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Old 04-29-2014, 09:14 AM   #21
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I have read an article by a wine snob critic, in Bon Appetit perhaps, that he and his spouse challenged each other if they could tell the origin of a bottle of wine by fetching a bottle from their cellar and submitting it to a blind taste by the other.

I do not think I can tell if a Cab is from South America or from Australia, but then I have never really cared. I drink quite indiscriminately when it comes to wine.
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Old 04-29-2014, 09:17 AM   #22
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The comment that some tasters cannot distinguish red from white wine is the result of this paper http://web.archive.org/web/200709282...01/brochet.pdf (see page 9). The experiment compared two apparently different wines, the sponsor secretly used one white wine vs the same wine with red dye. The study was made more popular with this article Wine tasting is bullshit. Here's why.

Anyone interested in learning about wine can quickly, easily and inexpensively find out if they can taste the difference between a few varieties. That should also help them decide if it is something they want to pursue.
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Old 04-29-2014, 09:29 AM   #23
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Yes, I remember that article.

I do have doubts about the consistency of the ratings that wine critics dish out. But I think that in the case of deception using red dye the critics should have been more confident to say that "Heck, what kind of red wine is this that has no tannin?" Or perhaps, they did choose a robust white that's fairly strong with tannin for the ruse.
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Old 04-29-2014, 09:51 AM   #24
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We find the employees at a big liquor store to be very helpful when we buy wine for entertaining. They could probably help the op develop a palate.

Here is a fun Freakonomicsish story from the New Yorker about wine tasting Does All Wine Taste the Same? : The New Yorker

It includes this snippet about the red vs white study at the University of Bordeaux. Apparently none of the experts did a spit take with the fake red whine and proclaimed "Allors, zees ees faux!"


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In one test, Brochet included fifty-four4 wine experts and asked them to give their impressions of what looked like two glasses of red and white wine. The wines were actually the same white wine, one of which had been tinted red with food coloring. But that didn’t stop the experts from describing the “red” wine in language typically used to describe red wines. One expert said that it was “jammy,”5 while another enjoyed its “crushed red fruit.”
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Old 04-29-2014, 10:11 AM   #25
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I think it's a waste of time to train your palate to recognize the subtle differences in red wines. The problem with doing so is that once you develop the ability to distinguish between the different varieties, you will just want to spend more money on them. If you keep your palate ignorant to the differences, the $2 wine will taste just fine. And we buy the Trader Joe's Charles Shaw wine for $2 all the time. For special treats, we upgrade to the Kirkland varieties for about $4/bottle.

If you spend enough time learning, you might get to the point where nothing less than $40 bottles of wine will do. Why would you want to do that? It just raises the ER budget unnecessarily.
You're still buying 2 buck chuck for $2? It has gone up to $2.49 here in Northern California.

I could never fault anyone for developing a taste for finer wines. If you can afford it, why not? However, I am the poster-boy for scrooge-like behavior. I recently made a temporary jump from Charles Shaw to a wine costing $4.99 a bottle on sale (normally in the range of $8 - $15/bottle). It was a Malbec from the Columbia Valley in WA state. The step up in quality was noticeable and very enjoyable. However, by the time I had reached the end of the 2nd bottle, my palate had adjusted, and I was beginning to consider this wine as the "new normal". I hurriedly went back to Charles Shaw, so as not to make a permanent upward change in my wine budget.

I average about a half-glass of wine a day, so even for a cheapskate like me, this is a very manageable level of consumption.
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Old 04-29-2014, 10:50 AM   #26
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Burgundy and Merlot....
A good Burgundy is an absolute pleasure!
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Old 04-29-2014, 11:15 AM   #27
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I had never cared for wine prior to about 1996. All I'd had was cheap red wine from grocery stores, which did nothing for me. Then, I was on a business trip with some coworkers to Santa Rosa, and one of them made a reservation at a steak house and ordered a bottle of nice red wine. I tried it and have been hooked ever since.

White wine doesn't appeal to me as much - I definitely like reds more. I've been through several red phases. First was cabs. Then, I was on a pinot kick for a while, until I figured out that pinot is such a finicky wine that I had to go through 7 or 8 bottles of "crap" (not really crap, it just didn't excite me) before I found one I really liked. Now, I've been on a zinfandel kick for several years.

I've really developed a liking for Sonoma Dry Creek Valley zins. They have a spicy/peppery aspect to them I really like.

The only thing that kind of bummed me out was...I'm single and live alone, so if I open a bottle, I feel compelled to drink the entire bottle. I've never been able to stopper it up and leave it a few days because it doesn't taste right to me afterwards. Just the other day, I bought a can of argon wine preserver from BevMo and only drank a half bottle, sprayed it, and had the rest a couple nights later, and it was great. Tasted like I'd just uncorked it. Now I'm thinking I can enjoy a glass most nights with dinner, and let a bottle last a few days rather than binging on an entire bottle myself.

