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Wine drinkers?

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.
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.
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:

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...

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 ;)
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'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
Haut Marbuzet
Cos d'Estournel
Latour (the older "cheaper" ones)
Margeaux (again, the older stuff that I got "cheap")
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.

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.
Andre said:
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, 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


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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


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The 6 litres of Mondavi probably would have sufficed.:lol:

I have to shrink these pics.

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. 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.


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moses said:
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.
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?")


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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:
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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.

mark the shoeshine boy said:

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
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