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Snooth User: mtlzack

I'm new!

Posted by mtlzack, Mar 10, 2010.

Hi, As the title says I'm new. I don't know a lot about wine...yet. 

 

So here;s my first question: Is it true that it's not worth it to buy a wine over 25$ (I'm a student)? Maybe as you progress, the "rules" change a little, but for a beginner, how much would you recommend I spend on wine? Usually I'm getting into the habit of spending 30-35$ per week on wine, which is usually 2-3 bottles. I'm just unsure if I'm getting ahead of myself. 

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Replies

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Reply by napagirl68, Mar 11, 2010.

Hi and welcome!

It is not possible to make such a broad monetary statement about wine.  There ARE many good values under $25, but you have to look for them.  AND, not all wines OVER $25 are great, but in general, you get what you pay for.  I said GENERAL.   There will always be exceptions. 

I say, read reviews here, try a variety of wines IN YOUR PRICE RANGE!   Since you are a student, you can't spend what I do on wine.  I couldn't either, as a student.  So have fun, do some experimenting, and read the snooth reviews... as well as others.  Try different varietals, but DON"T write off a varietal just because of one bad experience.  You could have just had a cruddy version of that varietal. 

Again, welcome!!!

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Reply by mtlzack, Mar 11, 2010.

Thanks for the advice. Maybe my price range will go up one day, one day lol. For the moment I guess I'll read the reviews and play it from there. 

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Reply by napagirl68, Mar 11, 2010.

dont worry.. there are PLENTY of good wines under 25. Just experiement with different varietals and different regions...

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Reply by napagirl68, Mar 11, 2010.

Forgot to ask.. what do you like so far?  That will help us in guiding you to other wines...

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Reply by mtlzack, Mar 11, 2010.

I haven't tried that much, but I really like Australian shiraz, as well as other kinds of syrah. I like peppery or dry wines I guess. 

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Reply by VegasOenophile, Mar 11, 2010.

I'd say just keep experimenting within the $10-15 per bottle range like it seems like you are, see what you like, then maybe step up another $5-$10 and do the same as money allows.  There can be good wines found in just about any price range and the good part is, taste is entirely subjective.  Trader Joes offers some damn tasty quality wines for under $20.

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Reply by dmcker, Mar 11, 2010.

Your question is basically about relative economics, and the ways and degree to which you like wine. If you have the money to spend, then yes there are plenty of wines above $25 that are worth spending money on. If not, there are also plenty of good wines below that price that can provide even ethereal drinking experiences.

Since you like shiraz/syrah you also might try some Côtes du Rhône from southern France. They're blends with greater or lesser percentages of syrah, grenache, and sometimes other grapes in them depending on the maker and location, and will range from 8-20 bucks or so, depending on the label. The 2007s are in the marketplace now, and it's a very good year. The best of them I find to have better structure and more refinement than a lot of shiraz from Oz, though they often won't have the huge fruit effect that Oz usually provides. You can find very good examples from KLWines or NorthBerkeleyImports on the web.

Though not made from syrah, I like these from Cairanne that NorthBerkeley, which is a smaller, boutique merchant, is offering now

http://northberkeleyimports.com/vintners/?id=146

KL has a huge inventory. Go here

http://www.klwines.com/

then input Cotes du Rhone in their search box. Opening the search results now, I see that most of the labels I've been drinking the last few months are apparently sold out, and those that are there now represent a lot more grenache then syrah, but of what's there I like the Autard at $11, the Domaine de Mourchon 'Seguret Grande Reserve' at $18, and at the most economical, the magnum of La Vielle Ferme from the Cotes du Ventoux at $11 (I drank a lot of that when I was in college ;-) ), but also several others. Read through the list and see what strikes your fancy.

Of the more expensive ones, I like the 2007 Tardieu-Laurent "Vieilles Vignes" Côtes du Rhône-Villages Rasteau at $30, the 2007 Domaine Richaud Côtes du Rhône-Villages-Cairanne also from Cairanne, at $26, the 2007 Domaine Aphillanthes "Vieilles Vignes" Côtes du Rhône-Villages at $25, the 2007 Domaine de la Janasse "Terre d'Argile" Côtes du Rhône-Villages at $22, and the 2007 Féraud-Brunel Côtes du Rhône-Villages Rasteau at $20. These have a variety of styles and would be very interesting to try in comparison with each other.