I would definitely recommend keeping a can of wine preserver handy. Would also help with trying different wines on different nights and mixing it up some.
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Old 04-29-2014, 11:18 AM   #28
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In a wine thread a few months ago, I told of a Chardonnay that I liked enough to soak the bottle and keep the label so I would know to get it again. I often buy inexpensive bottles in grocery stores as I travel, and do not remember where I buy them. I also do not drink whites all that often. Anyway, in that post I told of how I looked for that bottle in the stores that I normally frequent such as Trader Joe's, Fresh-n-Easy, Safeway, etc... and failed to find it. I should have looked on the Web, but somehow did not think of that. I finally found it: a very inexpensive bottle in a chain store.

I recently bought another bottle, but this time was not at all impressed. Why? There's a lot of variations with a generic wine like this, as the bottler buys from different vintners for different batches. And even with name brands, there's of course vintage difference from year to year.

And then, it might be a psychological factor with me too. Now that I know it's inexpensive, I do not have as much regard for it.

By the way, the Trader Joe's two-buck chuck is three-buck chuck outside of CA. As a daily table wine, it's OK with me.
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Old 04-29-2014, 01:22 PM   #29
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...
Here is a fun Freakonomicsish story from the New Yorker about wine tasting Does All Wine Taste the Same? : The New Yorker

It includes this snippet about the red vs white study at the University of Bordeaux. Apparently none of the experts did a spit take with the fake red whine and proclaimed "Allors, zees ees faux!"
It makes me want to repeat the experiment with my guests. Can one bleach out red wine to make it "white" too?

Ah, what the heck! None of my relatives and friends are wine snobs anyway. They drink whatever I serve, no question asked (although I do not serve the 3-buck chuck, just so that they will not say "Ah, that's how he could retire early" as if that makes a big difference in my expenses ).
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Old 04-29-2014, 02:13 PM   #30
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Putting red food coloring in white wine adulterates it. How do we know that some unknown chemical reaction isn't taking place? Or being prevented or changed?

I can't imagine the home brewers in the group would frown on allowing somebody to put a coloring agent in their beer, right?
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Old 04-29-2014, 03:33 PM   #31
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Putting red food coloring in white wine adulterates it. How do we know that some unknown chemical reaction isn't taking place? Or being prevented or changed?

I can't imagine the home brewers in the group would frown on allowing somebody to put a coloring agent in their beer, right?
That is easy enough to control for (I didn't re-read the study, but I imagine they did this). A simple 'triangle test' - blindly give tasters three glasses - two the same, one different, randomly assigned. Can the tasters identify the 'odd one'?

And that would have also been the way to tell if 'experts could tell a red from a white'. But this idea that they used red descriptors when told to judge what they believed to be a red wine is a whole 'nother thing, and not unexpected at all.


There are beers where the roasted grains are actually added for color, not flavor (cold steeped, or added at the last minutes to pull out the color w/o getting much flavor). A Schwarzbier is an example, and homebrew shops sell Sinimar, a coloring agent for beer:

Weyermann®

Our homebrew club is going to try to brew a 'Blonde Porter'. We plan to try to rinse the color out of the dark grains, w/o rinsing all of the dark-grain flavor.

-ERD50
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Old 04-29-2014, 04:40 PM   #32
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I do not think I can tell if a Cab is from South America or from Australia, but then I have never really cared. I drink quite indiscriminately when it comes to wine.
You can at least tell whether the wine is from the northern or southern hemisphere by swirling it around in your glass. If it swirls clockwise....
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Old 04-29-2014, 04:51 PM   #33
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I thought the swirl direction has to be observed as it is going down. Do I use a mirror or enlist help of DW as an observer?
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Old 04-29-2014, 04:58 PM   #34
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Chez Amethyst is in complete agreement. The local wine store has an app which allows us to search their inventory for "everything under $10.00 with a [wine magazine/winelovers' org] rating of 89 or higher," and it's surprising how many selections turn up. Mostly, at that price, it's whites that get the good ratings. But we have ventured into some tasty Spanish and South American reds, as well. Hey, it's bad enough that only the best chocolate will do - chocolate is much cheaper than wine. We don't want to feel like we need $40 wine.

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I think it's a waste of time to train your palate to recognize the subtle differences in red wines. The problem with doing so is that once you develop the ability to distinguish between the different varieties, you will just want to spend more money on them.....

If you spend enough time learning, you might get to the point where nothing less than $40 bottles of wine will do. Why would you want to do that? It just raises the ER budget unnecessarily.
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Old 04-29-2014, 08:59 PM   #35
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I've really developed a liking for Sonoma Dry Creek Valley zins. They have a spicy/peppery aspect to them I really like.

