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Red Wine
Old 04-28-2014, 03:21 PM   #1
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Red Wine

I know virtually nothing about red wine; every study I have seen has found that experts, who have lots of interest and experience in tasting wine, are unable to distinguish red wines from each other and even cannot distinguish white from red wines.

I would like to learn about red wine if there is something to learn, but it seems that there isn't. The question is, is liking red wine an acquired taste and should I look into learning about it? How do I go about tasting wines, should I buy a red wine at random and drink a little each day and do this for a few months?
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Old 04-28-2014, 03:34 PM   #2
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How do I go about tasting wines, should I buy a red wine at random and drink a little each day and do this for a few months?

You got it, drink a bottle a day and you'll soon grow to like red wine, and not care how cheap it is.
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Old 04-28-2014, 04:31 PM   #3
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If available where you live, I would suggest going to a wine bar at a slow time of the day (mid-afternoon would work). Sit at the bar and ask for a flight of reds (tasting portions of several) if they have it, or a glass of something popular - be honest that you want to learn.

If not available, ask the wine manager at a large liquor store or grocery store with a large selection for three very different bottles under $12-$15. Get them to tell you what flavors to look for in each. Sometimes they will have wines available to taste, that's another good way to experiment.

Remember, no matter what anyone else says, it's not good if you don't like it.
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Old 04-28-2014, 04:54 PM   #4
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We took a wine tasting class on a cruise a few years ago where we tasted the same types of wine in a variety of glasses. We were surprised to learn how much the type of glass affects the taste of wine as it flows onto your tongue. The price of the class included a set of glasses, one each for Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. They also had us taste in a glass commonly used by restaurants that they called the joker glass. My DW didn't like red wines before we took that class, but now that we use the correct kind of glass, she drinks it frequently at home. But we now find ourselves spending a lot more on wine than we used to.
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Old 04-28-2014, 04:58 PM   #5
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I don't know what you read, but there's definitely a difference between whites, reds, good and bad, and I can tell a difference between wines just fine. Note: that doesn't mean that PRICE matters! My wife and I drink bottles ranging from under $10 all the way up to $40, with most in the $15-20 range and there are big differences in varietals, years, etc.

Will you care? Probably not. Try the $10 bottles and see what you like. The more you drink (a glass a night, two on weekends maybe), the more you'll figure out your taste. Bogle has good, inexpensive wines. Rosemount (Aus) makes a good, inexpensive (Black Diamond) Shiraz. Coppola's got some good $12 bottles from Pinot Noir to Cabernet.

Me? I like "bigger" wines, so I like Cabs and Zins, and some Syrah/Shiraz. If you don't know what you like, you might enjoy Pinot Noir. It's the "safe bet" when you don't know what you (or others) will like. (I find many of them dull, but because they are usually smooth and lower in alcohol content, people tend to like them.)
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Old 04-28-2014, 06:57 PM   #6
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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.
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Old 04-28-2014, 07:14 PM   #7
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We rode Celebrity's inaugural "Wine Cruise" two years ago. Went to as many Atlantic ports in France, Spain, and Portugal that could easily access vineyards and wineries, learned a lot about the business and drank a lot of good wine. They did a tasting on the ship, which was a good learning experience, but the real insight came in visiting vineyards and wineries in Bordeaux, northern Spain, and the Duoro Valley of Portugal.

My wife is the 'expert', I just drink what she buys. She is a wines.com customer; they have a lot of information, and fairly good deals on the good wines you find.
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Old 04-28-2014, 07:23 PM   #8
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There are several threads where I could post this but it seems to fit here...

If you have a Netflix account check out "Somm", a documentary about studying for the annual master sommelier test, a sort of Bar Exam for wine experts. There's lots more to learn than I would have thought possible.
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Old 04-28-2014, 07:52 PM   #9
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Why would you want to do that? It just raises the ER budget unnecessarily.
Perhaps because it's something you enjoy doing with your spouse/friends? "Returns" diminish above $20-25 IMO, but there's a pretty marked difference between some $4 wines and even $12 wines. To each their own... I'll budget for my taste in wine because it is something my wife and I share.
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Old 04-28-2014, 08:57 PM   #10
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I'm a big wino, and we've had wine tasting parties in our neighborhood. Everyone brings a bottle wrapped up, with the published tasting notes. Then every one votes before we unveil. We've had bottles from 4 to 50 bucks. You can definitely pick out the cheapies, but after you hit about 8 bucks there are some winners. The more expensive can also be identified, but usually aren't 4 times better than the 10 buck bottles. Try liberty or 14 hands. Snooth.com is a great site to learn
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Old 04-28-2014, 09:09 PM   #11
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If you live on the West Coast the easiest thing is to go visit wineries and do wine tastings and figure out what you like. If you vacation in the area, try to visit a few.

