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Christian

Wine

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should last us 8 months to a year, depending on consumption

I guess consumption was heavy, because we're down to our last bottle. So these lasted ... let's see ... 3 months, not 8. Guess I underestimated.

The stem of our French rose disintegrated during opening Saturday night, so that spurred us to plan another visit. Only the Rosemont shiraz remains, so we would've been making a trip soon even if the second-to-last bottle hadn't been ruined during opening.

The Luc Pirlet pinot is the best I've ever tasted. Granted, I've never been a big fan of the varietal, so don't count me as too discerning. But I'll be certain to pick up at least one more bottle Luc Pirlet on our return trip.

Edited by Christian

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In the odd category:

A friend of ours spent three weeks in Bucharest this past spring and rewarded our cat-sitting with two bottles of VAMPIRE Cabernet vinted from Transylvanian grapes (he also threw in some Romanian beer, but that's another thread). We drank one and set the other down for a while.

While it's not the most complex wine I've ever had, it is very drinkable--somewhat fruity with a tad less tannin than other cabs. As he bought it in Bucharest, the cost was very low; don't know what it would go for if you found it here in the states.

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Have been sampling a lot of sub-$10 red wines from our supermarket. Mostly so-so stuff... a few nearly undrinkable. Tried a bottle of Cavit Pinot Noir (2003, $9) last night. Fairly lite (12%) but fantastic with a big Cuban-style dinner-- really simple and soft on the pallette --- one of the best of the bunch

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Spanish wine is hot and underpriced. Cavit is a good vintner, very reliable.

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The Luc Pirlet pinot is the best I've ever tasted. Granted, I've never been a big fan of the varietal, so don't count me as too discerning. But I'll be certain to pick up at least one more bottle Luc Pirlet on our return trip.

I picked up two bottles of the French Pinot, as well as a third bottle from an American maker. With the two girls tagging along, I had to move quickly, barely pausing to think through my purchase, which totaled $100 for another 11 bottles. Don't have the list handy, but we're set for another few months.

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Last week I had a non-vintage Firestone Latitude 34.5 Merlot (Santa Ynez Valley and Chile). Cost $7 at Trader Joes several months ago. Not bad for the price, typical Merlot. A little hot and I couldn't find the alcohol content on the label, which I found a bit strange.

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My best budd at work hosted a wine party a few weeks ago comparing sauvignon blancs of various national origins in a blind tasting (a Sancerre, New Zealand, Chile, and Meridian's). My blind taste buds were way off, only identifying the Sancerre.

We were also to bring an example of our favorite summer wines. I brought two different Cavas, of which (I thought, as did others) the Cristalino was just about the best wine at the party! Great stuff and cheap too. The other best was a Stag's Leap Sauv Blanc that someone brought. I can't remember such floral and herbal notes in a sauvignon blanc as I had in that bottle. Wow.

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Tonight after work I'm going to stop by the liquor store to stock up for our Thanksgiving feast. I already have a big bottle of Merlot but want to balance it with a white. Any suggestions? I'm thinking in the <$20 range for a big bottle.

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Spanish wine is hot and underpriced. Cavit is a good vintner, very reliable.

I recently had some Spanish red wine that was highly recommended as one of Spain's best. I found to be lacking in flavor and body. It tasted like it was watered down but we opened the bottle ourselves so we knew it wasn't actually watered down.

Is this common with Spanish wines?

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Darren, I'm not a wine expert by any means, but two whites that I really like (and they're both under $20 for a big bottle) are Yellow Tail's Chardonnay and Cavit's Pinot Grigio.

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Darren, I'm not a wine expert by any means, but two whites that I really like (and they're both under $20 for a big bottle) are Yellow Tail's Chardonnay and Cavit's Pinot Grigio.

Coming back to this thread--- I continue to buy Cavit's Pinot Noir, which has now become a staple dinner wine in our house. I havent found anything, for that price, thats as reliably satisfying. I'll have to try their white wine.

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I recently had some Spanish red wine that was highly recommended as one of Spain's best. I found to be lacking in flavor and body. It tasted like it was watered down but we opened the bottle ourselves so we knew it wasn't actually watered down.

Is this common with Spanish wines?

Actually no. I had a similar experience this summer experimenting with Spanish Rose's. Of the bunch I bought, one in particular tasted like an empty, mediocre Beaujolais. That happens. Folks like us who are still experimenting and learning feel more easily bruised by a lousy bottle. Over the long haul, it won't hurt as much after we get a feel for what we like.

I like the approach that the Wall Street Journal's Friday wine column takes. They analyse about fifty of a particular wine for a column to get a gauge of, say, the state of Australian Shiraz. They pick the five best for their "Dow Jones Wine Index", but get a feel for whether or not the stuff available to you and me who don't live in the NYC tri-state area will be any good. They swear by a golden age of Spanish wine.

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Thanksgiving wines - often a tricky subject since trukey is a distinctive flavor, and the trimmings also have an impact.

I've heard various things recommended. The fun part is that since this is a matter of taste, we get to keep trying different approaches.

Reds:

Nuveaus (mostly Beaujolais) come out now and are a good match because they are so intensly fruity. They serve almost as another way of having cranberries. They are meant to be drunk young.

