Introduce Yourself

Snooth User: jsncruz

Newbie Wine Lover from Manila

Posted by jsncruz, Feb 16, 2012.

Hi everyone,

I've been a member of Snooth for a while now, but I've just been shy to introduce myself and such. My first exposure to wine was almost 14 years ago, when my mother let me have a sip of her then-favorite Shiraz (Wyndham Estates Bin 555) - one reason why Syrah and Shiraz varieties are very dear to me.

I started properly acquiring wine for both weekly consumption and storage almost a year ago, when I had some financial capabilities to do so :) Wines are rather expensive here in the Philippines, so I limit myself to 1-2 bottles above $20 and 4-5 bottles under $12 monthly. Being a pretty warm country, I cleared out the whole cabinet under my kitchen sink, and refurbished it as a 'mini-cellar' - dark, cold, and slightly damp. So far, I've had 30-odd individual bottles, mostly Australian Shiraz and Chilean Cabernet-Sauvignons, and 17 bottles consumed as of last night :) I keep a small notebook where I try to note whatever I see, smell, and taste. My tasting notes are usually just a sentence or two long, but I try to write down what exactly I observe.

I don't know many other Filipino wine drinkers - the 'serious' ones can afford those $50 bottles easily, and are admittedly quite snooty - so I hope to make some friends here and learn so much more, especially since I know next to nothing, really.

My favorites are currently Lindeman's Bin 50 Shiraz (2008) and Taylor's Promised Land Shiraz (2009). Opened them for Christmas 2011 :)

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Replies

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 16, 2012.

Welcome, jsn, to Snooth!

Sounds like you're making a good start. Have you had any syrahs from the Rhone in France, or the West Coast of the US? Though I imagine Aussie wines are more easily available, those others can provide reference points that help you clarify what you really like...

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Reply by jsncruz, Feb 16, 2012.

Hi there dmcker! Thanks for the welcome :)

As I read through many of the posts here, there seems to be a lot of casual collectors as well, and yes, I have been very inspired and EDUCATED on wine. I've had French Syrah, a Jean Moreau & Fils Syrah (2007) and I really liked it (I bought 2 more bottles after that!). Price is quite reasonably too, about $10. As for American Syrah, I have to say no, not yet. I've been getting 2006 California Cabernet-Sauvignons though, as I'm planning a 2006 cab dinner next year when my girlfriend graduates again. Haha.

You're correct when you say Aussie wines are more available here. There are Penfolds, Hardy's, and Taylor's here in quantity, but the Hardy's are the most affordable of the lot, averaging at around $8 a bottle. Just obtained a 2009 Varietal Range Shiraz, perhaps I'll open it this year.

Any French Syrah you may be able to recommend? I can hunt for them :)

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 16, 2012.

The easiest way (on the pocketbook) to start might be with Cotes du Rhone. Check the options out on the web, and look for those with the highest content of syrah. They'll have grenache and others in the blend, but still be distinctively tasty. If you want to go for pure syrah then look to Crozes Hermitage or some other districts like St. Joseph or Cornas. The Hermitages and Cote Roties will be considerably pricier.

Also sounds like you need to branch out a bit in Australia. There are definitely more options than those three labels you mention. Penfold's good, but try some D'Arenberg, for example, if you can find it. Also, give the Penfold cabernet sauvignons a shot.

Do you drink whites? Should be able to find some good semillon and riesling from Oz, too.

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Reply by jsncruz, Feb 16, 2012.

Oh I've seen a Crozes Hermitage in a shop here, but at roughly $30-$35 a bottle, a little heavy on the pocket. I wish wines weren't taxed so high here!

I agree with you; I need to branch out a LOT more. Last week, I got a bottle of Dragon Xanadu Shiraz (2005) and a couple of months before, a Double Bay cab (2009). I haven't seen a D'Arenberg (saw that in the list of Best Shiraz!) so I'm definitely hunting for that. Penfolds Cabernet-Sauvignon looks good, and they're about $20 or so here.

Are you familiar with Rosemount? They cost a bomb and the wine store says they're good, but I tend not to believe their salespeople as they don't open the bottles and actually drink the wine.

Currently experimenting with South African reds. They're astonishingly cheap and apparently, they're good. I've got Table Mountain cabs, will open next month or so.

