Wine!

Apparently, people like to eat.

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Wine!

Postby Dream » Thu Jun 12, 2008 9:28 am UTC

A thread that needs no justification whatsoever.

Right now, I'm drinking a merlot/cabarnet/shiraz (yes, in order by volume, and I know it's weird) cleanskin blend. It's a little too cheap and nasty to be really good, but it's going very well with my curry. My last bottle was a Coonawarra cabarnet shiraz by Wynn's which was excellent, and everything a Coonawarra should be. Before that it was a Penfold's Shiraz Cabarnet. Can you tell I'm in Australia?

So this is a thread for everyone who loves their vino, and for everyone with any questions about what can be a complicated subject. What do you love, what do you drink, with whom and with what, and what are you curious about why it's that way?

And of course, wine is the real proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy, because it makes itself spontaneously any time a grape is crushed, no effort or interference necessary :)
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Re: Wine!

Postby cypherspace » Thu Jun 12, 2008 4:17 pm UTC

Basically I want to be a wine connoisseur. I'd love to be able to go into a restaurant, look at the wine list and know what's good and what isn't. I don't think I'll ever get to that stage, but I will continue to try as many different wines as I can.

I think chardonnay is generally incredibly overrated. There's far nicer whites out there. I much prefer a good sauvignon blanc. When it comes to red, shiraz and merlot are probably my favourites. Gallo has been a good bet. I'm not a particular fan of rose, although a lot of people seem to be drinking it these days.
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Re: Wine!

Postby Matt » Thu Jun 12, 2008 6:06 pm UTC

All I know about wine is most cheapie red varietals taste like paint unless they're from chile, and every day is a celebration when you buy 6 dollar cava
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Re: Wine!

Postby micco » Thu Jun 12, 2008 6:39 pm UTC

I don`t like wines. Most of them taste bad with and without something to eat. And before someone says that I haven`t tasted enough wines, I have tasted atleast 25 different wines. I had to go to a wine class at school.
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Re: Wine!

Postby Nebuduck » Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:35 pm UTC

micco wrote:I had to go to a wine class at school.


Like they're going to give you nice wine at school? It'll just be cheapo stuff from the supermarket's value aisles.

Anyway, I think my favourite wines are reds from mediterranean countries - Nebbiolo from Italy is good, as are plenty of Spanish and Portugese ones (and you can get some gorgeous ones from Languedoc). At least, they'll do for a lot of the situations I'll drink wine (on it's own/with cheese/with beef). For things like pork and suchlike, an expensive Pinot Noir (cheap Pinot Noirs are always disappointing). Alternatively, something like a predominantly Merlot of Cab Sav from le Francais. New World are nice, but I never feel they're that interesting, more big blunt flavours - easy drinking style things.

I'm not much of a white wine drinker, and never really know what to look for in a white wine.

Kinda slightly not the same, but I went to Andalucia last year, and spend a day going around Sherry Bodegas in Jerez. One of the best days of my life (if you can ignore the ridiculous heat).

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Re: Wine!

Postby micco » Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:48 pm UTC

Supermarkets are not allowed to sell anything that has more than 4,5% of alcohol, so no, they were not some shitty market wines.
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Re: Wine!

Postby Nebuduck » Thu Jun 12, 2008 9:11 pm UTC

What a great country - teaching wine in schools, and stopping supermarkets from selling the sort of stuff that should be left to specialist retailers anyway.

Well, OK, I am just firmly of the opinion "never base your opinions of something on what you did on it in school" - take books - everyone hates whatever they were forced to read in school (or at least, most people do), whether it was any good or not.

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Re: Wine!

Postby eds01 » Thu Jun 12, 2008 9:24 pm UTC

My dad's an oenophile (there are literally over a thousand bottles of wine at my house), so I've tasted a decent variety of wines. I find that I'm not a big fan of red wines, although paired with the right meal, they're not all that bad. I much prefer something like a German Riesling.

Somewhat ironic, since my summer job is being a cellar rat at a winery that makes only Pinot Noir.

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Re: Wine!

