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Hey did you know? I really like wine.

Now, I consider myself a novice. (I say this because a friend's husband is a sommelier, and WOW do I love when they invite me to dinner!) I grew up hating wine (hey: Mormon), and until I had GOOD wine, I didn't understand.

And now I do. And I'll say this: while not having an education beyond trying and failing, trying and loving, making notes, etc., when I recommend wine, I've never heard back that someone didn't love it. Maybe they're not telling me I don't know. But I have a pretty decent palate, is what I'm getting at. (And honestly a big secret is to pay attention to WHERE THE WINE IS FROM. Regions tend to have similar tastes.)

Apparently I have an expensive palate, too. But now, my daily sip (I'm talking a glass, maybe two, please don't worry about me) is Ladera, Napa, 2009 CabSav. I can get it for about $28 a bottle in bulk, but their website has it for $40. Which means I'm filling up my wee wine cellar with bottles while I can. Easily one of the most sippable wines I've encountered. (Cheaper, and fine as well, is Markham Merlot - 2009 at around $16 bottle. Let it open up for a bit. Napa Cellars Cab was my previous "cheap" daily vino at $21 - not their merlot, though. Their merlot has a different mix, unlike Markham's merlot vs. Cab.)

I just don't care for most whites. They tend to taste weak or like dirty socks. I like to taste the grape. I don't want to taste the American oak it soaked in (which is why I avoid labels that point out the oak - that's the vanilla flavor on the back of your tongue at the finish - no me gusta) and have learned that many California wines add chunks of oaks to stainless steel barrels to get that flavor, because Americans like their wine sweet. NOPE. Gross. Not me. Me and an old Frenchman with broken blood vessels across his cheeks would get along fine, topping each other's glasses off and sharing hunks of bread while laughing about the absurdity of life.

I basically want to have several friends over to open about four or five bottles and talk shop and get drunk and then devolve into telling dirty jokes. SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT NIGHT TO ME. :D

(BTW, my sommelier-friend hooked me up with maybe my most favorite champagne ever: Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose. WOW, is that the most delicious champagne for under $200 - hey, it can get pricey - I've ever had. And it's romantic. Two families, rivals, daughter and son fell in love, made their own champagne and have been going strong for over 100 years. And it is exquisite. If you're in Texas and can access a Central Market, this normally $150 bottle is $90. If you have a special occasion, or have the coin, get it. Trust.)

YEP, I HAD HALF A BOTTLE TONIGHT OF MY LADERA LOVE. What of it? :) Now to dig up some cheese and veggies....



( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 20th, 2013 01:33 am (UTC)
Me and an old Frenchman with broken blood vessels across his cheeks would get along fine, topping each other's glasses off and sharing hunks of bread while laughing about the absurdity of life.

Come on, now I want this as a short film, Stoney and her charming Frenchman sipping wine and toasting life! There would be accordion music playing occasionally in the background, and talk of life and love and LAUGHTER! <3

I think the best kind of wine recs for me come from people who taste and try and make notes, just approaching it as something they really love and share and want to share with others, rather than just rattling off wine recs they read about. So it makes sense to me that you've got some happy friends, having your recommendations! Mr. Nous and I tend to try new wines when friends introduce us to them, and then just buy those wines whenever we go somewhere else, so it's a nice little circle of spreading the vino love around.
Jun. 20th, 2013 01:43 am (UTC)
I would happily film that, let me tell you. :D I'd mess up takes on purpose, just to keep going.

I can't tell you how useless I find most wine notes in magazines, etc. Notes of tar? Asphalt? Um. =/(Something I've truly read.) The best advice I've ever been given was to focus on where something came from. As a gardener, that makes sense to me, that the soil profile will make the grapes taste similar.

