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Thread: Choosing a Wine

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Super Moderator Big Booger's Avatar
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    Question Choosing a Wine

    Any of you have any info on choosing a wine? I mean what the hell is the difference between a Chardonnay or a Sauvignon or a Merlot and a Zinfandel:

    I searched the net and found a good food pairing... which I sort of knew (red wine with meat, white with fish etc...)

    Sauvignon Blanc – white or light fish, mild cheese, fruit
    Chardonnay – grilled chicken, salmon, shellfish, and grilled fish, anything with a cream sauce.
    Pinot Noir – light meats, chicken, grilled anything, salmon.
    Merlot – pasta, red meat, duck, smoked or grilled foods
    Zinfandel – tomato pasta dishes, pizza, pesto, red meats, chicken with heavy sauces
    Cabernet Sauvignon – red meats, especially a juicy barbequed steak, grilled and smoked foods.
    Syrah – red meats, spicy pizzas, herbed sauces on red meat, turkey
    But what is the difference in taste, body, flavor etc...

    How can you tell a sweet wine from a tart or sour wine? I personally like a sweeter wine but when I go to the liquor store to purchase a wine, I am totally awe struck.

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Old and Cranky Super Moderator rik's Avatar
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    I think that the biggest factor is whether you like the taste or not. Sorry, not a wine drinker...

  3. #3
    Member jan's Avatar
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    The sweeter a wine is the less dry it is. And sometimes you get what you pay for. I used to like sweet wine but as I got older I developed a taste for the dryer stuff. I particularly like the Pinot Noir's. Very nice and dry compared to say .. Chenin Blanc which has a light sweetness to it. But you also want a nice "bouquet". A nice fruityness to it. I usually steer away from the cheapest wines altogether and try to find a "moderately" priced california or Australian wine on sale. I can usually find a good one on sale for about $12-$16 for a 1.5 liter bottle. I also steer away from the red wines unless the occassion specifically is enhanced by it. (Red meats and such.) But for a casual glass I will stick to the white. (Reds will give you a worse hangover too if you over-indulge) And my experiance has shown me that I should also steer away from the high priced ones ($20+) for 2 reasons. (1) There are so many cheaper ones available that are quite good and (2) if I get "used" to the "better" wines at the higher pricing I am afraid that I will "develop" a taste that I may not be able to afford to keep up with. This is exactly what happened with my taste for vodka. I could not drink a cheaper, bottom shelf "rot gut" vodka if my life depended on it. It would just make me ill. So Ive decided not to chance it happening with wine. As it could easily escalate into the hundreds and thousands of dollars per bottle.

    All that said .. I would also add that IF you have not acquired a taste for the better wines at all .. dont "sweat it". Enjoy the cheap stuff while you can. As you experiance more "exposure" to the stuff your tastes will no doubt "evolve" into somethin that will "tap" your pockets a bit deeper.

    Hope that helps a little.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Super Moderator Big Booger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jan
    The sweeter a wine is the less dry it is. And sometimes you get what you pay for. I used to like sweet wine but as I got older I developed a taste for the dryer stuff. I particularly like the Pinot Noir's. Very nice and dry compared to say .. Chenin Blanc which has a light sweetness to it. But you also want a nice "bouquet". A nice fruityness to it. I usually steer away from the cheapest wines altogether and try to find a "moderately" priced california or Australian wine on sale. I can usually find a good one on sale for about $12-$16 for a 1.5 liter bottle. I also steer away from the red wines unless the occassion specifically is enhanced by it. (Red meats and such.) But for a casual glass I will stick to the white. (Reds will give you a worse hangover too if you over-indulge) And my experiance has shown me that I should also steer away from the high priced ones ($20+) for 2 reasons. (1) There are so many cheaper ones available that are quite good and (2) if I get "used" to the "better" wines at the higher pricing I am afraid that I will "develop" a taste that I may not be able to afford to keep up with. This is exactly what happened with my taste for vodka. I could not drink a cheaper, bottom shelf "rot gut" vodka if my life depended on it. It would just make me ill. So Ive decided not to chance it happening with wine. As it could easily escalate into the hundreds and thousands of dollars per bottle.

    All that said .. I would also add that IF you have not acquired a taste for the better wines at all .. dont "sweat it". Enjoy the cheap stuff while you can. As you experiance more "exposure" to the stuff your tastes will no doubt "evolve" into somethin that will "tap" your pockets a bit deeper.

    Hope that helps a little.

