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Ann D.   

Once wine is opened, how long does it last until it turns bitter?

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Depends on how picky you are. We sometimes only drink 1/2 bottle at dinner. We suck some of the air out with a vacuvin (which really may not make any difference, but we do it anyway), and will usually drink the rest in a day or two. There have been times when we kept a bottle of jug white in the fridge for when we wanted a bit more, and it would keep for quite a while (but it was jug, how much worse can it get?) I notice the oxidation more with reds than with whites (which, since they are chilled hide the flaws better than room temp or slightly below reds).

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Thom   

Although I have been drinking wine for years, I am a wine novice. I know what I like but I have only recently been able to express why. So I have a question and this looks like the place to ask.

I recently had a Pinot Noir that had a "mild hint of coffee." It had more of a full body to me and seemed a bit more balanced in overall taste. I have never had a wine that possessed a "hint of coffee" to any degree and upon doing some investigation I have learned that it is not uncommon to find.

My questions are, what is the process of making wine with coffee? Do they use the beans or the grounds? or is this more of a "I can taste the soil of the grape" kind of comment?

Edited by asher

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I think it comes from the winemaker spilling his coffee by accident.

No, really there are lots of things that can influence the wine, the wood used in the barrels (and how they've been prepared or how old they are), the soil and even the environment. Palates vary, some will pick up things differently. Keep in mind that most of our taste isn't in our tongues, it's in our noses. That's why the swirl and sniff is important in wine tasting. I would expect that coffee is either from the grape or the wood.

One of the things I've found a few times is a minty taste. First noticed it at one of the first wineries we went to. Turns out there was a row of eucalyptus trees on one side of the vineyard. The wind blows the eucalytpus oil onto the grapes. This is also one of the distinctive notes in Heitz Cellars Martha's Vineyard Cab. (very pricey - had one, have an 82 cellared for our 25th wedding annivesary. [We got married in 82])

For those interested in reading about flavor, the physiology, chemistry, etc.

Here is a pdf file that includes the aroma wheel that puts all kinds of aromas/tastes in families. It's in black and white, you can see the colors here in case you want to get some crayons and let your kids color it in for you.

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Thom   

I think it comes from the winemaker spilling his coffee by accident.

No, really there are lots of things that can influence the wine, the wood used in the barrels (and how they've been prepared or how old they are), the soil and even the environment. Palates vary, some will pick up things differently. Keep in mind that most of our taste isn't in our tongues, it's in our noses. That's why the swirl and sniff is important in wine tasting. I would expect that coffee is either from the grape or the wood.

One of the things I've found a few times is a minty taste. First noticed it at one of the first wineries we went to. Turns out there was a row of eucalyptus trees on one side of the vineyard. The wind blows the eucalytpus oil onto the grapes. This is also one of the distinctive notes in Heitz Cellars Martha's Vineyard Cab. (very pricey - had one, have an 82 cellared for our 25th wedding annivesary. [We got married in 82])

That is pretty interesting, especially the accident coffee spill. Seriously though, it is interesting that the grapes would absorb scents and flavors from the surrounding environment. Do coffee beans have a distinct aroma before they are dried?

I remember the first time I tasted the soil in the wine, it was an earmark experience of the palate. It was a Yugoslavian wine and I try to keep one in the "rack" at all times.

Back to the coffee, I was reading how to make wine from coffee in a Homemade Wine making book and they actually use coffee ground and strain the wine before racking it. This lead me to believe that they might actually begin the wine making processing with actual coffee.

Hey, that 25th anniversary is coming up quickly and so is that Martha's Vineyard Cab.

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Monsieur, shall I decant the Tetra Pak?

Attention Ontario oenophiles: Fancy getting your favourite domestic vintages out of a box made from cardboard, aluminum foil and plastic? No? Well, too bad. Such containers could become de rigueur wine packaging in the not too distant future -- even though the Ontario wine industry is dead set against it.

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) is urging Ontario winemakers to package their varietals in "Tetra Pak" containers. You know the sort -- those little boxes that typically contain juice and milk for the Romper Room set. Economic coercion is apparently part of the plan: The LCBO is informing Ontario producers that if they don't get with the Tetra Pak program soon, their shelf space at LCBO stores could be in jeopardy.

