Wine Talk

Snooth User: shawkes

Wines to Know

Posted by shawkes, Feb 4, 2010.

What are some wines that are wines to know? Meaning, I here people rolling wines off and I was wondering were their any about maybe 30 that someone . What are the classics to be aware of?

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Reply by amour, Feb 4, 2010.

I remember seeing the BLUFF books in London!
Such books must give you a must know list!
I never read them!

Anyway.....You would want to know about DRC in BURGUNDY/FRANCE.

DRC is Domaine Romanee-Conti and they also own La Tache.

You would want to know and taste Chateau Petrus, Chateau Lafite,
and the King of Sauternes...Chateau Yquem especially 1999.

I would think that you might want to know some
of the fine wines from Burgundy made by Ann Gross and those
by Madame Lalou Bize-Leroy with her Maison Leroy at Auxey-Duresses.
She made Gardienne des Grands Millesimes.

Let me leave space for others!

I will return to elaborate.

Finally, may I personally introduce you to the gems of the
late Didier Dagueneau of the Loire Valley/France.
He made the most decisive cuvees in the world !
Blanc Fume de Pouilly (formerly En Chailloux).
You may not easily get these wines but since you asked!
Some of his other great productions include Pur Sang, Silex,(these two
he fermented and aged in new oak), also Buisson Menard,
the mini-cuvee Clos du Calvaire and the late harvested L'Asteroide from ungrafted vines,
and his Jurancon called Les Jardins de Babylone.
His wines are elegance and power fused.

On the Italian side you may want to know about the wines

You may wish to become familiar with the union of Baron Philippe de Rothschild
and Robert Mondavi at Chateau Mouton Rothschild when they created a dream of
OPUS ONE...a red wine to reflect the personalities of two different men.

The wines of LEBANON are interesting...Chateau Musar, Chateau Kefraya and Chateau Ksara.

I will close with one of the world's most sought after champagnes...
Champagne Louis Roederer Cristal...created in 1876 for Tsar Alexander11
and the rare Cristal rose 1988.

Look forward to getting back on this thread!
Good luck!

Reply by amour, Feb 4, 2010.

AVIGNONESI.....for fine Italian wines, I am not really into Italian wines,
but that is not a real excuse for bad forgive me, please.
Thank you!

Reply by shawkes, Feb 4, 2010.

that is a wonderful reply. That is exactly the kind of list that I was looking for.

Reply by Matchupichu, Feb 4, 2010.

As stated by the person above me, you should know the five wineries of the first growth Bordeaux, as well as your Napa cult wine (eg: Screaming Eagle, Shafer, Krupp Bros., Ravenna, Silver Oak, Caymus, Plumpjack are a few to get you started). However, I find that is more important to know your foreign wines over the domestic (and this is just an opinion) because: a) domestic wines are easier to understand (they typically go by varietal) and b) they are (by my opinion) better wines in construction, quality, and compatability with food. These aforementioned "cult" wines are novelty in their own right, often times costing way more than they are worth. I am a fan of northern Italy with it's Barolos, Amarones (my favorite), and it's lesser known (at least to be a favorie) Barberas, Colline Savonesi, and Dolcetto. Also the whites of the Rhone are very intresting and I definetly think that they are very worthy of knowing, look up Condrieu, buy a bottle, and prepare to have a conversation with God. Also, as the person above me said, Burgundy is also a place to look into for some well known, status wines, Get to know the sub-appelations and it's star wineries and you'll be fine. For Champagne, Salon, Krug (No Krug, no thanks.!), PJ, and Veuve Le Grande Dame vintage stuff, look them up and then prepare to never buy them (well, I can't my pocket book and bank account would have a siezure), these wines are expensive, whereas the others are some what affordable! Hope I was helpful, and I apologize for any grammatical errors! Again, also, Hedonist in the Cellar by Jay McInerny, and Kermit Lynch's wine book (forgot the name) are two really good books to offer you some insight to the wine world, these big name wines, (some of them) really don't deserve the status they have,so I would stay away (or at least not pay any attention to) from any wines or praises given out by Robert Parker, though I've heard he's a really nice guy, that man has way too much power for the wine world.

Reply by amour, Feb 5, 2010.

I am on all fours total agreement ....... with the ROBERT PARKER point

outlined by the well-versed Matchupichu above.

Reply by GregT, Feb 5, 2010.

shawkes - I don't believe that there are any wines you must know, or really any "classics" either. There are many very knowledgeable people who know next to nothing about some wines and they're not lesser individuals for it. There is only so much time in a day after all, and so much time to devote to learning about wine.

Honestly, you won't appear more knowing if you have a superficial knowledge of wine from reading as opposed to tasting. Just taste some wine and if you find something you like, learn more about it. Maybe you like the grape(s), the region, the winemaker and start looking from that point. Moreover, you don't need to know about one region or area before you learn about something else. In the USA, when the wine industry restarted in the 1970s, France was considered the height of fine living and so they modeled the wines in Napa on some of the French wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy. If the wine business were starting today, I suspect they'd probably plant more Italian grapes than French grapes. But be that as it may, one country does not make more important wine than another.

