Introduce Yourself

Snooth User: beckyrider

Hello Snooth!

Posted by beckyrider, Sep 11, 2015.

So happy to be amongst fellow oenophiles!

I am a freelance copywriter, writing in the food, wine, and spirits industry.

I am here to share my personal enthusiasm for wines, not for professional reasons.

I live in Fargo, North Dakota, USA, where no one grows wine grapes to produce actual wine. 

I am just slightly better informed than a complete novice, and I'm looking forward to reading what all of you have to say about the wines you drink.


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Reply by outthere, Sep 11, 2015.

Welcome Becky!

Reply by GregT, Sep 11, 2015.

Yes welcome. And as we're all novices we like being around our own kind. What kind of food are you writing about in Fargo? I'm hoping it's roast elk or some similar local delicacy!

Reply by beckyrider, Sep 11, 2015.

Thank you both!

As a copywriter, I write about the topics I'm paid to write about. On my own site, I write about what really excites me: food and wine!

I'm just getting back to my site after several years away, and am refocusing it a bit: old recipes coming down, new ones going up. It's quite the process, especially since I need to prepare and eat the recipes (oh, darn!) multiple times before I post them on my site.

Also, I'm trying to learn my camera so I can post food pictures on my website. A bit dicey, that. Then I suppose I have to get a smart phone so I can post food pictures to Instagram like the Millennials do. (I'm too old to be a Millennial, but still. . . . )

Reply by EMark, Sep 11, 2015.

What''s Instagram?  Whatever it is, I'm sure it's not as good as a DCV Zinfandel.

Reply by beckyrider, Sep 11, 2015.

Indubitably not.


Reply by dvogler, Sep 11, 2015.

Welcome Becky,

I love that you declared your intentions.  Most new people are only trying to direct traffic to their own pursuits, lucrative or not.

Greg by the way, is hardly a novice!  Neither is Outthere.  EMark is not a novice by virtue of the volume of wine he's experienced.  I'm the only novice and I live in Canada.  Not known really for wine, but out west in BC we do a darn good job.

What are some of your favourite wines?

Reply by Really Big Al, Sep 12, 2015.

Welcome Becky.  I'm out here in Northern Virginia, where we have over two hundred wineries.  My wife and I have visited a few dozen so far, but each year we try to increase that number.  Tell us a little bit about your preferences in wine - red, white, dry, sweet, and things of this nature.


Reply by beckyrider, Sep 12, 2015.

Thank you, Dvogler. I had suspected the other commenters might not be complete novices, since they were on the site when my remarks went up. So often novices spend very little time in places where they could actually learn something, while those who do know are there often.

BC has such a varied climate! I have a cousin in Gibsons, and the weather there is fabulous - certainly as compared to ours on the high northern plains of the US.

BC has a wonderfully vibrant wine industry. You are so fortunate to be in the midst of that! I have heard many wonderful reviews of VQA wines and also of some Wines of Distinction. I've had a few bottles at my cousin's home though I can't remember now which ones they were, sadly.

I'm a big fan of the grapes grown in BC, especially malbec, mourvedre, cabernet franc, and gamay; viognier, semillon,  and pinot blanc. These grapes produce wines that suit my palate better than the wines from varietals like syrah, cab sauv, sauv blanc, and some of the others.

I think my prejudice stems from the practice of so many US vintners who beat their wines to death with oak staves. It's really nice to try wines produced by vintners with a subtler hand.

That said, I just enjoyed a very nice young cab sauv from O'Leary that had a lovely body of dark berries and warm spice lent by the oak without tasting like sawdust.

That bottle was a gift; normally I avoid cab sauvs, especially ones from California like this one, because of the excessive oakiness that still ruins (in my opinion) some very good grapes.

Most days, I drink inexpensive quaffing wines. My ex-son-in-law derisively calls them swill, and from the perspective of fine wines, they definitely are. But not every meal calls for a Le Pin. If I'm having burgers on the grill, a Bull's Blood is the perfect complement to the charred, smoky, beefy flavor of the meat. And the six-dollar price tag doesn't hurt, either.