For more purely syrah wines at a relatively reasonable price, the St. Joseph appelation and environs in the northern Rhone is a good place to start, but I'll leave that for another post.
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Reply by penguinoid, Mar 11, 2010.

Another region that might be worth a look is Croze-Hermitage. It doesn't have quite the same reputation as Hermitage, but it's a bit cheaper and I think can still be pretty good. Both those regions are 100% syrah.

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Reply by Caroprese33, Mar 11, 2010.

I'm relatively new to the game as well.  Try to find some red blends, I've enjoyed these the most and I hope you will as well.  Particularly, the red blends I have come to like the most contain a decent percentage of "Mourvedre" which I believe originated in France but is now grown all around the world.  A by Acacia makes a wonderful red blend that you can find for $15-$20. 

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Reply by I HATE WINE SNOBS, Mar 11, 2010.

The 1st rule about wine is.... there are no rules. Subjective,subjective,subjective. Do what you just did. Ask question. Wine Geeks are more than happy to give their opinion and believe me there are a lot of them and they will vary. find the ones that your agree with and work from there. I would suggest getting a hold of Wine Advocate issues that have the 25 and under recomendations. You cant go wrong with WIne Advocate. The WIne Spectator(Wine Dictator) on the other hand is hard to trust. They have given some scores on wines that have made my head spin. Go to Wine Librarys website and get on the forum you meet ALOT of helpful people and may even make some long term friendships. They have great deals on wines and shipping as wll. Good Luck and please dont turn into a "Wine Snob" They are all a bunch of jokes.  Who would think people would try to use their supposede wine knoledge to elevate their social status which is what they are and do.

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Reply by mtlzack, Mar 11, 2010.

@dmcker Thanks for the recommendations! I'll definitely look into these. 

@penguinoid That region looks like it fits very well into what I like. 

@caroprese33 I think I've seen that at the LCBO near my school actually.

@ihatewinesnobs lol don't worry, I don't think I'll be turning to the dark side. I really don't like pretentiousness (who does?)

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Reply by THEDOGE, Mar 11, 2010.

Welcome to our new friend,mtlzack.Now remember that today's the novice becomes tomorrow's knowledge bearer.In the beginning it is  best to be patient.Discover the wines you like best and write down the  brand and the type or varietal.However be sure to experiment and keep and keep an open mind.Listen to advice,but you make the choice.

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Reply by dmcker, Mar 11, 2010.

Caroprese, the Acacia sounds like it's aiming at a southern Rhone blend. The mourvedre you mention is in some of those cotes du rhone I posted about above, and of course at a more expensive level it and syrah and grenache and others are in Chateauneuf du Papes.

IHWS, interesting to find you advocating Robert Parker's vehicle over any other. Wine snobs are usually shallow bores, but we all have a bit of judgmentalism in us, since that's also what helps motivate us to discern what's better or worse in all those wines out there.

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Reply by dmcker, Mar 11, 2010.

And to add a little more context about further north along the Rhone, St. Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage are neighbors. Along with Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie, Cornas and Condrieu (and a bit of Cotes du Rhone which is generally a lower classification and a catchall for those grapes that aren't grown within the more highly-prized vineyards, in both the north and south, though to complicate things even further, even those grown in more classified areas may end up as Cotes du Rhone if the winemaker doesn't like the grapes in one vintage as much as he might want and thus is using his 'Cotes du Rhone as a second label, or has harvested too many and doesn't want to dump a larger volume of his higher-classified wine on the market, has a good channel in place for his Cotes du Rhone and is making so much money on it he wants to keep its quality up and the larger money volume flowing, or for whatever other reason), these make up what's referred to as the 'Northern Rhone', where syrah is king.

In the southern Rhone you find all the blends we're talking about, that also include syrah, but so many other varietals, too, starting with grenache and winding through mourvedre and others. You can see the Northern Rhone area in Zoom B below, and Southern Rhone in Zoom A. Crozes Hermitage is on the eastern side of the Rhone and St. Joseph across the river to the west.

