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Christian

Wine

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As part of my recent wine purchase of a mixed case, my local vintner answered my request for German Riesling with a $25 bottle of German Scheurbe. I'm glad he did, because it was the best bottle of wine I've had since ... well, since that bottle of German Riesling I bought at the same store 18 months earlier.

And I don't fancy myself a fan of "sweet" whites. But these German wines, man, I'm impressed.

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I'm addicted to the Car-A-Day calender. Couldn't find it before Christmas. The Babe found it discounted on e-Bay or Amazon in January. Discounted. I'd try them if I were you.

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Those with Trader Joe's access, look for RCTJWF Zinfandel from Paso Robles. About $5 and very drinkable. It's not world class, but a great buy.

(the name, btw, is for Really Cool Trader Joe's Wine Find)

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Another Trader Joe's standard is the Bogle Petit Syrah at $11. Still haven't found a person that doesn't like it.

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Another Trader Joe's standard is the Bogle Petit Syrah at $11. Still haven't found a person that doesn't like it.

Yes, that is an excellent standard. Sadly, our Trader Joe's doesn't carry it but our Binny's does. TJ's used to carry Stonehedge Petite Syrah that I thought was pretty nice as well. But they no longer do. I am in the mood for wine. Petite Syrah to be precise and I have a Bogle upstairs.

Edited by Thom(asher)

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Save it for next time we are in Chicago. By then, I am sure it will have aged considerably.

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Save it for next time we are in Chicago. By then, I am sure it will have aged considerably.

To the point of spoiling. The shelf life doesn't seem to be great. However, if you come into town I will make a special trip.

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A WORD TO THOSE THINKING OF A SPLURGE: Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher write a wine column for WSJ (now in Saturday's paper) that has taught me volumes and given me a shortcut to understanding wine in a sea of bottles. Last year they gave tips on ordering in restaurants and one of them proved SPECTACULARLY true last night.

On my birthday, we try to hit The Real Seafood Company in Ann Arbor for paella if we are home. They essentially let the celebrant eat free. Eat. It was also the start of our vacation, so I wanted a bottle of wine. John and Dottie have suggested that the lowest price on the list is usually an overpriced throwaway for the cheapskate or knownothing, while the second cheapest can often provide real value, sometimes the best value on the wine list. Among the Sauvignon Blancs last night, that place was occupied by a Whitehaven Marlborough from NZ which has been doing decent whites for a while. $33. It was excellent. Even The Babe liked it. We killed the bottle and somehow made it home.

I had to run a few errands last night and ran by the store later. We have a decent wine dept. Now, the bottle at dinner was an oh so current '08 (non-vintage southern hemisphere wines usually bottle and ship during their Summer, so look for as current as possible). We had an '07 at $25.99 0n sale at $21.49. Talk about a deal! The restaurant seemed to mark up their stock of that wine only a quarter? Usually one expects to pay at least double with dinner.

Thank you John and Dottie!!!

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For those with access to Trader Joe's, they have a pair of Argentinian wines from La Finca for about $4 each as I recall. The Cabernet was all right but not spectular. Decent enough for something that cheap. The Malbec was undrinkable - surprising since Malbec from Argentina is generally pretty good.

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I have a question. I bought a 2004 Loire Valley (Saumur, red, but don't recall the vintner) and opened it last week. The cork was moldy, and the wine had an off odor, so we recorked it to take it back to the seller. But now its been a few days--how long can I wait to take it back (with receipt) and get my money?

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I wouldn't dally in order to make your case. If the cork was deteriorated and the wine skanky, I'm not sure that would happen quickly at all. You probably baought the wine in that condition *assuming you bought it at least iminent to Halloween). The longer you wait, the harder it is to make the case that you bought skanky wine.

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Film for oenophiles: Mondovino - a look at the globalization (ruination?) of the wine industry. At least Mondavi is more palatable of a standard than McDonalds.

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Darrel, I have that DVD at home and have watched the first 30 minutes of it so far.

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we have about a half hour left - it is a bit long.

Bottom line: if you like the same style of wine as Robert Parker, the world is going to make wine for you. If you like a different style, there are a few dinosaurs trying to preserve variety.

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For those with access to Trader Joe's, look for their Trader Joe's Coastal wines - they cost twice as much as Two Buck Chuck, but they are better. Certainly worth the increased price.

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I've been debating trying those. They BETTER be better wines. I'm suspicious of wines at such a low price-point.

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Rich, you need to develop the Calif approach to TJs. Go in, buy one of each of the cheap wines. Go sit in car and open and taste them. Return to store to buy cases of the drinkable ones.

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For our anniversary last night, we paid corkage on our bottle of '82 (year we were married) Heitz Cellars Martha's Vineyard Cab. We were pleased that our less than perfect cellaring hadn't killed it. I'll just say it's not a bad wine. I expect we paid about $24 back when we bought it (for our 5th anniversary). Ah, those were the days - when that was a very expensive Calif. wine.

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Haven't posted to this thread in awhile. Here are some recent thoughts on / experiences with wine.