I have Barefoot wines in my wine cabinet, right alongside my Chateauneuf-de-pape. For everyday drinking, I tend to prefer blends because they smooth out the rough edges of the individual grapes, making them food friendly, especially with meals that aren't particularly stand-outs. I have loved rose wines for years because they're so easy to drink. 

There are so many delicious and inexpensive wines that it's hard to pick out my favorites. I like to try something I've never seen before whenever I go to the store, and I try to select wines from locales that aren't cliche, like Hungary and Lebanon. Some of the wines that I've tried are just so-so, as one would expect, but some have been exceptional.

You are obviously an enthusiast as well, and have the advantage of being in wine country. What BC wines do you recommend, and what other wines do you enjoy?

Reply by beckyrider, Sep 12, 2015.

Hi, ReallyBigAl!

How wonderful for you to live in a growing wine area. Virginia has really found its place in the wine industry, and is getting the recognition it deserves.

Frankly, I haven't met a wine type I don't like. Dry and off-dry are my choices for most meals, and I like a good sweet wine for dessert every now and again. Red, white, or rose - they're all wonderful, as long as they're not too oaky. I do try to pair my wine with my food. A medium-bodied lightly oaked red to braise coq au vin, along with a glass of the same to drink with the meal is just about heaven to me.

If you're so inclined, you can read my comment, above, too. Thanks for writing!

Reply by vin0vin0, Sep 12, 2015.

Hello Becky! Sounds like you'll fit in nicely, lots of good people here more than happy to share their experiences, opinions and expertise.

Like you, I enjoy finding the more unusual wines, there's a thread here on that very subject. Would love to see some of the different wines you've discovered.

Would also love to hear about your food and wine pairings, good and bad.

Reply by beckyrider, Sep 12, 2015.

Hahaha!  How much time have you got, Vin0vin0? I have lots of stories! Especially about bad food pairings, and how I ruined a former co-worker's dinner date with bad wine advice. Uff da.

Thanks for the link - I'll check it out now.

Reply by dvogler, Sep 12, 2015.

You're truly a breath of fresh air Becky!  This place has been pretty stagnant for a while.  I will give a good reply later.  I hope you'll share the ruined dinner date story! :)  I also hope to hear that you'll come out to the coast at some point!

Reply by beckyrider, Sep 12, 2015.

LOL! Thirty-plus years after the fact, and I still cringe about the dinner date. I had to avoid him for weeks before he finally cooled off. I wonder whether he can laugh about it even yet.

Uff da.


More details later.

Reply by EMark, Sep 12, 2015.

I suppose I should make a more proper introduction, Becky.  It is a pleasure to meet you, and I have enjoyed the contributions, above, that you have already made to the Forum.

DV's description of me "EMark is not a novice by virtue of the volume of wine he's experienced" does need a bit of explanation.  Relative to a lot of people here, I have exerienced a fair volume of wine.  However, that is mostly because I am the oldest person around here.  Compared to most of the contributors here, I've had a head start that measures in decades (plural).  What he says about GregT and Outthere is spot on.  I am always searching for their posts.  They both make very interesting, informed educational posts.  They also can both be hilariously funny.  There are times when I have to reread an essay by one of them to conclude that, sure enough, his tongue is very much in his cheek.

Really Big Al is the Snooth Forum award winner for the most detailed, best illustrated life-style posts.  VinOvinO is the most determined seeker of the most esoteric wines made from the most esoteric grapes.  Again, reading their posts is always enjoyable.

As the churlish old guy.  I'm the one who does not understand the reason for smart phones' existence.  I've stated more than once that they seem to be the perfect solution for which there is no problem.  I do, however, have to admit that I now own an iPhone.  A year ago, Mrs. EMark declared that she wanted one.  OK, I have been married long enough to understand that tone.  So, off we went to the AT&T store, and with the mere wave of a credit card we indentured ourselves for two years with AT&T.   To this day, though, my friends know that if they have a message for my, they'd better dial my number and talk to me.  I never seem to pick up text messages.

I live in California and am a California wine bigot favoring robust red wines.  So, you don't care for Cabernet Sauvignon.  That's OK--that leaves more for me. Seriously, I am very OK with other peoples tastes and preferences.  I know that I will experience only a limited amount of wine in my lifetime.  So, I am happy to hear other perspectives and learn from them.