St. Joseph used to be cubbyholed as the wine to drink while waiting for Hermitage and Cote Rotie to age. Those two have always gotten the respect, but also the high prices. I like Crozes Hermitage but find that more iconoclastic, 'young-turk' winemakers seem to be working the hillsides in St. Joseph, and some very good wines can be discovered there for quite a good price in today's market. Some of them every bit as good as just about any Hermitage and Cote Rotie. So why don't you start exploring the wines you can find from both those areas, taking notes along the way to help remember who and where are worth revisiting. Would be interesting to the rest of us if you could post some traveler's tales along the way...

 

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Reply by gregt, Mar 11, 2010.

Can't do much better than dmucker.

Caroprese33 - mourvedre did not originate in France.  It's from Spain, which still has more than the entire rest of the world.  But it became known in the US thru French wine.

mitzak - regarding what to spend, the others have said it better than I - spend what feels right.

Some people actually pay a little more so their jeans have one name instead of another.  Makes no sense to me but there you are.  Wine can be different because there really are differences - where the cloth for the jeans comes from the same cotton mill, the grapes usually don't come from the same place. Whether their differences merit the cost differnece is up to you.

As far as who to listen to, you'll find out for yourself.  The different journals have different people with varying degrees of knowledge and the different areas may get better or worse coverage, depending on the reviewer. 

The WL forum is OK I guess but it seems to be filled with people who don't have much knowledge past a year or two.  That's OK but limits their usefulness.  Just take your time and taste and most of all, record the names of the wines you like and the wines you hate, and see if you can discern any patterns.

Good luck.

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Reply by liquidsun, Mar 11, 2010.

Hi everyone Im just new here and I'm not familiar with wines. I hope with the help with this website I could Identify the best wines in the wold.

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Reply by napagirl68, Mar 12, 2010.

WONDERFUL, Dmcker!!!  You are such a great resource and you do such an amazing job of sharing your wealth of knowledge!  And you included maps!!  Too cool.

I will second one of Dmcker's recommendations:  KLwines.com  HUGE inventory, have been to their store since I live in the SF bay area.  They review wines themselves AND are great and friendly.  You can even call them with questions.

Another place I visited was Southern Lattitudes Wines (a tasting room that ships) in Carmel, CA.  SoLawines.com    The owners were GREAT and knowledgeable... amazing for me since I am a california wine snob!  But I took a few bottles home.  I think if you emailed them with some examples of what you like, they could give you recommendations.  The prices are reasonable.. there are some pricey wines, but the ones I took home were mostly under 20.

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Reply by napagirl68, Mar 12, 2010.

DUH!  you said you like Aussie Shiraz.. SoLawines.com has tons of aussie wine... ck them out.

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Reply by amour, Mar 13, 2010.

Finally,.....Big Big Welcome from amour and the crew!

Tempus fugit....Time flies!

You have got so many excellent responses.

I have  seen  books  on  low-priced wines that are terrific.

Check Barnes & Nobles......But, as usual, you must taste widely or

taste , at least!

Will return.

Are you able to get the WINES of CHILE and ARGENTINA....

so  many good  ones !

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Reply by zufrieden, Mar 13, 2010.

Feeling inadequate to your task of obtaining a less than mind-numbing list of wines in your target price range?  All of this information is truly wonderful - if you have the time to review it all.  And you should try to find the time to do so. We are very lucky to have so many knowledgeable people volunteer their time to inform us.

But at the very beginning of your journey, my humble and respectful suggestion is to explore the wine world by openly sampling reasonable fare from the relatively small number of major production areas.  You can find a short descriptions of these regions in many inexpensive handbooks that can also suggest the best value wines based on a convergence of opinion.  And try some fortified wines like Port or Sherry.

Go slowly; savor the trip through the world of wine. Be eclectic, if that's in your nature.  Once you get a handle on the major regions, you can move on to particular producers and zero in on your own developing preferences.  It will all happen naturally and as one posting suggests, you really don't need the Wine Dictator to tell you what to buy (I liked that one by the way).

Anyway, good luck on your trip through the world of wine.  One more thing: I would widen your price range in both directions of the distribution.  In my experience, price is not so highly correlated with quality until you get into the lowest end or highest end categories.

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