David Menzies, National Post, March 8

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Thom   

We are always happy to find sub$10 wines, but I expect most of the time we drink $12-17 stuff. For a really good meal (which my wife does well) we'll pop open a $25-35 wine. Most that we have pricier than that, we'll take someplace and pay corkage.

More evidence of my novice standing. Does paying corkage make a difference? I mean, is there more to it than pulling the cork out of the bottle?

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More evidence of my novice standing. Does paying corkage make a difference? I mean, is there more to it than pulling the cork out of the bottle?

There are many issues. Restaurants that serve wine make a good profit on its sale (OTOH, such a service is very inventory intensive, ie. much investment tied up in the potential sale). So you are competing with that and not helping to reduce inventory.

Restaurants with no license to sell wine (the usual opportunity to BYO in my experience) might charge due to professional pride. One would not necessarily be in the habit of following through with wine service and plan their logistics accordingly. There is more to it than opening the bottle. One should never let the customer pour his own wine at the table. It would be not unlike allowing the customer to grab his own food from the kitchen. If a server is not in the habit of working with wine, it takes a break from planned routine to do it right for the odd customer.

Here in Michigan, it would be conceivable that the establishment might be responsible for the level of inebriation of the customer as well. We have "dram laws" here that hold servers and establishment responsible when a crime is committed "under the influence". Also, we have one of those egregious 0.08 laws here which essentially holds one as drunk due to a "buzz".

There is also the reason for the charge that they do it because they can.

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Corkage seems fair since you are cutting the restaurant out of its wine sales. It wouldn't be right to stop at Taco Bell and bring your bag into a restraurant. We usually check corkage costs before we go. It's also inappropriate to take something they have on the wine list and pay corkage.

We take good stuff if we're going to pay corkage. It really seems pretty dumb to pay $10 corkage on a $6 bottle. However if you have a $45 bottle (or since we have a couple in the three figure realm due to aging), $10 isn't that big a deal. In fact it seems a bargain to have a wine that is good enough to go with a gourmet meal that doesn't require taking out a mortgage.

Price guide: Wine prices have jumped faster than other prices so this may be harder to do now then when we started doing wine, but the rule of thumb at one point was in choosing a wine for home, you should probably pick a wine that cost as much as the whole meal you're making. At a restaurant, the wine should be the cost of one of the entres. Like I said, it's hard to do this now.

Also in judgine wine list prices, it used to be that a wine at a restauant would be about twice retail or triple wholesale. Often the restaurants have moved to about triple retail. Boo!

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Went to a tasting of Rhone varitals from Calif. Central Coast yesterday. Mostly Syrah, a couple Viogniers to start, a few red blends. What a deal for the store. We pay $20/each to taste some pretty good wines, then drop $100 buy a few bottles, some cheese...

But at the tasting, I remembered something that novices may want to heed. Almost always when you taste at a winery, the red wines will be too young to drink. They may style a few for early drinking, but most will still have a good amount of tannin (the stuff that makes your mouth pucker up when you drink it.) My wife and I have learned that it's best (for a few reasons) for one of us to do reds and one whites. I do the reds, so I've had lots of those tannic wines. Over time, I've developed a little bit of sense of getting below the tannin and tasting the fruit that's still hidden and make a guess at how long to hold the wine.

the best time I had with this was at a winery in Central Coast that the guy there was sorta bored with the usual winery tasters and when he figured out I had at least a rudimentary understanding, he got out the thief and started me barrel tasting things. There is a challenge.

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Last night we had a very nice Alsacian gewurztraminer - Kiechel, $8 at Trader Joes. Excellent fruit and the typical spiciness that is associated with gewurz. It is a dry wine, but has enough fruit to give it the sense of sweetness.

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At an elegant French restaurant to celebrate our anniversary on Saturday, I ordered a glass of Bordeaux. I don't know the producer, but the wine was out of this world -- which is a good thing, considering that the final bill revealed that the glass cost me $10.

It was worth it.

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Darren H   

Last week I asked our wine seller to recommend a relatively inexpensive California Zinfandel and, without hesitation, he handed us a bottle from Rosenblum Cellars ($11). He told us they're known for their more expensive zins but that this on would give us a taste of what they offer.