The only thing that kind of bummed me out was...I'm single and live alone, so if I open a bottle, I feel compelled to drink the entire bottle. I've never been able to stopper it up and leave it a few days because it doesn't taste right to me afterwards. Just the other day, I bought a can of argon wine preserver from BevMo and only drank a half bottle, sprayed it, and had the rest a couple nights later, and it was great. Tasted like I'd just uncorked it. Now I'm thinking I can enjoy a glass most nights with dinner, and let a bottle last a few days rather than binging on an entire bottle myself.

I would definitely recommend keeping a can of wine preserver handy. Would also help with trying different wines on different nights and mixing it up some.
Before this goes much further, just get the vacuum wine stopper from Crate & Barrel. Probably a lot cheaper (haven't looked at the Argon idea), and works very, very well. DW and I use it at least twice a week to get two dinners out of a bottle.
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Old 04-29-2014, 09:04 PM   #36
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I recently bought another bottle, but this time was not at all impressed. Why? There's a lot of variations with a generic wine like this, as the bottler buys from different vintners for different batches. And even with name brands, there's of course vintage difference from year to year.
There's a lot to be said for the good "daily drinker." Ours is Eberle's Full Boar Red. We buy it at the winery, usually a couple of cases every year. Retail is $15, but we get it significantly discounted thanks to their generous military discount. Their goal is to make it taste the same year after year, so you never know what the blend for that year is going to be or where the grapes are sourced... nor do we care. It tastes good, is extremely drinkable, and is inexpensive (for us, anyway!).

My dad drank 2-buck chuck for years, still does the 4-buckers at home too. I guess I'm what Ready is talking about: I don't have the taste for those... but I've found many in the $7-15 range that are perfectly fine. Ravenswood Old Vine Zin is one I can get for $6.99 that's pretty good. I haven't spent more than $15 for a bottle at a store in years. Only spend more if it's something I've tasted and really enjoyed.
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Old 04-29-2014, 09:39 PM   #37
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I like pinot noir. If there is a especially dry growing season, I stock up on several varieties from that year.
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Old 04-30-2014, 04:46 AM   #38
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I had never cared for wine prior to about 1996. All I'd had was cheap red wine from grocery stores, which did nothing for me. Then, I was on a business trip with some coworkers to Santa Rosa, and one of them made a reservation at a steak house and ordered a bottle of nice red wine. I tried it and have been hooked ever since.

White wine doesn't appeal to me as much - I definitely like reds more. I've been through several red phases. First was cabs. Then, I was on a pinot kick for a while, until I figured out that pinot is such a finicky wine that I had to go through 7 or 8 bottles of "crap" (not really crap, it just didn't excite me) before I found one I really liked. Now, I've been on a zinfandel kick for several years.

I've really developed a liking for Sonoma Dry Creek Valley zins. They have a spicy/peppery aspect to them I really like.

The only thing that kind of bummed me out was...I'm single and live alone, so if I open a bottle, I feel compelled to drink the entire bottle. I've never been able to stopper it up and leave it a few days because it doesn't taste right to me afterwards. Just the other day, I bought a can of argon wine preserver from BevMo and only drank a half bottle, sprayed it, and had the rest a couple nights later, and it was great. Tasted like I'd just uncorked it. Now I'm thinking I can enjoy a glass most nights with dinner, and let a bottle last a few days rather than binging on an entire bottle myself.

I would definitely recommend keeping a can of wine preserver handy. Would also help with trying different wines on different nights and mixing it up some.
Those vacuum wine stopper thingies work very very well.
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Old 04-30-2014, 04:53 AM   #39
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In a wine thread a few months ago, I told of a Chardonnay that I liked enough to soak the bottle and keep the label so I would know to get it again. I often buy inexpensive bottles in grocery stores as I travel, and do not remember where I buy them. I also do not drink whites all that often. Anyway, in that post I told of how I looked for that bottle in the stores that I normally frequent such as Trader Joe's, Fresh-n-Easy, Safeway, etc... and failed to find it. I should have looked on the Web, but somehow did not think of that. I finally found it: a very inexpensive bottle in a chain store.

I recently bought another bottle, but this time was not at all impressed. Why? There's a lot of variations with a generic wine like this, as the bottler buys from different vintners for different batches. And even with name brands, there's of course vintage difference from year to year.

And then, it might be a psychological factor with me too. Now that I know it's inexpensive, I do not have as much regard for it.

By the way, the Trader Joe's two-buck chuck is three-buck chuck outside of CA. As a daily table wine, it's OK with me.
I never expect a vintage wine (from the same winery) to taste the same from one year to the next. Always have to sample before committing!
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Old 04-30-2014, 04:55 AM   #40
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I like pinot noir. If there is a especially dry growing season, I stock up on several varieties from that year.
I'd say that's a pretty discerning palette. And it took a while to develop that experience as well.
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