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TheYoshi
07-24-2006, 09:25 AM
I started to put this in the summer drinking thread and then it kept growing and growing so I thought I'd start a new one....

I believe I've noticed several wine drinkers here through various posts, what are we drinking these days and what are we into?

Generally in the summer I drink more white than I normally do in the winter, particularly Sauvignon Blanc and some of the dry German wines which I just can't ever seem to get into when it's cold. For reds I tend to be more food pairing oriented than I do temperature constrained.. I probably drink more Zinfandel in the summer than I do in the winter, hmm, or maybe not.

Anyway as collector I tend not to be overly bordeaux driven, certainly I have some of the first growth's hanging around but in terms of where my money goes I'd rather spend it on Burgundian wine than on first growth bordeaux so for the most part I drop down a tier and hit Pichon Baron, Cos d'estornel or lynch bages type wines for my bordeaux purchases. I'm a vintage champagne nut, especially Bollinger.

I love Sauternes but my real dessert wine wallet offender is of course port.. I'm even known to buy magnums at wine auctions, what am I going to do with a bunch of port magnums?!? much less it's going to be forever until the 2000's are ready in a magnum format!

New world wines I'm liking new zealand for sauvignon blanc, very cheap for the quality.. check out the Kim Crawford SB if you can get it in your area. I'm also into Harlan Estate, Turley, etc. My latest find are some of the smaller producers for Pinot Noir (I know how annoyingly trendy) in Oregon, I'm talking the guys who are producing less than 1000 cases total per year, some really FANTASTIC wine.

letterk
07-24-2006, 10:20 AM
In general, I drink what I find during winery visits. Living on the west coast affords me the ability to have these visits often. My favs include:

California: Zinfandels and Syrahs from the north. My favorite is a small place called Amphora.

Oregon: Pinot of course. I have to say that I got into Pinots before they became ultra trendy. My wife has family that live a few miles from the Willamette Valley and visit every time I get up there.

Washington: My wife's brother and sister-in-law live near the Columbia river. I've been coming back with lots of new finds every time I visit. My favorites have been some of the Cabs and Syrahs. The value up there is great.

As far as whites go, I'm partial to Viognier and sometimes a Sauvignon Blanc.

I'll stick to Port for my dessert wine, but always have a Muscat around as well. I've been finding some very good Ports up in Washington.

I don't have room for a collection, so I buy to drink.

Scotto
07-24-2006, 10:56 AM
I love a good French Rose' in the summertime.

Dennis
07-24-2006, 11:08 AM
We just did a winery tour during cherry season up on the Mission Peninsula near Traverse City, Michigan. Nice area for growing cherries, grapes and fruit in general:
http://tinyurl.com/s8beo
http://www.tcwebguide.com/wine/

Ended up buying about a case - several from each winery. One local cherry wine, some Gamay Noir, several Reislings, some Pinot Gris, some Pinot Noir and several house blends from the vintners. Those tasting rooms are dangerous for your wallet...

Dennis

Shermdog
07-24-2006, 12:24 PM
Del Dotto is my fav in terms of Cabs from Napa.

Also, I highly recommend the barrel tasting private tour there...get a designated driver ;)

Phog Allen
07-24-2006, 03:12 PM
Port? Port? Did someone mention port? I am no conniesuer by any stretch. I have come to like the buttery texture of tawny port. Would anyone care to make a recommendation for a 10 or 20 year tawny? I am familiar with the old names like Fonseca, Taylor Fladgate, and some others. Unfortunately, I don't have the means for $100 bottles of wine. I could swing $25-35 on special occasions. I have learned that high price does not necessarily mean great taste. At least to my untrained palate. I've never splurged for a bottle of vintage port but have tried late bottled vintage. Decent but could not match the texture of the tawny. Thanks

Regards, Todd

Andre
07-24-2006, 03:19 PM
I'm partial to good cabs & chards from CA, and Bordeaux. Though is more recent years, I mostly don't bother with the Bordeaux, since they are so damn expensive now for the classifieds.

