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Snooth User: ljascoe85

Not sure about certain flavors...

Posted by ljascoe85, Oct 21, 2010.

Hey, I am fairly new to the wine world, newer to red wine. I am trying to get to know wine better, learning to taste the aromas and actually taste the wine instead of just swallowing. I ordered a glass of Pinot Grigio while out to dinner one night, and the server accidentally brought me Pinot Noir, this was my first encounter with red wine, and I did enjoy that particular wine. I began going to the store and reading lables on the bottles to get an idea of what I would be tasting, I never liked a wine too strong or full bodied, meaning I don't like my throat to burn, never really took a liking to oak either. I could be doing this all wrong but I am attempting to learn. The only Pinot Noir that sticks out in my mind as a wine that I enjoyed is Robert Mondovi. I have recently been trying many other Noirs and haven't really found my "nitch". I think I am just not sure of what I do and don't like. I really don't think I like spices or oak. My most recent purchase is ca'donini 2008. For the first time I swished and swirled, tried to study the color and legs, looked for the nose and palate, so on and so forth, I realized the first smell was alcohol, then jam, fruit, strawberries, but the strong alcohol smell still took over. I tasted realized, do I just not like the taste of wine? Almost afraid to hold it in my mouth, but that is where I was able to identify some of the aromas. Once I swallowed I thought to myself, "this is why I just drink and swallow quickly". It did burn my throat. It wasn't the most terrible I've ever tasted, I'm drinking as we speak. I just want to find a few good wines that I enjoy, not just force myself to like, hoping to aquire a taste. I think I may be in the catagory with the "super tasters" I don't drink coffee because I think it's too bitter, I wouldn't say I'm all that finicky, but I do need some help from all you winos out there. Much thanks in advance!- Laura


Reply by zclaire1, Oct 21, 2010.

haha! I am a new wine drinker too and HATE the alcohol taste in wine. Even one with 10% alcohol is too much for me. I kind of figured I should start with something lower, so I went to Bevmo and got Vino dei Fratelli Moscato d'Asti, which has 5.5% alcohol. Its sweet and floral and really easy to drink. Moscato d'asti wine is chararcterized by its sweetness and low alcohol level. I kind of figured I'd work my way up from there..

Reply by napagirl68, Oct 22, 2010.

I recommend bypassing the common step of newbies of drinking low end wines from any region.  It really leads to a bad impression of a certain varietal or region that in unfounded. 

Read reviews here, read reviews at other sites as well. 

If it burns your throat, it is prolly not a great wine- prolly high in alcohol and lacking any flavor or depth.  There is a whole world of wine out there that will allow you that wonderful experience- then there is the rest of it...misleading, misguiding... you get it.

Ok..before I recommend.. where are you located??? that helps a lot...

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Oct 22, 2010.

Hi laura, welcome to Snooth!

I think Napagirl's advice is really good. It's better to spend some more on the first bottles of wine when you explore a region, and then try and find less expensive bottles that deliver a similar expereince.

Did you check the listed alcohol on that ca'donini? Just curious. And what other wine have you enjoyed, and hated?



Reply by GregT, Oct 22, 2010.

Good advice above.  Another thing you might do is simply check the alcohol level on the bottle.  A lot of Riesling for example, will be around 10 - 12 pct, whereas some of the bigger red wines and even whites are around 14 and more. That's not always a big deal, but sometimes it is.  Also, many Rieslings have a bit of sugar that is left over from fermentation, so they're easier to take. And other factors besides alcohol matter - the balance between the acidity of the wine, the tannin or drying bitterness that you might find, the remaining sugar, if any, and the alcohol, as well as the overall fruitiness of the grapes - all of those affect what you're going to experience and they influence each other.

One other thing - when people say cheap or inexpensive, you need to know who you're talking to.  Offhand I can't think of anything I'd drink for $5 USD a bottle retail, hardly anything for $10 either, although once in a blue moon you can come across something.  For some people, that's their comfort area. For me inexpensive means roughly $15, give or take a couple of bucks, because that's around the price where wines start getting interesting. You can find things from Beaujolais, the Loire valley, the south Rhone, all over Italy, lots from all over Spain, good wines from Germany, selected spots from CA and the west coast, wines from Australia and the southern hemisphere, and more.  Then between $15 and $20 you can find a world of wonderful wines.  Over that you can find even more and then roughly around $50 or so, the price starts divorcing from the improvement in quality and the factors that influence price start coming from elsewhere.

