Beginners Corner

Snooth User: DBrooks360

Lost in Wine World

Posted by DBrooks360, Aug 21, 2013.

Hey Guys!


I’ve been mostly a beer/liquor drinker and need help navigating through the world of wine.  My goal is to try everything once to find out what I like.  Walking up and down the wine section of the local liquor stores and seeing all the selections is a bit overwhelming.  I was hoping some of you guys could help guide me through this journey.  So far this is what I’ve tried and liked:  Moscato, White Zinfandel, Reisling, Pinot Grigio and Sweet Red.  Here is what I didn’t like: Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.  Any suggestions you give will be appreciated!!


Reply by EMark, Aug 22, 2013.

Welcome to the Snooth Forum, DBrooks.  I saw your other posting, but I'll respond to this one.  From what you've written above on your likes and dislikes, I might conclude that you like some sugar in your wine.  One wine that I might suggest to expand your horizons a bit is a Vouvray from France.  The Vouvray region is in the Loire Valley and the predominant white wine grape that they use is Chenin Blanc.  The resulting wine usually has a fair amount of detectable sweetness.  You might also look for California Chenin Blanc, but that might be more difficult to find.  It used to be very popular 20-30 years ago, but as the wine-drinking public's tastes have changed, producers have followed demand.  So, it is not as easy to find as it used to be.  Chenin Blanc has been quite successful in South Africa, but I find that their versions are pretty dry.  So, those may or may not appeal to you.

On the red side, a wine popped up a few years ago here in the United States that seems to have a lot of popularity--Apothic Red.  This wine has significant sweetness and is very widely distributed. 

I certainly encourage your exploration of Rieslings.  Germany is, of course, the most prominent source of Riesling wines, but good U.S. examples can be had from the New York Finger Lakes region, Washington, and some regions in Northern California.

Have fun, DBrooks, and keep us up to date on your explorations.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Aug 22, 2013.

Hi DBrooks and welcome to Snooth!

Sounds like you like fruity and sometimes sweeter wines. Weird that you don't like Pinot Noir, which can fit this profile. It's tough to make sweeping recommendations because, for example, while some inexpensive Pinots and Many new world Pinots fit this profile, those from Oregon tend not to.

Which Pinots have you had and not liked?

If I were to recommend a single wine for you to try I would suggest Grenache, particularly from the new world, California and Australia. It's typically made in a round, fruity, easy drinking style.

Let us know where your palate takes you!


Reply by Tbandcwfjourney, Sep 20, 2013.

We are beginners as well.  I love information  so I have the following books;  What To Drink With What You Eat and The Food Lover's Guide To Wine.  Both are by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg.  Hubby doesn't like research so just drinks what's on the agenda.  I think these are fun and interesting reference books.  Their app, not so great.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 20, 2013.

TBetc:  Hey, he's doing field research!  Actually, it's nice that you can direct things and then he can give you feedback.  That way, you get to decide the directions things go, but you get his buy in.

Food pairing is fine, but it's not the science some make it out to be.  Safe to say that wines and cuisines grow up side by side, so a good guide is to drink the wine the locals drink when they eat the food.  But what to do with Chinese take-out or Thai food, where the cultures aren't really wine-centric?  Also, it's fun to think the other way--I want to learn about the wines of Veneto, so what should I eat with that? I suspect that wine and food pairing books are also limited by their space, so I am going to recommend that you also buy a couple books just about wine.  A favorite of mine, because it covers a lot of ground in describing grapes, regions, technical terms, and is pretty compact in the Wine Lover's Companion, by Herbst.  It even has a section on decoding wine labels that's really good for beginners.  (In Burgundy, sometimes you almost can't find the producer's name without really working hard.)  I still like to browse my tattered copy of the Second Edition.  Once you start geeking on obscure grapes, you will want to get Oz Clarke's "Grapes and Wines."  Jancis Robinson has a new, similar book, much more comprehensive, but it's also about 5x as expensive.  Clarke's book is readable, cheeky even, but don't take his word as gospel.  For instance, he is a big New Zealand Sauv blanc fan, and in general a big booster of Aus/NZ wines, with a taste in Syrah that probably runs 180 degrees from mine, but his descriptions of the flavors are generally spot on--he's famous for his palate and memory, although I daresay that he doesn't claim to remember every wine he's ever had a la Parker.

All right, folks, welcome to Snooth, which is your other great guide to finding out what you like--and I hope you become resources for the kinds of wines you like, too. 

Reply by mommycat, Nov 21, 2013.

Hi, I am new to wine.  About 2 years ago I tried some wine but got a severe headache so I have not had wine since.  Someone told me it was from sulfites in wine.  However, just a few days ago I read an article mentioning that sulfites in wine were not the culprit to severe wine headaches but in fact were from additives found in new world wine.  So I am on a mention to try wine again.  I read that old world wine is wine from Italy, France & Spain.  So my question is, "What brands are good that are not too expensive? that I could try.

Reply by Michelle Dean, Dec 28, 2013.

Some interesting reading!  I am having a great time reading questions and stories shared by other members.  DBrooks - When I first became interested in wine I too only liked the sweet wines.  What I have since discovered is that you develop a taste for other wines and you just can't limit yourself to a particular type or varietal because you may like one Pinot Grigio from one winery or even a vintage and not like another.  I once tried a Barbera and so hated it that I wouldn't try any other Barberas.  What I found is that I do like some and don't like some...  That is what I enjoy so much about the journey... you just have to try it!  I still like sweet wines and I love dessert wines but I have also learned to like many others.  

EMark - you made some good recommendations and I am looking forward to learning more about them.  I am not familiar at all with French wines.  

Gregory - I will have to search out a Grenache from Australia to add to my cellar.

Richard - thank you for the great suggestions of readings.  I wonder if any of them are available in ibooks?  HHmmmm... a new search!

Mommycat - I read an article here that wine headaches are caused by histamines and not the sulfites and can be avoided by taking an antihistamine before drinking.  I have never been plagued with headaches from wine so I'm not sure how true that is but thought I'd share.  I also read that not ALL wines will have that affect so don't give up on all wines because one gives you a headache.  






Reply by bocron, Dec 29, 2013.

Dbrooks, I'm new to this venture like you. Another vote here for the Grenache.  Although just remember all wines are not created equal. My first Grenache is what got me liking wine after years of really disliking it. I believe the one I had was Borsoa. Since then I've tried probably 4-5 and enjoyed all but the last one.  Had that one been my first I'm not sure I would have tried others! This is why I enjoy going out where I can buy a glass at a time. I use an app on my phone to keep track of the ones I like and want to buy a bottle at some point. 

MichelleDean, wow is all I can say to your info! I REALLY disliked wine for most of my adult life. The almost instant horrible headache I experienced (not always but I could never predict) made me choose beer whenever we were out. About 3-4 years ago I started taking Claritin every day due to allergies. Thinking back this coincides with me finally starting to enjoy wine because the headache factor seemed to be resolved. I thought I had just finally matured into a grown up lol. 

Reply by Michelle Dean, Dec 29, 2013.

Bocron - Ha... that's too funny.  Welcome to "adulthood"!!  Well... there ya have it.  Proof... it's histamines!!  Maybe that is why I have never had any issues with wine headaches... I took antihistimines for many years until I finally discovered bee polen.

I'm going to have to find some Grenache's and add them to my cellar for tasting... 

Reply by GlfWid0, May 17, 2014.

It looks like you havent had a Merlot....try it....stick with Jackson Triggs.

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