I get teased a bit because I do not drink a lot of non-California wines.  I really don't have anything bad to say about European, or Southern Hemisphere, or, even, Oregon wines.  Because of my location, it is just easier, and, who's kidding who, more cost effective to enjoy California wines.

I am also one who enjoys wine with my meals.  I have come around to the opinion sitting around tasting four or twelve or a hundred wines is really not that much fun--that's called work and I'm retired.  I'm really glad that there are people who do that, because they tend to report on their findings which allows me to cherry pick the best ones.  :-)   That being said, living in California, I do enjoy visiting wineries and tasting.  I have come to the point, though, where I cannot do more than two wineries in a day.  Even if I spit, my palate just wears out, and one wine just tastes like the last.  

Oh, here is my wine pairing philosophy:  drink the wines you like to drink with the foods you like to eat.  I'm not sure I understand how your advice "ruined" somebody's dinner--unless it was just bad wine, or they burned the roast and felt that they can blame that on you.

Bull's Blood?  Egri Bakaver? 

I tend to prefer blends because they smooth out the rough edges of the individual grapes,  My humorous response to that is there is a cult that feels that "blending mixes the message."  Personnally, my two favorite kinds of wines are blends and 100% varietal bottlings.

I haven't met a wine type I don't like.  Obviously, you've never tried Retsina.

Again, Becky, welcome.  Hang around and I'm sure you'll enjoy the visit and you'll learn a lot about wine from some truly knowledgeable and very warm people.  

And, if you want, you can always skip past any of my posts.  Yes, that would hurt my feelings. So, please don't tell me.

Reply by beckyrider, Sep 12, 2015.

Hello, EMark!

Thanks for the introduction!

I still have a stupid phone. I have graduated to the kind that you can take beyond the end of the driveway without dropping the call because you wandered too far from the base. My cell phone makes and receives calls and texts. It is also purported to be able to go online, though I have never succeeded in making it do anything useful while there other than use up my data minutes allocation. It is not what is considered a smart phone. Like the smart cars, smart phones are ideal for many people, but for me, they lack . . . umm . . . appeal.

I don't do wine-tastings. I don't know what I'm supposed to be tasting for, and if I like something, I just want to drink it - which for some reason seems to be frowned upon at wine tastings.

I also like the two categories of wine that you prefer - blends and 100% pure varietals - particularly since I lack a third choice.

Yes to Egri Bakaver. My first experience with it was that it stained the concrete sidewalk a very lovely purplish maroon color that lasted for some weeks, a mishap due to the unreasonably fragile bottle in which it came. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.) It gave off a lush, if rather minerally, aroma too, and I was sorry to have missed tasting it. My second experience with it was much better (and less minerally), having made it all the way to my glass and then past my lips. It was the perfect wine to go with dinner that evening, and I remember it even after 13 years. Not a wine I would pair with just anything, but it certainly suited my palate that day.

I have tried Retsina, but I thought we were discussing wines, not lacquer thinner.

Thanks for the welcome, and the heads-up about the contributors in this thread, yourself included. Long experience, scientifically controlled or otherwise, still counts. At least, that's my hope, since I haven't got the education to actually know anything beyond what I've tasted. Then again, I'm not trying to educate anyone else, either. I just enjoy wines, and the people who drink them.

As for the ruined dinner date, I was 22, had had maybe three bottles of wine in my life - all sweet - and thought I was all that and then some. You may be able to extrapolate from there. . . .


Reply by GregT, Sep 12, 2015.

Emark - quite the opus! And you forgot our friends Zuf and Dmucker!

But Becky -

I think my prejudice stems from the practice of so many US vintners who beat their wines to death with oak staves..

That is partly true, but not in all cases and sometimes it's just more apparent because the wines are consumed so young. Coincidentally I'm doing a tasting today and that is exactly one of the things I'm hoping to illustrate.

. . . I drink inexpensive quaffing wines. My ex-son-in-law derisively calls them swill, and from the perspective of fine wines, they definitely are. But not every meal calls for a Le Pin. If I'm having burgers on the grill, a Bull's Blood is the perfect complement to the charred, smoky, beefy flavor of the meat.

Oh dear! I completely agree with your premise, but please not Bull's Blood!!!! That struck a nerve!  It might not be possible to get much worse wine in the US.

