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romantico Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 04:00 PM
Original message
Question For Wine Aficionados
Can someone recommend a good red wine? I am looking to go online and buy a case and have no idea what to look for. I drink wine once in a while but know hardly anything about it. I like white and red but prefer red. Not looking for anything fancy. Just looking to sip a glass or two after dinner and on weekends. I've heard French wine is good but that California is just as good and cheaper. What should I look for? Anything I should avoid? Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks!
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hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 04:06 PM
Response to Original message
1. Rosemount Shiraz from Australia is always good
and it's usually $10/bottle, case price will be 15-20% off at most liquor/wine shops.
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Kali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. stuff from Argentina and Chile good too (not sure of labor or other issues, though)
a good inexpensive UNION winery is Columbia Crest from Washington state, good merlots, cabs and blends

also really try wines - if it seems not that good try it with some food (or different food) or a slightly different temperature can really make a difference
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freshwest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 06:09 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. Yes. that one is a staple here. I have some in the fridge... It's more than adequate.
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GoCubsGo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 10:17 AM
Response to Reply #5
17. I second the Columbia Crest
Their Two Vines Shiraz has always been one of my favorites. I have not had the recent vintages, but it has been consistently good in the past.
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Major Nikon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 04:15 PM
Response to Original message
2. Before you buy a whole case, you might want to buy a bottle locally
Some wine shops have bottles available for testing and sometimes you can find a local club that hosts wine education classes.
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RebelOne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 04:18 PM
Response to Original message
3. A good Beaujolais is excellent if you like dry red French wine. n/t
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GoCubsGo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 04:24 PM
Response to Original message
4. I would not buy a case until you find what you like
You don't want to spend all that money only to wind up with a dozen bottles of stuff you think is crap. And yes, many California wines are very good and inexpensive. But, so are many of the wines from Chile, Australia, South Africa, and Argentina. You can also get some decent Chiantis from Italy for a reasonable price. I have had very good wines out of the Pacific Northwest, as well.

"Red" is also too nebulous. What kind of red? Merlot? Cabernet? Zinfandel? There are dozens of different varieties of reds, all with different characteristics. If you don't know one from another, go to a restaurant or bar and sample some single glasses of whatever they have on their wine list. Most usually have at least one Merlot, Cabernet and Shiraz, at minimum. And, check your local package stores. Some of them have wine tastings.

I can't suggest what to look for, or what to avoid, because everyone's taste is different. And, because you didn't give a price range. But, don't assume that because a wine is inexpensive that it's not good. Read the backs of the bottles, too, as many of them describe the various flavors in the wine. If it sounds good, try it.
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romantico Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 05:37 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Thanks
Thanks for the advice. Yes,I think I'll first try a bottle before buying a case. I think a case would last me a while since it is only for me and I usually drink one glass anyway.
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petronius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. If you expect to drink it slowly, a box might be the way to go - equivalent to 4 bottles,
and it will last a month or more after opening. There are a bunch of decent wines in boxes; I just finished a box of Australian shiraz that was $10 at Trader Joe's, and there are several in the $20 range...
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handmade34 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
7. my favorite...
though I love the politics behind it as much as anything...

"Perhaps what made Walter Taylor the man that he became was his battle with soda giant Coca-Cola. The corporation purchased the Taylor Wine Company from Walters relatives. By this time, Walter had already established Bully Hill. Still, Coca-Cola insisted that Taylor could not use his name on his own bottles.

Because he was an artist it was customary for him to sign his work, including his labels. Coke won a court decision prohibiting Walter from using his name, yet Walter had plenty of wine already bottled and ready to go to market. Students from Cornell University came to his aid by crossing his last name off of every bottle with black magic markers. The signature Walter S. with a black line thereafter quickly became a company logo. Later these same students gave to Walter a goat.
They told him that even though Coca-Cola had taken his name and his heritage, they could not get his goat. Today, Love Goat Red and Love Goat White are two of the more popular wines from the winery.
Walter was such an accomplished artist that he became the official artist of NASA. He personally covered and painted the Columbia III Space Shuttle in 1982. Today, a painting by Walter hangs at Cape Canaveral. Again, he took this opportunity to maximize the marketing by creating a space shuttle series of wines which incorporated his drawings..."
http://www.mpnnow.com/life/x1331532804/The-brilliance-o...