Postby Dream » Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:40 am UTC

cypherspace wrote:Basically I want to be a wine connoisseur. I'd love to be able to go into a restaurant, look at the wine list and know what's good and what isn't. I don't think I'll ever get to that stage, but I will continue to try as many different wines as I can.


Just read about what you drink. You'd be surprised how much will stick, and how a little knowledge will go very far.

Nebuduck wrote:Anyway, I think my favourite wines are reds from mediterranean countries - Nebbiolo from Italy is good, as are plenty of Spanish and Portugese ones (and you can get some gorgeous ones from Languedoc). At least, they'll do for a lot of the situations I'll drink wine (on it's own/with cheese/with beef). For things like pork and suchlike, an expensive Pinot Noir (cheap Pinot Noirs are always disappointing). Alternatively, something like a predominantly Merlot of Cab Sav from le Francais. New World are nice, but I never feel they're that interesting, more big blunt flavours - easy drinking style things.


It's strange that you like Nebbiolo for everyday drinking, but avoid Pinot Noir when it is cheap. Avoiding cheap Pinot Noir is a very good idea, as it is a very dificult grape to get right, and the failures are really awful. The thing is, by reputation Nebbiolo is probably the only grape that is more temperamental than Pinot Noir is. Great Nebbiolo is allegedly among the best wine in the world, but bad stuff is very, very bad. That said, it's not a grape I know well, so I can't really say much.

As for the new world wines, they are quite fruity and easy drinking. But that is mirrored in many european wines, like Beaujolais. It is a characteristic of a wine that is intended to be drunk young, rather than one that is specific to a part of the world. Australia, for instance, gets a bad rep sometimes because it has a history of producing mass market, fruit driven cheap wines. It is true that Australia did that, but it is only a bad thing if you ignore all the really great wines that are made alongside the rubbish.
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Re: Wine!

Postby Cryopyre » Fri Jun 13, 2008 6:09 am UTC

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Re: Wine!

Postby Nebuduck » Fri Jun 13, 2008 6:59 am UTC

Well, I haven't had much Nebiollo, and that which I have had was probably fairly expensive, so that could explain it. You're right about having similar wines from the old world of course, it's just a characteristic that seems to apply more to New World. Could be that there are more mass market producers and less individuals, could be down to the climate, I don't really know, but it just seems like something more typical of New World. This doesn't mean I won't drink New World, of course - there are some very fine vineyards that come to mind (actually, the only one I can remember is Shaw & Smith, but there are definitely a couple in the Coonawarra region that I am fond of, but who's names escape my mind for the moment - and obviously a few from NZ.)

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Re: Wine!

Postby Dream » Fri Jun 13, 2008 8:42 am UTC

Coonawarra is a good call. There really are great wineries there. They tend to centre on Cabarnet, and their blends with shiraz and merlot are often excellent. Makes sense if you like a good Bordeaux. Look out for the McLaren Vale and Margaret River regions also, they do excellent reds of various kinds.

Personally, I think the influx of fruity, easy wines from the new world was driven by the stiff competition from Europe for premium wines. Places like Chile and Australia couldn't compete with Rioja or Bourgogne, not because their wines were inferior, but because they lacked the branding and name recognition. As they began to export more and more cheap wine, they wiped the floor with the cheap European wines on price and on quality. Hence the prevalence at that level. Even today, when people should know better, there is still a stigma against very good quality new world wine because it is percieved to be of a kind with the money spinning exports of old.

Shaw and Smith I've only had one bottle of, but it was good.
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Re: Wine!

Postby JayDee » Fri Jun 13, 2008 12:09 pm UTC

Dream wrote:Personally, I think the influx of fruity, easy wines from the new world was driven by the stiff competition from Europe for premium wines.
I thought it was more about the climate, at least here in Australia. I had to learn all about that kind of thing back when I was selling wine, but I've forgot it since.

I had a bad experience with cheap red wine in high school, and didn't drink any for ages. When I started trying wine again I was only drinking whites (mmmm Verdelho) which worked out well, what with the Hunter Valley being so close and all. Then a friend introduced me to the convenience of red wine in screw tops, and I've been drinking Cabernet and Merlot since.
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Re: Wine!