I'm a big fan of:
Newton - anything
Niebaum - Rubicon
Heitz - Trailside
Berringer - The high-end merlot (whatever they call it these days)
la Jota - cab
Sanford - Pinot Noir
Leoville las Cases
Pichon Baron
Montrose
Haut Marbuzet
Cos d'Estournel
Latour (the older "cheaper" ones)
Margeaux (again, the older stuff that I got "cheap")
Palmer
Oh, and as anyone who has actually tasted it can tell you, Chateaux d'Yqem is about the most mind-blowing wine - or even food experience - that one can have. I've had the '88-'90 and my final half of '89 is being saved for a very special purpose indeed!

For a cheap Chard, it's hard to beat Meridian @ $7-10.
A nice inexpensive Italian is anything by Taurino ($6-15)

Most of my 400+ bottles are '94 and before, since stuff started getting rediculously expensive around that time. I can remember buying Caymus cab for $12-15, at which price it was GREAT. Now that it hovers at around $65 or $70 - why bother? Certainly when you consider that there are better cabs that merely doubled in price over that same period. I don't know how some of these wineries do it, but that's their business. (And I'd rather just open old First & Second Growth Bordeaux that I bought at $40 - 60, since I have it - and believe me, a nicely aged '90 Pichon Baron makes a Caymus cab taste like Kool-Aid!).

A lot of the great CA's have changed since the early '90's. Some no longer use the same vinyards. Some have even moved offshore and are now use South American grapes. Some once-great wines are average and overpriced these days. There used to be a cheap Bordeaux blend by (I think) Laurel Glenn, called Terra Rosa (it still exists) that in 1992 was a massive, unfiltered STEAL at $6-8. You'd open the bottle and the cork would be just covered with grapey particulates of one sort or another. It was inky purple. (I may even have a bottle or two still around). Now it's light and simple using grapes from Argentina, I think. I'm sure there's a reason for these changes, but I don't spend much time considering them. I just ignore most of it and open older greats, while seeking new bargains.

Mostly these days, I just buy the cheap every day stuff and loot my stash of oldies for more special occassions. I buy Newton every year, but most of my other verticals have long since dead-ended. I just need to make my good stuff last!

Oh, and I always have a case of some sort of inexpensive sparkling wine around. I'm partial to Korbel or Domaine St. Michelle in the $10-14 range. It's nice to drink that stuff on a regular basis, rather than pretending it's only for special occassions.

The best thing (I think) anyone can do is find a very knowledgable wine store guy and ask "what's your favorite Cab [or chard, or zin, or whatever] in the $15 - 20 range. If they know what they are doing, they can turn you on to some real gems that are bypassed by most people.

Andre

mark the shoeshine boy
07-24-2006, 03:56 PM
www.crownvalleywinery.com (http://www.crownvalleywinery.com)

i don't know much about wines, but my boss built this and it is getting very postive reviews and awards....

there is even a shop next to the dealership that I work at....

mark the shoeshine boy

Austin
07-24-2006, 03:57 PM
I'm a MD 20/20 and Boones Farms kind of guy. :biggrin:

Seriously, I enjoy a good chablis or sauvignon blanc during the summer months.

Phog Allen
07-24-2006, 03:58 PM
The best thing (I think) anyone can do is find a very knowledgable wine store guy and ask "what's your favorite Cab [or chard, or zin, or whatever] in the $15 - 20 range. If they know what they are doing, they can turn you on to some real gems that are bypassed by most people.

