Introduce Yourself

Snooth User: spikedc

Want to learn !

Posted by spikedc, Nov 7, 2010.

Hi all,

New to this forum and new to the joys of drinking good wine.

Always loved drinking wine but don't know much about it, I've always drunk run of the mill labels but a friend  recently introduced me to a South African red 1685 Boschendal Shiraz, which i loved since then i have tried other Boschendal's Chardonnay & Cabernet Sauvignon, also a Bellingham chardonnay also from South Africa. All these wines i have enjoyed.

I didn't realise how spending just a little more could make such a difference to enjoying a glass or two. I now want to sample as much good wines as i can without breaking the bank, and i'm relying on the members of this forum to help me out,

Spanish wines really interest me coming from a Spanish background so any help and recommendations would be appreciated.

Hope to chat with you all soon

Cheers !

 

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Replies

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Reply by zufrieden, Nov 7, 2010.

Welcome!  You may be interested to know that many of us came to the love of wine by one of two routes - one of which you yourself have taken; namely, the love of wine as a simple, pleasant imbibe.  I myself came to the expansive world of wine drinking and appreciation through a simple love of the vine (like you) but a love augmented by a deep appreciation of history and pursuit of the good life.

Now that you realize how a modest increment in expenditure can pay dividends far beyond the initial investment cost, a vast new world of hedonic wonders will open up.

I think you might continue a while with your exploration of South African wine and perhaps try to encourage some discussion of the subject on a forum.  Though there are many excellent wines from the region, there has not been a lot of chatter of late so perhaps there is an opportunity for you to prime the pump so to speak.

As for Spanish wine, there are a few members of the community here that are very knowledgeable on that very subject, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, enjoy the discussions and try your hand at a few reviews should that activity draw your interest.

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Reply by StevenBabb, Nov 8, 2010.

welcome to snooth!

spanish wines are really fun to explore... they have the entire spectrum covered.. whites, reds, sparklings, and desserts! and you really aren't going to be breaking any banks to enjoy great ones from each category...

i hope you enjoy the discusions here at snooth, and find some usefull information...

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Reply by spikedc, Nov 8, 2010.

Thanks for the welcome. Seems like a nice friendly site, looking forward to learning from you all and tasting some wonderful wines. .

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Reply by gregt, Nov 8, 2010.

Hey Spike - it's usually a friendly site.  Have you concentrated on S African wines mostly?  Those have vastly improved over the past 20 years since the end of apartheid and there are many good ones coming out of there these days.  And I think it's a great place for Syrah, as you've found.  Some of their cab blends still seem a bit green, but they're better and better and actually some are very nice alternatives to some of the super-ripe styles that we often see in the US, although that's a HUGE simplification so take it for that.

You mentioned Spanish wines - are there any Spanish wines you've liked or tried?  There are a few people here who can help you with those, as you can see from this thread:

http://www.snooth.com/talk/topic/spanish-wines-1/

And apparently some folks can recommend the single perfect wine, but there are many regions and the wines are consequently quite different, so w/out anything to go on, I sure can't.  Based solely on the one wine you mention, you may want to try some of the reds from the cooler regions up in the north west, say Bierzo and Ribeira del Sacra. Of course the entire north is an area for good whites too, so you may want to look into some of those.

As you move south and inland, the weather is hotter and usually drier, and down in the south you get really hot, dry, sunny summers for the most part so you find completely different grapes, like Garnacha and Monastrell, which you may want to look into.  They're considerably different from what you get up north, not least because of the climate in which they're grown, and they tend to have higher sugar and consequently alcohol levels than some of the wines from cooler regions.  And as Steven said, if you poke around, you'll be able to find some really great bargains, first because there truly are a number of good, inexpensive wines produced, but also because the market is tough right now and expensive wines are being discounted all over.

Anyhow, best of luck in your search.  Cheers!

 

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Reply by spikedc, Nov 8, 2010.

Hi Greg, thanks for your reply. I have always enjoyed wine especially reds but up to a few weeks ago i have never really ventured into the 'better quality' varieties. My neighbour introduced me to South African wines and the first one i tried was the Boschendal Shiraz which i really enjoyed, since then i have mainly concentrated on other SA wines red and white and i must say i've found them all very good but that is probably down to the fact that i have only ever drunk run of the mill cheaper every day labels.

I just bought a selection of SA wines including Excelsior  Heritage reserve Shiraz, also a Syrah which i have never tasted. Hoping to stock up for Christmas with more recommendation from you guys.