Postby Dream » Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:33 pm UTC

JayDee wrote:
Dream wrote:Personally, I think the influx of fruity, easy wines from the new world was driven by the stiff competition from Europe for premium wines.
I thought it was more about the climate, at least here in Australia. I had to learn all about that kind of thing back when I was selling wine, but I've forgot it since.


Well, you can make easy drinking wines almost anywhere. The warm climate is still a factor though, as you get higher yeilds and therefore greater economies of scale. My point was that bringing premium wine to Europe at the time was like bringing coal to Newcastle. (The English one.) If it didn't have the right appellation on the label, it would have a very hard time selling at a high price becasue the competition was fierce. Of course that just made matters worse, as people often base their opinion of a wine solely on its price, and many of the good Australian wines just wasn't expensive enough to look good. I think there just wasn't space in the European market for a pricey wine with comparatively little pedigree. Then, when the budget wines began to sell well and got a reputation as being good quality if a little bland, Australia found that it could produce as limitless a supply as was necessary. The rest of the new world followed suit about a decade later.

These days, most people know better, and will seek out Australian wine with some trust in its quality. Where I worked in Edinburgh had about twice as much Australian wine as it did Italian, and about the same amount as the entire Americas combined. They will also speak about Chilean and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Argentinian Malbec and Australian Shiraz in the most positive of terms. Fruit centred wines are still easy to make, inoffensive and fast maturing. Basically, not as interesting as an older, aged wine. But they are now of much higher quality, and much more satisfying to drink. People have been voting with their wallets for some time now, and they are voting for the new world.
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Re: Wine!

Postby Nebuduck » Fri Jun 13, 2008 6:49 pm UTC

Of course, higher yields are actually a bad thing from the quality point of view - in some AOCs in france they have a maximum yield per acre to maintain quality, so some farmers have to remove fruit before it ripens. Basically, a high yield tends to lead to a watery, flabby wine, if I recall correctly.

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Re: Wine!

Postby Dream » Sat Jun 14, 2008 3:01 pm UTC

Higher yeilds per acre obviously impact on the grape quality and so the wine quality. But when you have a huge amount of land, you can produce market flooding amounts of wine without seeing the very real problems with overproduction that you describe. You just plant more acres instead of increasing density. Your wine might not have great character, and might have no discernable terroir, but that doesn't mean it will be bad.
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Re: Wine!

Postby Nebuduck » Sat Jun 14, 2008 3:18 pm UTC

You mentioned warmer climates leading to higher yields (which in itself isn't necessarily true - lack of rain should lead to a lower yield, but very intense wine), and presumably you meant higher yields per plant, since that's what climate would effect. Yield per plant leads to the problems described.

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Re: Wine!

Postby Bakemaster » Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:20 pm UTC

Last night Sarah rented the movies and I bought the wine. We were looking at zinfandels but couldn't find any that looked interesting and were also in my price range, so we asked the employee who was drifting around the racks for some recommendations. On his advice we brought home a Thomas Halby 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon; it was $19, a bit more than I had wanted to spend, but I'm familiar with the shop and I have a certain amount of trust in them. According to the wine guy, this is a wine made from the juices of several different Napa Valley vineyards, and it's more affordable than many wines of similar quality because Halby is not a well-known name. We enjoyed the wine quite a bit; it was smooth and drinkable, not the most complex wine I've tasted but definitely the best Cabernet I've had so far (out of a not huge sample set). I particularly enjoyed the aroma.

We also like Rex Goliath's 47 Pound Rooster (lol, giant cock wine) Chardonnay, although we tried a giant cock red (Merlot?) and didn't enjoy it as much. Some of Sarah's memorable favorites are a Cycles Gladiator 2005 Pinot Noir and J.Vidal-Fleury 2005 Cotes-du-Ventoux (which I only got because I had really enjoyed a white from the same region that was sitting next to it on the shelf, and the labels were entirely in French so I assumed they were from the same winery, but really I have no clue). I'm going to try to find the bottle of that white I liked, if I still have it at home, because I can't find it anywhere on the internet.