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MorningGlow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 07:10 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Yay! Local winery!
Edited on Wed Nov-30-11 07:11 PM by MorningGlow
It's a great place. So many wineries in the Finger Lakes area, you can hit a dozen in a day if you have the fortitude and never make a dent in the list. All the other places (including "Taylor"--Coca Cola that stole his name) have snooty wine tastings in fancy rooms, where they show you how to inhale the bouquet, look at the "legs", roll the stuff around on your tongue, etc. etc. etc. etc.) At Bully Hill, you stand outside--belly up to a wooden counter under a wooden overhang at the edge of the vineyard. Then a person in a Bully Hill t-shirt (no tuxedo shirts and ties here), pours you a sample, starts to tell you how to look at it and smell it and then says, "To hell with it. Chug it."
:rofl:

My favorite winery tour by far. :D
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geardaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #7
21. Love Bully Hill
Drank a lot of it at art openings in college in Geneva, NY. Went to school there with Walter's son.
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HopeHoops Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 07:56 AM
Response to Original message
11. Kendall Jackson Merlot. Not expensive, but really good.
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HopeHoops Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 07:57 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. Blackstone Merlot is pretty damn good too.
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romantico Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 09:15 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. Thanks
Thanks again. I have so many choices now.
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HopeHoops Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 09:26 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. Just remember: Price does NOT mean quality.
The companies that advertise the least tend to have the better product. There's no noticeable difference in any two vodkas. There is a MAJOR difference in cost. I go with the local brand that's less than half the price of the advertised brands.

When I first started getting Kendall Jackson, nobody had ever heard of it. I guess they've done some advertising since, but the wine is still great. My favorite is the Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay.
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GoCubsGo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #14
16. One thing I have noticed...
A lot of vendors have various "ratings" posted next to many of their wines and hard liquors. And, they list all the awards won at the various contests. Even Aldi is touting various ratings on their wines.

The ratings from Wine Spectator seem to be the big ones to look for among the wine snobs and their wannabes. And, unfortunately, every time a wine gets a good rating, the price goes up, and the availability goes down. I find them hit-or-miss as far as whether I like the wine, but the descriptions that often come with them are helpful in deciding whether or not to buy them. Sadly, these days, it doesn't matter. All I can afford right now is the $2.65 Winking Owl wines from Aldi. Fortunately, they are drinkable, and in fact, I prefer their Cab and Chardonnay over some of the pricier wines I have had. I am told it's just re-labeled Gallo wines, and I haven't gotten around to test that. I long for the day when I have a job and can afford to try some of the other wines out there...
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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 09:56 AM
Response to Original message
15. My suggestion is to find a good wine store and learn what you prefer in taste
Edited on Thu Dec-01-11 10:01 AM by LynneSin
Wines have such a wide variety of flavors and sweetness that what I might find is a great wine you could end up finding wretched. You talk about buying a case based on recommendations of others, what if you get that wine and you don't like it - then you've wasted alot of money.

It is also possible to have allergic reactions to wines. I find that many California Red wines cause my skin to flush, usually due to the sulfates/nitrates found in the soil out there. That just happens to be me, but wouldn't it be better to try a bottle first than to be stuck with a case you can't drink?

Good wine stores usually have a few bottles opened for tasting and employee people with skills in understanding wine and explaining it to others. Sample a glasses, ask questions, listen to the person providing samples and then perhaps purchase the one you like best. That'll make a good starting place in developing your taste buds. Then when you purchase again you'll have an idea of what you like and can expand from there. BTW sometimes the free samples are provided by an employee with wine experience but don't be surprised if it's a representative of the Winemaker or Distributor. The person providing samples is usually more than happy to tell you their background. And here's the thing - say you liked that bottle you sampled but want to try something else. You have a starting point - you can say "I really liked that Bottle X I bought here last week, what other types of wines would you recommend based on that?".

Remember you have to find a good wine store. The local street corner liquor store with the 21 year old kid behind the counter knows crap about wine, do your research.