So define your price and take that into  consideration when you receive recommendations, but be aware that there are definite tiers in the system and the people in the business target and produce for those.

Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Oct 22, 2010.

I'd say wait a bit to graduate to reds.  If you're a Pinot Grigio drinker, you're not going to like almost any red.  Why?  Because PG doesn't taste like wine- it tastes like wine cut with water.  It has few prominent characteristics.  You probably drink it because it doesn't really "taste", right?  You can just swallow it.

I'd say experiment with other whites first.  Get the hell away from PG and try some Rieslings, Sauvignon Blancs, Viogniers, Gruner Veltliners, Chenin Blancs, Gewurztraminers.  Or, since you like the PG, give other Italian whites a try, like Falanghina, Greco, Soave, Orvieto, Vernaccia, Vermentino, etc. 

I personally don't care for most Chardonnay, and there are so many shitty versions available, especially in a newbie's budget, that I say skip the entire varietal for now, particularly the bigger names like Kendall Jackson/Toasted Head/etc.

Also, don't bother with looking at the legs.  I mean, do you even know what you're looking for?  Most people don't.  ;)


Reply by Martindc77, Oct 22, 2010.


I'm from Brazil so forgive english mistakes.

Two fruity whites I suggest:

Torrontes Cafayate (Bodegas Etchart)

Sauvignon Blanc - MontGras

Maybe someone could suggest you a Rosé, I'm certainly not the right person to do so.

Reply by avoglemono, Oct 22, 2010.
I agree with the above post  Try out some Rieslings, Viogniers and Gewurztraminers from Europe; It can give you a good picture of the classics. There is so much generic wine out there, stay away from under $10 wine (unless you like it) $20 and under is a better place to start - there is more character being seen at this level.   For your Red wine look at Spain - Beautiful flavors!    Have Fun
Reply by zclaire1, Oct 22, 2010.

Make sure you try wine that YOU want to try, not what others want you to try. Remember, the wines you personally like are whats important. Each region has its own distinct flavor, and you should try several types to avoid getting a bad impression of it. I've heard of a lot of inexpensive wines being great, and they get a bad rap from some people just because they're cheaper. Try the wine I recommended! I daresay you'll enjoy it ;)

Reply by zufrieden, Oct 22, 2010.

Following some of the of economics of price-to-quality already expressed in the earlier postings, I would concentrate on the 20 dollar range for most wines from most regions - with a few exceptions (and you'll know these when you investigate them).

In this price range you should be able to find low-alcohol Riesling wines from Germany (Mosel, Rheinhessen, Nahe) that suit your palate and provide quality per dollar.

Of course, there are many other examples of inexpensive, high quality wines from other regions already mentioned - but you will confront some warm (alcoholic) wines in the process.

Another bit of advice is to drink less but in style.  In this way, I guarantee you will learn much and enjoy more.

Reply by napagirl68, Oct 27, 2010.


Still not sure where you are located.  If you are in an area accessible to many wineries, I would of course, suggest going wine tasting.  Barring that, my next recommendation would be finding a good wine shop that does tastings.  You need variety plus experience to help you along.  I recommend avoiding pinot noir as a beginner... sorry to say, and sounds weird since I am the author of the "i'm in love, with Pinot" post.  But it is true.  Pinot noir is usually done wrong, especially in CA, but can be done grandly.  But you must have a developed palate to appreciate even the fine ones.

GDD has a good point.  Start with the whites, then graduate onto the reds.  I love Viognier and Torrontes as first-line suggestions.  I, personally, love CA rhone style Viogniers, but that is not everyone's suggestion.   As for Torrontes, Argentina, of course!  I have had some great ones, and not so good ones, but one I like is the 2008 Tamari Bodega reserva, Argentina.  It was fruity, yet had depth and balance.  I am not saying this one is the BEST, as I am new to Torrontes.  But I have tasted about 10 of them, and so far, like this one the best.

