Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
«71 »
  • Post
  • Reply
4/20 NEVER FORGET
Dec 2, 2002

NEVER FORGET OK

Fun Shoe

This is a directly copy/paste of the OP of the previous wine thread because I feel it was very well done! (Credit to Mikey Purp) If you all think something needs to be added, let me know.

A brief prologue: wine is a great passion of mine and something I could talk about all day. I intend this thread to be educational and useful, and hope that all goons with even a slight interest in wine will take advantage of this thread as a place to ask ANY question, to post tasting notes, and to pose discussion. Sophisticated notes about hints of the flowering herbs of Provence around a sturdy licorice background are welcome here, and so are people who simply say they popped and poured a Shiraz and it was great because it got them wasted in 2 glasses. The point is that this is a thread for all people interested in wine, snobs or no, and that no one should be trolled herein. The only rule is that you cannot simply say "this wine was good." You don't have to get flowery, but tell us what you liked or didn't like! I am hoping that this thread will really blossom into a no troll newbie friendly wino zone. So help me out and contribute and answer others questions!

Finally, there are no dumb questions here. Please ask ANYTHING pertaining to wine, and myself and I'm sure others will always try our best to provide an answer. So let's learn about wine!


"I have enjoyed great health at a great age because everyday since I can remember I have consumed a bottle of wine except when I have not felt well. Then I have consumed two bottles."

-A Bishop of Seville



I. Introduction

Oh, wine. Few things on this earth are so constant on the long path of human history. You can find wine in the Bible, in Shakespeare, in Plato, in Poe, and in the hands of some of the most feared and respected world leaders ever to live (a French wine from Burgundy called Chambertin was Napoleon's favorite, and may have been the vehicle that his servants on St. Helena used to slowly poison him.)

Anyway, with such a long and varied history, and with literally an unlimited amount of flavors and styles possible, it's impossible for me to put enough information into this thread to turn the reader into an instant expert. My goals, instead, are simply to give you a quick crash course on the different grapes, regions, and styles that go into wine and wine making. My hope is that at the end of this thread, you will feel a bit more confident and amped up about the juice.

Whether you're the kind of person who is just beginning, the kind of person who feels like they've never really "gotten" wine, someone who just wants to be able to look smart when ordering wine in a restaurant, or (like me) someone who likes getting wasted under the guise of sophistication, this thread should provide a great jumping off point. So without further ado, let's talk about the greatest beverage mankind has ever created!


What makes wine so special?

Wine is special because, for one thing, it has predated almost every other beverage on earth. From a culinary standpoint, wine is astounding because it is one of the only foods that is made purely from one ingredient, but where the outcome of the product is never standardized and is subject to the process, the materials used, and even the weather in the year that it is made. Not surprisingly, one of the only other foods that comes close as far as the sheer number of variations that can be derived from a very small list of ingredients is cheese.


Great, blah blah blah, philosophy of wine, blah blah...step off it and tell us about the drat grapes already, you pretentious jackass!

Right, so there are basically 4 factors that come into play when you are looking at a bottle of wine that can help you determine what the wine may taste like. Any bottle of wine you ever pick up will have these 4 pieces of information on it:


•1.) The Producer

The producer is who made the wine, and for more advanced wine snobs is one of the most important aspects of the whole shebang. As a beginner, you shouldn't worry too much about this either, but as you learn more about wine and earn a greater appreciation for it, you will soon find yourself remembering certain producers for good wines you have had in the past by them. In every region there are also "legendary" producers who consistently make amazing wines, and as you learn more, you will probably hear more about them from others.


•2.) The Varietal

Arguably the most important of all, the varietal is the type of grape (or grapes) used to make the wine. I'll get into an in depth description of each later on, so I'll keep it short here. The one main thing to note is that the varietal is often not explicitly stated on the bottle, particularly in “Old-World” wines where wines are traditionally classified by region and each region limits which grapes can be produced. Contrast this with the United States where, by law, a wine must be labeled with the grapes that makes up the majority (but not totality) of the wine. So you’ll never see a French wine labeled simply “Merlot” or a US wine identified only by region. Many other New World producers have followed the US way of doing things. For this reason, until you learn more about the different regions and what they produce, it is best to ask your local wine clerk the varietal of the wine if it is not specifically stated. While varietal is usually a sure-fire way to get a very general idea of what to expect out of the wine, it does not tell you everything, and just as important to the varietal is the...


•3.) Vintage

The vintage is when the wine was made. This is just as important as any other bit of info on the label, and in my opinion is one of the coolest parts about wine. A vintner can do everything in his power to make good wine, but in the end a huge amount of the process is dumb luck. Weather can make or break the grapes that go into a wine. This is why it's often a good idea to have a couple of "bookmarked" years that you know a certain region produced great wine. Note also that sometimes a wine will be NV or non-vintage, or have no noticeable vintage label at all. These wines are composed of juice from grapes produced over 2 or more years. In some cases (notably in Champagne), vintage releases are fairly rare and are only done in years of exceptional quality. In other cases producers just want to offer a consistent product and it’s easier to smooth things out by blending together juice from multiple vintages. As you learn more about wine, this will come to you more and more, so don't stress over it too much as a beginner. Lastly, you should notice...


•4.) Region

The region is where the wine is made, and is often also called the appellation. This is important because grapes are very expressive of the climate and soil from which they were grown. The French call this idea "terroir", and you will most likely encounter the term many times should you choose to learn more about wine. The French are some of the world's greatest and most long standing producers of wine, so it has become common practice among critics and wine snobs to talk about the wines "sense of place." What this means from a practical standpoint is just that good grapes and wine from different places taste different. For example, Australia is very well known for producing wine from a grape called Shiraz. This wine is entirely different from a wine made from the same grape in France (only in France they call it syrah). While Australian shiraz is known for being thick, full bodied, and "jammy," a French syrah is usually more subtle, spicy, and medium bodied. This is a very basic example, as even regions within a country make wines that are completely different, but you get the jist.


One other thing I should touch on again is appellations and their relation to varietal and wine. A long time ago, the French were all like "hon hon magnifique, we are going to write and pass laws to regulate wine production instead of fighting in wars or working to overcome our sissiness. Joire de vive deja vu hon hon." The production of wine in France is thus very tightly controlled by an organization called the AOC. This does not mean that there are strict laws as to how much or who makes wine, but the AOC delineated all of the wine producing appellations in France and outlined what grapes can be used in each appellation, among other quality control measures. This is basically the French way of maintaining tradition, quality and style, and many of the other great wine countries in the world have similar systems in place. I mention this here mainly as a major caveat to what I said above about any bottle of wine having all four pieces of information I am listing here. In fact, traditionally the French sold wine based on its region, not its varietal. Therefore, you may find yourself looking at a bottle of wine trying to figure out what its made out of. Usually, the only way to know this is to know the customary style of the region, or, of course, asking the wine clerk.

So, that's it. To judge a bottle of wine both before and after tasting it, you need to know the producer, the varietal, the vintage, and the region. Basically looking at a wine label will tell you, who, what, when, and where. As for the why, because it tastes good and it gets ya drunk.

Now, let's take a look at a wine label and point out all of these pieces of info:



Ah, I found someone who did all the work for me. This is a very typical wine label (and a really nice wine if you ever have a chance to taste it). Notice that most of the points I mentioned above are listed somewhere on the label except for one: the varietal. As mentioned, because of the pesky French and their traditional way of marketing and buying wine, more often than not you'll be given the region only and left to fend for yourself. In this case, you'd have to know that Rioja is a region in Spain that produces red wines only from Tempranillo grapes. Again, we'll get more into appellations later on. For now, let's talk about some terms used to describe wine before getting into the varietals themselves.