Yes, I drink whites. Had a wonderful Turning Leaf Chardonnay (2009) last night. My first Chardonnay that was more nutty and buttery than apple-ly! (LOL, "apple-ly") Unfortunately, I had a bad experience with a Chilean Chardonnay (Claro Chardonnay 2009) a few days ago. It was bland and slightly bitter, with terrible bitter finish. I don't know what the heck happened to that wine. I LOVE rieslings, but I haven't found affordable ones, so I drink per glass in restaurants. Any recommendations?

P.S. Thanks for being so patient! I really appreciate it.

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Reply by JonDerry, Feb 17, 2012.

Welcome aboard JSN, I like your organization and apparent passion for collecting and tasting. I can definitely relate, as I tend to be a bit left-brained myself. Have you checked out www.cellartracker.com for managing your cellar? It's a great, and popular choice. + it's free ; )

Would definitely recommend seeing if you can get your hands on a good Crozes-Hermitage if you like Syrah, and actually i'd get my hands on as much French wine as I could if I were you. Might as well try some cheap Bordeaux if you can, Chateau Poujeaux would be the one to try when you splurge for a $40-50 wine. Of course, you can find some good Rhones for that price too. Cahors France for Malbec.

For even better values, look to Spain and Portugal if there are any available. And of course, look for Italian Chianti Classicos if you haven't already, and keep experimenting with the Australian and New Zealand, and South American wines. I've seen some good things out of South American whites (sauvignon blanc).

Not a big surprise that California wines aren't widely available in the Phillipines, our wines aren't much of an international export.

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Reply by jsncruz, Feb 17, 2012.

Hi JonDerry, thanks for the comment!

I will definitely save up for that bottle. French wines here in Manila are sold in 'specialty' wine stores - I put it that way because their price ranges are rarely below $50 per bottle. For a yuppie like me, that's a bit of a stretch since I love drinking wine; I'd like to get at the very least one bottle a week. I will keep an eye out most definitely.

I've tried Cellar Tracker, but the problem is sometimes it's IP gets blocked here in the Philippines. What I've done is to create and Excel file instead. I've arranged my growing collection by country first, then by varietal, then by region, then by vintage. It's efficient enough, though I know I can improve on it more.

I have a couple of Spanish bottles, tempranillo in the 2009 vintage. Those are my first bottles actually, acquired last March 2011 :) I have no Italian wine. Should I begin with Chiantis?

The good and pricey CA wines here are Talus, Beringer, and Stone Cellars by Beringer. VERY limited selection. I envy you guys who have thousands of choices! Haha..

By the way guys, you can call me Jason.

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Reply by shsim, Feb 17, 2012.

Welcome Jason!

I am glad to find someone near where Im from! :D My family generally gets their wine from Australia and New Zealand but they find good and cheap Europeans occasionally and I bring them bottles of Californians whenever I go back!

I just started too and my current goal is to taste as many varietals as possible so that im more exposed! Could you try to ship from online stores?

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Reply by EMark, Feb 17, 2012.

Jason

I've been traveling, lately, and just noticed your introduction.  So, let me offer my belated welcome to Snooth.  It is great to meet such an enthusiast.

Above, you hve been offered some good advice from some Snooth regulars.  Let me offer this.  Do not be discouraged by a bad experience.  When my wife and I visit a restaurant that we don't like I tell her "That is how we learn."  We're not going to visit only restaurants that we know and not visit new ones.

I tell this parable because I want you to understand that just becuase you have a bad experience with a Chilean wine, please do not damn all Chilean wines.  By the way, I live in California (not Chile) and am a California wine bigot, but I love trying all kinds of wine from all over the world.  I've been doing this for over 40 years and I learn new things every day--both from my own experience and from vicarious experience here at Snooth.

I look forward to following your experiences, Jason.

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Reply by jsncruz, Feb 17, 2012.

@shsim

Thanks for the welcome! Curious, where are you originally from? Haha.. Yes, the affordable wines here are generally Australian and Chilean, with the French and Italian ones commanding a steeper price. I have that same goal too (taste as many varietals as possible) and I hope to have my first Italian red (don't be shocked please!) before my birthday.

As for online stores, the wines sold online here in the Philippines (or RP for short) are quite expensive, $40 and above on average. Also, I don't have a credit card :)

@EMark

Hi there and thanks for the welcome! I do visit around :D We have a website here in RP called ClickTheCity and it's a great place to find restaurants because they upload their menus there. This is how I first found out that California Pizza Kitchen serves a tasty cab which went very well with an all-meat pizza, and how I had my first Riesling in this place called MOMO (try it out if any of you visit).

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Chilean wine, especially the Cabernet-Sauvignons. Thank you for the advice, I'll make sure to just keep on learning :)

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 17, 2012.