When we don't want to try something new we often get a Barefoot wine. It's a good cheap California brand. We tried their sparkling white zinfandel once and it was very good for $10.
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Re: Wine!

Postby Dream » Sat Jun 14, 2008 10:54 pm UTC

Nebuduck wrote:You mentioned warmer climates leading to higher yields (which in itself isn't necessarily true - lack of rain should lead to a lower yield, but very intense wine), and presumably you meant higher yields per plant, since that's what climate would effect. Yield per plant leads to the problems described.

Sorry, I should have specified allowed rather than led to.

Lack of rain has different effects depending on when it happens in the year. Everything in viticulture should really have the automatic proviso that it only happens unless it is deliberately avoided. The whole thing is so controlled that (almost) anything can be gotten around to produce some kind of useful harvest.
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Re: Wine!

Postby TheStranger » Wed Jun 25, 2008 1:58 am UTC

Ah, wine... one of my favorite beverages.

Though I've found that fruity wines have their place nothing is better then a good dry red.

Unfortunately I've encountered few who share my tastes...
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Re: Wine!

Postby Flying Betty » Thu Jun 26, 2008 4:18 am UTC

I tend to prefer sweeter, fruitier wines if possible. I'll go for a Reisling if it's available, or a Pinot Grigio. I'm usually not a fan of red wine but I've tried a few decent Burgundys. I doubt that I'll ever be a decent connoisseur or wine snob, but I can at least walk into a restaurant or store and be reasonably assured of ordering something that I like. Niagara is fun too, because it really tastes just like the tiny green grapes.

White Zinfandel is probably the most useful wine for broke/cheap people because good White Zin doesn't really taste any better than shitty White Zin. It's pretty universally drinkable but not great, so you can drink it out of a box or at a dodgy cheap wine event and know both that you're getting what's probably the best choice, and that the better quality stuff isn't any more drinkable than the stuff you have right then.
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Re: Wine!

Postby Dream » Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:23 pm UTC

Flying Betty wrote:I tend to prefer sweeter, fruitier wines if possible. I'll go for a Reisling if it's available,


If you like sweet riesling you might try a Gewurtztraminer. In the Alsace, where the two grapes are grown, riesling is a dry style, and gewurtztraminer is sweet. Mostly. I like my whites bone dry, and would always go with riesling for that. Sweet, I'm not so sure about.

Also, if you ever come across Pinot Gris, try that too. It's the same grape, just French instead of Italian.

Bakemaster wrote:We enjoyed the wine quite a bit; it was smooth and drinkable, not the most complex wine I've tasted but definitely the best Cabernet I've had so far (out of a not huge sample set). I particularly enjoyed the aroma.


I find the exact same thing about many Aussie Cabarnets. They tend towards smooth tannins and fruity paletes. I wish I had access to more Napa wines. I loved the sparkling wines made by the Champagne houses there. They were half the price of the Champagnes themselves, but of equal quality. Cuvee Napa, by G.H. Mumm was great, and Quartet by Roderer. But I never had the chance to try any reds, which are my usual thing.

I went to wine country yesterday, and came back with a new favourite craft brewery, and no new favourite wines. Oh well. It was a nice surprise, and a good time was had by all.
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Re: Wine!

Postby Bakemaster » Thu Jun 26, 2008 6:55 pm UTC

I still can't find any info online about that white I mentioned particularly liking, but I did go back to the store where I bought it and wrote down some information from the label, after which I quite promptly lost the paper I'd written it on. It was a Grenache Blanc and it was a scant $8 and I originally bought it to pair with scampi, because it was in my price range and had a note from the store owner recommending it with seafood and it had a shitload of French on the label. I was in one of those "shitload of French" moods.
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Re: Wine!