II. Some Fancy Wine Terms



Because there are so many different kinds of wine and one bottle of the same region or varietal can vary so much from another, over the years, wine lovers have developed a bunch of vocabulary words to describe the flavor and texture of wine. Yes, wine has texture, especially red wine. Remarkably, the more vocabulary you have to describe these flavor and textural sensations, the more you will notice them when drinking wine.


•Dry: Dry basically means not sweet, and can also mean a high ratio of acidity to sugar in the wine. Almost all wine drinkers have a preference for drier wines, and aside from some whites and dessert wines, wine makers typically shoot for a wine that is on the drier side. This does not mean that a dry wine cannot be fruity, as these flavor profiles have more to do with aroma than actual sweetness.


•Nose: The nose of a wine is of course, the way that it smells. A huge majority of the flavor profile you derive from a wine (and indeed, most foods) comes from aroma. For this reason, the nose of the wine is one of the most defining characteristics. Some would argue moreso even than the palate.


•Palate: We all know what a palate is, and when talking about wine it is common to use the phrase “On the palate…” to describe the wines characteristics in your mouth. This can include flavors and aromas, weight, textures, acidity, tannins, etc.


•Tannin: Eat a walnut. Notice how it makes the edges and back of your tongue very dry? This is tannin. Tannin is actually a chemical compound and a textural or tactile sensation on your tongue. Tannin is not a flavor, it is a texture. Wines get tannin from the skins and stems of the grapes, and for this reason red wines are significantly more tannic than white wines (red wines are fermented in contact with the stems and skins, which is where the red coloration comes from also.) Tannin provides Structure to the wine. One thing that many beginners have trouble with is differentiating between tannin and acid. The easiest way that I know of to tell the two apart is that acid actually makes your mouth water after the drying sensation, while tannin does not.


•Body: The body of a wine is how “heavy” it is on your palate. This is mostly a tactile sensation, and the best way to describe it is to imagine the sensation of drinking water versus drinking whole milk. The thicker, richer milk would be said to be more “full bodied” than the water. In wines, body is often linked to alcohol content. Typically, a higher alcohol content results in a fuller bodied wine, although there are several other wine making techniques which can manipulate the body of a wine.


•Finish: The finish is, as the name implies, what happens to your perception of the wine after it has left your palate. A good quality wine will linger on the palate after it has been swallowed. The most often described aspect of the finish is its length, meaning how long the wine’s qualities stay balanced on your palate after swallowing. Some of the greatest wines in the world are said to have finishes that are minutes long.


For now, that should be sufficient for reading and understanding a description of any given wine. I have also tried to order these definitions in the way in which you should try to notice them. This leads us to our next lesson.


III. TASTING



So all of this pontificating about grapes and wines could only lead to one thing: tasting them of course! The easiest way to quickly learn to appreciate wine is to understand the proper way to taste it. Wine is unlike any other alcoholic beverage, and it more than any other alcohol rewards thoughtful, slow consideration. Your very first sip of a wine should take upwards of one minute from start to finish. Afterwards, if it’s good, feel free to gulp that poo poo down like its college. The following is one proper way to evaluate and taste a wine, although you will most likely develop your own style.



•1.) Note the wine’s appearance. It’s often helpful to hold the glass against a white background to best assess the color. What color is it? Does it appear thick or thin? Is there any sediment in the glass that would indicate an unfiltered wine? Take it all in with your eyes first.


•2.) Note the wine’s nose. This is in my opinion the most important part. Get your nose down into the glass and sniff. Then, swirl the poo poo out of the wine while it’s in the glass and take some more short sniffs and then a good deep inhalation with your mouth slightly open. You’ll need to get over your fear of looking like a twat as it really is important to fully huff that poo poo. Try to pick out as much aroma as possible. Do you smell fruit? Leather? Stones (yes, stones have an aroma)? Start with a very broad sense of the different scents in the glass, and then attempt to get more specific. I.e. “I smell fruit, red fruits, like plum or cherry.” As you practice, you will learn to discern more accurately the aromas present in wines.


•3.) Time to taste! Take a moderately sized sip of the wine, and allow it to move around in your mouth. DO NOT SWALLOW IMMEDIATELY! Note the initial taste as it touches your tongue and how it changes as it warms and develops on your palate. Swish the wine in your mouth, and if you’re bold, aerate it by opening your mouth slightly and sucking air bubbles through the wine. This is not just for show; it actually exposes the wine to oxygen in your mouth and allows more volatile flavor profiles to rise up into your olfactory bulb, where most of our sense of taste originates. Most often the first thing you will notice will be the fruit, followed by acidity and tannin. The change between the initial taste and the finish (which we talked about earlier) is called the midpalate. Some simple or extremely young wines don’t have a midpalate, and this is often seen as a mark of lower quality. As you swallow, take notice of how much you can feel the alcohol, how “hot” it is. Tannins and acidity can do a lot to mask the heat of the ethanol. Very pronounced ethanol heat is considered bad wine making (except, for some reason, in California.)


•4.) After you’ve swallowed, evaluate the finish. How much does it linger on your palate? How long does the balance of each element remain after you swallow?



And that’s about it. Above all, you should be concentrating on your first few tastes of a wine. What you concentrate on is up to you, personally I like to think about the winemaking process and what may have contributed to a certain quality, but others like to think about how well the wine represents terroir or varietal character. It may be easier for you to describe a wine in terms that have nothing at all to do with tastes and aromas, but by emotions or mental pictures instead. A Bordeaux may be the equivalent of that seductive woman eyeing you from across the room, and a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc may remind you of a bike ride in the country or sitting in a rocking chair on a farm porch. This website is actually one of my favorite wine review sites, and it uses no words at all! In the end, you should have your own objectives in how you taste the wine, and you should always decide for yourself whether you enjoy a wine or not.


IV. The Holy Grail: Balance

There has been a lot of talk in this post about balance, but I haven’t really filled you in on exactly what the gently caress balance is. Balance, simply put, is how each element in a wine works together with, and complements (or detracts from), every other element in a wine. I think the best way to present this concept in an easily understandable manner is to apply the idea of balance to a less complex beverage which I’m confident has found itself into the hands of the majority of this audience:



Hell. Yes.

So, imagine you are at you local 7-11 and you just picked up a giant bag of Doritos After Dark: Tacos at Midnight flavored tortilla chips. There is nothing better to wash that poo poo down than the Dew, so you mosey on over to the soda fountain and fill up a Big One. There are basically three components to Mountain Dew. You have your syrup, you have your water, and you have your carbonation.

Now, imagine that the seltzer water that mixes with your syrup to create this deliciousness is flat. Now your soda will taste extremely sweet and way too thick. Even though the amount of syrup and water has not changed, the lack of carbonation has completely changed the qualities of the drink. The carbonation can be thought of as an analog to tannins and other textural components in the wine. When tannins are too soft or nonexistent in wine, the fruit and alcohol become too pronounced, and you lose balance.

Another example: imagine the same situation but the syrup dispenser has run out. You’ll now have some off-yellow seltzer water in your cup. While a lot of people drink and enjoy seltzer water, when you’re expecting Mountain Dew, that poo poo is unacceptable. The syrup provides (most of) the flavoring for the drink and can be related to the fruit components of the wine. The fruit qualities are basically the qualities of the juice that was fermented to make the wine. Wines can be considered “concentrated” or “diluted.” More concentration in a wine is desirable, but in some cases, a wine can be too concentrated. As in the example with the Mountain Dew, a wine can also be very dilute. This usually means that the juice or the fruit was of inferior quality, or that the winemaker’s practices suck. Additionally, even if the wine is nicely concentrated and the flavors are intense, the actual fruit flavors can be “underripe” or “overripe,” just like a regular piece of fruit.



