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Snooth User: ChelseaOHeaps

Hello from California!

Posted by ChelseaOHeaps, Oct 31, 2013.

I'm a fairly new "snoother" if that term is correct and just beginning to learn more about wine. I've been reading and researching wines for about a year and a half now, but recently have been trying a variety of wine (I turned 21 last March.) I drink exclusively red wines and my favorite come from California, particularly Napa, and Spain. 

I love wine with substance and depth, a wine that I can chew. My favorite grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha and Sangiovese. 

As of right now, my favorite wines come from Cakebread Cellars, Stag's Leap and Orin Swift. 


Reply by EMark, Oct 31, 2013.

Welcome, Chelsea.  We are always looking for youngsters to carry on with the crusade.  Don't worry about inventing new words.  I'm guessing that our resident linguist--yes, we have one--will approve.

As a fellow Golden Stater I will certainly not discourage you from continuing to explore our local--I know it's a big state, but I chose to think that Lake County, Cucamonga Valley, Temecula, Anderson Valley, and Edna Valley are all local--examples.  And while I certainly agree with your assessment of the three grape varieties that you mentioned, let me suggest a couple more ideas for you.  Please try California Zinfandels and Petite Sirahs.  I am sure that you find these will be very attractive to somebody who looks for "substance and depth, a wine that I can chew."  Also, on the Spanish side, please be sure to check out Tempranillo-based wines.  Red Riojas are pretty easy to find in local retail outlets, and are very, very reasonably priced.

Reply by GregT, Oct 31, 2013.

Hi Chelsea. Welcome.

BTW, you like Sangiovese - from Cakebread? :)

Reply by Richard Foxall, Nov 1, 2013.

No, GregT, she likes Cabs from Cakebread and wines made from Sangiovese, I am betting.  GregT is either very unforgiving or kind of dense, opinions differ. ;-)  He's also one of the most knowledgeable people anywhere on one of my favorite wine regions, Spain, which you, Chelsea, seem to have discovered through garnacha. Spain is a region in the way California is, although Spain has a higher proportion of its land planted to vines than California (or, for that matter, anywhere),

Many of us have taken to calling ourselves Snoothers, although the OED doesn't recognize the word yet.  Also, when I am busy posting or IMing my pals here or at one of the rare offlines, my wife and kids say I am snoothing.  I doubt that it will ever become as ubiquitous as googling, but there you go.

This was an exemplary introductory posting, since we got some idea of what you like and what you are looking to learn.  One good way to explore is to find a tasting group with older collectors so you can get some ideal of how wines age.  But any opportunity to taste, through classes, informal dinners with friends, etc., where you can share observations is helpful.  Just remember that what you like is what is good for you, not to be swayed just because some old guy or industry pro with a 10,000 bottle cellar has a different opinion.  Listen, to be sure, but don't be afraid of your choices.  You're already in pretty good stead--lots of newbies are introduced through rap songs about Moscato (and I don't mean to knock Moscato, it can be really good) and are drinking stuff that's not that different from the wine coolers that college kids drank in the mid 80s. Those are some serious wines you have developed an affinity for. (GregT, don't correct my grammar, please.)

Are you in SoCal or NorCal?  Interested in joining any of the offlines? 

Reply by JonDerry, Nov 1, 2013.

Sounds good Chelsea, welcome.

I recommend to keep on experimenting as your palate will probably evolve over time, but the regions/grapes you like have a lot of fanfare. For Napa Cabernet, we tend to like 2006, 2010, and are excited about the upcoming 2012 releases. 

You mention Sangiovese, I assume most of these wines you're drinking are from Italy? I've always found a bit of a link between Italian Sangiovese and Spanish Tempranillo. Since both are European wines they tend to be a little more medium in weight (also better with food) than most of the larger scaled Napa Cabs being made today. 

Reply by GregT, Nov 1, 2013.

You mention Sangiovese, I assume most of these wines you're drinking are from Italy? I've always found a bit of a link between Italian Sangiovese and Spanish Tempranillo

That's very true and perceptive. I don't agree with the rest of your paragraph at all, but what you state above doesn't seem to be commonly understood - they can be very similar. Clearly not in all cases. I'm half way into an El Bosque right now and if anything, it's more like a big Napa Cab than anything else, but a more restrained style of Tempranillo, can be very reminiscent of some Sangiovese, and again the the case of Sangiovese, it depends on the producer and the wine.

In fact, when I've tried doing blind tastings of six wines each from one grape or another, the hardest ones to distinguish are old Tempranillo vs the Sangiovese.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Nov 1, 2013.

You beat me to it, Mr. T.  I agree there's a link, but I also think Tempranillo is one of the most variable grapes in terms of the final product.  Young Temps can have all that freshness and vivacity of Sangio, and when they don't get the oak treatment, they fall solidly into a camp that includes some of your lower tannin, higher acid grapes. (come to think of it, I need to drink more joven in lieu of sangio) But give them age and wood and I think they become the ideal transition wine for the Cali Cab drinker who wants to look at Old World wine but needs a gentle introduction. 

So, Chelsea, if you haven't been scared off by the old guard, go get some Tempranillo and see what we mean.  You can get a half dozen bottles of joven up to grand reserva for an average price of $20 a bottle (probably 13 to 30 as a range at K&L) and you'll be pretty up on what Spain (particularly Rioja and Ribera del Duero) has to offer, besides garnacha (and Mencia and Graciano and Monastrell...)

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