Wine Talk

Snooth User: jamessulis

An interesting subject never seen before on Snooth

Original post by jamessulis, Jan 29, 2013.

I absolutely love wine. Snooth is one of the reasons I love the mystique of wine because it  offers me a forum to discuss wine and all of it's nuances, it's history, it's wonder, it's character, it's beauty. I work very hard at my profession even though I have scaled it down to 3 days per week. After my work I love good food and love to imbibe in a nice wine. I drink, I rate, I discuss, I cherish wine. When I open a wine I immediately go into another zone, it's one of smell, taste and interest. I judge from my past experiences with wine and try and discern the subtle flavors that I am experiencing. Now here's the crux of my situation that I would love to have discussed here on Snooth. I am a male in my twilight years, 5 ft 8in, 186 lbs and I have the ability to open a bottle and drink the entire contents withing a2 hour period. Now sometimes I wonder if I am drinking too much of a beautiful thing. After I consume the wine, I don't feel more than a decent buzz and I don't open a second bottle so I don't believe I am heading into any problem areas. I usually wait a few days before I repeat the process again. I was wondering if other Snoothers fall into the same category. Can we consume too much in the guise of a desire for alcohol or is it the opposite that we consume more alcohol in the guise of finding the perfect wine we seek?

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Reply by amour, Feb 4, 2013.

By the way, the Yellow Tail official web site is very creative; have a look....even a wine to drink for a bad hair day!!!!...not a conditioner or a gel to deposit on your hair!!!!

It is very interesting that the wines are made by a Casella family from Italy, a wine family from 1820, who moved to Australia in 1957.

I remember when England started importing Yellow Tail, around 2000.

More wine started being imported from Australia than from France around that very time.

I have heard about the addition of sugar story for the USA market, by the way!

 Costco got in with Yellow Tail and did great marketing of it in the USA.

Cheers!  I am going to try the Yellow Tail SHIRAZ!

Thanks, all!

Reply by penguinoid, Feb 5, 2013.

I am short of money, but have no temptation to start drinking yellowtail. I'd rather save my pennies and drink fewer, but better quality (and more interesting) wines. It's amazing how much better the wines are that you can get for even $15/bottle as opposed to $5. You do start to find some distinctive wines that actually have something to say.

I'd have to say I'm more interested in Yellowtail wallabies than Yellowtail wine.

I was going to suggest Coriole's Redstone Shiraz instead, but that's $20 so too pricey(??). I note that D'Arenberg's Stump Jump Shiraz is only $11. I haven't tried that particular wine, but they're generally a pretty good producer. And both these suggestions are from actual, specific wine regions (Mclaren Vale), as opposed to generic multi-regional blends.

Reply by jamessulis, Feb 5, 2013.

@ PENGUINOID, Any bottle of wine you can get for $5 a bottle is my bet that it isn't worth drinking. As for pricing on wine there are no rules really, if you can purchase wine cheaper and you like it then it's ok. I generally find that red wines(Cabs & Merlots) here in the Pacific Northwest are really bargains for under $15 but most of those are from Washington State and are widely available here. Wines like Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest, Owen Roe, Maryhill all retail for under $15, but closer to $12. Going to Argentina there are also some bargains around the $10 to $12 dollar Malbecs. My general range is in the under $25 dollar range. My every day wines are usually in between $10-15. As far as Yellowtail, I find it ok to drink but it doesn't compare to what I usually buy. Good luck in your search of inexpensive wines that meet your taste range. 

Reply by embarr, Feb 6, 2013.

Hi James

I'm Alex and I just joined. I am, like you, semi retired...well maybe a little more retired then you as I only take the odd consutling job when intellectually stimulating enough.

Terence is probably in the full swing of his youth and as such I would not advise him to consume nearly as much as we do...that would make him an alcoholic by the time he reaches our age.

Having said that...I do enjoy a good bottle of wine, and sake in the passed few years. I also enjoy trying new wines all the time and yes, I usually go through a bottle as well. I mean, what's the sense in opening a bottle if not to enjoy every drop?