Finally, the last possible situation is that you get carbonated syrup. Now, I’m not sure how that could really happen mechanically speaking, but we’ll go with it anyway. In this situation you have some nicely textured but extremely sweet and thick syrup. The water in the seltzer is comparable to the alcohol in your wine. This is the only thing that isn’t a perfect comparison, but you should get the idea. The alcohol in the wine adds depth, texture, and tempers the sweetness of the fruit. Alcohol also serves as the vehicle that a lot of the aromas use to actually get to your olfactory bulb. Without alcohol, you just have fancy Welch’s. Too much alcohol and you miss out on a lot of the other aspects of the wine.

Obviously, these examples are extreme in that we completely remove a component of the drink, but it should give a good picture of what balance in a wine means. In wine you have endless combinations of fruit (and sugar), alcohol, and tannins and other textural components like acid. Balance is when these components are all in harmony. Obviously, balance is different for each person depending on your tastes, and as you drink more and different wines you’ll become more familiar with where your own preferences lie. More than likely your tastes will change drastically as you become more familiar with wine.


Finally, the last possible situation is that you get carbonated syrup. Now, I’m not sure how that could really happen mechanically speaking, but we’ll go with it anyway. In this situation you have some nicely textured but extremely sweet and thick syrup. The water in the seltzer is comparable to the alcohol in your wine. This is the only thing that isn’t a perfect comparison, but you should get the idea. The alcohol in the wine adds depth, texture, and tempers the sweetness of the fruit. Alcohol also serves as the vehicle that a lot of the aromas use to actually get to your olfactory bulb. Without alcohol, you just have fancy Welch’s. Too much alcohol and you miss out on a lot of the other aspects of the wine.

Obviously, these examples are extreme in that we completely remove a component of the drink, but it should give a good picture of what balance in a wine means. In wine you have endless combinations of fruit (and sugar), alcohol, and tannins and other textural components like acid. Balance is when these components are all in harmony. Obviously, balance is different for each person depending on your tastes, and as you drink more and different wines you’ll become more familiar with where your own preferences lie. More than likely your tastes will change drastically as you become more familiar with wine.

V. Some great advice from this thread:

On distinguishing a wine's characteristics:

Subtlet posted:

I've heard this from many different people and, as an enthusiast, I feel drat near obligated to have a response to it now. The more people who hang on to this opinion, the more they influence other people getting into it, and without experience or vocabulary, it's easy to quote others. The pool grows, and, if the challenge isn't answered, wine retains it's image of an "exclusive" culture.

The best thing you could possibly do is find a local wine shop, go to at least 3 tastings, and take notes. You may feel a bit uncomfortable, but you're trying to educate yourself. Just do it. And, if anyone asks, tell them you don't know anything and are trying to learn. From there, if someone still gives you a hard time, they're in the wrong, not you. I'd bet that after 3 tastings, anybody would find that they liked some wines more, and some wines less, and that they even had a few different descriptions down in the notebook. Surely, they'll be simple. "Fruit" "Vanilla" "Grippy" "Burns my mouth", but that's where it starts. At some point you'll see "red fruit" (strawberry, raspberry, etc) vs. "dark fruit" (plums, blackberries, etc), and you'll probably develop a preference between the two. You'll also find wines that exhibit less of the characteristics you DISlike. This is one of the big steps forward, as you really register that wine doesn't have to have "bad" stuff going on. Tastings at shops are best due to the price. You can try a bunch of wine side by side (which is important early on), and you don't have to spring for full bottles that you probably aren't going to enjoy yet. After you do this, you'll have a rough idea of what works and doesn't work for you, and a solid retailer can work with your description to turn you on to something that really floats your boat. 2 other things that can help are to avoid smoking before hand, as previously mentioned, and to drink your wines near room temp. At fridge temp, the noses will be very muted, as will many flavors, and this could contribute a LOT to them all seeming the same. Cold also mutes alchohol, so a lot of people chill the hell out of what is essentially horrible wine. If you want to really experience it, good and bad, you've got to let it be room temp or just below.

EDIT: ( Tailoring the temps a little more can make the experience more enjoyable, and some good posts below address this. In particular, the 30 minute rule can be useful for beginners: Refrigerate reds 30min before drinking, and remove whites from the fridge 30min before drinking. Please remember though, the scents and flavors will hide out if it's too cold. Err towards room temp if you're uncertain or don't want to worry about it.)


Now, if you don't have good tastings in your area, it's harder. You DO have to spring for the bottles in full, so it's a little more expensive. It's way more fun if you can get some friends together that also want to learn. Discussing the flavors will help you all learn, and you can divvy the cost a bit. I'd say buy at least 3, 5 would be great, and more is just more fun if you've got some friends. Since you're totally new, and just want to see differences, I'd say to focus on that when you purchase. Don't buy 3 bottles of Gato Negro and line them up, they'll be fairly similar. I'd advise a pinot noir, a cabernet sauvignon, a syrah/shiraz(same thing), a chianti, etc. Now, armed with your bottles, take them home, and open them all. One by one, pour a couple ounces into the glass, take a deep smell, and really taste it. Make sure to run it all around your mouth, as you miss things if you just dump it down. Go through the line up, make notes, and compare them with friends if anyone joins you. Hang out for a bit, and repeat the flight after an hour or two. This serves two purposes. First, the wines will open a bit, and you may even notice a flavor difference this time through. Second, your palate will be a little desensitized to the alchohol and tannins, so there will be less of the stuff you probably associate as "typical" wine textures.

Personally, I don't like diving right into a serious tasting without something to warm me up. Sometimes the palate just isn't ready for the alchohol yet, and I miss some of the good stuff going on.

I'll bet heavily that you'll be able to tell a difference after this, or at least acknowledge that they exist. I won't say that you'll find a wine you'll like, but you'll be armed with some information that the wine buyer at any store, be sure to ask specifically for him or her, could use to make some decent suggestions. Just keep in mind that differentiating is just the first step. If you find anything you like at all, and any trace of wines that have less "bad stuff" than others, you're on the path. I'm guessing that you'll be starting at a pretty low price point, and, unknown, those wines are often a crap shoot, even to professionals (which I'm not). Know that there are wines out there that deliver the things you like (drat near whatever they are) in spades, and are better than anything even remotely wine-like that you can imagine at this point. IMO, it's easily worth the work. Once you can differentiate, if you don't like it, just keep searching.

And finally, if you STILL think they're all the same, you should be able to write the rest of it off without worry. Even if you were to work on it more and eventually did differentiate, I'm guessing that your senses aren't picking up enough of the details for you to really have a good time drinking it anyway. Ignore the wine, and buy something else that puts a smile on your face!

On the beautiful fortified wines of Tokaj, Hungary:


4liters posted:

Tokaj is a place I think people should visit at least once in their lives, the wines are fantastic (and for the moment, really good value) and the food is great. oh and Hungarian women are better looking than the ones back home...

Tokaj was the first region in the world to realise the potential of botrytis for making sweet wines about 500 or so years ago and was famous for these wines. Unfortunately under the commies the focus was on high yields rather than quality so the hillside vinyards were abandoned in favor of the easy to cultivate plains and Tokji fell into obscurity. Since 1990 however the region has been undergoing a revival with the vineyards returned to private owners and the hillside being replanted. The best sticky wines are made using botrytis, a fungus which causes the grapes to shrivel up, concentrating the sugars and acids in the grape and adding its own unique and delicious flavours. The region is blessed with the perfect climate for reliably cultivating botrytis (mist in the morning followed by a clear sunny day) and great volcanic soils for viticulture.
The principal grape variety here is Furmint, whose berries have very thin skin making it easily infected with botrytis.