Another thing.. don't drink your whites TOO chilled.  It dulls and masks the flavors.  Many restaurants overchill those whites.  Hold the bowl of the glass in your hands while you gently swirl it, allowing it to warm a bit, and taste it.  Continue your warming/waiting, and taste again.  If the wine was too cold originally, you should begin to taste some deeper, more complex flavor. 

 I could put the same wine before you, from the SAME bottle, in two different glasses, at two different temperatures, and you prolly wouldn't think it was the same wine!

Temp recommendations vary, especially on the type of white, but usually ~52F is safe, maybe even a tad warmer.  But most restaurants stash it in a refrig at ~45-50F.  That is why there is such a market for wine refrigerators!


Reply by ljascoe85, Dec 14, 2010.

Napagirl- I'm in central NJ. Greg D.- I think the alcohol content was between 12-14%. I don't really recall what other wines ive like/hated. I haven't bought anything in a while. I always stuck to PG because it was simple, I ordered it while out at a restaurant one evening and received PN instead, and actually enjoyed it. I always steered away from any reds as I tasted a few in the past and really didn't like it. After that first experience with PN, I decided to try more. I guess I was going in blind and didn't really know what I was looking for. I asked a person who worked at the Spirits near my house to reccomend a "good" PN and he suggested Francis Coppola becuase it was a high seller. I thought that was ok, nothing spectacular though. I do like Robert Mondovi as stated earlier, I've also tried CaviT PN, I had a rose wine a while ago too, that was actually very good, it was the only one in the store and I needed it for a recipie, I don't recall the name though. The only places I know of to get wine are basically Spirits, or local liquor stores, don't know of any specific wine places.I always feel funny asking for suggestions because then the question arises, "what flavors do you like?" and I'm never sure how to answer that. I guess I never really tasted the wine I was drinking before, just drank it. Another reason I was leaning more toward reds is because I feel like it helps to settle the food in my stomach after eating. I've always had digestion issues and I felt like if I drank a glass of red with or after eating I didn't feel sick. I would say my price range is from $15 to about $30. I'm looking for a wine that can be enjoyed on its own as well as with a meal. Girl Drink- As for the "legs", I just finished reading "Wine for Dummies" and was testing my skills, haha, I think I know what I'm looking for but who knows, I'll learn more as I continue into the wonderful world of wine. Also, I believe I tried a Chateau ST. Michelle once, it was good, but I don't know how much I could drink without getting a headache from the sweetness. Anyway, thank you guys so much for all your input, I didn't expect such a response! Maybe I'll make some friends interested in wine as well, because right now I don't know anyone ;o( Thanks again!

Reply by napagirl68, Dec 15, 2010.

One piece of advice I can give that is near and dear to me regarding pinot noir:  many, many CA wineries blend other grapes into their pinot noir to give it the "common taste" that many CA drinkers are used to. Syrah is one that is commonly used.  They don't have to call it a blend in CA if the wine contains at least 51% of that grape!!!  Crazy.  In Oregon, I believe it is 90%, which is much more reasonable.  Oregon's Willamette Valley does some amazing pinot noir, as does CA Sonoma Coast.  I would recommend looking here on Snooth, and other wine blogs you like, to see what Oregon Pinot Noirs are recommended in your price range.  Warning: they can be pricey... many are $35 and up.  But if you taste a good representation of a REAL pinot noir (not a blend), you will know if you like this grape.  If not, you prolly would enjoy some CA syrahs.. Amador County and Santa Cruz Mountains make some great Syrahs, and you should give them a try.  Do you have a good source for purchasing wine?  I am completely unfamiliar with new jersey, but Gary's wineshop,  is a great, great resource in your area, even if you you are not close and have to do mail order. 

Many beginners also enjoy a smooth merlot... Merlot and Chardonnay tend to be "gateway" drugs into the world of wine! LOL!  Many start with these varietals for sure.   