As for reds that I like, I'm a big fan of the Malbec wines of Argentina and then Pinotages of South Africa. I prefer a smoker flavor wine that has rich flavor and not overly sweet. If you like spicy wines I would suggest the Crios' Malbec Wine.

BTW I bought this book back in 2001 and I still read from it on a regular basis. I wish she would put an updated version out but it's still a great book to help you understand the complexities of wines and the different regions and why you pay what you do for wines.

http://www.amazon.com/Wine-Bible-Karen-MacNeil/dp/15630...
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romantico Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #15
18. Thanks!
Yes, I thought a case would be good but I should go out and try different wines to get a feel. I got as a gift one year a French bordeaux a friend brought back for me from France.I really liked it so I may start there. Oh, and that Book is on my wish list. I need something like that so thanks again!
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Kali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 10:44 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. one problem about buying French wines in the US (and wines from any wine culture)
is the good stuff stays at home - the large bulk "crap" is what gets exported in any affordable ammounts. This is one reason wines from South America, Australia etc are cheap (another is subsidies to build market) but I know most good small vineyard German, Itallian, Spanish, and French wines do not ever leave the area they are made unless in a traveler's suitcase.

Not to say it is really bad but if you ever get to try wines there the availability and prices for really good wines will surprise you.
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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #19
25. For me that's why I always recommend finding a good wine store and learning about wines
I had giving the OP a link to a great book from Amazon that I have always enjoyed reading.
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GoneOffShore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #25
28. Do you ever go to Moore Brothers?
Right there in Wilmington.

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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #28
31. I'm near there but I either go Krestons or Franks Wine on Union
Before I bought my house, I would go to Krestons. If I was coming down Concord Pike, instead of getting on 95 to go home, sometimes I would cut thru the city, which took me past Krestons and their sign about "Wines around the World". I stopped in one time and found them very knowledgeable and excellent selection - the staff wasn't just pushing the wine of the week like Total Wine does.

But when I bought my house, I lived within walking distance of Frank's on Union and I really like the staff there plus they have great wine tasting events too.
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nolabear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
20. Don't forget Washington State!
There are some fantastic wines here. Depending on your taste and budget, I love Owen Roe (three price points from 15 to 50 but all three amazing), Maryhill's winemaker's blend... There's a distributor here in Seattle called Esquin and they have a good website, and are happy to answer questions. Support American wineries!
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MrsBrady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 11:40 AM
Response to Original message
22. one wine that surprised me that is not too expensive is this
Edited on Thu Dec-01-11 11:47 AM by MrsBrady
one....
Newman's Own Cabernet Sauvignon

we bought this as a joke, and it turned out to be good.
no seriously. no, really. And I've purchased it several times.
Pretty good.


cab is best served about 67 degrees F....so this time of year you probably don't need to put it in the fridge, as room temp will probably do. But if you want to put it in the fridge for about 10 minutes before you drink it, that would be ok.
But it doesn't really matter.

edit:
Fairly smooth for a cab, I think.
I don't consider myself and expert, but I know what tastes good.

The thing about wine is that you kinda have to try a few things before you know what you like.
Some cheap wines are good, and some expensive wines suck.
Anything on the middle to top shelf, literally, is probably a better wine. Avoid anything on the bottom
two shelves, usually. I'm generalizing, but it's a good place to start.
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bif Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 12:43 PM
Response to Original message
23. If you have a Trader Joe's near you, it's worth a visit
They have a ton of wine under $7. And they're really knowledgeable.
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Enrique Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 12:46 PM
Response to Original message
24. avoid the wines at Save-a-lot
seriously, it looks like a good deal but none of the wines I've bought there have been worth the $3.00 I paid for them.
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ohiosmith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 01:10 PM
Response to Original message
26. One of my favorites:
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Xithras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 01:16 PM
Response to Original message
27. Wine.Woot (and a word of caution about wine shipping)
Edited on Thu Dec-01-11 01:20 PM by Xithras
I'm certainly a "wine aficionado". I go wine tasing in the various California AVA's (Napa, Livermore, Lodi, Gold Country, etc) many times a year, and I'm a member of four different wine clubs (basically, a "membership" at a winery that gives you access to wines not normally available for retail sale). A few weeks ago I got to do a barrel tasting at a winery, where we pulled samples of wines straight out of the oak, a full year before they were bottled (we actually got to try several wines at various stages of the fermentation process, from newly crushed to ready-to-bottle...it was pretty cool.) I take my wine seriously :)