That's because no decent Bull's Blood, or Bikaver, is imported. And that's a real shame because the Hungarians have completely re-defined it over the past 30 years. The stuff for six bucks on the shelf is the result of a totalitarian government mandating production quotas without regard to production methods. What is found to day is produced by the legacy factories of the state-run co-ops using whatever grapes and whatever methods they need to. Honestly I think a generic Gallo or KJ wine, like the Barefoot or Apothic or something like Layer Cake is a better option because at least you know that real grapes were used.

But there's been a complete rebirth of the wine these days and a genuine Bull's Blood would absolutely be a fantastic compliment to the charred, smoky beef, or with game, which they do love in Hungary. In Eger, where the best Bull's Blood comes from and which claims (controversially) to be where the name Bull's Blood comes from, they have several restaurants specializing in game, particularly the deer that lives nearby. Perfect pairing!

Reply by beckyrider, Sep 12, 2015.

See, this is why I'm here. Thanks for the information!

Sorry to twang a nerve, Greg.

You were warned, though - I did say I was slightly better informed than a complete novice, but that really isn't saying too much. 

I'm kind of like a three-year-old with a new box of 64 crayons: I'm completely enthusiastic about shades of color that I have no experience with, and I'm coloring with them with great abandon but not much purpose.

This is how I learn.

I have only started regularly drinking wines in the last decade or so; prior to that, I could only buy a bottle here and there. From 1982 until 2002 I had had - maybe - four bottles of wine, none of which I remember.

After 2002, I would buy a bottle of wine a couple of times a year, and I tried to find something unusual.

When I had the Bull's Blood, it was one of the first (and second) bottles I bought. With nothing to compare it to, I thought it was pretty good; maybe simply because I wanted it to be. Perhaps the Bull's Blood would hold less appeal today, but I kind of hate to destroy the nice memory I have of it. It was a happy day with friends during a particularly bleak time in my life. 

What can I say? I had little knowledge then, and not significantly more now, and experiences are pretty subjective, after all, when there isn't much to build on.

I would like to try a real Bull's Blood, but getting to Hungary is not on the schedule for September (or October or November . . . .) It sounds like autumn would be an ideal time to go there, since I'd imagine the game would be bountiful.

I do drink Barefoot, Apothic, Layer Cake, Yellowtail, and others like them. They are the kinds of bottles I have in my cabinet for the most part, and they are what I buy when my friends are coming over.

I also like to try wines from different countries, in a completely unscientific and generally random attempt to learn about them. I can't say I've learned anything coherent, but I have enjoyed them all, and I am committed to keep on trying, probably in the same disorganized, random manner.

My friends know me as Taz, the Warner Brothers' cartoon character. I do have all his charm and tact, though I do bathe more often and usually smell better than he. My friends would tell you to stay a safe distance away, and try not to get any spit on you.

I have no idea what they're talking about.

Reply by duncan 906, Sep 13, 2015.

Welcome to our forum Becky

Reply by GregT, Sep 13, 2015.

Becky - a completely uscientific and generally random attempt is probably the best way to approach learning most things. Go for it.

I imagine there may be slim pickings in Fargo, as there are in many places, and I don't know what the shipping laws are in ND, but you might be able to expand your tastings quite a bit by ordering on line. Best deal is to ship an entire case, so it's a lot to lay out at once, but if you don't have access to lots of diverse things, it's a great way to expand your horizons. Even in NYC, where you could get everything, I used to order a lot on line.

Those wines you mention are fine. They're cleanly made, they're widely available, and many people love them. They're made in vast quantities and there's a lot of residual sugar left because that's what people like. We have a natural preference for sweets and you remember what Mary Poppins said about a spoonful of sugar.

If you like those, my hunch is that you'll like things like Moscato d'Asti and the harder to find, but very nice, Brachetto d'Acqui - both are wonderful slightly chilled and they're good for summer.

Reply by beckyrider, Sep 13, 2015.

Thanks, Greg. I do like the off-dry and slightly sweet wines with dessert or just to sip, but for pairing with food, I tend to go with dry wines.

Thanks for the encouragement, and I'll be following posts for ideas for those dinner wines.

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