Otherwise, look for wine tastings in your area. Many wine shops hold these.
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Old 04-28-2014, 09:12 PM   #12
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Here's the Cabernet Sauvignon we drank at supper: Cadet D'Oc, 2011. Bottled by Baron Phillipe Rothschild. DW got it at the neighborhood liquor store for $8.99. Really good with the steak...
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Old 04-28-2014, 09:45 PM   #13
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If you live on the West Coast the easiest thing is to go visit wineries and do wine tastings and figure out what you like. If you vacation in the area, try to visit a few.
I recommend Paso Robles: cheaper than Napa/Sonoma, easily accessible from LA or even San Diego. Good "big" reds and GSMs, and most are very value-oriented. Wife and I buy our wine supply for the year every September or October when we make the 4-hour drive to taste for a weekend.
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Old 04-28-2014, 11:31 PM   #14
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I know virtually nothing about red wine; every study I have seen has found that experts, who have lots of interest and experience in tasting wine, are unable to distinguish red wines from each other and even cannot distinguish white from red wines.
I don't know what you read, but there's definitely a difference between whites, reds, good and bad, and I can tell a difference between wines just fine. ...
Agreed, I'd like to see one of those 'studies' where experts can't tell a red from a white.

There was a thread a while back, with an article that seemed to claim that, but the actual study said something very, very different. What it said was, in a blind test, if experts were given a red wine, and were told it was a white, their descriptors would tend to lean towards the types of descriptors used for white wine (and vice versa). But that doesn't make a very good headline.

That is a long, long, long way from 'experts can't tell the difference between a red/white'. And it is perfectly understandable. Once someone sets an expectation in your head, that is what you will look for. If I asked you to do a blind tasting of chocolate, and gave you sauerkraut instead, I can't expect to get a very good review of the qualities in that sauerkraut.

Heck, try it yourself. Taste a red (not a blush) and a white, then have someone do a blind pour of three glasses with one of one kind an two of the other. I bet you can tell which is the 'odd one', and whether it is red or white with no problem.

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Old 04-28-2014, 11:47 PM   #15
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I recommend Paso Robles: cheaper than Napa/Sonoma, easily accessible from LA or even San Diego. Good "big" reds and GSMs, and most are very value-oriented. Wife and I buy our wine supply for the year every September or October when we make the 4-hour drive to taste for a weekend.
Our favorite winery area to visit is the Columbia River Valley in Washington state, from near Yakima all the way to Walla Walla. Amazing big reds. Better value than CA in general.
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Old 04-29-2014, 01:17 AM   #16
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A 750ml bottle of Yellowtail Shiraz costs $45-50 in the store here. Despite having lived in an old northern California vineyard for most of our adult lives, for obvious reasons we don't drink much wine here!
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Old 04-29-2014, 08:21 AM   #17
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I'm no connoisseur, but I'm fairly certain I could tell a red from a white...

Having said that, I generally only drink reds, and have had mixed results from cheaper wines, but I've bought wines that had 90+ ratings, and find they aren't any better than my SWAGs.
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Old 04-29-2014, 08:32 AM   #18
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I know virtually nothing about red wine; every study I have seen has found that experts, who have lots of interest and experience in tasting wine, are unable to distinguish red wines from each other and even cannot distinguish white from red wines.

I would like to learn about red wine if there is something to learn, but it seems that there isn't. The question is, is liking red wine an acquired taste and should I look into learning about it? How do I go about tasting wines, should I buy a red wine at random and drink a little each day and do this for a few months?
The above statement in red is a fallacy. Come on! Even I, as a non-sophisticated wine drinker, can tell red from white. I am not a picky wine drinker, and usually buy bottles under $10 to save money to spend on good spirits. Stiff drinks are frugal as the bottles last longer, from the standpoint of preservation as well as the depletion rate.

Yes, I think all alcoholic drinks are acquired tastes. Just give any of them to a baby and see how he acts. Just kidding! I do not want any to be charged with child abuse on my account.
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Old 04-29-2014, 08:54 AM   #19
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We're so cheap we drink the box wines. Burgundy and Merlot...my favorites. I just can't eat a good Porterhouse without them.
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Old 04-29-2014, 09:06 AM   #20
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The above statement in red is a fallacy. Come on! Even I, as a non-sophisticated wine drinker, can tell red from white. I am not a picky wine drinker, and usually buy bottles under $10 to save money to spend on good spirits. Stiff drinks are frugal as the bottles last longer, from the standpoint of preservation as well as the depletion rate.

Yes, I think all alcoholic drinks are acquired tastes. Just give any of them to a baby and see how he acts. Just kidding! I do not want any to be charged with child abuse on my account.
Yes - that study is quite a fallacy. It's pretty easy to tell between red varietals too, (Cab versus Merlot, for example) as long as they are fairly representative. Can't believe someone tries to publish such findings.
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