If you want to try some new wines, I strongly recommend checking out Wine.Woot.Com. If you're not familiar with Woot, it's an online retailer that sells one item a day at huge discounts, until that item is sold out. Once that happens, they shut their sales down until the next item goes up the following day. A few years ago they opened up a second site that specializes in wine and wine related gear. Because of the lower volume, they only rotate their item weekly, but it's an awesome way to sample great wines from around the world at a fairly substantial discount. They also have discussion forums for each item, so you can get other peoples opinions on the wine before buying, and they usually have the vintners participate, so you'll end up with all sorts of other great information, including aging recommendations, suggested serving temperatures (did you know that many wines are crafted to achieve their ideal taste within a certain temperature range?), and food pairing suggestions. These discussions are usually oriented towards beginners, and are never snooty or serious. If a wine tastes like brake fluid, you can gurantee that someone will post "It tastes like brake fluid."

It's just a shame that they're selling cheese this week. It's good cheese, at an amazing price, but it's...cheese. On Wine.Woot. Last week they had some funky hand-crafted olive oil. It was supposedly awesome and people were raving over it, but I'm not into the oil thing. After two weeks of no wine, they'll probably post a great wine deal next Wednesday.

Oh, and for that WORD OF CAUTION that I warned about in the title: Good wine is temperature sensitive, and contains many natural compounds from the grapes it was harvested from. Like any natural juice, wine can be "cooked" if it gets too hot, and wines cooking temperature is VERY low...like 85-90 degrees. Keep a bottle of very good wine at 90 degrees for 5-6 hours, and you'll turn it into a bottle of very bad vinegar. While it's not a big problem at this time of year, this can be a HUGE issue when you're getting wine shipped during the spring or summer, when your wine could easily end up spending several days sitting inside of a 100+ degree UPS or Fedex trailer. Before purchasing wine online, look for information describing their shipping process. Any reputable wine retailer will have this information on their site, but call them if not. If the wine is just placed in a padded box and shipped via UPS, skip them and buy somewhere else. BevMo, for example, ships many of their Arizona and Southern California wine orders using only UPS Next-Day delivery, in a temperature controlled box. If you order wine from them in Atlanta, in July when it's 90 degrees outside, it's going to come via UPS 3-Day in a plain padded box, and there's a good chance that the wine will be bad when you get it. You don't want wine that's been in the back of a 100+ degree trailer box for several days :puke: Wine.Woot, mentioned above, is an example of a retailer that does it right. All summer shipments go out in temperature controlled boxes, ALL shipments are sent via a delivery company with temperature controlled trucks, and they watch the weather, and will hold your shipments entirely if there's a heatwave, to prevent spoilage. Most reputable wine retailers will do the same.

Just do your homework before buying anything. Shipping can work great, but I've seen people blow hundreds of dollars on wine, only to have it arrive "cooked" after sitting in a FedEx bin over a long June weekend.
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mulsh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 04:08 PM
Response to Original message
29. Are there any wine shops in our area that offer tasting?
If so go to one or a couple and taste a few wines.find something you like that's within your budget and get a case. Wine is produced all around the world. taste is subjective. Besides 'getting there is half the fun'

My father earned 2 degrees in Enology (fancy term for wine making), his advice was this "any idiot can spend a lot of money and find a good wine, it takes true courage to spend under $10.00 to find a great one but they're out there."
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geardaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 04:35 PM
Response to Original message
30. This'll do ya.
Edited on Thu Dec-01-11 04:36 PM by geardaddy


but it's not really a "sippin' wine."
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plcdude Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 05:15 PM
Response to Original message
32. I drink alot of wine
but I go with the other responders that you should find a good store and try different wines until you find those that you really prefer. I like Redwood Creek wines from the Frei Brothers vineyards so try some of them. I especially like their Pinot Noir. I also like some of the boxed wines for just sipping in the evenings.
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