Andre


Andre, I couldn't agree more. We are VERY fortunate to have just such a retailer in my town. I simply can not refer to this store as a "liquor store". It's so much more. Probably 20,000 bottles of wine on the floor at any time. Shelf after shelf of spirits from low brow to to downright rare around here. I don't know really what to call it but I like it. The best part is the owner. A most sensible chap who never tries to oversell you ANYTHING. He was one of the first to let me know that there is much more difference between a $10 bottle of wine and one at $20 than between 20 and 100 dollars. At least for my untrained palate. I have not been led wrong by that advice so far. He has pointed me to several nice bottles of different types and one was an especially nice Pinot Noir that was so smooth and gracious and I stupidly forgot to write down the name and year. I think it was about $14 and was really good. At least to me. I drank it by itself and with a big beef roast and it was super either way. Pinot is definately on my check it out list. I think I read that this is the grape of many of France's great burgundy region wines. At least I think that's right. I agree with your practice of buying "drink it now" wines. I have neither the time nor education to try cellaring. Thanks for the lists of wines. It gives me yet another distraction to spend money on.

Regards, Todd

ouch
07-24-2006, 04:00 PM
I may have posted this before, but this is what I put away on my birthday, with a little help from the guests.:tongue_sm

letterk
07-24-2006, 04:02 PM
OK. You REALLY need to invite me to your next birthday party. Wow.

ouch
07-24-2006, 04:10 PM
The 6 litres of Mondavi probably would have sufficed.:lol:

I have to shrink these pics.

moses
07-24-2006, 05:29 PM
Ouch,

Oh my.... damn. etc.

Personally, I third Andre's advice on asking a good wine vendor for advice in your price range. That is, unless you are in the price range of y'quem, first growth bordueax, penfolds grange, henshke hill of grace (anybody tried this? - my most mind blowing wine experience ever). There are simply so bloody many fantastic wines in the $10-$20 range, but it is basically impossible to know what they are unless you happen to have tried them.

Couple of plugs, though:

If you like Aussies - D'Arenberg. Any wine they make. Very very good stuff, at very very good prices.

SOLID spanish red (there are a million of these that are really good and cheap really) - Gotim Bru, by Castell de Remei. At $10, the 2000 vintage could hold its own with a lot of $60 wines. Have not tried it yet (hard to find), but the 2003 is probably just as good. Please decant or at least let breath a long time, if you try this, btw.

Best wine shop ever (http://www.vintagecellar.com). Blacksburg, VA. If you happen to live anywere remotely near, go in for a Saturday tasting. They open at least 8 wines every tasting, and at least a couple are usually fantastic deals. Also, Thursday afternoons, they often have impromptu tastings of really great closeouts.

ouch
07-24-2006, 06:54 PM
Couple of plugs, though:

If you like Aussies - D'Arenberg. Any wine they make. Very very good stuff, at very very good prices.



Moses, you give some great advice worthy of your namesake. The D'Arenbergs are all excellent. I have a case of their Dead Arm- it's one of the best Aussies I've ever had, at least as good as the Grange. Yum.

moses
07-24-2006, 07:09 PM
As good as the Grange? Wow, haven't tried that particular one, now I really have to. Also, I particularly suggest their The Noble Semillon. Had a '94 a while back that blew me away. A lot thicker, denser, heavier than a sauterne, but pretty much as amazing as a really really good sauterne. More of kind of a raisiny dried fruit note.... (One of those things, like some PX sherries, where you are wondering "how did they get a white wine to have that gorgeous chestnut color?")

ouch
07-24-2006, 07:43 PM
Back in the early 90's, aka the single days, I went through a two year period when I had a dessert wine every single night. Drank my way through damned near every notable- Vendange Tardives, SGN's, TBA's, Vin de Pailles. I loves the sweet stuff, fer sure.

Down under, Chambers makes some incredible dessert wines. They have a $15 muscadelle that's off the charts.


To keep this thread shave related, I'll have to add that one of the best Sauternes I ever had was named, appropriately enough:

1967 Gillette, Creme de Tete.:lol:

mark the shoeshine boy
07-24-2006, 08:32 PM
http://badgerandblade.com/gallery/displayimage.php?imageid=3117

Andre
07-25-2006, 06:03 AM
The biggest jump in wine quality is between the bad cheap wines and the good cheap wines. Once you get away from the $4 swill, pay a few $$$ more and find the RIGHT $10 wine, you aren't that far away from wine greatness. And if you are willing to pay $15-20, you can find plenty of world class wines. For $40, you can drink some of the best wine the world has ever seen.