Now, in California (and Oregon) a lot of wineries buy grapes instead of growing them, so it's not always helpful (check the back label for it to say grown and produced, instead of simply bottled) to focus on regions, but I tend to LOVE things from Alexander Valley - and they use French oak, which has less turpentine than American oak. (And in France I never go wrong with bottles from: St. Emilion & St. Julien) and now I'm rambling. :D

I tend to like robust flavors with a clean finish. I don't like sweet wines at all. Any hint of vanilla and I'm out. Markham merlot was a happy little stumble - the Cab is twice the price, but they're almost exactly the same grape variety. The merlot doesn't spend as long in the cask, is all. Napa Cellars Cab is such a delicious regular wine, as well. Why waste time with something that doesn't taste good, says I!


(We shall have our wine flight night I say! With crostinis and nuts and cheeses and pickles and YUM. <3)
Jun. 20th, 2013 02:17 am (UTC)
I STILL remember the taste of the wines we drank, that were just that damn good. I think we have similar tastes as well (as in good) - not a fan of Riesling for precisely the same reason is that I'm not a fan of cloying wines. I love a good Gewurztraminer, but not the oily varietals because hey, there's an after mouth-feel of having drunk oil - who wants that, or to taste dirt/asphalt/runny dog diarrhea - do not get some of these descriptions. Love a good rough peasanty wine - Shiraz/Shyrah, Melbac....hmmm, nice. I also like meth.
Jun. 20th, 2013 02:19 am (UTC)

Jun. 20th, 2013 12:14 pm (UTC)
Some of my best wine advice came from you: NZ for whites, and turpentine from Australia. Right? Or was it paint thinner that they specialize in? ;) I do like a spicy Shiraz - especially with BBQ. MMm, mmm!

I only like meth when it's made in the purest of glass beakers. It really brings out the nutty-after cough.
Jun. 20th, 2013 03:17 am (UTC)
I am definitely a novice, though I used to be in a wine club where I learned a lot (and which dissolved because my friends decided that they had "learned it all", to which I say, pffft.). I looooved wine club. ;-)

I am more of a white wine gal, though, but no worries, we can still hang. ;-) I'm drinking merlot right now because we had pasta with red meat sauce tonight, but you can usually find me drinking a dry white. I don't do oak-y, either, which is why I don't often drink California chardonnay. Blech. But I love pinot grigio or Sauvignon blanc, or Viognier (which can be more on the sweet side, depending, but not oak-y). I really like new world whites - I buy a lot of Australian and New Zealand wine.

For reds I like Zinfandel best. I've never really cared for CabSav, but I will have to see if I can find your fave and give it a try. Luckily for me, my wine palate is much less expensive than yours, though. ;-)
Jun. 20th, 2013 12:18 pm (UTC)
WINE CLUB. I would want that, except my fear would be that it's filled with pretentious one-uppers. If I could hand pick clubbers?! YES, PLEASE! :D

Mm, merlot is nice. (And every time I get a bottle, I always say in a crusty voice, "We're not drinking merlot!") IF I'm drinking a white, it's 99% of the time a pinot grigio. I quite like Santa Margherita's Pinot Grigio, and usually have a bottle chilled for you white drinkers. :) (I'm with you: California chardonnay is almost EXACTLY why I don't like white. NZ whites are really nice, too, for a non-red. Heh.)

