- Reply by EMark, Mar 10.
It's an OK spectator sport, Aura, but to really learn you have to jump in there and try it. What kinds of wines have you enjoyed?
- Reply by Aura , Mar 10.
I am trying VERY hard to enjoy California white wine....but just don't. My friends think I'm being 'snotty' when I say I get headaches from them. (I drink - at the most - 2 glasses of wine an evening) I like German wines....and for some reason they don't give me a headache the next day. Should I keep trying to find a good California wine or just give up and enjoy the German wines. I personally prefer the latter.
- Reply by gregt, Mar 11.
You should drink what you enjoy but keep an open mind. Don't drink what others tell you to drink if you don't like it. But since you haven't had much experience, don't be surprised if several years hence you end up liking something that you might not think you like today.
Not sure what you mean by a "California" wine or a "German" wine because first of all, California is about 164,000 square miles and Germany is only slightly smaller, so both are huge.
In addition, there are cold high mountains, foggy coastal regions, and hot desert, all of which produce vastly different kinds of wine. Finally, there are literally thousands of California and German wines, so it's not easy to make any meaningful general statements about them.
That said, because of its climate, Germany is more limited in what it can produce, but for white wines, it is one of the world's premier producers, so I'm not surprised you like the wines. I do too. But I also love many CA wines as well.
BTW, there's no scientific reason you should get headaches from one and not the other. There's a lot of info out in cyberspace and in the public brain cell about wine and headaches, most of it wrong. Maybe you just need to try different wines!
Anyhow, happy exploring.
- Reply by dvogler, Mar 11.
I have the perfect solution Aura.
Try California REDS!
- Reply by EMark, Mar 11.
Aura, GregT is one of the most informed of all the contributors to this forum. I take his opinions very seriously.
With that in mind, let me ask what German wines have you enjoyed? Since you are comparing/contrasting your experience with German wines with that of California white wines, I would conclude that you have been drinking white German wines. I see from your profile page that you live in the U.S. The most readily available German wines in the U.S. are made from Riesling grapes. So, while I agree that drinking a wine that gives you headaches is not a good idea, and, since, I'll also bet that the California wine that your friend is suggesting to you is made from Chardonnay grapes, then I would suggest that you try a California wine made from Riesling. In all honesty, it is harder to find a California Riesling than it is to find a California Chardonnay, but California does make some excellent Rieslings. For that matter excellent Riesling wines are made in Washington and New York. Do not be afraid to try them, also. You might actually discover that they are easier to find in your area.
DVoglers idea certainly has merit. also. Both he and I are big time red wine fans. ;-)
- Reply by duncan 906, Mar 11.
To avoid getting headaches the following morning take a glass of water with the meal to accompany the wine.
- Reply by DaveinDC, Mar 12.
I am actually now the newest Snoothling I think (my term, so far as I know so far), so good to meet you!
I totally agree with you on the overall point - CA whites are not my favorite, and I am totally in love with some whites from Germany. Having said that, there are some great CA whites but you need to experiment.
In terms of German wines, it would be good to know what varietal and the alcohol/sweetness level you find best. By far most of the German wines you find in the US (and Germany for that matter) tend to have higher sugar levels, and lower alcohol levels. The German's love it, though I don't, though the quality and flavor of some of those sweeter wines is inarguably outstanding. My favorites are the dry Rieslings. I generally seek out bottles that are 12.5% alcohol, sometimes 12% if pushed. The term you want to look for on the bottle to ensure a dry and not sweet Riesling is "trocken" meaning dry. The best dry rielslings for me are those from the Mosel Saar Ruwer region, sometimes people just say the Mosel region. Great, cracking crisp and dry Rieslings that are perfection with food.
Another outstanding white that you may also like if it's the dry German wines you like is the Gruner Veltliner from Austria. Totally native to Austria, it's another great crisp white with a great mineral and floral thing to it. Perfect on a hot day, or with appetizers.
You may also like a Sauvignon Blank from New Zealand. Get one from Marlborough region if you can, that's the best. Crisp but at a level of floral perfume that is not equaled anywhere on the planet.
Seeking out the "original" pure version of sauvignon blanc from France could also be worth your while. Look for a wine called Sancerre for that. Should be examples around for not too much.
Finally, you might also try an wine called Albarino from Spain, which you can find at many tapas restaurants and at a decent wine shop. Typically cheap, it can be great with food, and is another fairly crisp variety. The only thing you need to watch for is that it can be slightly too acidic for some tastes - but again, that characteristic makes is fantastic with Spanish cuisine what sometimes needs something sharp to cut through the heaviness.
OK, for CA whites this is what I can offer. Yes, per GretT and EMark, there is a lot of variability in CA so it depends on what you like and where it comes from. And yes, a Riesling or Sauvingon Blanc from CA could do the trick. The CA versions tend to be a bit more full bodied than their German counterparts, but interesting and still less heavy than most CA chardonnays, and best when grown in cooler areas in the mountains or by the coast. If you want to try a CA chardonnay that is a bit crisper than most of the bunch, and have a few extra dollars to spend, I love the Grgich Hills chardonnay which is pretty well available but is I think in the $40 range depending on where you are buying.
Echoing others here, there are also fantastic whites made in places like upstate New York which is a cooler climate and produces generally crisper and more subtle whites (looking for stuff from the Finger Lakes region). Also Washington state which is a notch down on the temp/climate scale and also can be similar.
OK! Happy hunting!