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Snooth User: calbear85

Hello Snooth!

Posted by calbear85, Oct 2, 2013.

Just joined and looking forward to getting some insight into making my wine purchases more productive.


Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Oct 2, 2013.

Hello Calbear.

That's what we're all about here at Snooth. So what have you liked in the past? Maybe we can point you in the right direction.

Reply by EMark, Oct 2, 2013.

Welcome, Bear.  We are very pleased to meet you.  I have to chuckle at your comment about making wine your "wine purchases more productive."  My personal opinion is that any wine purchase that results in my drinking it or gifting it is productive.  My guess, though, is that you are looking for the collective knowledge and experience of the Snooth crowd to point you to new wines that you would enjoy.

Yes, there are people here who will be happy to do that.  You have come to the right place.

Tell us a bit about yourself, though.  What kind of wines do you currently enjoy?  Are you interested in a more in depth exploration of those kinds of wines, or are you interested in expanding your wine horizons?

Not that this has anything to do with the guidance you might receive, here, but I am curious about the handle that you selected.  Am I correct in assuming that you attended or are attending the University of California?  By any chance were you born in 1985, or did you graduate from Cal in 1985, or was 85 your jersey number from a sports team?

Reply by calbear85, Oct 3, 2013.

Haha...I guess not all wine is created equal and I have made purchases in the past that were not worth the cost of the bottle and label. 

Honestly I have been away from wine for a while but my partner says she would like to explore it more now that she's more interested.

I would say I used to be a cab snob in my youth, but have come to really enjoy many styles.  I really don't care for sweet varieties.  That said we just tasted "Vintage Bordeaux" from World Market and found it medium bodies, fruity, well balanced and just wonderful at the current sale price of about $9. 

And no, not a sports #, but grad year.  But I was an athlete, our #s in my sport only went to 25, at least back then.

Thanks for any feedback.

Reply by EMark, Oct 3, 2013.

Well, welcome back CB.  We all have had disappointing wines.  That's all part of the learning process.

I have been a Cabernet/Zinfandel/Petite Sirah bigot for many years, and have seen no reason to change my ways, but the research continues.

Since you are a California guy, I have to urge you to check out Zinfandel.  Over the years my favorite Zins have been from the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County.  However, the Rockpile region, just north of Dry Creek Valley has been moving higher and higher on my list.  For low-dollar Zins, you can't go wrong with Lodi fruit.

Have you tried Spanish wines?  Very good quality and excellent values.  You mentioned World Markets.  It's been a while since I visited one of them, but they used to carry a terrific non-vintage Spanish wine called Rene Barbier Mediterranean Red--medium-bodied and not overly fruity.  There is also a Mediterranean White.  These come in at about $5. 


Reply by calbear85, Oct 3, 2013.

I was a California guy.  I'm relegated to the Midwest these days, but still on the left coast several times a year.  I used to frequent the Amador foothills and one of my favorites is Renwood.  They have the best Vintage Port.  Like Karly, Deaver, Sobon, Shenandoah, to name a few. But have to peruse wine shops out here in KC now and make uneducated guesses.  I'll take a look at your suggestions.  Thanks

Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 4, 2013.

Something new since you were here last in Amador/Sierra is Duende, a label that makes a good but rich Cab Franc and some Spanish varietals, like Tempranillo and Garnacha.  A big favorite of mine up in the foothills is Easton/Terre Rouge.  Bill Easton makes terrific Zin, but his Terre Rouge Rhone blend is a CdP killer at a reasonable price.

Reply by outthere, Oct 4, 2013.

Karly is no more. Bought out by Turley and the location is where Turley has opened their new Amador County Tasting Room.

Reply by EMark, Oct 8, 2013.

CB, I am resurrecting your conversation with the hope that you're still around.  I am familiar with most of the Amador Zinfandel labels you mentioned.  I would not be surprised if you could find some, if not all, of those in K.C.  

I am going to make some more label suggestions so that, if you see any of these, you will have some knowledge.  All of these are fairly well distributed, but it is not clear to me how well distributed they are in your geography.

My "go to" Zinfandel producer is Ridge--consistently very good.  Ridge has a number of bottlings.  My year-in/year-out favorite is their Lytton Springs (although, I felt the 2010 was a tad disappointing, which means it was only good, not great).  Geyserville is also a great pick.  

Seghesio--Again, a very consistent producer with a number of bottlings.  I had their 2009 "Sonoma County Old Vines" bottling a couple weeks ago and it was outstanding.

Ravenswood--This is another highly regarded Zinfandel producer, I am not crazy about their low-dollar offering which is called "Vintner's Blend" or something like that.

Montevina--Another one from Amador County.

Bogle--A very under appreciated winery.  All they do is produce good wine at a very reasonable price.  It may not be great wine, but it is always satisfying.  You can find Bogle for less than $10. Most Bogle wines are labeled "California."  I discourage most people from trying Zinfandels that are so labled, but I have been happy with the Bogle efforts.

Dry Creek Vineyards--Heck these guys are in the heart of my Zinfandel sweet spot.

Of the wineries I've listed above, I know that I've seen Ridge, Seghesio, Ravenswood and Montevina in World Markets local to me.  They may or may not be in yours.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 8, 2013.

Seconding those recos of Emark.  While there may be other Zins of note, those hit a sweet spot on price and availability.  Gotta love Ridge for being relatively big and still having really high standards. 

I even like that Ravenswood Vintners when I am someplace with limited selection.  Not the absolute best bottle, but the price is usually in the $10 range and Peterson does wonders by blending.  Sure, it's a little simple and jammy, but when it's that or a bad Chianti at an inflated price, I know what I am going to pick.

Not that there aren't great Chiantis, since I just downed a 2009 Monsanto (non-GMO, just a coincidence) Chianti Classico Riserva.  As the cashier at K&L said, it's old school.  But in a good way--glad I have three more.  At sub-$20, you should be on the lookout for this.

Reply by EMark, Oct 9, 2013.

Non GMO?

I had to think about that for a second.

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