Living in France has made me appreciate exactly how good a Bordeaux can be for less than $10 (converting from Euros, of course). There's this funny pricing structure in the French grocery stores: lots and lots of $5-10 wines, and then a fairly even selection up to ~$60. We've tried roughly 30 Bordeauxs under $10, and they range from barely drinkable to pretty darn good. But to get more than pretty-darn-good, you start to pay quite a bit more. I've had a few in $30 range than were superb...but $30. So it seems like the big French wine subsidization works only up to a point.

Working in Switzerland means that we sometime shop there for wine. The French, being French, don't really sell anything but French wine. In Switzerland, you can get a good selection of Italian, Spanish, and other European wines, including Swiss wines, which are really quite good but not sold much outside the country. There's a smaller selection of South American fare and very little from North America or Australia/NZ. We've dubbed the Chivite "Gran Feudo", from Navarra in Spain, as our house wine. About $8, this is an approachable Rioja-like red that is still complex...I'll drink this any day.

We (wife, 2 kids, my parents) recently stayed for a week at an agriturisimo in Tuscany. This is a working vineyard, with 4000 olive trees, and a variety of old buildings fixed up for tourists like us who don't want to be in a city and don't need a pristine hotel or swanky B&B. It was fantastic. The farm, formerly the summer estate of the Bishop of Arezzo, produced 3 nice reds: a basic rosso (no certification) for 7$, the Bishop's wine (DOC certification) for $10, and an excellent Vino Nobile de Montepulchiano (DOCG), which was a steal for $15. They also produced a dessert wine and a grappa, as well as olive oil. We found this to be the standard slate of offerings in the area: a few reds, a dessert wine, grappa, and olive oil. Our first night there, we were treated to a great tasting/snacking with the other guests, who happened to be a group of 5 German families. Good times.

In the course of our trip, we visited Montalcino, known for its wonderful and expensive Brunello (brunette) di Montalcino. I've loved these wines since I first had one for a birthday back in California, at the suggestion of K&L Wines, a fine, fine shop in the Bay area (and now in Hollywood). In fact, we went searching for the particular Montalcino winery that made one of the Brunellos that I'd had. After a few miles on a windy gravel road, we turned up a long, steep driveway and pulled into a clearing next to a gorgeous Tuscan villa. A woman can out, introduced herself (in English), and asked if we wanted to come in and taste their wine. She ushered us into their living/dining room and we all took seats at the table while she called her husband down from the vineyard. The couple have named their wine Sesta di Sopra, after the local region. The symbol on their label comes from a 2000+ year old Etruscan pot found on their land.

We sipped their wonderful wines (two reds), walked around the property, had a look at the cellar, and allowed the kids to pet the cats and charm the proprietors. We returned to the table for bread and olive oil, and grappa. The wine was pricy ($20 and $50) but the hospitality and the unique experience made the purchase totally worthwhile. We chatted about winemaking, farming, and grandkids. We talked about K&L, and their Italian wine buyer, who both of us know. As a parting gift, they gave us a jar of honey from friends down the road who keep bees. What a trip...

Recently, I discovered the Vina Sutil operation in Chile. From a few vineyards spread throughout the country, they make a fine selection of affordable wine. And they're becoming more widely distributed. I wouldn't be surprised to find this sort of wine at Cost Plus some day. We really like their Carmenère varietal.

Edited by Jeff Kolb

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Jeff. I hate the covet commandments.

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Jeff. I hate the covet commandments.

Is it my wife or my donkey?

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well, he can see neither your wife or your ass. I'd say it's the in vino paradise angle.

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What do you guys think of the Norton grape? I ask because it's indigenous to Virginia, which has been on the rise in the world of North American wines. But most of the focus has been on viognier, from what I've read. Norton has been raised as a possible contender and dismissed by most aficionados, who don't believe the grape has the complexity of better known varietals.

However, there seems to be a renewed push for the acceptance of Norton, and it's being fueled in part by the publication of Todd Kliman's The Wild Vine, which tells the story of the origins of the Norton grape, and of its biggest advocate, Jenni McCloud.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNHuSxpg7dA, which I just discovered when googling for information on the book, which I've been reading. Very nice trailer! I like this as a form of book marketing. Is this common? Never seen one of these.

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Wikipedia says Edited by Darrel Manson

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Last night I bought a bottle of sherry for a local gathering of church guys who get together to enjoy finer beverages. I usually bring port and had wanted to bring brandy this time, but the ABC store closed before I got there and, in Virginia, no ABC store means no liquor. I went to Total Wine and decided to try sherry. I'd taken a class 15 years ago on port and sherry; the port part stuck. I love the stuff. But I found the sherry foul and never gave sherry a second chance ... until last night.

The Dry Oloroso style sherry proved to be a hit with the crowd, and with me, and I'm now ready to explore the world of sherry.

Any recommendations for other styles of sherry -- what to seek out, what to avoid, which bottlers or brands are preferable to others? I spent part of today reading through some wine books, boning up. I'm excited!

Edited by Christian

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