Wine Talk

Snooth User: Robert Dallas Gray

Changes in taste: what's everyone drinking?

Posted by Robert Dallas Gray, Oct 13, 2009.

I've found myself recently heading for much more acidic reds -- mainly Italian. Probably to do with the fact that my Significant Other has been demanding I make gnocchi about twice a week. There's got to be a bite with that much starch. With whites I've loved Rhône-style things for years, and southern French wines -- Marsanne/Roussane-based things -- but recently it's been much more Alsace-style (a lot of Pinot Blancs, preferably with a bit of age, and Gewurtzträminers) -- and good white Burgundies (Adelaide Hills chardonnays in a pinch).

I'd be interested to hear how your taste has changed, and why you think it has.


Reply by dmcker, Oct 13, 2009.

Robert, what kind of sauces with the gnocchi? And what in the gnocchi itself?

My tastes have evolved but also stayed the same. This is a subject that warrants greater length and I'm out the door right now, so more on this later...

Reply by Robert Dallas Gray, Oct 13, 2009.

Well, I've tried various things. Langoustine and tomato was a hit. But she now insists I just do it 'properly' -- which is straight-up potato gnocchi with olive oil and herbs (home-grown, and whatever I've got, usually marjoram, parsley, thyme and fried sage). Oh, and a bit of parmesan. Really rustic stuff. She's been running a lot (two 10ks and a half marathon) so I think she's getting some kind of carbgasm out if it. Not complaining -- she's also lactose- and gluten-intolerant, so it's the only chance I get to get some flour in my diet. And I've learned to make it tasty without butter ...

I have to say I've since understood why so many Italian wines are considered 'food wines'. You really need acidity and astringency in a red to work with something like that. And it's wonderful, perfect match. I would always have thought a Gavi or somesuch would work better, but it's rich food -- needs a red.

I'll do recipes and tips if anyone's interested -- it's pretty simple, but there are points to watch.

Looking forward to hearing what you've got when you come back in the door!

Reply by kylewolf, Oct 13, 2009.

I guess the best way to put it is that I started and still go with, exceptionally large wines, but I think I have shifted from the hotter high alcohol Zins (that I still love but eh), to a darker and richer Tempranillo (nice reserva riojas are wonderful for me).

For whites, I am moving away from the nectar sweet rieslings/Gewertz, to a more mild fume blanc and low acid sauvignon blanc. If I can find them I really enjoy the spritz-ier Gewertz, those that lack that oily super sweet/spice,it can leave me with the spice and the sugar can leave :)

I also have been laying off the malbecs lately, maybe after the hype calms down a bit and fewer gross-import (high volume, not disgusting) malbecs are hitting the shelves I will try my hand again.

Reply by Robert Dallas Gray, Oct 13, 2009.

Interesting to see a move from sweeter to drier. It's definitely been the opposite for me. Sure, drier wines are still the go-to, but I've got a lot more interested in German and Alsatian wines that have that honeyed sweetness but still considerable acidity. On a slightly other point, I still can't really appreciate very high-acid sauvignons (from the Loire particularly) -- although I loved these wines right at the start of my, ah, career. Nowadays a Sancerre has me reaching for the Gaviscon straight away.

Reply by GregT, Oct 14, 2009.

No change, just more wines to drink really. Yesterday I had a few whites from France, NZ and Austria but then went home and drank a wine from Mallorca because it was red and it's what I had ready. Day before it was merlot from Spain, day before that it was zin from Amador county. Sometimes it depends on what I'm eating, but sometimes it's just what I happen to have open or what I'm in the mood for. And that means some days sweet, some days not.

Incidentally Robt - my wife has dietary preferences too, but I'm not going to adjust my diet for her metabolism. Seems pretty extreme, no?

Reply by teno1010, Oct 14, 2009.

I have been loving the Repasso and Amorone wines of late. Other than great bordeaux's such as St. Emilion, those are the ones I like. Of course it depends on the vintage. Some are just so so and others are down right fabulous.It doesn't have to be expensive either.
Then of course there are the great tasting Zinfandels. I particularly like the Seghesio winery. I am not really into whites unless I know for sure that it is a great tasting one.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Oct 15, 2009.