With regards to Spanish wine i've mainly tasted Rioja's including Campo Viejo and Altivo also some Tempranillo namely Marques de Carano. My wife enjoys whites and roses so when we drink out i have to forego my red, although she will drink red so long as it's on the  medium side of dry. Our families are from Valencia and Murcia and we will be visiting Marbella in a few weeks time so i'm hoping to find a gem or two to try when there.

Finally just to repeat, i am a complete novice and i do enjoy all wines red, white and rose,  any help from you all is most welcome.

Thanks !  

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Reply by la canche, Nov 8, 2010.

Hi Spike, I'm new to this website too but have been a wine lover for many years.  I came across S.African wines purely by chance when I went to DisneyWorld no less and stayed at the Animal Kingdom lodge.  Imagine my surprise when the restaurant there only served African wines!  I got to taste a whole variety and fell in love with pinotage.  Since then I've been trying pinotages but haven't ever found a better one than Golden Kaan 2007 which is now impossible to find much to my chagrin.  I'm forced to forage through the scant supplies of S.African wines around here (in Northern Virginia) and it's kind of hit or miss. 

I actually came across this site when I was looking for a wine I had this past summer on a cruise called Barbera d'Asti cabernet.  I haven't been able to find it locally so I did a search and see that it's only available in 6 places in the US according to this site.  Unfortunately the site closest to me is also the most expensive (McLean, Va. - boo)  But i'm going to keep on looking.  If you know of any good Spanish wines let me know.  I'm going to try the Shiraz you recommend from South Africa.  I see you are in WDC.  Where did you buy it?  Salud!

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Reply by ecattt, Nov 8, 2010.

I love a good Malbec myself.  Argentina would be my country of choice.  If you like a Shiraz you'd enjoy Catena.

Cheers!

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Reply by gregt, Nov 8, 2010.

Spike - if your families are from Valencia and Murcia, there's a lot of interesting wine to try.  That's roughly the area that Monastrell came from and they're doing better and better wine with that grape.  In Valencia it's warm, but if you go up into the mountains, the climate gets cooler, so there are some wines that you'd be surprised to find.  Bobal makes some good stuff - surprisingly tannic, and perhaps even ageworthy. 

My suggestion is to look for some good Monastrell from the region. There are many producers doing interesting wine these days - some are kind of old fashioned in that they've got lots of funk, others are full of blueberry flavors and really fresh.  Both can be good.  And there's also some syrah produced down that way, as well as the ubiquitous Tempranillo, although not as much as up north, also some Cab and even Cab Franc. Since there's not a lot of call for the traditional wines outside of the region, it's an area where a lot of experimenting and innovation is underway.  In the US, there are a number of wines imported but there are many more looking for importers.

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Reply by ecattt, Nov 8, 2010.

Apologize there, I mis-read your question.. its wines from Spain that interest you.  Forget my reply.  :)

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Reply by spikedc, Nov 9, 2010.

Hi La Canche, i bought the Shiraz from my local supermarket (Waitrose) which offers a good selection, they were ofering 25% discount on all wine when buying 6 bottles or more

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Reply by spikedc, Nov 9, 2010.

Thanks Greg, will try to look out for Monastrell. We are going to a Food and wine show at the weekend, going to try and taste some of the wines mentioned.

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Nov 9, 2010.

Wellcome Spike

I am an Aussie, living in Adelaide and if you need any reco's on Australian Wines, please yell out.

We get a bit of South African Wine here due the ever increasing wave of South Africans migrating here.

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Reply by spikedc, Nov 9, 2010.

Hi Stephen, any Australian wines you recommend would be great. Might be able to sample one or two at the wine show Saturday. Any Reds would be nice and maybe some Rose/White to keep the wife happy.

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Nov 9, 2010.

Spike

Whereabouts is the wineshow and do you know what is on offer in the Aust category

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Reply by gregt, Nov 9, 2010.

Or any category?

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Reply by spikedc, Nov 9, 2010.

Hi guys, wine show link http://www.wineshow.co.uk/

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Reply by gregt, Nov 9, 2010.

They're not posting the wineries on the site.  Crap.  Anyhow, I know some of the wineries who showed up before at the show.  The specific names of the wines may be different because some of the bodegas produce a wine for the US market that isn't sold elsewhere, and some for the UK market, etc.  But the big bodegas with enough of a brand name themselves will be around.  The classic Riojas will be there - C.V.N.E. and you should try their wine - they're one of the oldest bodegas, founded in the late 1800s, and they still make wine that's capable of aging for many years.  They make a pretty good white too and it's really inexpensive.  But if you can try any of their older wines, you'll be happy you did.  The Gran Reservas can age for over 30 years and drink wonderfully.