What the $100-$500-$? wines have going for them is usually a combination of Brand name, rarety, and demand. From a purely quality point of view, you are unlikely to get a wine for $100 that is much, if any, better than a top quality bottle for somewhere in the $20-$50 range. Good wine is good wine. It's the MAKING that makes it so, not the name or the price. Wealth can help a lot, but it's not the end-all.

If you drank nothing costing more than $30, but chose them well, you'd drink better than most people who depended on pricepoint.

Andre

Phog Allen
07-25-2006, 06:18 AM
www.crownvalleywinery.com (http://www.crownvalleywinery.com)

i don't know much about wines, but my boss built this and it is getting very postive reviews and awards....

there is even a shop next to the dealership that I work at....

mark the shoeshine boy


Hi Mark. Nice place. Missouri and Virginia are now at the epicenter of making wine with a grape called Norton or Cynthiana. While most look down their noses at any native North American "wine" grape, this particular strain seems to have a 200 year history of making up some nice wines. I googled this and there was ton of information about it. Since you live over in Missouri, you may want to check out the St. James winery and the Rosati winery. I visited both when we lived there years ago and their growth has been phenomenal. St. James has an impressive list of awards. www.stjameswinery.com Check out their dry wines section.

Regards, Todd

ouch
07-25-2006, 07:34 AM
The biggest jump in wine quality is between the bad cheap wines and the good cheap wines. Once you get away from the $4 swill, pay a few $$$ more and find the RIGHT $10 wine, you aren't that far away from wine greatness. And if you are willing to pay $15-20, you can find plenty of world class wines. For $40, you can drink some of the best wine the world has ever seen.

What the $100-$500-$? wines have going for them is usually a combination of Brand name, rarety, and demand. From a purely quality point of view, you are unlikely to get a wine for $100 that is much, if any, better than a top quality bottle for somewhere in the $20-$50 range. Good wine is good wine. It's the MAKING that makes it so, not the name or the price. Wealth can help a lot, but it's not the end-all.

If you drank nothing costing more than $30, but chose them well, you'd drink better than most people who depended on pricepoint.

Andre

With the sole exception that it is still possible to get a world class wine for four dollars, the above is some of the best advice you'll ever read anywhere.

There are far too many connie-sewers who are nothing more than name droppers. It's easy to walk into a wine shop with a fat wallet and buy legendary first growths or popular new boutique wines. I wonder how many of those folks have ever tried:

Domaine de Trevaillon, Les Baux, Coteaux d Aix en Provance

Nicolas Joly’s lovely Savennières, Clos de la Coulée de Serrant, a wonderful chenin blanc

Muller-Catoir Haardter Mandelring Scheurebe Spatlese, a mind blowing effort from a virtually unknown grape

Domaine Peyre Rose, Coteaux du Languedoc, Clos des Cistes



The above are but two reds and two whites that are as fine as anything ever produced. No merlot. No chardonnay. No enormous pricetags. Just wonderful expressions of the vigneron's art.

If one had to spend a fortune to enjoy wine, I would recommend finding another hobby. Fortunately, it's not at all necessary.

TheYoshi
07-25-2006, 08:12 AM
The 6 litres of Mondavi probably would have sufficed.:lol:

I have to shrink these pics.

I demand to be invited to your next party! Heh, seriously though nice line up there. Although I'll be honest for the most part I prefer to pair the "monsters" up against a few lesser wines, helps you really appreciate them for what they are.
So instead of: great, great, great, great...
you get: very nice, good, good, FANTASTIC!!!!