Quite rightly, as Mark says, don't paint whole regions with a broad brush just from one experience. The restaurant may have stored the bottle improperly, the importer may not have been conscientious, and maybe that bottle's not your style anyway but another even from the same producer would be.

If you want to try what I consider to be sure-fire Chilean wine, get some from Chono. They make whites (which I haven't yet had) and a range of reds with carmanere, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and other grapes in various blends. I don't know where to source them in the Philippines, but shshim, Jon and Mark can get them quite easily from NorthBerkeley Imports. Very reasonable pricing, too. ;-)

 

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Reply by shsim, Feb 18, 2012.

Wow thanks for the recommendation dmcker!

Jason, Im from Malaysia! I didnt get to try many varietals and wines from different country until I came to the US! My family got cases of yellowtail as a staple and blue nun from Germany. Other than that, not a whole lot of variety... unless we go to a nice restaurant which we dont do that often.. So its great to be here! If you ever visit Malaysia while Im there, ill be sure to have some californian with me! Oh and I would love to visit Philippines!

 

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Reply by jsncruz, Feb 18, 2012.

@dmcker

Thanks for that! I really love Chilean reds ever since my experience with the low-cost but delicious Antares line. I don't know why, but it goes very well with the sour-salty Filipino dishes I usually have. Perhaps Chile and RP have the same culinary traditions! (We're both Latin colonies, you come to think of it. I've never had Chono but I will keep a look out on that!

@shsim

Haha aku juga, dari Miri, di Sarawak :) Masih fasih dalam Bahasa Malaysia :) (trans: Me too, I'm from Miri, Sarawak :) Still a little fluent in Malay). I spent 11 years of my life in Malaysia, and that's where the wine love began, with that sip of Shiraz from my mother's glass :)

We have Blue Nun here in RP! What would you recommend? I'm going wine hunting next Tuesday for a dinner I'm hosting next Thursday.

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Reply by jsncruz, Feb 20, 2012.

Hi guys, I need some comments on the following wines:

  1. Andretti Selections cabernet-sauvignon '06
  2. Casa Lapostole Curee Alexandre merlot '06
  3. Chianti Classico, Castello d'Albola '03
  4. Montana pinot-noir, '05

I might be ordering some online, and I'd like to have nice, good quality wine that will keep well til at least 2015 or so :)

Thanks in advance!

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Reply by EMark, Feb 20, 2012.

Jason

I am unfamiliar with all of these wines.  Undoubtedly, there are others out there whose advice is more valid than mine.

However, I did try Google searches on your 4 selections.  Something, obviously, that you can do yourself.  My overall opinion is that there is certainly nothing wrong with these wines, but I really question whether the would benefit from aging.  I am impressed to see that you are looking at different types of wines from all over the world.  That is excellent.  So, if the price is right for you, go ahead and try them.  However, I would not expect any improvement from aging from these wines

I might wonder where these wines have been stored for the last few years--especially, the '03 Albola.  None of these are the wineries' current releases.  If they've been stored well, then that is OK.  However, if they've been stored in an uncontrolled evironment--like in a Central California warehouse--the damage might be done.

As an aside, I'm going to bring one of my other passions into this conversation.  I assume you know who Mario Andretti is.  If you want wine made by a former race car driver look for the ones from Scott Pruett or Randy Lewis.  Nobody will ever compare either Scott Pruett or Randy Lewis to Mario Andretti as a driver.  However, their wines definitely blow the doors off Andretti's.

I truly hope that somebody else out there can give better insights into the wines you are considering.

 

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Reply by jsncruz, Feb 20, 2012.

Hi Emark, thank you for the reply!

I did a Google search for wines, that's how I came upon their names :P However, the reason I joined Snooth is because I've noticed that the community here have pretty much tasted thousands upon thousands of wine; who knows, perhaps someone has a specific experience with one of the bottles.

Yes, I know who Andretti is :) Wow, I'll definitely look into Pruett and Lewis wines then! Other than an experience for the palate, I like collecting bottles with some sort of significance - I love telling a tale when I open a bottle, be it from personal experience, something curious about the origin/history/place of the wine, etc. I want an Andretti so that I can talk about motorsports while opening the bottle! Haha.

I believe the wines would be stored well, considering the online store I am considering does have a physical store (I've viewed their storage and cellars online on a virtual tour) and I trust they know what they are doing. You have a point though, I'm SLIGHTLY worried about the '03 Albela.. 9 years and if it wasn't stored right.. waste of money and time.