The main styles of wine made here in Tokaj are as follows:

The basic wines are just dry whites made from the local Furmint, Harslevelu, Xeta and Yellow Muscat grape varieties. There's nothing special about these wines, either their taste or the winemaking process, they can be nice but there are better value whites to be had elsewhere in the country.

The first of the stickies are the late harvest (Kesei szüretelésű) wines, again made from the local grape varieties. As the name suggests these wines are ripened to a high sugar level and harvested towards the end of vintage. The fermentation is stopped before all the sugar is converted to alcohol by chilling and/or adding sulfur dioxide to make a semi sweet wine. The best late harvest wines are made from yellow muscat or harslevelu.

You're unlikely to find Tokaji Szamorodni ("as it comes") outside of Hungary but I'll explain them anyway: These are made when partly botrytized bunches of grapes are picked without the usual selection and separation of botrytis infected (aszú) berries.
Sweet (Édes) szamorodni is the more common version and tastes similar to the late harvest wines but with the extra flavours from the botrytis affected berries. Some producers have started calling their sweet szamorodni "noble late harvest".

Dry (Száraz) szamorodni is made when the winemakers let the yeast consume all the available sugar in the wine. It is then aged in casks and a film of flor yeast is allowed to grow on the surface of the wine. The wines are very complex and have pleasent apple and walnut characters from the flor yeast in addition to fruit flavours from the healthy grapes and from the botrytis. Unfortunately dry szamorodni seems to be out of fashion at the moment so not many wineries bother to make it.
Most szamorodnis contain at least 40% aszú berries.


Tokaji Aszú (dried) is probably the most famous wine from the region. Individual aszú berries are picked from the vine, mashed into a paste and stored in the cellar until some white juice becomes available. It's during this time the Essencia is produced. The paste is then soaked in the juice for one or two days. The sugar, acid and flavours from the aszú berries are leached into the juice, which is then fermented. The yeast can't complete the fermentation due to the high alcohol and sugar content so the result is a very sweet, very stable desert wine.
Aszú wines have on the label a number of puttonyos, ranging from 3 to 6 which used to be how many buckets of aszú paste has been added to each wine barrel, now it refers to the number of grams per liter of residual sugar the wine has ( 3 putt. is the lowest sugar, 6 the highest). A wine with aszú eszencia on the label is an aszú wine with more than 6 puttonyos worth of sugar in it and should not be confused with Essencia.
In poor years, or for cheap wines, the aszú paste is soaked in a base wine instead of juice. Unless these wines are refermented, the sugar level will be too high, the alcohol too low and an unbalanced wine is the result.
Aszú wines have better sugar-acid balance than other botrytis wines, which makes them very long lived and very versatile when matching them with food.

Tokaji Essencia is a "wine" made from free run juice from the aszú berries. Because aszú berries have less water in them than your average raisin, very little essencia is produced. To be called essencia the wine must have at least 450g/L of sugar. Yeast hate sugar concentrations like this and it takes years for essencia to reach an alcohol content of 4% and most never get that high. I recently had a 1999 essencia with 920g/L sugar and only 1.5% alcohol. The sugar was perfectly balanced with what would have to be a serious amount of acid and the flavours were amazing. Think peaches, apricots, orange blossom, honey with some spicey notes and a finish that went on forever. King of wines indeed...

Other names you might see on bottles are máslás and fordítás. The wines are made from recycling lees and aszú paste leftover from the aszú winemaking process. They tend to be cheap and crap but some can be OK.

The best producers in the Tokaj region are Disznókő, Oremus, Tokaj-Hétszőlő, Pajzos and Megyer. There are some smaller wineries that are quite good but these guys are the most reliable and also export more of their wines so you're more likely to see their wines. Royal Tokaj exports a lot of wine and is quite well known but the wines are not great.
I hope this was informatative and encourages some people to go out and try these wines.

VI. Wine-related websites and blogs

http://wineberserkers.com/forum/
Other than Cellartracker, I use this website more than any other wine-related site. The forums are full of useful knowledge, and seriously wine-industry drama is posted regularly along with tasting notes and other wine ramblings. The users of this forum range from industry to bloggers to consumers, the discussions here are often very useful and interesting.

pork never goes bad posted:

http://www.cellartracker.com/new/
You know CT, everyone else should too. Largest single database of wines, community supported, with tasting notes as well as the option to track your cellar!

http://www.frenchscout.com/
French Scout is a fairly basic wine guide website that also has a newsletter which recommends wines. It's fairly strangely setup, but is probably a little better to poke around than wikipedia's wine links.

http://www.garagistewine.com/
The Garagiste is one of the first newsletter-format wine merchants. Basically, Jon Rimmerman traipses around the world (mainly Europe) tasting wines, and when he finds one he likes (or one he can sell that he likes), if he can secure a large enough parcel, he offers it to the list to buy. You purchase wines by replying to the emails, they keep them til you have a case, then send them out in one of two shipping seasons. BIO/Organic slant, as well as a bias towards lighter wines.

http://wine-by-benito.blogspot.com/
Benito is a sometimes poster in these threads, and also a wine blogger. He writes very good posts that tend to be quite short.

benito posted:

If anyone checks out my blog, please check out some of the links I've got to sites like Dr. Vino, Vinography, and others. I think goons might enjoy the irreverent wit and pop culture references of my friend Joe at Suburban Wino.

For any women that are interested in wine and get tired of being around a bunch of old grey-haired dudes all the time, some of my favorite female winebloggers are Samantha Sans Dosage, Good Wine Under $20, and Wine & Walnuts.

Again, all credit for this thread goes to Mikey Purp.

4/20 NEVER FORGET fucked around with this message at Sep 21, 2011 around 02:30

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

4/20 NEVER FORGET
Dec 2, 2002

NEVER FORGET OK

Fun Shoe

About keeping the wine you collect safe:

4/20 NEVER FORGET posted:

When I first started collecting wine I knew nothing about how to properly store wine and by the time I had collected my first 100 bottles, I had damaged nearly half of them unknowingly. That was a sad few months as I would open bottle after bottle to either find the cork wet and/or have the wine taste like complete crap. My apartment is only 600 square feet and heats up and cools down quickly.

While keeping the temperature around 60 degrees is important, keeping a consistent temperature is even more important. Heating up and cooling down a bottle, even over the span of a day or longer, slowly expands and contracts the wine inside the bottle which transfers that pressure to the cork, weakening the seal. Once the seal breaks, wine can seep past the cork, and once it contacts air outside the bottle and temperature goes down again, the oxygen can be pulled back inside the bottle and start damaging the wine.

If you are planning on collecting wine, either find off-site wine storage or get a GOOD bottle cooler, it sucks when you open that $50+ bottle of wine you have had for the last 3 years and it either pushed it's cork or is heat damaged. I still have a few bottles from that time, they are heartier types but I have serious doubts they are still intact. That was an expensive mistake.

Overwined posted:

Listen to this guy. Most people should probably be happy buying wines and drinking them within 6 months, tops. But for those of you that want to age or collect your wines, there is nothing (and I mean nothing) more disappointing than opening up a bottle you had scrimped and saved for, then watched just sit there for years and years just to tear of the capsule to see wine spewing out the cork. It's about the waste of money, yes, but more importantly it's all that squandered expectation.