Postby Qoppa » Sat Jun 28, 2008 12:41 am UTC

I really dislike wine. Unless it tastes like fruit juice with alcohol (you know, $5 a bottle sort of wine), it tastes awful to me. Then again, I've only ever had red wine, so maybe white would be better. Or I could just stick to beer.

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Re: Wine!

Postby JayDee » Sat Jun 28, 2008 3:05 am UTC

I didn't like wine until I turned ~22. Actually, it's the same with pretty much all alcoholic beverages (except whiskey) - I didn't like them when I was younger, but once I reached a certain age I found I did. Bad experiences with cheap red wine (that tasted like blended tree, I swear. Yeuch.) didn't help at all.

When I did start drinking wine I started on whites (Verdelho in particular) and I was working as a telemarketer selling Wine Club memberships, so I was drinking good stuff. Mmm, that was a good job.

Now I'm loving my cheap Cabernet Merlot. I'm so pleased with the amount of wine in a bottle. It's Just the Right amount.
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Re: Wine!

Postby Dream » Sat Jun 28, 2008 5:10 am UTC

JayDee wrote:I was working as a telemarketer selling Wine Club memberships, so I was drinking good stuff. Mmm, that was a good job.

What club was it? I do a similar job now, although it's face to face, not over the phone.
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Re: Wine!

Postby JayDee » Sat Jun 28, 2008 12:56 pm UTC

Australian Wine Selectors. It was funny, they called me up and I said 'Sorry, I'm poor and unemployed' and they were all 'Well then, could we interest you in a job then?' which I thought was rather well done.
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Re: Wine!

Postby Dream » Sat Jun 28, 2008 1:13 pm UTC

JayDee wrote:Australian Wine Selectors. It was funny, they called me up and I said 'Sorry, I'm poor and unemployed' and they were all 'Well then, could we interest you in a job then?' which I thought was rather well done.

Ha! I work for the same people :) So, if you've seen the benefits of a wine club membership before, could I interest you in our Regional Selection? Less than half retail price, and no ongoing commitment to purchase?

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Re: Wine!

Postby JayDee » Sat Jun 28, 2008 1:23 pm UTC

If I wasn't back to being an impoverished uni student, I'd be going more than just the Regional Selection. If someone's choosing my wine for me, I want the good stuff. Make it a Chairmans.
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Re: Wine!

Postby dubsola » Mon Jun 30, 2008 1:11 pm UTC

Dream wrote:If you like sweet riesling you might try a Gewurtztraminer.

I just had this yesterday, for the first time! You're right, it was delicious and slightly sweet. Did well as a dessert wine substitue. Also, you should try some Tokaji - Hungarian wine that is rather nice and sweet.

Anyway, my absolute favourite wine is Rioja, from that region of Spain. It's fantastic. Look out for it, it's underrated and therefore good value for money.

I like a nice crisp white, like a Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc, especially with seafood.

On my summer holiday I tried a new kind of wine, it's called Txakoli (pronounced Chakolee). It's Basque, and tastes a bit like tart cider. Apparently it's a young white wine, it's got bubbles and a bit of a zing. Yummers.

As for wine selection, I go by price or recommendations. Price - as in, I'll buy something that costs US$10-15 or more per bottle, and recommendations - I try to buy from a wine store, where I know the person who works there will know what they're talking about.

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Re: Wine!

Postby Dream » Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:58 am UTC

dubsola wrote:
Dream wrote:If you like sweet riesling you might try a Gewurtztraminer.

I just had this yesterday, for the first time! You're right, it was delicious and slightly sweet. Did well as a dessert wine substitue. Also, you should try some Tokaji - Hungarian wine that is rather nice and sweet.

See, I don't actually go for sweet wines in a big way. That's why I've never gotten around to trying a Tokaji. Also, the real thing is ruinously expensive.
Anyway, my absolute favourite wine is Rioja, from that region of Spain. It's fantastic. Look out for it, it's underrated and therefore good value for money.

I've never heard a bad word said about Rioja. Most people I know love the stuff, and everyone rates it. Glad you liked the Gewurtztraminer though. I always like to tip someone off to a good wine.
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Re: Wine!