It is a state of mind, when I open that bottle I step through an invisible curtin and the perception of the world around me changes, my focus diverted to the mesmerizing force that captures my senses, every wiff, every sip revealing new nuances. The topics change tone and eventually end at the wine in question...and other similar wines. I believe the effect the alcohol leaves behind is as much part of the experience as is the pleasure of discovery and enjoying the symphony of flavours and nuances. Personally, I have periods where I enjoy a couple of bottles a day several times a week (and no I wouldn't dream of just tasting and spitting out!!! Sorry Terence)...yet again, I have times where I go riding or sailing when I don't drink at all for weeks. (I rarely drink anything other then wine or sake and on these parallels it is quite difficult to find quality wine or sake. Dinking for the sake of drinking does not interest me).

Point is, it is a complete experience that wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable would any aspect of it be missing, including the empty bottle and accompaning little buzz.

Reply by amour, Feb 6, 2013.

EMBARR!!!!...I love you!!!! Well, I love what you brought forth, what you said in your post above, what it evoked! I mean it!

I only just read you and digested your expressive phrases!

I did speak of spitting out at tastings...but I do also make notes and buy the wines I found exciting on my many!

(Will get back with notes and details on some good ones recently tasted.)

One was from South of France, called TENTATION, and an Austalian by the Mc Williams Winery, which was superb.

But, tell me, please do: Which Sake do you suggest?

I like heated Sake too!

(I am groping...I love Sushi and generally just get what the waiter suggests. I do not like the Floral Saki; meaning the obnes tasting of faint sickening flowers...sorry!!!)

I once got a lot of info and an entire expose on Sake here on Snooth, but it is not handy at this moment.

Please share your Sake notes with me!

Reply by embarr, Feb 6, 2013.

Bonjour Madame Amour, I apologize if it sounds like bravado but it truly is the case that I like my own Sake best. Of course Sake, like wine, is an aquired taste and as such, one can get used to certain drinks and become partial to them. It is also the case though that many Japanese I have workd and dined with in passed couple years have picked (without knowing) my Sake as their favorit.

I started making sake 6 years ago, when on a consulitng job in Northern Thailand with nothing but the dreaded LaoKhao to drink...and lots of rice. After receiving some ancestral receipies from a monk friend and some refining of technique and materials over time I ended up with a couple of very satisfactory Sakes. In particular the red sake, something only few Japanaese kuras actually try their hand on (I can suggest to try a bottle of Akai-Sake if you like a sweet friuty drink), which in my case is not sweet, in general rather more like a full boddied Merlot, but with a fragrance of apple and peach, small notes of nuts and berries and hints of chestnuts in the finish with a lingering dryness on the palat. It has a good level of acidity but also a robust alcohol content at around 22.5% by volume. I particularly enjoy this sake with Matsuzaka Sashimi (thinly sliced beef grade 5-7 marbled), marbled horse sashimi and toro (tuna belly, also Hamachi toro).

When buying Japanese Sake we must keep in mind that, like wine, it changes constantly (from batch to batch rather then year to year) based mainly on the rice quality as the startches are heavily affected by the temperatures and amount rainfall during the year as well as the humidity levels during harvesting and the drying temperatures, to name the main influences. These effects can impart noticible changes and a sake you loved one day can become something lesser oe more enjoyable.

I'm not certain how good your background knowledge of Sake is but I mention it anyways, many Sake producers today get around the variations in flavours by always brewing mediocre sake and filtering it through active carbon afterwards, often adding distilled water to dilute it then high grade ethanol to increase the alcohol content. This is a perfectly acceptible and legal technique that had been adopted during war times when Japan did not have enough rice to feed the troops, as a result Sake production was first banned then allowed limiting the amounts of rice to be used. When looking for a good bottle of Sake it is imperative you request at least a Junmai (which means no additives, it also has to be polished to at least 70%). Further "up the scale" you will find ginjo (polished to 60%) and Daiginjo (polished to 50% or more) which is done to eliminate the other layers of the rice grain which are those most affected by climatic condition during growth. Sadly enough, they are also the layers imparting most of the body and flavours to a sake. In my hunble opinion a great Junmai beats most Daiginjos unless one is looking for that "sterile" sake taste.

Some Junmais I find great include Tokubetsu from Chyiomosubi brewery, a full boddied robust sake with hints of caramel and butterscotch; one I really love is Shichida Yamahai from Tenzan brewery, a full boddied robust sake with rice flavour and earthy tones and developed acidity...comes really into play hot. Another great one but more affordable is Ohkara from Umenishiki Yamakawa, again full boddied earthy rice flavour, nutty with hints of cocoa, woody and percievable smoke and as the Sichida very dry. On the cheaper end there is the Hakutsuru Junmai, a well balanced Sake, fairly dry with hints of rice and slightly nutty, fair is good at all temperatures and goes well with sushi, a little "bland" for my taste but ok.

