Hello fellow wine lovers!
I have been drinking wine for the last 10 years and have gone to various tastings starting with the Finger Lakes in upstate NY and most notably Stellenbosch, South Africa. But I feel as though I have not really retained enough wine knowledge to make informed decisions at restaurants and bars.
I am fortunate enough to live in NYC which avails me to many wine tasting options and am looking to both start a collection of wines and improve my overall experience in general. However I was recently laid off and therefore need to do so on a budget.
Please note it should be limited to red wine as I seem to be allergic to white wine.
Feedback is greatly appreciated!
(On a time sensitive note, I will be going to City Winery tonight and in 2 weeks travelling to Portland, ME for a few days so any specific feedback on either location would be great.)
Lady of Leisure Drinking
- Reply by johnmmoore, Mar 8, 2012.
My experience has been limited to domestic wine, mostly California - but there's alot to choose from. I would say learning which grape varieties express themselves to your taste in which locations is the quickest way to predict if you're going to like a given winery's offerings. Pinot Noir from Sta Rita Hills, Russian River, and Oregon's Willamette are going to taste quite a bit different. And Syrah from a warmer climate and cooler climate are very different. There's no substitute for tasting and learning. Everyone has their favorite producers, but to make sense of the information, I think it helps to know what to expect from a varietal from a specific location. Then you start to learn both the 'obvious' sources for certain varietals (Austraila for Shiraz) and the not so obvious (Syrah from Santa Lucia Highlands). So when you're wine tasting, pay attention to the origin of the fruit. And the more specific the information, the better it will predict what you're going to taste. For US producers, State designation only is dubious, county is better, but AVA and even vineyard designation are best.
- Reply by JonDerry, Mar 8, 2012.
Yes, would definitely experiment more with California wines. Are you looking to taste/sample at tastings or buy bottles? We'll be able to give you plenty of rec's.
And of course with your name-sake, check out Greg's new article on the top 10 sangiovese producers on the front page!
- Reply by jaywalia, Mar 8, 2012.
Why hello there SangioveseGal, Im sure you're spoilt for choice when it comes to wine selection in NY. Dont know if the wine Im going to recommend is available there since Im from Asia, I assume it should be available in NY. If you like Sangiovese as your name suggest then I'd recommend Livernano's Chianti Classico. I wrote a review for it on Snooth's Wine Profiles if you wanna know more but as a Sangiovese fan myself I really like this. Hope that'll help you somewhat.
- Reply by SangioveseGal, Mar 9, 2012.
I chose my handle name because when I had made a feeble attempt to retain wine knowledge and felt completely overwhelmed, a friend made the observation that "the wines I see you enjoying when we are out is usually of the Sangiovese grape". So far that is one thing I've managed to retain amidst the amount of information being sent my way!
I don't know a lot about California wines, only a bit here and there so recommendations are definitely welcome. In the past I have enjoyed the following: cabs from Cellar No 8 and Smooking Loon. Malbec usually from Chile or Argentina; for some reason not a fan of the Australian ones. Open to both tastings & bottle buys reccomendations.
I am looking to have a small collection of the following:
1 . My "go to wines" for when I'm making dinner at home for myself. (Recently it has been a Cellar No. 8 Cab)
2. Dinner Party wines - for other people's consumption that I can also enjoy
3. Gift wines - handy to have around when going to a party
4. Special occasion wines <--haven't really done this yet
Also any suggested reading about learning about the regions, etc. that isn't encyclopedic (blogs, books,etc.) is welcome!
- Reply by zufrieden, Mar 9, 2012.
Most red wine from the traditional sources is grossly overpriced. This has encouraged over-investment in super-reds from the New World (where we are), but recent economic retrenchment has disciplined a number of good but sensible producers to lower prices. Your (very temporary) unemployment can be put to use by diverting time otherwise used being exploited by employers studying wine and other things of interest. There are numerous internet sites you can ply for information on affordable wine that exceeds or equals product that sells for many times the price. I would suggest sites, but that would spoil your fun, IMHO.