Postby drbhoneydew » Thu Jul 03, 2008 10:14 am UTC

Wine is top!

For reds I favour Grenache/Garnacha & Petit Verdot or Chilean Carmeneres. Portuguese reds using a similar blend of grapes to Port are awfully nice. It's hard to go wrong with Riojas, but Cotes des Pyrenees wines are fairly decent too - just over the mountains into France and using similar grape varieties. I also quite like Moldovan wines - similar latitude to Burgundy, forced to be organic as they can't afford chemical fertilisers, and patronised by the Tsars for a few centuries. Pretty decent Cabernets and Pinot Noirs for not too much money.
I've long thought that French snootiness for emphasising terroir over what kind(s) of grape they're using is a pain as it makes impulse buys a lot harder.

Grenache also makes by far the best Roses IMO, it's just packed with fruitiness.

I didn't get into whites until relatively recently, but I much prefer Sauvignon Gris & Pinot Grigio.

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Re: Wine!

Postby Iconoclast » Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:01 pm UTC

Does anyone here watch Wine Library TV? Bringing the thunder.
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Re: Wine!

Postby sakeniwefu » Thu Jul 31, 2008 3:54 am UTC

Wine is red wine. Room temperature is also usually better tasting than cool if the wine is good, so disregard stupid bottle indications.

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dubsola
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Re: Wine!

Postby dubsola » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:45 am UTC

Dream wrote:See, I don't actually go for sweet wines in a big way. That's why I've never gotten around to trying a Tokaji. Also, the real thing is ruinously expensive.

Fair enough. It's not ridiculously sweet, not as sweet as most dessert wines. But yeah, I can imagine it's pricey. My Dad found some for cheap, so I've no idea how much it costs normally.

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Dream
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Re: Wine!

Postby Dream » Fri Aug 01, 2008 9:01 am UTC

Well, you can buy it made in other places, like a Rutherglen Tokay, made right here in Victoria. That's obviously cheaper than the real thing. But I have no idea how region specific it is, and whether the foreign versions are really similar or as good.

On such a note, has anyone tried Eiswein/Icewine? It's a sweet wine that's made of grapes picked and crushed while frozen. Never tried it myself, but I'm told it's wonderful.
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DontKnowAWittyNickname
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Re: Wine!

Postby DontKnowAWittyNickname » Mon Aug 11, 2008 8:50 am UTC

I live 20 minutes by car from a great area for wine in germany.
Favourite white wines:
-Muskateller and Morio Muskat
-Gewürztraminer
-Riesling ("sweet"er variants, ie Spätlese and such stuff)
Favourite Red wines:
-I am not so much focused on grape varieties here. Just has to be good ;)

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Decker
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Re: Wine!

Postby Decker » Mon Aug 11, 2008 2:16 pm UTC

Dream wrote:On such a note, has anyone tried Eiswein/Icewine? It's a sweet wine that's made of grapes picked and crushed while frozen. Never tried it myself, but I'm told it's wonderful.


This is odd. I haven't had wine in two years, and I just had Icewine the other day. I don't drink so I'm not used to alcohol. Because of this, it was delicious in the mouth, but it was painful to swallow. I would get it again though.

It was also shockingly yellow and rather pricey. $30 for a small bottle.
Last edited by Decker on Mon Aug 11, 2008 2:18 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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JimBot!
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Re: Wine!

Postby JimBot! » Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:20 am UTC

My all time favourite is sadly very rare. :/

Amarone, from northern Italy. It costs a small fortune in restaraunts, but once in your life, try it. It makes JimBot! a happy bot.

http://www.wineintro.com/types/amarone.html
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wirehead
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Re: Wine!

Postby wirehead » Wed Aug 13, 2008 6:34 pm UTC

My route for exploration (which has worked out quite well) has been to live near wine country and only buy stuff that I've drunken while visiting a winery.

Works great if you live in Silicon Valley, of course...

But it also gives me the ability to handle a wine list at a fancy dinner, because I can just open to the "California wine" section and generally find at least one widely distributed wine from here worth suggesting.


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