Reply by embarr, Feb 7, 2013.

Sorry Amour, I forgot to mention (I believe I've seen you stating you like Champagne) there is also a sparkly sake from Suyohuri if I recall, called Poochi Poochi. I only came across it once...I was offered a bottle as apero in BKK last year. It has a high carbonation level and is slightly cloudy, a sweet drink with a strong cooked rice aroma and fruity notes. Personally I'm not into sweet so it wasn't my favorit drink but I must say it had some character and might be worth a try if you do like sweet and fruity sparkly wines.

Reply by amour, Feb 7, 2013.

EMBARR! Big Thank You!

You produced more info than I even expected! Outstanding!!

Yes...I did notice, significantly, how different Sake batches of the same, do taste different quite often.

Reply by embarr, Feb 7, 2013.

My pleasure, it's always a pleasure to share what I learned (and remember) with someone that is actually interested in the subject.

It actually makes me wonder...about taking notes as you earlier mentioned. I used to do it avidly, but stopped that a long time ago. Perhaps lazyness, perhaps because my memory used to be like a spunge (at times I could remembered a particular wine just by the scent), perhaps because I've been too long in Canada where, frankly, those notes were wasted on 99.5% of the population, and maybe just because my wine buying habits have completely changed (more on that later)...probably a combination of all these factors and the fact that here they are as useless as trying to find a particular wine.

It leads me to the question...why do we take notes and meticolously keep track? In my case those notes are probably somewhere back in Canada burried under a ton of technical papers and drawings. I noticed that, as I'm getting older, the things I tend to rememeber are quite different from those I used to remember earlier. My memeory seems to have become much more selective...especially when it comes to things like wine and sake...there is so much information out there and so much available product in such a great diversity, but the truly great ones never among them.

I find the path of discovery has become a very interesting road by now, talking with friends and like minded about the latest gems...then forgetting about them (until something similar crosses my path) because the same one will certainly not be available again. The path of discovery used to be just that, a small path, where any chance I'd get I would ride from small vinyard to vinyard, socializing with winemakers and tasting their product...then once or twice a year take the truck and tour all the ones that impressed me and collect the cases I had bought. Some truly remarkable wines found their way home with me in those days.

Today that path of discovery has become a road to discovery, tasting new wines regularly but from the comfort of a leather couch of a distributor's lounge, surrounded by countless varietals, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends, sometimes with strangers, the atmosphere a world away from the typical afternoon strolling through a vinyard, sitting in a cellar nibbling salalmi and cheese over a great glass of wine...yet still in the endless quest of finding that perfect drop.

Truly, I do not require notes anymore for that, that perfect drop as elusive as a Bozon particle, in the end the jurney is what remains and the only thing that truly counts, that is why, like James stated, we enjoy opening and finishing that bottle, each time a new discovery.

Reply by GregT, Feb 7, 2013.

James - you're right regarding price and regarding Yellowtail. It's made in vast quantities and seems to be sweetened a little bit although that may be the grape sugar - I'm not sure. But it's a "product" in the same way that Pringles are - they're always supposed to be exactly the same. It's not what you want when you buy wine. That does NOT mean you need to drink expensive wine. I just did a blind tasting of 12 wines and the #4 was the cheapest by orders of magnitude - $14 vs over $240.  It just means that you have to be picky. And some of the suggestions you made are right on the money.

Here's a pic of the YellowTail facilities.

Embarr - welcome. Thanks for the discussion of sake. I don't know it, I don't get it, but I'm very happy to learn!

Reply by zufrieden, Feb 8, 2013.

Ask an innocent question, and one receives, low and behold:  quid pro quo... et plus.  The original question brought forth a host of beautifully written expository prose, but getting back to that long-lost thought about drinking habits (not a new topic here at Snooth, BTW), I would say that GregT nailed it; most of us have either been (a)  involved in the trade or (b) serious connoiseurs, and this always leads to a potential problem regarding optimal consumption of our studied product.

The first question one is likely to ask is: am I functioning normally in society despite my hobby horse?  If so, then the next question is: am I able to accommodate my wine interest with competing interests (like health, longevity, academic acuity, etc.)?  If the answer is yes to both and you have an abiding interest in controlling your life then I would say you need not fear any issues of addiction in the pernicious sense.