I've seen my tastes change over the decades. I started with cheap Italian and Portuguese wines then took a turn with ZInfandel and ripe California wines before moving on to Bordeaux and then the Rhone, first south then north.

Over the years I have found my tastes splitting in irrational ways perhaps. I love an aged California Cab and opt to drink them more often than aged Bordeaux, ignoring for a moment that so many aged Cabs ae dirt cheap!

My love for Italian wine remains unchanged, northern Italian wine, high in acid preferably. I still love a great Zin, or Charbono or Barbera from California for that matter. The Southern Rhone leaves me a bit flat for the most part, Grenache is just not a noble grape, but the Syrah of the norther Rhone continues to ring my bell, though the spoofed stuff is as bead as any.

I prefer traditionally made wines, from Burgundy, Rioja, South Africa, Australia, so my tastes are split more along stylistic lines that regional lines.

Having said that I try and drink mature Barolo as frequently as possible and love me some Barbera and Chianti for weeknight drinking.

Reply by schellbe, Oct 26, 2009.

My tastes haven't changed very much over the years. I still like well aged wines, especially Bordeaux and Burgundy. I have developed a taste for wines from the Loire and Alsace, as I like their crisp acidity, as well as Italian reds.

I am trying to learn about CA wines, and am starting to develop a taste for fruit forward Cabs and Pinot Noirs. As I sample upcoming areas, I find new areas of interest, and some I reject as not my style. Thumbs up for Pinot Noir from New Zealand, Chenin Blanc and Sauv. Blanc from South Africa, and Rieslings from Australia. I am trying to add these to my collection. I generally have a negative impression of west coast white wines, with a few exceptions, and most Australian red wines.

There are so many areas growing good wine today, I am finding I am having to specialize. That means nixing some areas from my collection that have not excited me, including those from Spain, Chile and Argentina. This may be a big mistake, but it's hard to be knowledgeable about all areas of the world, especially in that I am not a professional.

Reply by MTB, Oct 26, 2009.

I have seen my tastes change recently. For the last several years I've stuck largely with pinot noir and sauvignon blanc as my "old faithfuls" The last year or so, I've been focusing a lot on local wines produced in the Northeast United States and as such have "rediscovered" Cab Franc (Cab Sauvignon doesn't do as well here in the colder climes, so the "big" reds here are Cab Franc and Shiraz) - which has now become my "obsession du jour". I'm also finding myself very intrigued by Marchel Foch and Cayuga, although they took a bit of time to grow on me.

Reply by TL NJ, Oct 26, 2009.

I found that my tastes in wines change with the weather. In the hot summer months, I prefer chilled, light sweeter whites like NZ Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Italian Soave and Gavi and delicate reds like California Pinot Noir and Italian Dolcetto Di Dogliani

In the fall - I like spicier medium bodied reds like Cabernet Franc (I take a trip out to the Long Island wineries each fall and stock up on a bunch), Sangiovese, Syrah, Malbec and Merlot and fuller bodied whites - Washington, Alsace and German Rieslings, and Viognier.

In the winter - I open up the bigger reds - like a nice Napa Cab, Bordeaux, and Zinfandel, and if I do choose a white, it usually a heavy Chardonnay

Finally in the spring I start getting more delicate with the reds - usually Pinot Noir, and Barbera, California Merlot, and Alsace and California whites - Chard, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.

This is my general rule of thumb for "weeknight" drinking - but I will make exceptions - especially if I am eating something that pairs very well with an "off season" wine (e.g., I'll have a zinfandel with a steak if im eating it any time of the year). Also - if someone is kind enough to bring a bottle of anything over, or open a bottle of anything up at their home - I will never say no.

The one thing I have noticed overall is that over the years, my taste has become more open-minded. I used to only like very specific things, but nowadays I find that the more things I try, the more I like, and there are very few types of wines, or regions that I dont like.

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