THere's a family of wines there - C.V.N.E and Vina Real and Contino, and you should try them all as they give you a perfect lesson in the evolution of Rioja and Spain itself - from the oldest, made from purchased grapes as they did for many years, to the single-vineyard Olivo put out by Contino, which is made in a "traditional" way, whatever that might mean, but which focuses on the terroir of the winery rather than the style of the bodega.

I'm sure there will be many other wines from Rioja, but that's a lesson so don't miss it.  You might also look for the other centenary wineries - Marques de Riscal and Marques de Murrietta in particular, as they're the "founders" of modern winemaking in Rioja back in the 1800s.  Smaller and newer producers would include Roda, Miguel Merino, Ramirez de Ganuza, Sierra Cantabria, and dozens more, but those guys may actually show up as they all ship a lot to your market.

Then in Ribera del Duero, Vega Sicilia probably won't be there, but you might see Alejandro Fernandez from Pesquera and Condado de Haza. Try those - he kind of put the region on the map.  There are many many wineries there now, something like over 200, but he's the pioneer and you should try his wine.

Hard to say who else is likely - there are a few producers in Toro worth looking for but whether they'll show up or not is another question.  Pintia by Vega Sicilia may - it's usually a rather alcoholic wine and far from my favorite, but not a bad wine even so.  If you can find San Roman, try it.  It's probably the best wine from Toro.  The Eguren brothers have a new winery now that they've sold Numanthia and their wine is always good.

From farther south, if Finca Sandoval is there, try it.  It's a blend of Syrah and a few other grapes but Syrah from Spain isn't a traditional grape and they do a great job with it.  Sierra Salinas is one of the more expensive wines from Yecla.  Not much is made - I think it's a blend of Garnacha and Cab Sauv, which is uncommon if one is only familiar with French and CA wines and which makes it interesting in itself so if they show up, I'd try that.  In your case, if you're not all that familiar w wine in the first place, it's less of a curiosity but as you try more wines you'll realize you almost never see that combination. In part that's because we're very accustomed to French practices, and Bordeaux doesn't use grapes like Garnacha that are "supposed" to be in the Rhone. The Spanish however, are happy to blend those.  They also do Cab Sauv and Monastrell, which the French would frown on. The Australians are  more like the Spanish in that respect.

Another thing you can try, since I have no idea what wineries will be involved, is to spend time trying the same grape variety from different areas.  When I'm at a multi-day event like that, I try to take advantage of the learning potential.  So if you're there for all three days, and why not, then you can do the same.  Try Riesling for example, from Germany, Alsace, Australia, Austria, and wherever else you can find it.  You'll understand quickly why people love Riesling so much - it can be anything!  Since it's almost never oaked, you get to taste just the grape itself and that's a rarity.

Or try Chardonnay!  It comes from almost every country and it comes in all kinds of iterations, with and without oak, with and without malolactic fermentation, etc.  You can see why there's so much discussion about Chardonnay - who the hell knows what it "really" tastes like? 

Anyhow, rather than go from one place to the next and taste a Pinot Noir, a Sauv Blanc, a Merlot, etc., I'd focus on something or another.  Go taste all the whites from a particular region, or all the reds, or all the reds from a winemaker, or all the wines of a particular variety, or so forth.  Cheers!

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Reply by spikedc, Nov 10, 2010.

Wow!, a lot of info there Greg, thanks very much i will print your reply and take it with me. Unfortunately we are only there for the day which also incorporates a food show but we will try to taste as much as we can and I will let you know how we got on next week.

Thanks again.

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Nov 10, 2010.

Spike

Go to the Negociants stand D170

Depending on what they show in the portfolio, see if these are on show

Yalumba Signature - Cabernet Shiraz Blend

Yalumba Octavius - Shiraz

Yalumba Single Site Shiraz [they have 3]

Virgilius Viognier

Pewsey Vale Riesling

Pewsey Vale Contours Riesling

Mesh Riesling

Jim Barry Armagh and McCrae Wood Shiraz

Jim Barry Florita Riesling

Vasse Felix Heystbury Cabernet Blend and Chardonnay

That should give you a good look at some wines I like a lot

Let me know your thoughts

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Reply by spikedc, Nov 10, 2010.

Thanks Stephen, will try and sample if on show, let you know next week.

Cheers !!

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