TheYoshi
07-25-2006, 08:14 AM
Moses, you give some great advice worthy of your namesake. The D'Arenbergs are all excellent. I have a case of their Dead Arm- it's one of the best Aussies I've ever had, at least as good as the Grange. Yum.

Have you guys tried any of the wines from "Two Hands"? Not badly priced and really quite good, I'm partial to the "Angel's share" myself.

Also for North American Syrah give Pax a try, I LOVE their wines.

TheYoshi
07-25-2006, 08:17 AM
Port? Port? Did someone mention port? I am no conniesuer by any stretch. I have come to like the buttery texture of tawny port. Would anyone care to make a recommendation for a 10 or 20 year tawny? I am familiar with the old names like Fonseca, Taylor Fladgate, and some others. Unfortunately, I don't have the means for $100 bottles of wine. I could swing $25-35 on special occasions. I have learned that high price does not necessarily mean great taste. At least to my untrained palate. I've never splurged for a bottle of vintage port but have tried late bottled vintage. Decent but could not match the texture of the tawny. Thanks

Regards, Todd

I think a great everyday budget port is "Benjamin Australian Tawny" it's about 12 bucks. I use it for drinking and cooking on "regular" occasions. BTW if you ever cook with a wine you wouldn't drink, ask yourself why.

boboakalfb
07-25-2006, 10:19 AM
I think a great everyday budget port is "Benjamin Australian Tawny" it's about 12 bucks. I use it for drinking and cooking on "regular" occasions. BTW if you ever cook with a wine you wouldn't drink, ask yourself why.

Exactly...when reducing wine you are concentrating the flavors...so if you wouldn't drink it then you shouldn't cook with it.

A relatively simple dessert is port or zin poached pears served with blue cheese...very good and easy.

I am pretty jealous of the knowledge of French and also new world wines. I am lucky enough to live less than an hour and a half from the Napa Valley so we are able to go about 5 - 6 times a year. Since this is a very well known wine region the prices have jumped over the years. Even tasting room fees have grown accordingly...It is very common for rooms to charge $20 to $30 for tastings. Now Rubicon Estates...formerly Neibaum Coppola charges $25 just to enter the winery...even if you didn't want to taste.

There are a lot of very good wines in the $50 to $60 range...Duckhorn, Silver Oaks Alex, Cakebread and lesser known wineries Twomey (Ray Duncan and Sons...Silver Oak Owners) and Von Strasser.

I agree that it is easy to find good wines in this price range...but finding them in the $10 - $20 range is the challenge...I believe there are alot out there.

Does anyone know of a wine shop on the SF Bay Area Peninsula that is knowledgable with some of the new world wines?

Phog Allen
07-25-2006, 11:12 AM
I think a great everyday budget port is "Benjamin Australian Tawny" it's about 12 bucks. I use it for drinking and cooking on "regular" occasions. BTW if you ever cook with a wine you wouldn't drink, ask yourself why.

Yoshi, I quite agree! The same vendor who gives me such good advice led me to that brand and I've enjoyed a couple of bottles of it. One of the first thingsI learned when I tried port a number of years ago was that if it wasn't made in Portugal, it had no business calling itself port. The stuff coming out of Ca. was just abominable. Cheap red wine with enough brandy poured in it to make it "drinkable". Pure dreck. So when this vendor first recommended Benjamin, I raised a skeptical Spock eyebrow. He assured me the Aussies had this one down and that it was a great bargain. He was correct. A very buttery, non cloying sweetness that is just wonderful. It goes for $11-12 per bottle around here and I notice lately it's hard to get! This stuff sells. This is why I was aking about the 10-20 yr. tawnies. If they surpass this stuff in character then I may never bother with vintage again.

Regards, Todd

Andre
07-25-2006, 11:18 AM
I would actually agree that it is possible to find really good wines in the $4-6 range, but it's not always as easy as it should be. The vast majority of stuff in that range is simple swill, but there are some gems (and all too often they vary so much from year to year that you can't even just find your brand and stay with it).