Take your time and enjoy the ride... your tastes will change over the years.  You need never be embarrassed that you cannot come up with "descriptors" when asked.  Most people can't.  The best thing is to visit a reputable wine shop with a person who is HELPFUL, and tell him/her what you've like in the past, and that you want to branch out slowly to a better quality wine, or different varietal, that would lean toward your likings. 


Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 19, 2010.

NG: I think the requirement is actually that 75% of the wine has to come from the grape. Check here:

Or here:

Prior to 1983, it was 51%. Still, with pinot, in particular, 75% is too low, as pinot can be easily overwhelmed.

And as to descriptors, didn't one of our Snoothers have an answer:  Whenever someone asks what the wine tastes like he turns to his girlfriend and she pauses thoughtfully before saying, "Grapes!"

Reply by Mips, Dec 19, 2010.

Just keep tasting.  I have found many surprises on my journey.  Generally speaking, I learned by blind tasting that the Pinot Noir's I love are at least $30 and higher. If I love it, I can't afford it on a regular basis.

Other surprises, I thought I loved Chardonnay but I haven't loved any since a certain forgotten one I had too many years ago to remember.  This was true until 1) I tasted my first $60 California Chard and 2) I tasted my first Chablis out of Burgundy.

Just keep tasting.  Not all varietals are the same across all the continents.



Reply by napagirl68, Dec 20, 2010.

OK Foxall... you are correct.   AND in 1983, I was too young to drink! LOL! 

Funny you should post the correction on the CA % requirement.. I was just corrected on this in a tasting room in Carmel Valley YESTERDAY!!  I am a victim of out of date internet sources.... oy veh.

anyway... yes, agreed.  75% is not good enough for precious/delicate pinot.  I always buy pinot that is made from 100% pinot grapes. 

Cheers, and Happy Holidays!!!

Reply by GregT, Dec 20, 2010.

ljascoe85 - one thing I'd suggest is just ignoring any reading matter or books or such. 

Cripes.  Did you read a book before you decided you like pizza?  Or ice cream? 

I doubt it.  So you DO NOT need to study and learn and read to drink wine.

People make a lot of money preaching nonsense.

Just drink some wine.  If you don't like it, don't drink that one again.  Try something else.

See?  It's easy!

Don't worry about the "legs" or "tears" or any of that. 

And don't drink Cavit.

Some people like Pinot Grigio precisely for the reasons you've stated - it has no taste or personality. But that's just bad Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris.  In fact, there's no reason for the wine to be insipid other than the fact that it's precisely for that reason that it's so popular.

But there are many red wines you may like.  I'm drinking an Aleatico right now.  No oak, no spice, seems like peaches and flowers actually. And there's Garnacha, and there's Nero d'Avola, and there's Gamay and there's Grechetto and so many other grapes.  Wine is good, it's fun, it's tasty, and you don't have to try Pinot Noir just because it's fashionable among non wine drinkers. 


Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 21, 2010.

GregT to the rescue of pinot gris/grigio.  GDD really doesn't like the stuff at all, but it's not all bad.  I don't really like sweet or fortified wines (I'll tolerate a few, but you're wasting good bottles on me, I admit), so I try to stay out of those conversations. 

I would modify GregT's advice a little:  Don't read reviews, especially not to start.  But I like a simple general reference book, like "The Wine Lover's Companion," so that, if I like one thing, I can see what else might be like it, or what growing areas employ the varietal.  Also, for newbies, it's pretty good at referencing varietals by body, so if you want to avoid heavy reds, you can. So drink first, write next if it helps you remember what you like, and read later.

And avoid Cavit.  100% on that.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 21, 2010.

NG: I guess I was technically too young to drink in California in 1983, but that didn't really stop me.  Plus I went to college in NY so the drinking age went up one year at a time, right behind me. But I am shocked that the Internet contains misinformation. ;-)

I am okay with the front label saying the name of a dominant varietal even if it is less than 100%--most winemakers I know think nearly every varietal (red, anyway) save pinot benefits by some blending. The percentage numbers ought to be on the rear label if there is anything else in there.  Even if that were the case, those numbers are always an estimate, albeit a close one, as I understand it, as is ABV.

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