I still don't have much of a vocabulary for describing the taste of wine, but Rosenblum's site calls it "lovely, bright jammy cherry and raspberry fruit with hints of black pepper and spice." Joanna and I both loved it, as did the couple we drank it with. I might buy a half-dozen bottles on my next liquor run.

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ruthie   

A few year ago, I worked for a specialty wine shop and deli. Unfortunately, I was just starting to drink wine at the time, so I was now to picking up on some of the subtleties. One slow evening, I was working alone with my manager and he was testing several new wines he had just ordered for the collection, so he had cooked several dishes and set up a full wine tasting for himself in the back of the store. Since no one had come through the store in a while, he invited me to join him, and he taught me briefly how to go through a wine tasting: what order to try the different varieties; what to look for in the nose, legs, color, flavor, etc.; what to eat to heighten different flavors and cleanse the pallet; how to criticize what you don't like in a wine. It was so fascinating! I wish I had such easy and free recommendation around still now that I am more familiar ... ah well, I suppose it would be dangerous for our picketbooks.

Edited by ruthie

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When I greatly enjoyed a very expensive glass of THIS at a restaurant a couple of months ago, Anne and I set out to find it.

We didn't have to search long, and we were astonished to find that a bottle of the very same stuff was less than the glass I'd had at the restaurant. In fact, you can find it for about seven bucks a bottle.

I wouldn't call myself a connossieur, but we've been enjoying this more than any of our previous favorites of Shiraz, Merlot, or the Cabs.

Check in the Italian wine section, even at your local supermarket. You might find it. For the price, it's a hundred times better than that cheap Charles Shaw stuff.

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Check in the Italian wine section, even at your local supermarket. You might find it. For the price, it's a hundred times better than that cheap Charles Shaw stuff.

Well yeah. Chuck's is the best cooking wine around for the price. Although, one of my best friends refuses to go any better than Carlo Rossi Paisano. He loves the stuff.

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When I greatly enjoyed a very expensive glass of THIS at a restaurant a couple of months ago, Anne and I set out to find it.

One of our technical centers that I have ran trials at for my current project is in the Abruzzo region--which is east central Italy. I've always enjoyed both the reds and whites from Abruzzo when I go there, and I am never ordering the expensive stuff--usually just the vino della casa.

Edited by Buckeye Jones

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The guy's a jerk. Not that what he says about SB is especially wrong. But it fails to recognize that there are meals for which SB is well suited. Maybe he prefers to pick his wine first, and then find the food that will go with it -- I do that on occasion, but normally, the food is the key ingredient in the meal and the wine is picked to compliment it.

Edited by Darrel Manson

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Gosh I feel sort of out of place here. . . .I like (gulp) RED wine. ::w00tfuzz::

You snob, you! ;)

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Thom   

I recently purchase a Malbec variety recommended by our neighborhood Trader Joe's "wine guy." I opened it last night and poured a glass. My reaction to the Malbec was much like the fella who didn't like the Sauvignon Blanc. I just didn't care for it and mentally compared it immediately to an inexpensive merlot. Of course, I wasn't going to let a glass of wine go to waste.

Anyway, can anyone recommend a better introduction to Malbec? I will add the label info in a bit, otherwise you may recommmend that very one.

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Chashab   

Frey's organic red zinfendel I really like . . .

as well as Wiederkehr's Edelweiss (A local Arkansas wine ) for around $6 a bottle.

Edited by Chashab

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Am enjoying a glass of Ste. Croix-du-Mont, from Chateau des Hauts de Bougan as I type. I would link to it, but it doesn't have a web page, and I assume is not exported. A sweet Bordeaux, (semillon? muscat?) similar to Sauternes, its a nice finish to the day with some homemade baklava. We bought it in Paris and cellared it for a year, and cracked it open today to celebrate my father-in-law's arrival.

I think I like Sauternes better, as my memory says those I've tried had a better balance of sweetness and acidity. Not that I'm complaining--its a very tasty wine.

Anyone else like dessert wines?

Edited by Buckeye Jones

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Not usually, but we have at times had some Essentia orange muscat. I sort of like a late harvest zin with a nice chocolate dessert. But these days, were more likely to go with a port.

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