I wobble along between not drinking very much to having a bottle or two in one evening - though usually in company.  I find that the crapulence that accompanies overindulgence in anything is usually sufficient to keep me on the straight and narrow as long as that path lies somewhere off the beaten track of a temperance movement.  That tells me I am not controlled by any substance.  This question of addiction is tied closely to that of the question of love and I suggest that many of you would enjoy a promenade among the philosophers on this one.

If you want more from me on this subject you'll have to buy my book - assuming I get around to writing it.


Reply by embarr, Feb 8, 2013.

Sorry zufrieden dude. would you have taken the time to read AND understand what James started, what many (including myself) with the exception of Terence perhaps, wrote...this thread was not about addiction, or alcohoolism. Reading your post, especially the finally, I seriously wonder what you're zufireden about...

Reply by amour, Feb 8, 2013.


Thanks again!

I am lost for words and  treasure all that you brought forth...there is philosophy in wine, there might be "WINE" in philosophy!!!

I am in tears!! Truly!

That Snooth brings such joy!

Reply by embarr, Feb 8, 2013.

Chère Amour,

Thank you for your kind words, I just joined but am truly impressed to find such an inspirational person...I`m lost for words as well...truly.

I think we both know that Wine Is Philosophy because without wine there would not be any philosophy,.

Reply by zufrieden, Feb 9, 2013.

Agreed EMBARR.  The discussion is not about addiction per se  in the pernicious sense, but it is absolutely about anxiety in that exact same sense.  Methinks you jumped to a conclusion, and, Terence that was not necessarily stupid stuff (whether the Roman or the Houseman Terry, means naught).  I  sensed angst on this subject (may be guilt on my part, possibly) so I stick with the idea that this thread is indeed tied to that subject of what and how much.

And why not ask questions about how much and how frequently?  Just because these threads wander off in random fashion does not mean that the pith of the matter was not exactly as I said it was.

I remain, incidently, quite zufrieden with your comments, just adding this for interest.  I am not unappreciative of good  if somehat warranted sarcasm.


Reply by penguinoid, Feb 12, 2013.

@ jamessulis - my suggestion of those other cheaper wines was inspired by amour's threat to start drinking yellowtail... :-) I'd agree it's not really a wine worth bothering with myself. The Coriole I mentioned is a pretty decent wine, though, depsite being inexpensive.

embarr -- I'm interested in sake too, but still don't know much. As with wine, there's a lot to learn.

Reply by napagirl68, Feb 16, 2013.

Back to the original subject.....

A very interesting question, and one fraught with multiple issues.  Take our govt recommendation of one 5oz glass per day ONLY for women.  And now, a new study says even that one glass raises cancer death risk.  Then there are other studies, which are contradictory.  And there's the famous study a few years back that stated that "heavy drinkers" live longer OVERALL than teetotalers.  I have no idea what the real truth is, as I do not trust govt. advisories at all, and actual medical studies are contradictory.  I did find an interesting article on what is moderation, based on perception:

One thing I have personally noticed... what about the quality of the wine?  Equalizing for alcohol content, if I consume a half bottle of a reputable, nicely made boutique wine, I feel a HECK of a lot different physically that if I consume the same volume of a mass produced grocery store wine. I just wonder about all the additives and byproducts that may also cause health issues.

And, I will say that I have noticed one very consistent thing.  When talking to various people about wine- including coworkers, friends, bosses, acquaintances, etc, almost EVERYONE under reports their actual wine consumption. And I do not think it is necessarily a purposeful "lie".  As a matter of fact, a doctor once told me that it is routine to double or triple a patient's reported alcohol consumption values.  Perhaps this flawed perception is why govt recommendations have become so strict.


Reply by penguinoid, Feb 16, 2013.

I can't help thinking having the regulations too strict is counterproductive. People will see they're unrealistic and just ignore them. If they suggested realistic limits, then they might be more widely followed...

Plus, of course, there's a practical element. A bottle of wine might have ~6 glasses of wine in it. If you're just allowed one glass of wine a night, there almost seems no point opening a bottle if you're by yourself. Few wines will survive being open five nights in the fridge. Quite a lot will last two or three nights, allowing you 2 glasses of wine a night over three nights, or three glassses a night over two nights.

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