I like Zins, but Cabs and Burgundies... *kisses fingers* I like my wine like my men: complex and layered. And a cork in it. (Hahahahaha)
Jun. 20th, 2013 04:22 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, my wine club wasn't quite snooty enough. After a while it became "Party time! Oh, and there's wine." It all went to hell after that. ;-)
Jun. 20th, 2013 04:32 pm (UTC)
Hahahaha, that sounds like fun! Not necessarily a learning experience beyond tolerance levels, but still... :D
Jun. 20th, 2013 03:27 am (UTC)
I don't like white either! For me it's that I have yet to find a white (outside of dry champagne) that's dry enough for me. Sweet is poops.
Jun. 20th, 2013 12:19 pm (UTC)
YS YES YES. This!! The only white I tolerate (to the point of keeping it in my house for the few die-hard white drinkers in my life) is Santa Margharita's Pinot Grigio. It's good - for a white. BUT BRING ON THE FRENCH CABS!
Jun. 20th, 2013 08:18 am (UTC)
I don't drink red due to the Night Of Shame (TM, 2008) but would like to maybe change that. I am too much of a novice myself, but am I right in thinking from the names that you only drink domestic? Is that a taste/ethical preference? I don't like oaked chardonnay (it was The Thing when I was a teenager) and tend to go for Pinot Grigot, but interestingly I was having lunch with an American yesterday and to her Pinot Grigot is this deeply foreign concept.
Jun. 20th, 2013 12:23 pm (UTC)
I've been drinking a lot of Californian wines because I can get them easily. If I get off my butt and actually drive to the amazing wine shop a town over, I load up on French (where I drink by region. St. Emilion is my FAVE FAVE FAVE. I like some Pauillac, St. Julien is delish, too).

Pinot Grigio is great, and very popular among my friends here. Hmm, I wonder if this American friend of yours is just young (or maybe her parents weren't aficionados of wine?) I've found that most people who stick to chardonnay don't know much about wine. I don't mean that in a shirty way, just that it seems like a "safe order" when you don't know what to select, so your knowledge of varietals doesn't go anywhere.
Jun. 20th, 2013 04:44 pm (UTC)
(I am excited to be comment-threading with you again).

First off, WOW how much can I not spell Pinot Grigio. Good-o. Do you drink much in the way of spirits? I was at a Belgian restaurant in London last weekend and failed by having g&t not one of the million beers available (but so did my oldest friend, so woohoo).

The thing is, she's not young-young (30) and she's, like, a Vogue journalist who does Berlin/Copenhagen/LA/New York stuff on a regular basis, which was why it stumped me. Because I don't think pinot grigio is, like, an acquired taste AT ALL (probably because it is relatively cheap in Europe...)? Chardonnay was massively popular in the late 90s here, and I think people do get used to what's safe (similarly, Pinot Grigio is my safe order NOW because I know I like it).

I should also say that I'm not anti-domestic. I went to a wedding in a vineyard IN ENGLAND a couple of years ago. Naturally I was dubious. But NOM.

(also: I kind of want to send you a care package. For reasons. BUT then I thought NO Stoney is WAY TOO ADULT AND SENSIBLE for such things. But then I thought bullshit. It may have to wait until I submit this blasted DPhil, but then, yes.)
Jun. 20th, 2013 12:20 pm (UTC)
Ditto on the white and the sweet wines. ::shudder:: I'm all excited to try the location method of wine choosing instead of just the pretty label. What? I'm married to a graphic designer.
Jun. 20th, 2013 12:37 pm (UTC)
NEVER BUY BASED ON THE LABEL! (Unless it's French and you're looking for a chateau - only vineyards with an actual chateau making wine are allowed by law! And for Californian wines, you want it to say produced and bottled, other wise they're just buying grapes or wine and putting it in their own bottles.)

Jun. 20th, 2013 01:58 pm (UTC)
Stoney, you're drinking the wrong whites!
Jun. 20th, 2013 02:53 pm (UTC)
Jun. 20th, 2013 03:09 pm (UTC)
Well, with very few exceptions, I never drink Chardonnay! You mentioned the overwhelming oakiness/vanilla overtones, which I think is characteristic of American Chardonnay in particular, and I just hate it. It's like a headache in a bottle for me! That said, I really like Pouilly-Fuissé, which is basically French Chardonnay, but it is dry and delicate and rarely oaky, even though it's aged in oak! I also love Pouilly-Fumé, which is basically French Sauvignon Blanc, but it's usually not as acidic or sweet as the NZ. Sancerre can also be good but is more acidic.