Now, if you do pull a bottle out and it looks like it might be damaged, you should taste it anyway. Occassionally the wine starts to seep and it keeps seeping which sort of keeps a seal on the wine. The odds are against you if you see wine above the top of the cork, but don't go off half cocked.

I will say that from personal experience you should get a good wine chiller, but you don't have to splurge on a Eurocave or anything. The prerequisites for me are that it must have an internal temperature readout and a settable temperature. If you want to make sure, buy a small thermometer to keep in the chiller to sort of audit the machine. These things do malfuntion. I had a friend lose an entire case of banned label 1993 Mouton Rothschild because her chiller sort of reversed itself and became a heater. She said she hadn't reached in there in months and when she did the wines were hot to the touch and wine was dripping everywhere. Any moreal of the story is check your chiller with another thermometer. If you only get a +/- cycle of 4 degress or less you should be fine.



4/20 NEVER FORGET fucked around with this message at Jan 3, 2012 around 09:23

dino.
Mar 28, 2010


Another thing I've noticed is that cost is not always an indicator about how much I'll enjoy a wine. There have been times, in my broke-rear end past, that I've wanted something cheaper to go with dinner, because I couldn't afford to spring for a $10 bottle that'd last me and my friends for exactly one drink. I took a chance on this stuff that was going for $3/bottle called Vinho Verde, and I was very pleasantly surprised. It was delicious! Slightly bubbly on the tongue, a little bit sour, a little bit sweet, and very light and refreshing.

It's just that I recall watching food network, back when it had actual cooking shows on, and thinking, "They're saying that inexpensive wines are cool, but all the bottles they mention are about $10+/each. That's still a bit steep for my budget. There's got to be decent stuff out there for cheaper." Even the more expensive bottles of Vinho Verde (Casal Garcia springs to mind) still end up costing like $6/bottle, and are still quite nice.

Mind you, I'm quite happy drinking a Yellowtail Shiraz, so I may not be the best person to ask. XD

4/20 NEVER FORGET
Dec 2, 2002

NEVER FORGET OK

Fun Shoe

To talk a little about "pork never goes bad" wines from the last page, did you ever try looking up the wines on cellartracker?

2007 Domaine des Baumard Savenničres Trie Spéciale (France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Savenničres) - Sounds like this one will be awesome. It looks like you could drink it now or age it and be happy either way.

2008 Château Yvonne Saumur-Champigny (France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Saumur-Champigny) - I'm not a huge fan of Cab Franc from this region, I've had many good ones but nothing that ever wowed me. No notes on your vintage but if you look into previous vintages it seems to be a nice bottle of wine.

The other one doesn't have much on CT, and I have no experience of it.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


4/20 NEVER FORGET posted:

To talk a little about "pork never goes bad" wines from the last page, did you ever try looking up the wines on cellartracker?

2007 Domaine des Baumard Savenničres Trie Spéciale (France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Savenničres) - Sounds like this one will be awesome. It looks like you could drink it now or age it and be happy either way.

2008 Château Yvonne Saumur-Champigny (France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Saumur-Champigny) - I'm not a huge fan of Cab Franc from this region, I've had many good ones but nothing that ever wowed me. No notes on your vintage but if you look into previous vintages it seems to be a nice bottle of wine.

The other one doesn't have much on CT, and I have no experience of it.

I did look them up on Cellar Tracker, yes - my new and budding CT is here: http://www.cellartracker.com/new/us...Override=184714

The wine shop guy really recommended the Chateau Yvonne as a really solid example of an Organic red wine from the Loire. I have liked the two Saumur-Champigny I have had, both young, both at a restaurant. So maybe I'll drink it now!

Am very excited about the Baumard

I have some links and info to suggest for the OP, or perhaps a second post, will try to write some things up today if I get a chance.

And dino. - Vinho Verde is SO GOD drat GOOD

Mr Gentleman
Apr 29, 2003
the Educated Villain of London


I posted this in the closed thread -- I've gotten into cornas recently and was wondering if anyone knows where to get thierry allemand's stuff in the united states? Googling seems to indicate I might have to use auction sites (winebid.com?) or something but I figured I'd ask if anyone knows any shops.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Mr Gentleman posted:

I posted this in the closed thread -- I've gotten into cornas recently and was wondering if anyone knows where to get thierry allemand's stuff in the united states? Googling seems to indicate I might have to use auction sites (winebid.com?) or something but I figured I'd ask if anyone knows any shops.

http://kermitlynch.com/our_wines/thierry-allemand/
http://kermitlynch.com/how_to_buy/

No online-shopping cart, but you can call to order if you live in a state they can ship to, or just visit if you are in Norcal. Otherwise give them a ring and they may be able to help you find their wine in your state. They also have August Clape, another Cornas winemaker.

Good luck!

Mr Gentleman
Apr 29, 2003
the Educated Villain of London


pork never goes bad posted:

http://kermitlynch.com/our_wines/thierry-allemand/
http://kermitlynch.com/how_to_buy/

No online-shopping cart, but you can call to order if you live in a state they can ship to, or just visit if you are in Norcal. Otherwise give them a ring and they may be able to help you find their wine in your state. They also have August Clape, another Cornas winemaker.

Good luck!

hey great, thanks. I actually glanced at that site and thought it was some kind of info site, not a merchant. not sure how the gently caress that happened given the huge wine merchant banner across the top

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


4/20, here are some pretty basic/simple websites you could link with short descriptions. It might also make sense to write up short descriptions of varietals which could go in a second post.

http://www.cellartracker.com/new/
You know CT, everyone else should too. Largest single database of wines, community supported, with tasting notes as well as the option to track your cellar!

http://wine-by-benito.blogspot.com/
Benito is a sometimes poster in these threads, and also a wine blogger. He writes very good posts that tend to be quite short.

http://www.frenchscout.com/
French Scout is a fairly basic wine guide website that also has a newsletter which recommends wines. It's fairly strangely setup, but is probably a little better to poke around than wikipedia's wine links.

http://www.garagistewine.com/
The Garagiste is one of the first newsletter-format wine merchants. Basically, Jon Rimmerman traipses around the world (mainly Europe) tasting wines, and when he finds one he likes (or one he can sell that he likes), if he can secure a large enough parcel, he offers it to the list to buy. You purchase wines by replying to the emails, they keep them til you have a case, then send them out in one of two shipping seasons. BIO/Organic slant, as well as a bias towards lighter wines.

benito
Sep 28, 2004

And I don't blab
any drab gab--
I chatter hep patter

Mad props to 4/20 NEVER FORGET for putting up a decent wine post!

pork never goes bad posted:

http://wine-by-benito.blogspot.com/
Benito is a sometimes poster in these threads, and also a wine blogger. He writes very good posts that tend to be quite short.

Thanks for the shout out, and sorry for the weirdness of the aborted wine post here. Lots of confusion, and I'm not going to bring it up again.

If anyone checks out my blog, please check out some of the links I've got to sites like Dr. Vino, Vinography, and others. I think goons might enjoy the irreverent wit and pop culture references of my friend Joe at Suburban Wino.

For any women that are interested in wine and get tired of being around a bunch of old grey-haired dudes all the time, some of my favorite female winebloggers are Samantha Sans Dosage, Good Wine Under $20, and Wine & Walnuts.

If you happen to be from the South/Southeast like I am, and find that you're the only wine lover in a state full of beer drinkers, I've compiled a list of local wine bloggers in the region. Sometimes they focus on the wines of their state (like most of the Virginia bloggers), but in most cases they're writing about wine in a place where you can't buy it on Sunday, can't purchase it online, and get weird looks when folks hear you're a fan. It's hard out here in flyover country for Winebloggers in the South.

bobo333
Jul 4, 2009

Progress peaked with frozen pizza.

