Anyone into wine? I'm trying to get into it.
I’m trying (and failing) to find a wine I like. I figured since I have a pretty well developed palate for tea and craft beer, it would be the logical next step. Thus far I’ve tried-
Syrah/Shiraz – ok but too much alcohol taste
Cabernets – Too oaky and alcoholy tasting
Merlot – Funny thing about this is, the best wine so far has ended up being a 2.50 bottle, it was just well rounded and easy to drink compared to the rest.
Sauv Blanc – Bleh, sweet and bland
Chiantis – Better than the other reds but too much alcohol burn (notice a pattern?) in the ones I tried.
Chardonnays – Just ok, they have a taste in the background that reminds me of stagnant water.
Desert Wines (muscato) – too sweet, reminds me of the worst hang over of my life thus far when I drink it.
Any recommendations? Maybe I just dont like wine. I just want something well balanced and dynamic/interesting, where the alcohol and oak don’t dominate. I’m going to try a riesling and malbec soon, if I don’t like those I might just give it up.
I love wine! It might be that the ones you are finding to have too strong an alcohol taste are types of wines you wont appreciate when young. I’ve had some older shiraz, and cabernets, that have become quite fruity and berry like as they age. Bare in mind that climate and soil can have a huge impact on the flavour of a wine and you might find a huge difference between a shiraz grown in a hot climate and a colder climate. Also many grape varieties are known by different names in various parts of the world (ie Shiraz, syrah, primitivo) often in NA we are sold red wines much younger than they are generally sold in other countries. As for recommendations my favourite white to this date are Gewurztraminers ( they can vary from floral to citrus, with a good deal of spice (I prefer the fruity ones)) as for reds, that hard, I have too many that I love. It’s no harm in loving a cheaper wine. One of my favourites, is a cheap Portuguese Duoro and my house mate preferred Gato Negro to the expensive French wine he brought for our host in Ecuador. Wines I have enjoyed/ loved 5 or 6 year aged Baco Noir, ( intense Black Cherry Flavour), Brunello’s, some Duoros, I also like Bordeaux as a drink with anything wine, Sangioveses also fall into this category but are generally lighter ( this is a grape used a lot in the production of Chiantis and Brunello’s) and I love many Cote de Rhones. Check the % of alcohol on the bottle and it might be that you prefer the wines that are 11% vs 13.5 ++ etc. Stay away from the Nouveau style wines if you don’t like the alcohol taste as many of them have that bubbly high alcohol taste ( though they do go really well with sausage and roasted chestnuts ( good memory from Italy) Hope that helps.
If you have Oregon pinot noirs and chardonnays available to you, try some of them. They tend to have reasonable alcohol content. Also, for balance, flavor interest, and acidity, try German or Alsatian rieslings. These tend to be lower alcohol. Try New Zealand sauvignon blancs (not sweet, and not bland). The best bet is to find a quality wine merchant (store) and an employee or owner who will take the time to guide you into the fascinating world of wine. If you post your location, I’ll try to recommend a local retailer.
I would suggest looking for wine tastings as a way to try a number of wines without huge expense. Many wine shops have regular tastings. It is common for them to charge a fee, but it can be a fun social event. Also I notice that you are from California; try visiting wineries. Chat with the staff.
Also, don’t write off a particular wine type based on a single bottle. There is much more variety between wines than teas. For example: there are two very different styles of Sauvignon blanc: a woody style exemplified by Mondavi’s Fume Blanc, and a fresh style with grass/citrus flavors (Dry creek used to be a good example).
Thanks for the replies -
Javan – Speaking of Oregon wines, I had a Pinot gifted to me about 10 years ago from there that was the best wine I have ever had. Unfortunately I do not remember who made it, or even whether it was a grigio (white) or noir (red).
Jim – I was just up in Napa and Sonoma, but unfortunately we were just passing through on the way to San Fran, so we only had time to stop at two places across the street from each other.
YYZ – “I love wine! It might be that the ones you are finding to have too strong an alcohol taste are types of wines you wont appreciate when young.”
I’ve wondered about that, it sounds like aging mellows the reds out. Seems like the older wines jump up in price quite a bit though, I’m trying to go for the bang-for-buck stuff, although it sounds like I might need to buy some nice stuff for a tasting reference.
The advice I give people moving up the the next level in wine (not where you are at) is to buy Cotes du Rhone Villages and put it in your cellar for 4-5 years. This eliminates most of the tannin and greatly increases the complexity.