P.S. Has any of you ever brought wine on a flight? I'm not too sure about US-to-Philippines law on this (I think it would be very subjective to the security officers on-ground) but Philippines-to-US is okay as long as the bottles are checked-in, I believe.

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Reply by EMark, Feb 21, 2012.

Jason

I agree with your strategy of seeking the Wisdom of the Snooth Crowd (apologies to James Surowiecki).  There is so much knowledge and experience here that I spend hours almost every day reading everything.

Like I said in the original post I am very impressed by the range and variety of your choices.  That is the way to expand your own personal knowlegde and experience.

My wife collects wine labels for her arts and crafts projects.  So, I understand where you're coming from, there. And, yes, sharing an Andretti wine is a great way to segue into a motorsports conversation.

In the United States there is a problem transporting wine on a commercial airline.  You are not allowed to board a commercial flight with wine.  It will be confiscated.  You can check it as baggage and that will work.  There are products available for this purpose that hold, I believe, up to twelve bottles.  Read through this Snooth Forum Conversation  from last month and you will see one of these.  I really don't know what the rules are if you board in the Phillipines and travel to the U.S., but my suspicion is that you will have the same issue.  More than likely somebody will jump in here and give you the definitive answer.

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Reply by shsim, Feb 21, 2012.

Apa Kabar Jason! Saya dari johor Bahru, Johor! (How are you Jason! I am from Johor Bahru, Johor!) awak banyet pandai bahasa! (you are good in Bahasa!) Anyway, I was pretty surprised to see bahasa here! :D I havent talked to anyone else in bahasa for a long time!

With regards to blue nun, the last time I had it, its still just alright.. They tend to make things a little sweet, riesling etc.. they are good for the price point though.. If I had a choice, I would not drink that again, although I heard that they are getting better.. I will have to find out myself! But hey do not let me stop you from tasting some german wines! There are definitely better ones out there! They are known for sweeter wines liek riesliing.. So im probably just biased.

yea, I have no experience in those wines you mentioned but with regards to traveling, you probably have to check them in. I doubt you can carry fluids on board. I know from experience that Malaysia and Singapore they do not check thoroughly when you enter the departure terminal but when you get to the gates, they are extremely strict about it. You can however, purchase on board or in the terminal where they will seal it for you and have you take it at the gate.

It is probably better for you to get one of those travellers case! There are plenty of good ones that carry 12 bottles no problem. Some of them are cleverly designed for transporting wine. They can get pricey but if thats the way you are getting your wines, then maybe it is a good invesment. I do not own one so someone else is probably more knowledgeable on this topic than I am.

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Reply by jsncruz, Feb 21, 2012.

@EMark

Thank you very much for your kind comments. I was under the impression that wine, being shorter-lasting than other appreciated art (yes, I classify wine as art - hopefully this doesn't offend anyone) should be experienced as much as possible, and my way to do that would be to experience wines from all over the world, provided I can have access to them. It's unfortunate that the wines here in my country range from uber-expensive (think Screaming Eagle) to the very budget (under $7 for the most part). Mid-ranged ones are very delicious if you get the chance to get them.

The reason I asked about air travel and wine is that perhaps I could get my parents to ship me some bottles :)

@shsim

Hi there! The only exposure I have of your home state is as a jump-off point to Singapore! Haha. I'll take you on your advice and experience more German-made stuff. Oh, and my favorite whites are Rieslings, so we'll definitely be friends on that topic.

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Reply by shsim, Feb 21, 2012.

Hey Jason,

yea, my town is considered a sprawl from Singapore unless you know where to go! There are pretty awesome places and delicious food to be experienced! Haha yea, I have not established my favorite whites but my first white was definitely a Riesling which I enjoyed tremendously. And I myself have not experienced the German Riesling (or German wines in general) much so if someone has suggestions on where to start please advice!

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Reply by EMark, Feb 22, 2012.

Jason

U.S. law prohibits the shipment of wines by a consumer.  These laws are in place mostly, I suspect, for the profit of the alcohol distribution industry.  So, if your parents carefully box up some wine in a nondescript container and take it to the local DHL (or however things are shipped to the Phillipines) office, they will be asked about the contents.  If your parents respond with "wine," the shipper will decline to take the shipment.

If your parents travel to the Phillipines to visit family, you will definitely want them get one of those Wine Check carriers (discussed in the link that I provided previously) and have them fill it up with bottles for you.  There are several Snooth regulars who have reported that they have used these and checked them on commercial flights with no problems. 

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