YNWA

I realize this thread is probably more geared towards traditionally quality wines, but I was wondering if anyone had a suggestion for a relatively inexpensive red table wine. Most wines I've hard are at least $10 per bottle, and that's a bit much to pay if all I want is something that is relatively pleasant and goes with a variety of meals so I can just have a glass with dinner.

Honestly what I've been using for this in the mean time is Almaden Burgundy boxed wine. It's the best of the boxed wine (kind of like being the tallest midget, I know) that I've found, but it's cheap, drinkable, and doesn't overpower what I typically eat (usually italian food). I'm totally open to suggestions and trying other things, so if you know of particular wines that are good for this, please pass them along.

Thanks in advance.

AgentONeal
Oct 14, 2003

Superhuman intelligences may have goals inconsistent with human survival and prosperity.

I'm taking advantage of my employer's .5 cent wine sale right now and trying some new things.

I'm a really big fan of Tempranillo and Malbec. Also, Monstrell. I like bold, spicy flavors.

I'm currently drinking Tempra Tantrum, a Tempranillo/Syrah blend. Excellent.

4/20 NEVER FORGET
Dec 2, 2002

NEVER FORGET OK

Fun Shoe

When I have more time I will put together a section that is wine suggestions at or under $15 that is broke down by Red and White wine, then varietal. The question of a good cab/chardonnay/syrah/whatever wine around $10 gets asked a lot, so I will skim the entire old megathread for all of the suggestions and add them.

Suggestions here are also welcome, but I would like to keep it to wines that are easily sourced and have a good distribution. I know I have many right off the top of my head, as I am sure most of the more experienced people in this thread have as well.

AgentONeal posted:

I'm taking advantage of my employer's .5 cent wine sale right now and trying some new things.

I love when places have sales on wine. We have local supermarkets that do a %10 off 6 bottle mixed discount on top of their end of year sale prices, when they have their yearly sale where they are trying to blow out some of their stock I usually go stock up on drinkers.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


For cheap red table wine, I prefer the Big House boxes to the Almaden Burgundy boxes.

gay picnic defence
Oct 5, 2009

If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders - What would you tell him?

To Shrug.

dino. posted:

Another thing I've noticed is that cost is not always an indicator about how much I'll enjoy a wine. There have been times, in my broke-rear end past, that I've wanted something cheaper to go with dinner, because I couldn't afford to spring for a $10 bottle that'd last me and my friends for exactly one drink. I took a chance on this stuff that was going for $3/bottle called Vinho Verde, and I was very pleasantly surprised. It was delicious! Slightly bubbly on the tongue, a little bit sour, a little bit sweet, and very light and refreshing.

It's just that I recall watching food network, back when it had actual cooking shows on, and thinking, "They're saying that inexpensive wines are cool, but all the bottles they mention are about $10+/each. That's still a bit steep for my budget. There's got to be decent stuff out there for cheaper." Even the more expensive bottles of Vinho Verde (Casal Garcia springs to mind) still end up costing like $6/bottle, and are still quite nice.

Mind you, I'm quite happy drinking a Yellowtail Shiraz, so I may not be the best person to ask. XD

Someone posted an article in the old thread citing a study done that showed that the enjoyment of a wine correlated better with the enjoyment of the occasion than the quality of the wine. This obviously has its limits, vinegar will always be taste lovely.

gay picnic defence
Oct 5, 2009

If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders - What would you tell him?

To Shrug.

bobo333 posted:

I realize this thread is probably more geared towards traditionally quality wines, but I was wondering if anyone had a suggestion for a relatively inexpensive red table wine. Most wines I've hard are at least $10 per bottle, and that's a bit much to pay if all I want is something that is relatively pleasant and goes with a variety of meals so I can just have a glass with dinner.

Honestly what I've been using for this in the mean time is Almaden Burgundy boxed wine. It's the best of the boxed wine (kind of like being the tallest midget, I know) that I've found, but it's cheap, drinkable, and doesn't overpower what I typically eat (usually italian food). I'm totally open to suggestions and trying other things, so if you know of particular wines that are good for this, please pass them along.

Thanks in advance.

I don't know what they cost where you are but cheap Australian wines are generally sound and approachable. Again I'm not sure if you can get them where you are but Yalumba goonbags (AU$12 for 2L) are about the best goons on the market.

Feenix
Mar 14, 2003
Sorry, guy.


I wouldn't normally do this, but someone invited me to Lot18 yesterday and I am already in love. Think Gilt or whatever, but for Wine only. Their stock is classy, the discounts are deep, and just today, they listed one of my favorite pinots of all time. 2007 Cristom Marjorie Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.

Seriously this wine is bomb.

Anyway, the part I wouldn't normally do is a referral link, but I'm getting married in 2 weeks and have been stricken quite poor due to putting on this wedding. So I'm all about referral credits.

https://www.lot18.com/i/BSG357576

(seriously, even if you DON'T use my link, that is some good wine!

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


4liters posted:

I don't know what they cost where you are but cheap Australian wines are generally sound and approachable. Again I'm not sure if you can get them where you are but Yalumba goonbags (AU$12 for 2L) are about the best goons on the market.

Another obvious suggestion is Trader Joe's. They have a variety of inexpensive wine, some of which is quite nice. I've had good luck with Espiral Vinho Verde, as well as the Caves Des Perrieres Poilly Fume they have, though both of those are white wines.

Bruce Leroy
Jun 10, 2010


4liters posted:

Someone posted an article in the old thread citing a study done that showed that the enjoyment of a wine correlated better with the enjoyment of the occasion than the quality of the wine. This obviously has its limits, vinegar will always be taste lovely.

That's interesting.

It reminds me of this Caltech and Stanford study.

Basically, the stated price for a bottle of wine strongly influences perception of the wine, both in subjective claims from the tasters and changes in neurological activity in areas of the brain associated with pleasure.

So, people think an expensive wine tastes better than a cheap wine largely due to the difference in price, likely because they think price is correlated with quality.

There was a similar study where they found that the vast majority of wine tasters could not correctly differentiate and identify cheap and expensive wines, only a tiny minority of expert tasters could do so.

pork never goes bad posted:

Another obvious suggestion is Trader Joe's. They have a variety of inexpensive wine, some of which is quite nice. I've had good luck with Espiral Vinho Verde, as well as the Caves Des Perrieres Poilly Fume they have, though both of those are white wines.

I just started visiting Trader Joe's recently but I have to agree that they have a pretty good wine selection and are very cheap, too.

I personally like the Reggio Emilia Lambrusco Dolce they have for $5. It's great if you like frizzante and/or sweet wines. I'm kind of a novice with wines so I haven't really warmed up to drier wines yet.

Mr Gentleman
Apr 29, 2003
the Educated Villain of London


Bruce Leroy posted:

That's interesting.

It reminds me of this Caltech and Stanford study.

Basically, the stated price for a bottle of wine strongly influences perception of the wine, both in subjective claims from the tasters and changes in neurological activity in areas of the brain associated with pleasure.

So, people think an expensive wine tastes better than a cheap wine largely due to the difference in price, likely because they think price is correlated with quality.

There was a similar study where they found that the vast majority of wine tasters could not correctly differentiate and identify cheap and expensive wines, only a tiny minority of expert tasters could do so.


I just started visiting Trader Joe's recently but I have to agree that they have a pretty good wine selection and are very cheap, too.

I personally like the Reggio Emilia Lambrusco Dolce they have for $5. It's great if you like frizzante and/or sweet wines. I'm kind of a novice with wines so I haven't really warmed up to drier wines yet.