Most reds should be aged but rarely are. You mentioned merlot earlier; that is one of the few reds that doesn’t really need aging. Also try Beujolais village (not neuveu), which can be drunk now but are better at 5-6 years old.
Second Jim’s choices, these wines are quite nice, but tend to be relatively affordable. You may also want to try some of the wines from Languedoc and Rousillon, some of them can be really nice for the price.
You might want to do a little bit of a test. Buy 2-3 bottles of a wine that you are curious and that has aging potential. Try one young, open another in a year or two, and see the difference. At times you can also find a couple of different vintages of the same wine at stores as well. Sometimes you can buy wine buy the glass that is of older vintages at restaurants or bars as well.
I’m definitely not a wine expert, i would also like to get into it more as tea and beer are my things, but I enjoy new Zealand sauv blancs as mentioned above, they are very bright and citrusy. My favorite is Stoneleigh. I’m not really in your reds, but malbecs are my favorite, a bit sweet but a rich flavor. I will keep an eye on this thread as well, nice to learn more, even if it’s not entirely tea related! :)
Gewurztraminers and Rieslings are a good start. I also recommend trying out a Pinot Grigio (this was one of the first wines I tried and enjoyed it as a good introduction.)
My other thought is that if you’re looking to get introduced to wine but are having a hard time with the “alcohol burn” that can happen with some grape wines, try other fruit wines instead. I can’t speak for your area but up here we’ve got a wonderful local producer that does different berry wines which range from quite dry to sweet, and so long as you don’t get anything that is “fortified” (often with harder alcohol like vodka) you won’t get much if any burn. Mead (honey wine) is also another option though they tend to range to the sweeter side of the spectrum.
Tea and wine have a lot parallels so don’t give up hope! There are literally thousands of grape varietals out there. As tea person who randomly happened to start working at a wine store, I’ll list some of my favorites. I find that I am very sensitive to tannins so most heavy red wines are downright gag inducing.
Riesling (I prefer a dry one rather than sweet)
Torrontes (Spanish, makes for great summer drinking)
If you can find a local shop where they know what they are talking about, the staff can guide you based on the tastes that you do like. Oakiness is a matter of personal taste and it’s important to keep in mind that it is caused by how the wine is made, not by the actual taste of the grape. If you look around, you can find unoaked versions of just about any wine.
Quality also has a big part of it. Two Buck Chuck is never going to be a quality glass. You don’t need to spend a fortune but it’s hard to find much that is very decent under $15 a bottle. Needless to say, I save wine for special occasions since tea is a much better value :)
I live in NS where alcohol is heavily taxed. The bottom of the barrel cheap wine is $10 here and anything that tastes good is typically $25 plus per bottle. Needless to say, I stick to tea. L)
“Oakiness is a matter of personal taste and it’s important to keep in mind that it is caused by how the wine is made, not by the actual taste of the grape. "
I live in an area that is heavy on wines from Sonoma and Napa, and I guess they are very oak forward in their wine making unfortunately. The weird thing is I really like the oaked beers I have tried.
Oh my my my Pinot Noir is delicious, beautiful red, no need to chill much but need to let it breathe a bit, love it (fruity nice body)
I’ll probably pick up a couple of bottles this weekend, gonna keep this thread in mind. One plus to this wine experimentation is I’ve been making some excellent sauces out of scratch with the wines I’ve been trying and the stuff out of my garden.
My favorite is dessert wine, Sauternes. It is sweet and fruity, like little bit golden, light caramel. Some people don’t like it if they are not sweet tooth. Sauternes with foie gras is really good together, if you are into that stuff. Many recommend Gewurztraminers, that is also a good sweet one and less expensive. Here in France we like to pair our wine with something, like cheese or fish or meat…
How about rose wine? Rosé Vin.. That is my favorite too. It is combined white and red wine, for pink color and it is delicious. Rosé chamapgne is great too, delicious chilled and fizzy.
It has been a few years since I had alcohol, many here already gave the nice suggestions, so I just added a few of my favorites. Re confirm Pinot noir is an excellent choice, I think the best one I had was from Romania! How about Chablis, delicious too!!
Please let the wine breathe before like 30 minutes or more for the reds, don’t chill reds. And white is nice chilled. This way the taste will be at its best and it is more enjoyable. But I guess you already knew that :) Bonne chance!