The biggest issue with the REALLY cheap stuff is that it is almost never made to, or capable of, ageing. They are usually made to be consumed within a year or two of release, and so are really missing some of the taste componants of great wines that are also meant to age. MY OPINION is that you can get very good and really cheap wine, but it is not really in the same league as a $12 wine that is also made for a bit of ageing. There's nothing wrong with that, and I drink my share of non-ageworthy wines, but they really are two different things. A Cab made in vast quantities to be drinkable upon release, might be very good, but it will NEVER be in the same ballpark as a slightly more robust cab meant to sit for five years.

Andre

Phog Allen
07-25-2006, 11:24 AM
A relatively simple dessert is port or zin poached pears served with blue cheese...very good and easy.

Bob, that sounds fantastic. About 2-3 times a year I put on an afternoon tea for the ladies of the family. I always try to come up with something special for the victuals and last year found this great sandwich recipe for a port/fig butter with prosciutto. I used a LBV to lend it a fruity touch and this mixed with ground figs and real butter made delicious tea sandwiches. I LOVE poaced fruit and will try your suggestion. I like Zin too and that will be an option as well. Thanks for sharing.

Regards, Todd

boboakalfb
07-25-2006, 11:32 AM
Bob, that sounds fantastic. About 2-3 times a year I put on an afternoon tea for the ladies of the family. I always try to come up with something special for the victuals and last year found this great sandwich recipe for a port/fig butter with prosciutto. I used a LBV to lend it a fruity touch and this mixed with ground figs and real butter made delicious tea sandwiches. I LOVE poaced fruit and will try your suggestion. I like Zin too and that will be an option as well. Thanks for sharing.

Regards, Todd

Another thing to try if you are a fan of blue cheese is to take halved peaches and grill them until they are soft. Put blue cheese in the pit area and drizzle with honey...very tasty.

AACJ
07-25-2006, 11:33 AM
I buy 2 buck Chuck by the case load when we visit Northern Virginia, at roughly 2 bucks a bottle, I can still drink it within a year, hell, a case is gone in a few weeks. :eek:

When we go to Costco, we usually pick up a 1.5 litre bottle of Conche Toro Cab/Merlot for 6.99. What most people don't know is the older bottles are on the bottom of the stack, so I just take a newer one and put it in the older bottles place. So I get a nice, aged dusty bottle that's at least 5 years old.

My favorite is a 1994 Napa Ridge Cab, which I cannot find anymore.





I would actually agree that it is possible to find really good wines in the $4-6 range, but it's not always as easy as it should be. The vast majority of stuff in that range is simple swill, but there are some gems (and all too often they vary so much from year to year that you can't even just find your brand and stay with it).

The biggest issue with the REALLY cheap stuff is that it is almost never made to, or capable of, ageing. They are usually made to be consumed within a year or two of release, and so are really missing some of the taste componants of great wines that are also meant to age. MY OPINION is that you can get very good and really cheap wine, but it is not really in the same league as a $12 wine that is also made for a bit of ageing. There's nothing wrong with that, and I drink my share of non-ageworthy wines, but they really are two different things. A Cab made in vast quantities to be drinkable upon release, might be very good, but it will NEVER be in the same ballpark as a slightly more robust cab meant to sit for five years.

Andre

ouch
07-25-2006, 12:58 PM
Nobody liked my comment about the great Sauterne Gillette Creme de Tete. I'm so disappointed.:frown:

moses
07-25-2006, 01:16 PM
I think a great everyday budget port is "Benjamin Australian Tawny" it's about 12 bucks.

Couple of other really good Aussie Tawnys"

Hardy's Wisker's Blake. At about 17, it is a fantastic value, on some really really good stuff just loaded with flavor. If you don't believe me, I remember it getting a 94 or maybe higher a few years back from Parker.

Rosemount Old Benson. A little more expensive at around $30-35 for a 500, but pretty fantastic stuff.