I thought the 2009 Chateau Haut Blaignan (Medoc) at Trader Joe's was very decent for its price (<$10). it was super harsh at first but if you let it sit for ten or fifteen minutes that goes away

benito
Sep 28, 2004

And I don't blab
any drab gab--
I chatter hep patter

There's a solution to the price/quality perception when it comes to wine. Attend a private tasting where you go through a few dozen bottles, and then later help the host pour a few thousand dollars' worth of wine down the drain. Go to industry events where you swirl and spit a hundred times in an afternoon, and watch entire buckets poured down the drain every half hour. Repeat a few times. Use some of the leftover bottles to make Boeuf Bourguignon at home, with $10 of food ingredients and $90 of wine in the Dutch oven.

Also, learn what goes into the price of a bottle. Sometimes it's hype, sometimes it's justified. A lot of times it's small production or expensive real estate. Sometimes it's pricy because it required 15 years of careful storage before it could be properly enjoyed, and you've got to pay the back rent and air conditioning. I've had delightful $15 wines and $200 wines that I thought were a joke. I've also had 45 year old Cognac that was way expensive and was like a kiss on the forehead from God.

I've always recommended folks taste as much as possible, and try out various food pairings, even if you're breaking "the rules". I've always thought rare roast beef and an oaky Pouilly-Fuisse (a Chardonnay from France) was an amazing combination. Coq au vin is a chicken stew, but it's made with red wine, so go ahead and enjoy it with a spicy Zinfandel or something.

gay picnic defence
Oct 5, 2009

If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders - What would you tell him?

To Shrug.

Bruce Leroy posted:

That's interesting.

It reminds me of this Caltech and Stanford study.

Basically, the stated price for a bottle of wine strongly influences perception of the wine, both in subjective claims from the tasters and changes in neurological activity in areas of the brain associated with pleasure.

So, people think an expensive wine tastes better than a cheap wine largely due to the difference in price, likely because they think price is correlated with quality.

There was a similar study where they found that the vast majority of wine tasters could not correctly differentiate and identify cheap and expensive wines, only a tiny minority of expert tasters could do so.

Some marketers did a study of Chinese perceptions of Australian wines. When they tasted the wines blind the tasters much preferred the Aussie ones to all the others, but when the people tasting tried the same wines while able to see the label they preferred the French wines.

Someone put this on facebook:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lIvGuCPZOc

Bruce Leroy
Jun 10, 2010


4liters posted:

Some marketers did a study of Chinese perceptions of Australian wines. When they tasted the wines blind the tasters much preferred the Aussie ones to all the others, but when the people tasting tried the same wines while able to see the label they preferred the French wines.

Someone put this on facebook:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lIvGuCPZOc

That reminds me of The Judgement of Paris.

benito posted:

There's a solution to the price/quality perception when it comes to wine. Attend a private tasting where you go through a few dozen bottles, and then later help the host pour a few thousand dollars' worth of wine down the drain. Go to industry events where you swirl and spit a hundred times in an afternoon, and watch entire buckets poured down the drain every half hour. Repeat a few times. Use some of the leftover bottles to make Boeuf Bourguignon at home, with $10 of food ingredients and $90 of wine in the Dutch oven.

Also, learn what goes into the price of a bottle. Sometimes it's hype, sometimes it's justified. A lot of times it's small production or expensive real estate. Sometimes it's pricy because it required 15 years of careful storage before it could be properly enjoyed, and you've got to pay the back rent and air conditioning. I've had delightful $15 wines and $200 wines that I thought were a joke. I've also had 45 year old Cognac that was way expensive and was like a kiss on the forehead from God.

I've always recommended folks taste as much as possible, and try out various food pairings, even if you're breaking "the rules". I've always thought rare roast beef and an oaky Pouilly-Fuisse (a Chardonnay from France) was an amazing combination. Coq au vin is a chicken stew, but it's made with red wine, so go ahead and enjoy it with a spicy Zinfandel or something.

I think I agree with pretty much everything here.

I wasn't really saying that there are no good expensive wines, just that, generally, there's quite a bit of psychology and marketing going on that influence perceptions. Personally, I think people should just drink what they enjoy and not get caught up in all the bullshit that is the "prestige" and dick-waving of drinking expensive wine.

Regardless, would this be the thread to also discuss sake (Nihonshu) or is that better left for another thread because it's not technically wine?

BastardAus
Jun 3, 2003
Chunder from Down Under

This is a fantastic thread, thanks 4/20 for trying to inject a bit of class into our usual race to the bottom of debauchery when it comes to all things alcohol related. Especially when there is beer or are Australians involved.

Having been a fan of the grape (and the grain) for some years, I have ingested more than enough of the local (Australian) and exotic (NZ – okay some Californian and Chilean) gear to know 'what I like', but less of the 'why'.

This is a great primer into the hows and whys of wine appreciation, not to mention a choice excuse to go back and re-examine properly the wines I like/drink-until-I-like based on a Scientific Principal or three.

Cheers! By the way, Brian Croser is a God.

gay picnic defence
Oct 5, 2009

If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders - What would you tell him?

To Shrug.

BastardAus posted:

By the way, Brian Croser is a Godstinkyhole.

idiotsavant
Jun 4, 2000


4/20 NEVER FORGET posted:

2008 Château Yvonne Saumur-Champigny (France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Saumur-Champigny) - I'm not a huge fan of Cab Franc from this region, I've had many good ones but nothing that ever wowed me. No notes on your vintage but if you look into previous vintages it seems to be a nice bottle of wine.

Loire Cab franc or Saumur Cf? I think I've only had Saumur rose (delicious, delicious rose!) but easiest Loire Cab franc I've had is from Baudry or the Bretons. I think Jean-Paul Brun does some as well (also some great Chenin blanc inc. sparkles); all three import under Lynch or Louis/Dressner.

wicked-tribe
Jun 9, 2004



bobo333 posted:

I realize this thread is probably more geared towards traditionally quality wines, but I was wondering if anyone had a suggestion for a relatively inexpensive red table wine. Most wines I've hard are at least $10 per bottle, and that's a bit much to pay if all I want is something that is relatively pleasant and goes with a variety of meals so I can just have a glass with dinner.

Honestly what I've been using for this in the mean time is Almaden Burgundy boxed wine. It's the best of the boxed wine (kind of like being the tallest midget, I know) that I've found, but it's cheap, drinkable, and doesn't overpower what I typically eat (usually italian food). I'm totally open to suggestions and trying other things, so if you know of particular wines that are good for this, please pass them along.

Thanks in advance.

You should get some Red cat made by Hazlitt. This is the perfect italian companion

got off on a technicality
Feb 7, 2007

oh dear


Is there any practical method of preserving wines once they've been opened? My bottle of Riesling already tastes somewhat vinegary and it's only day 3 (it's been kept in the fridge after opening)

I've tried those hand vacuum pumps that work with a rubber stopper and don't think they're effective

gay picnic defence
Oct 5, 2009

If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders - What would you tell him?

To Shrug.

I think you can get round bits of plastic that you roll up to fit through the neck of the bottle and they open up to almost completely cover the surface of the wine.
Or you could buy an enomatic: http://www.enomatic.co.nz/home/
Your best bet however is to become a drinking machine who can finish off that bottle of Riesling in a single sitting.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


idiotsavant posted:

Loire Cab franc or Saumur Cf? I think I've only had Saumur rose (delicious, delicious rose!) but easiest Loire Cab franc I've had is from Baudry or the Bretons. I think Jean-Paul Brun does some as well (also some great Chenin blanc inc. sparkles); all three import under Lynch or Louis/Dressner.