Pinot Noir - they vary in style. A fruitier style goes well with Thanksgiving.

My favorite: Zinfandel - a big peppery wine that has the chops to stand up to the turkey without overwhelming it as a Cab (and some Merlots) might.

Whites:

Chardonnay - again style matters. Go for a big, oaky one.

Gewurztraminer - a lighter wine than Chard, but its spiciness goes well with turkey. Look for one that says it is dry.

Another wine that I've heard is good with a Thanksgiving meal is sparkling wine (Champagne or American copies thereof). Not a big sparkling wine fan, I don't know that we've tried this, but it seems like it would be a fit.

Edited by Darrel Manson

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Jihn and Dottie in the WSJ have always recommended a dry riesling and yet this year, they did a test of mid-priced ($18-$30) American Cabernets from '01 and '02 vintages to balance the competing T'giving flavors.

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For those who look for decent, inexpensive wines: Tin Roof Chardonnay. It's screw top - not because it's bad, but because many wineries are switching at least part of their production to screw top bottles. Corks cost $$. Most wines now have some sort of composit or plastic cork. Tin Roof is working to take the stigma away from screw top. Aussie wines also often come with screw tops.

Anyway, Tin Roof chard costs about $9. Tropical fruit. Nicely balanced. Not a lot of oak, but still very pleasant.

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How big are they? Never heard of them and since I gave up stogies, I've been cruising the wine section of every store I walk into, just to keep track of labels and prices. I wonder if they are west coast distribution?

Tinroof.com? I'll try that.

[EDIT]Nope. Not "tinroofwinery" either[EDIT]

Edited by Rich Kennedy

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Thanks! The Michigan distributor has been bought out, but I know who bought 'em. Now if I can get my hands on that Pinot Noir rose'...

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We have a new favourite in the $10-12 range: Castle Rock Pinot Noir, from Mendocino County (CA). Their merlot is also pretty good for the price.

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Had a $12 or $13 Zin the other night that is typical Zin (which I like) -- kind of woody and peppery, blackberry fruit. Not exceptional, but good. It's a blend from 7 growers around Lodi. That gives it its greatest attribute -- it's name: 7 Deadly Zins.

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Question for newbie wine connoisseur. I like red wine, dry but not too dry (not fond of Merlot--at least, not yet). I've had Cabernet, and liked it--I think that's the right name--but I'm not sure what brand to buy.

Sometimes I get headaches from red wine, sometimes not. Anyone with any advice?

Edited by Ann D.

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Headaches can be from the sulfides, but with red it's more likely the histamines and tannins.

Stange that you go for Cab, but not Merlot -- they are very close together. Merlot used to be used as a blending wine to mellow out Cab -- both are Bordeaux variatals (which means that if you by French Bordeaux that it may contain either or both -- French wine gets its name from where it comes from, not what kind of grapes it has.)

As to which ones, that is the joy of wine. You have to try them all to find the ones you like. If you have a good wine store near by hit some of their tastings. Or if a restaurant has a wine dinner, try that (it will be a big night out because you'll have several courses, several wines, and let loose of a load of money.) Or take a trip to any of the decent wine countries (Napa/Sanoma, Cal. Central Coast, Temecula (so-so), Oregon, even Washington. Most of the East Coast wineries I've been to have been pretty mediocre.)

Edited by Darrel Manson

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Question for newbie wine connoisseur. I like red wine, dry but not too dry (not fond of Merlot--at least, not yet). I've had Cabernet, and liked it--I think that's the right name--but I'm not sure what brand to buy.

Forget about "brands". Forget about "bests". For example, if you were to search out "best" California Cabernets, you'd really have to start in the $40 and up range. And you wouldn't be able to distinguish why it would be worth two-and-a-half to four times what you are buying now anyway.

Here's what you do: this Friday, buy the Wall Street Journal (about a buck). If the business focus and the political slant of the editorials offend you, throw away the first two or three sections. Keep the "Weekend Journal". Lots of cool stuff in this section (Teachout's weekly theater column among them), but we are concerned with the "Tastings" column on wine.

This husband and wife team will quickly disabuse you of the best of this, best of that mindset and give the novice a pretty good idea of what is going on within a few weeks. They turn wine tasting on it's head, taking a "macro" approach. They will decide, say, to find out about the state of Argentine Sauvignon Blancs and buy as close to fifty of them as possible and taste them all. Their report will give the reader an idea of what to expect from that sort of wine in general, with a list of their favorites from the tasting (but you may not be able to find some of them, hence the objective of getting a general impression!)

Finally, for cheap investment, try South African and Argentine wines. They are just getting a foothold on the American market and are undervalued. Most Spanish wines are low cost, high value too. ASK THE GUY BEHIND THE COUNTER. If he is dismissive or seems too ready to give a flip answer, find a different store with a better guy. It's your money.

Edited by Rich Kennedy

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Tonight: a $9 Yalumba Viognier from S. Austalia. Quite nice.

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I just got back from our Graduate School Wine Club.

Very good time. Tonight was tasting four Rieslings: two German, one BC, and a French. It's nice to have this opportunity to taste different wines, with appropriate appetizers. For $9 it's a great deal, and I had a great time with my friends.

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