If you must seek out the traditional sources, there are good representative examples of product that sell for a fraction of the price of "famous" wines. The best example of regions you can explore without re-mortgaging the house is (surprisingly) the Bordeaux (and to a lesser extent, the Burgogne) - if you follow certain rules of prudence. The first rule is to seek out blind tasting results from reputable sites. Be prepared for surprises there. In judging wine, I have found that brand affects results in the same way that I see my neighbors affected by the "German halo" regarding cars (and unfortunately, dogs as well) while I have a North Amercan product far superior in both reliabilty and fun factor as well as being 1/3 the cost. It is fun to blow the doors off German sportscars in the same way that it is fun to drink superior wine that is a mere fraction of the cost of (say) a super-second Bordeaux.
You will be employed again soon, but use the time for fun and enjoy.
- Reply by JonDerry, Mar 10, 2012.
Sangiovese Gal, sounds like you have a lot of good wining ahead of you!
The first thing to do is stop buying wine at the grocery store, and head over to a wine shop. Browse around your area and research what wine retailers are near you. One way to research retailers is through wine-searcher, yelp, google searches, etc, or failing that you can just check them out and see which you like best. I'm sure there are plenty of tasting bars also where you can go and try tiny pours of all types of wines, this is a great way to cover a lot of ground. Ok, now for some rec's.
Since you seem to like Sangiovese, let's start with some : Chianti is one sub-region in Tuscany, Italy where Sangiovese accounts for a big chunk of the red wine production in the area, and right next to it, Chianti Classico, where Sangiovese-based wine was first produced.
Felsina Chianti Classico - The main writer for Snooth just published an article on the top 10 producers of Sangiovese. Felsina is one of them. Here's where to find their Chianti Classico, which retails for around $20 at various shops around the world, including NYC
Fontodi Chianti Classico - This goes for a few dollars more, but also very good. Find it here.
Now for California Wine. What do I say about it, i've grown up all around it but i'm not exactly sure how to introduce it. Basically, there are many different regions in California that approximate grape varieties that originated in the original grape growing countries (known as the old world), and mostly in France. California (considered "new world") is probably best known for their Cabernet Sauvignon, or "Bordeaux" blends (coming from Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot primarily, with perhaps some Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and/or Malbec). Here are some rec's for Cabernet Sauvignon and blends.
Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon - One of the first big producers in Napa, and most celebrated. Their Cabernet Sauvignon is very solid for around $20. Try the 2008
Chappellet Mountain Cuvee - This is often mentioned here on the board, a very reliable Bordeaux blend, with usually around 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, among other varietals. See if you can get the 2008 as well, if not the 2009 is the current release. Usually $25 - $30
Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon - Another California staple, this wine will cost closer to $40, but still represents good value for the region. Also love their 2008, highly recommended.
Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel - Ridge also makes great Zinfandel, something that California is known to cultivate better than anywhere else in the world. The 2008 and 2009 are both very good, and the cost is around $30
Bordeaux, France - the 2009 vintage. There's a lot of hoopla about Bordeaux right now. The top wines are going for insanely high prices, it's really amazing. However, when Bordeaux has a great vintage, which 2009 is by all accounts, you can find some really nice wines for cheap as well.
2009 Chateau Lanessan - This wine is already in stores. $18
2009 Chateau Les Grands Chenes - Also in stores, i've bought quite a few of these. $25
2009 Chateau Le Crock - $30+ If not in stores, it's coming soon.
2009 Chateau Poujeaux - $30+ Ditto for this one, very good value for what you get.
There are plenty of other good regions, but Tuscany, California, and Bordeaux are staple wines of the world and a great place to start!
- Reply by Giacomo Pevere, Mar 10, 2012.
@SangioveseGal, Jon rec's for Sangiovese are really good, Felsina Fontalloro is 100% is one greatest 100% sangiovese Supertuscans, same for Fontodi Flaccianello (more expansive than Fontalloro). Another great rec is the first one of GdP in his top10 article, Montevertine surely produce one of the best sangiovese wines, his winemaker was (recently dead) considered the greatest expert of this grape and all its wines from the cheaper one to the greatest (Pergole Torte) are amazing sangiovese expressions. If you want, you can try some "Sangiovese di Romagna" a rising italian Doc. Same grape, a lot of good wines, some great wines, usually half price. This one is one of my favourite, great wine and is produced in a italian rehabilitation centers for drug addicts "San Patrignano".