So I drank this last night. I loved it. It made me feel all pretentious, made me want to talk about terroir a bunch, engage in Garagiste style hyperbole. It reminded me of Olivier Lemasson's wines. The funk that it displayed on first pour was a little off putting, but just letting it breathe a lot of that blew off. I have to say that I am a huge fan of Loire wines of pretty much all types.

Mandalay
Mar 16, 2007

WoW Forums Refugee

Admirable Gusto posted:

Is there any practical method of preserving wines once they've been opened? My bottle of Riesling already tastes somewhat vinegary and it's only day 3 (it's been kept in the fridge after opening)

I've tried those hand vacuum pumps that work with a rubber stopper and don't think they're effective

I believe the answer in the last thread was "DRINK MORE" but I'd love to hear a real solution. It's kind of annoying to have to buy a new bottle of wine each time a girl visits

4/20 NEVER FORGET
Dec 2, 2002

NEVER FORGET OK

Fun Shoe

4liters posted:

Your best bet however is to become a drinking machine who can finish off that bottle of Riesling in a single sitting.

I don't think I've ever opened a bottle of Riesling at home and had it not get finished that night. Riesling, specifically German Riesling, goes down like apple juice.

Murgos
Oct 21, 2010


benito posted:

Also, learn what goes into the price of a bottle. Sometimes it's hype, sometimes it's justified. A lot of times it's small production or expensive real estate. Sometimes it's pricy because it required 15 years of careful storage before it could be properly enjoyed, and you've got to pay the back rent and air conditioning.

Can we get people to go into a little bit more detail on this? I would love to be able to look at a bottle and go, "Ok, it cost them about 15 dollars to make this bottle so a price of 20-25 is really reasonable." Or, "This wine I never heard of looks like it cost 2.50 to make but they want $25? Pass."

For instance, I have heard that if the wine is aged in 'New French Oak' that adds an easy $5 directly to the cost of manufacture because the barrels themselves cost $2500 and you only get so many bottle out of it.

e: to help things a little does anyone have numbers on shipping costs? What about storage costs in the barrel vs out of the barrel? What things done in production can you think of that add directly to the cost of a bottle that you should look for on a label or the producers website?

Feenix
Mar 14, 2003
Sorry, guy.


Murgos posted:

Can we get people to go into a little bit more detail on this? I would love to be able to look at a bottle and go, "Ok, it cost them about 15 dollars to make this bottle so a price of 20-25 is really reasonable." Or, "This wine I never heard of looks like it cost 2.50 to make but they want $25? Pass."



I don;t think it's possible to be that analytical about a bottle of wine in any successful manner without just really knowing about most/every vineyard, where it is, how long wine was stored, what the real estate costs are, how good the wine typically is, etc.

There are people who probably can do that, but I would imagine they are Encyclopedia Browns of the Wine world.

Mandalay
Mar 16, 2007

WoW Forums Refugee

Not to mention that wine is very subjective.

Feenix
Mar 14, 2003
Sorry, guy.


Mandalay posted:

Not to mention that wine is very subjective.

A fair point I glossed over. There may be a 2.50 production cost wine selling for 50 bucks that *I* just happen to think tastes DIVINE and is thusly worth it.

bartolimu
Nov 25, 2002



Feenix posted:

I don;t think it's possible to be that analytical about a bottle of wine in any successful manner without just really knowing about most/every vineyard, where it is, how long wine was stored, what the real estate costs are, how good the wine typically is, etc.

There are people who probably can do that, but I would imagine they are Encyclopedia Browns of the Wine world.
The best I've managed is to be familiar enough with a couple of regions/varietals/styles I like to be capable of some critical thinking about costs within that genre. For instance, I know a decent amount about German Rieslings - enough to know I tend to prefer those from the Mosel region over others (there are always exceptions), and I have some idea of years in which weather influenced the quality of the wines. Based on that bit of knowledge I can usually pick out one of the better Rieslings in my price range. Occasionally I'm still surprised, though.

Being able to do that for all of winedom is probably beyond the grasp of anyone besides Master Soms, and even they can't know everything.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


So there are some things that can be quantified though, and fairly easily from looking at a label, reading the back, or checking the producer website if available.

Smaller production wines (so 200 cases, or 500 cases)tend to be more expensive to bring to market as they lack some of the economies of scale you get with higher production. They are also often a high QPR - quality to price ratio - since smaller producers often (not always, of course, but often) pay a lot of attention to quality. They can also tend to be a bit stranger than large production wine, so you might get something "funky" or what have you.

Organic or biodynamic production is often more expensive, at least at first, than traditional production.

As Benito said, old wine had to be stored (and hopefully well, in a temperature controlled environment), so if you know that the wine's provenance is good (i.e. it didn't sit in some hot warehouse in hong kong and get cooked) this adds to the cost.

Benito also mentioned real estate, which is fair enough. Unknown or less popular region wines can often be a great QPR. I like the Loire Valley for whites, and increasingly for reds. Of course, I've read more about wine than I've drunk right now, so perhaps take some of the recommendations I make with a grain of salt, but trying some wines from different regions can lead you to make some general rules that let you buy blind and be satisfied more often.

ETA - Aging in oak adds to cost too, was this mentioned already?

4/20 NEVER FORGET
Dec 2, 2002

NEVER FORGET OK

Fun Shoe

pork never goes bad posted:

Benito also mentioned real estate, which is fair enough.

One other thing to take into account when dealing with 'single vineyard' bottlings, ie: the grapes that make the wine in that particular bottle are from only one vineyard or parcel of a vineyard within a wine growing region. Many times estates (at least here in Oregon) have a certain level of quality expected from the single-vineyard bottlings, this means (usually) only the best fruit from that vineyard makes it into the wine in the bottle, sub-par fruit (or in some cases, entire barrels of wine if the barrel doesn't taste good enough to blend) get declassified and blended into the estate's cheapest blended wine. These factors also raise the price of the bottles significantly for the cost of sorting and in some cases, having only a very small of actual wine get produced under the single-vineyard label.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

benito
Sep 28, 2004

And I don't blab
any drab gab--
I chatter hep patter

Sometimes ethical considerations come into play. South African wines used to be produced pretty cheaply because of slavery, followed by the "dop system" in which poor black farmers were paid in leftover cheap wine rather than cash. Then you've got a workforce of addicts who relies on you for their fix, and labor costs are nonexistent.

If you pay migrant workers to pick the grapes, that would be one price level, if you pay full wages and health insurance and everything, that's another price level, and machine harvesting can be another price level depending on the equipment and the scale of the operation.

If you're making Kosher wine, you have to let the particular vineyard lay fallow once every seven years (pick no grapes), you can only hire men to pick grapes, and you have to pay for the Kosher certification. Or the organic, biodynamic, vegan, or other certification.

Logistics plays a role in wholesale price as well as carbon footprint if you're interested in that. If you live in New York, the shipping costs and carbon footprint is lower for French wine delivered by boat rather than California wine delivered by truck or airplane.

Oh, and occasionally the region, or government, or some association can set prices, either to maintain a prestige name or prevent competition in the market. Again with South Africa, the KWV was a cooperative/cartel that eventually controlled all wine and brandy prices in the country.

And are you going to use high quality corks, or the cheap ones full of holes that nobody else wanted? Pretty basic label or do you have something die cut with foil embossing? How much did you have to pay the estate to get Marilyn Monroe on the label, or to have your wine featured in The Devil Wears Prada? Are you an independent operation or are you owned by Pernod or Constellation? Lots of things impact the price of a bottle.

benito fucked around with this message at Sep 29, 2011 around 00:11

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply
«71 »