Another wine I recently discovered is Melon de Bourgogne! I just ordered a case of it from an Ontario winery (Norman Hardie), but I have seen the odd bottle on the shelves in liquor stores (we get totally different wines than you do in the US though, so I don't know if that will be the case for you). It is a little sweeter but light and delicate and refreshing and perfect, oh my god, I want to drink it all the time! My husband really loves Chablis, too, so I guess we just really like French whites? I will totally drink new world Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot or whatever, but I check the sweetness level before buying.

I also drink a ton of sparkling wine and champagne. I mean, champagne is amazing, but there is lots of French sparkling wine that is cheaper and just can't be called champagne because it's grown in another region. I love Cremant d'Alsace especially. And there are many good Cavas and Proseccos too! Again, I just check to see how sweet they are before buying and buy the slightly more expensives ones.

I am also a huge fan of rosés in the summer time! Again, the French rosés are great, and I would recommend trying a Tavel if you can find it!

Edited at 2013-06-20 03:12 pm (UTC)
Jun. 20th, 2013 04:07 pm (UTC)
I learned that the headachy oakiness (it's TOTALLY THAT) is because of American oak - it has way more turpentine in the wood than French oak, so that makes sens about the Pouilly-Fuissé. Hmm. I may need to go on a shopping trip this weekend... FOR SCIENCE.

I'm a fan of French wines, but I've wanted to sit with someone who knows their stuff to show me down the path to delicious whites instead of blindly buying and being unhappy with my purchase.

(I love Cavas and Proseccos as well! I don't think to call them whites, though, because people tend to refer to whites as Chablis, Chardonnay, etc.) BASICALLY I AM COPYING NOTES TO MY PHONE FOR MY TRIP, because I've had a few Argentinia wines you recced a while back that I liked, so I assume we'd enjoy a similar flavor profile. <3

I LOVE ROSE. Mm, mm. This has me excited for my weekend, THANK YOU! <3
Jun. 20th, 2013 04:48 pm (UTC)
I also love rose a WHOLE LOT. Can you get Pimms in Texas?? Because a PIMMS ROYALE is the best thing (Pimms, and, um, Prosecco where the lemonade should be. Basically any -and-lemonade drink can be improved by putting Prosecco where the lemonade should be).

I also like P-F. And Sauterne for a dessert wine.

I would like wine now/always.
Jun. 20th, 2013 07:13 pm (UTC)
We went on a little getaway last summer to Prince Edward County, which is one of the newer wine growing regions in Ontario, and we ended up at a vineyard that specializes in converting people who dislike Chardonnay into believers! And we found a couple that we liked, but guess what? They bought their oak barrels in France! It makes a huge difference.

We're travelling to Italy this summer with a friend who trained as a sommelier, and I can't wait! He's super knowledgeable and I love being able to leave all the decisions about what to order up to him.

p.s. Second the recommendation for Sauternes as a dessert wine! So delicious! The French (i.e., good) stuff is expensive but so worth it!
Jun. 20th, 2013 02:00 pm (UTC)
I basically want to have several friends over to open about four or five bottles and talk shop and get drunk and then devolve into telling dirty jokes. SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT NIGHT TO ME. :D

I've done this in the past and it works really well :D I normally try and issue some sort of challenge to see how creative people can be with it....
Jun. 20th, 2013 02:54 pm (UTC)
I haven't had a fun wine night in MONTHS - my friend and her sommelier husband have them often, but I've not been able to get out in a while. *grumps*
Jun. 20th, 2013 03:12 pm (UTC)
Not a fan of whites either, but you know the only white I actually REALLY liked is Conundrum 2011, it's a blend of a bunch of different whites they make, surprisingly it didn't have that... alcohol kick (does that make sense?) to it that most whites have that I hate, while still being fairly strong in percentage. The 2010 and the 2009 are a bit too strong tasting for me, though you might actually like it since it's less sweet than the 2011.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )


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