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Snooth User: eek216

overwhelmed novice!

Posted by eek216, Aug 4, 2009.

Hi All,

I am very very new to the wine world. I just turned 21 a few months ago and have only recently discovered my love for wine, but there's just so much out there that I don't quite know what to buy or where to start! Many of you seem to know your stuff so if anyone has any advice on how to go about learning about my wines properly, I'd greatly appreciate it!



Reply by Philip James, Aug 4, 2009.

Erin - thats a broad question! Start by trying different things, different prices, different varietals, different regions, sweet, dry, white, red and rose, sparkling or still. Just go have fun, enjoy, and take some notes as you go. After a while you'll start to find certain characteristics you like, whether its sweet fruit, sugar and tartness, or just searing acidity. There's no hurry, but you'll eventually know what you like.

I've been drinking wine for over a decade, and still bounce all over the map - for me its about trying new things (i do have some favorites though).

Enjoy, and welcome!

Reply by Jimmy Cocktail, Aug 4, 2009.

That's good advice by Phillip. Try a lot of different things and (this is the hard part at first) take lots of notes. They don't have to be really complex, just simple things like the name and year of the wine and what you noted about it (sweet, my mouth feels like the Sahara, yuk!) is a great place to start. Soon you'll begin to notice things like, I tend to like the Reisling grape or OMG New York wines are the bomb!

If you find something that you like, buy two and stick one away for a rainy day. See if you still like it six months from now. I know that my tastes and favorites have evolved as my palate has become more educated. Play games with your friends, see if you can guess the grape or the region of a wine you haven't seen the label of yet. Find a wine review and go buy the wine to see if you can taste the same things that the reviewer did. Go visit wineries if you have any nearby to where you live. Talking to the folks at a winery is a great way to learn about all the things that have to happen before a wine ever gets into the bottle.

The most important thing though is to have fun! Welcome!

Reply by syrahlover, Aug 4, 2009.

Wine is a lot like coffee. When I first started drinking coffee I was about 10. I would fill a coffee cup up with cream and loads of sugar, and just a dash of coffee. When I got a little older I would buy coffee at 7-11. The stuff that had been cooking for hours. Then I graduated to the carmel mocha macchiatos with whipped cream and vanilla sprinkles. But as my palate matured I stripped away all that stuff and started drinking straight espresso. Then I had to find the coffee shop that had the best espresso. It's the same with wine. As your palate matures so will you.

Reply by eek216, Aug 4, 2009.

Thanks for all your advice! I think this website will be extremely helpful in finding a direction to go in. And syrahlover, thanks for the analogy, I can very much relate to it!

Reply by Charles Emilio, Aug 5, 2009.

Great advice from everyone above.

I would advise to try as much as possible and try not to be influenced by Price is better. A lot of higher priced wines need to be put away for a half a decade to enjoy.

I strongly recommend a podcast called "Wine for Newbies"

go to or look for it and subscribe for free on iTunes. It'd done by a really nice guy called Bill Wilson.

Reply by GregT, Aug 5, 2009.

Depending on where you live, a lot of stores have tastings. In NYC usually on Friday and Saturday there is someone pouring little tastes of wine. Don't pass by a free wine sampling! You'd be surprised at how much you can learn really fast. Also, as we get into the fall, a lot of charities sponsor wine tastings. There's usually a fee but you get to taste dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of wines. If you go to those kinds of tastings, don't go back and forth between different types of wines and reds and whites, etc. Pick a few things you're interested in and taste some similar items. For example, if you want to taste syrah, go and taste all the syrah first. Then maybe switch to merlot or something. Or if you're interested in whites from the Alsace, go taste all of those first while your palate is still fresh. You can learn a lot that way.

And don't try to write a note for every wine you taste. Once in a while you can, or even the next day when you wake up and see the bottle, jot down the name of the wine, the year, and whether you liked it or not. But some wine geeks think they can't drink a bottle of wine anywhere without writing down tasting notes and those people really become tiresome quickly.

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Aug 7, 2009.

It really helped me to start taking notes. One fun idea is to host a small wine tasting with your friends. Ask everyone to chip in a few bucks, go to the wine store and pick out a nice selection. (Snooth can help there if you want to find something that others have enjoyed.)

When you're tasting, chat with your friends about what you like and don't. It's fine to start with "Hey, this Cabernet Sauvignon is great but I didn't like the Sauvignon Blanc so much." Those translate to ratings and next time maybe you might try other things that are similar to Cab.

And of course have fun!

Reply by John Andrews, Aug 8, 2009.

I would agree with Mark, take notes on everything you taste. One other thing I would suggest is join or start a wine tasting group. It can be a little intimidating but you is a great way to expose yourself a lot of wines and compare your impressions with other people.

Reply by MTB, Aug 9, 2009.

Similar to what Mark suggested, I also recommend a "wine potluck" - I was introduced to the concept years ago by a friend. Everyone brings a dish to pass and a wine that they a). like, and b). would pair with the food they brought. As people arrive, organize the food/wine pairings in courses - with each food/wine pairing being tried one after the other (rather than as one big hodge-podge buffet). For each course have people start with the wine and note their reactions, and then try the food and then the wine again - and see if their impressions have changed as a result of the food pairing. Great way to learn new wines as well as what kind of food pairings you like. I've had instances where people said "oh I hate such and such" but then when they tried it with the food pairing found that they didn't dislike it as much as they thought - or changed their opinion altogether! Some keys for success with this type of party - tell everyone to prepare a tasting menu - everyone only needs a few bites of the food - not enough to constitute a meal in and of itself; encourage people to be creative and bring food/wines from all over the world, or pick a region or type of food/wine, and have people plan their dishes and wines accordingly. And best of all, enjoy!

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