    Thanks Jan. That helped. My wife makes sure I don't overspend... she's nagging me like a banshee on Crystal Meth about keeping the bottles cheap. We try to keep it under $20 but just to have a nice glass with our dinner.

    We've had merlots, Chardonnays and so on... We've sampled wines in several countries, South Africa, France, Italy, Japan, US, etc...

    But I am a sweeter wine drinker so I will take your suggestions into consideration. Right now we have a merlot chilling in the fridge. I might have to pop the cork and get jiggy with it later tonight.

  5. #5
    Member jan's Avatar
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    Good choice. Merlot is my fav red. Some brands are really good.

  6. #6
    Succeded in braking Windo TZ Veteran Dehcbad25's Avatar
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    I wrote a long explanation, and I lost it, so I won't write it again. Sorry, too lazy.
    Wines are a personal choice. Usually the most expensive the wine the better it is . Of course, being expensive depends on where it was made. Trapiche can be bought in Japan (it is from Argentina). That is a wine which is in the 50 to 70 dollars a botle, but it cost 2100 Y. Gotta love globalization. I think it is Merlot. Chile wines are dried (like California's wine), but I don't like dry wines, makes it feel like you have sand in your mouth)
    Jan's advise is very good, mainly about the expensive wines.
    I don't know much about wine itself, but I do know about the process and condition to make wine, since Mendoza produces some of the best wine in the world. Little tip thought, you probably haven't heard about Argentinean wines being good, right? In 2000 a Spanish delegation made a study checking fraud on wines, because there were complains with Argentina and France wines. French wines didn't taste that good in Argentina (and they are suppoused to be great) and Argentinean wines seem cheaper in Spain. So suspicion arised that the wines were being diluted when they were exported. But..it seems the analysis concluded that during the export, the wines suffered a degradation in quality when crosing the equator. I don't think this was made very public thought because it could affect the economy very much. This was told to me by a friend of my, who actually owns a winery in Mendoza and supplied samples for the study.
    As for Jan, I haven't drunk much wine in my life, but most of it (99.9%) has been fine wine in Mendoza, and I can't stand even the smell of a wine that cost 10$ or even 15$. The last bottle of wine given to me, I gave it to my neighboor after opening. And I was given the bottle because at work, they told me it was a good wine which they used for important meeting (important meeting might incluse the governor and senators). In my opinion...it was trash , the only wine I drink it the one I bring with myself from Argentina, because I buy it directly from the winery for 5 $ the box (yes, 5$ for 6 botles), but the same wine in a restaurant in Argentina cost me 35$ (dollars) The wine cost more than my food and my wife's food. When the waitress asked why we requested that wine, my wife just limited to say, "we are from Mendoza"
    So, a final advise, BB, get Kirin Ichiban

  7. #7
    Nobody knows I'm a dog. TZ Veteran petard's Avatar
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    Gotta love a good bottle of Ripple every now and then.

    Many thanks to egghead for the cool .sig

  8. #8
    Old and Cranky Super Moderator rik's Avatar
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    mmmm....MD 20/20

  9. #9
    Platinum+ Member z3n's Avatar
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    Life is too short to drink bad wine.

    Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.~ Groucho

  10. #10
    Techzonez Governor Super Moderator Conan's Avatar
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    One of the best bang for the buck red wines that I've tasted is called "El Gato Negro" made in Chile available here for about $ 7 or less.

  11. #11
    Member jan's Avatar
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    Enjoy the cheap stuff as long as you can stand it.

  12. #12
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    RE:Wines

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Booger
    Any of you have any info on choosing a wine? I mean what the hell is the difference between a Chardonnay or a Sauvignon or a Merlot and a Zinfandel:

    I searched the net and found a good food pairing... which I sort of knew (red wine with meat, white with fish etc...)



    But what is the difference in taste, body, flavor etc...

    How can you tell a sweet wine from a tart or sour wine? I personally like a sweeter wine but when I go to the liquor store to purchase a wine, I am totally awe struck.

    Any suggestions?
    I used to drink Cabernet Sauvignon due to my French girlfriend who was a conisseur of wines. She said to always buy a good brand. It's red,kind of dry and a required taste is needed. I now drink Lambrusco Reggiano red,half sweet and good for the heart. Tried Aussie Shiraz,(friend of mine) from there said it was used for cooking there. Drink warm(ugh) no more of that. For white I prefer Liebfraumilch,little spendy but a good wine. Zinfandel is a good replacement for it also. With wines brand is the secret,avoid the cheapies. Good Luck,Fred

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