO), a Roquefort and Tawny Port.
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