Finally, I can't understand this line "stay away (or at least not pay any attention to ) from any wines or praises given out by Robert Parker". In fact, I would suggest quite the opposite. He has written more books than most people have read about wine and if you want to learn about some of the wines from Bordeaux and the Rhone, his work is one of the best places to look. That does not mean that you will necessarily like every wine he does, or dislike them, but he tastes a lot of wine and he's certainly tasted more than most of the people who claim to dismiss him.

Reply by amour, Feb 5, 2010.

As I explained in a message directly to shawkes,
I am not one for name-dropping !
Actually, people do drop my name instead!!!!

Secondly, I have never been a show-off, nor is anyone in my family!
We do have a lot to be proud of but are all comparitively cool !.CHEERS!

You can probably say the very same? !

HOWEVER, I do value the importance or merits
of being "UP" on various subjects socially !!
And it is in that context, I responded to you !

I would sincerely hope, that you would thoroughly explore

the world of wine and I promise that you will be equally rewarded.

I am very thorough.......we are not all alike....I RESPECT THAT.

Anyway, here are a few ones!!!.....

1787 Chateau Lafite is said to be most expensive....fetched $160 THOUSAND US DOLLARS in London at CHRISTIES in 1985. (Bought for FORBES COLLECTION)
Thomas Jefferson's initials etched in glass of the bottle.

You should be aware of the cout scenes and proof of the fakes
and the scandal s surrounding some Lafite, involving certain German sellers, I am told,
or the court heard, and about the
initials.... TH.J ....on the bottles, and the legal drama
and the evidence that the lettering was done with
very modern power-tools and so must be fake .
(Will go into detail later.)
Let us now turn to other matters.........

1787 Chateau d'Yquem sold at $56, 588.
1784 '' " " at CHRISTIES 1986.
Massandra Sherry 1775 (WINES OF CRIMEA)
sold at SOTHEBY'S, London, 2001 $43, 500.

7 bottles of 1978 MONTRACHET (Domaine de la Romanee-Conti),were sold at SOTHEBY's in the year 2001 for $167, 500. for 7.

Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1945...A great vintage ...sold for $114, 614 at Christies London
in 1997. I was there at the time.

Romanee Conti DRC 1990 sold at Sotheby's 1996
at ...set of 8 $224, 900 ($28, 112 per bottle). I was also at Christies then.

SCREAMING EAGLE ( USA made) IMPERIAL Cab. 1992 went at a high price.......
(purchased by Chase Bailey/CISCO Executive.).....
Some SCREAMING EAGLE BOTTLES have fetched $3, 833. each bottle.

Will return......must work now!!!

Kind regards,

Reply by amour, Feb 5, 2010.

I enjoyed GregT, as I always do!
Even his elaboration on the PARKER point is most fitting.
I do read PARKER , and for the very reasons cited by GregT.

I was endorsing mainly the point about Parker having too much power in the
wine-world .......and that is an accepted "fact".....?

Cheers! and may all ideas contend!

By the way, I spelt court badly in the earlier post....just a typo...sorry!

Reply by Matchupichu, Feb 6, 2010.

I must say as well, after returning to read my post again, I would say that you probably shouldn't stay away from every wine that Parker rates, but at least take his rating with a grain of salt. To humor: I recently went to Napa and Sonoma and did numerous tastings with places touting Robert Parker's ratings, then I rated the wine. My perception of the wine was much lower than that of Parker's (for the most part). The one winey that stands out in my mind is Martinelli, with it's pinot noirs boasting up to a rediculous 16% alcohol content! Parker loved it. I prefered the David Vergari we had after. Here's a test: try the Vergari, Marin county, compare it to Martinelli and do he cost/value analysis. maybe you prefer Martinelli, but somehow, I feel that the Vergari will come out on top. If it's the case that you like the Martinelli, then OK, you like that wine (though I opine otherwise). I've realized that my words before were brash and emotional, I apologize. Though, I really have a sort of disdain for Parker and the power he has in the global wine world. Parker called the 1982 vintage for Bordeaux, he has made several signifigant contributions to the wine world, he has the one of the most experienced wine pallets in the world; however, I feel his scores and ideologies are starting to slip. This is my opinion, but I like read and talk about wine to the likes of the late Henry Waugh; in short: when describing an insipid wine, care should be taken to point out its flaws, where the winemaker went wrong; not to beat around the bush and sing half-hearted praises. Wine, when it is terrible, should be identified as your mortal foe and treated accordingly. I am sure that many have problems with this train of thought.

Reply by zufrieden, Feb 6, 2010.

Here's a nice, easy metric for you: divide each Parker score by 1.05 to get the "true" score...


Reply by Nz BoUNd, Feb 6, 2010.

The parker points system is just a tool for "score jockeys" to use as a topic while tasting/ talking/ buying wine to compensate for their lac of knowledge, passion, and decision making.

I don't think it is possible to put a numerical quantitative value on a product that is so sensual and intrinsically personal to each different person involved from the grapes to the consumer.
However Parker has written alot of good books/ articles and is very knowledgeable man when it comes to wines almost anywhere in the world.

Reply by Matchupichu, Feb 7, 2010.

I totally agree with you Nz Bound, very well put; Hemmingway almost.

Reply by Jeremy Block, Feb 8, 2010.

You all have it wrong: Parker has a very specific style of wines that he likes, which in short, are high alcohol, low acid, highly extracted (for the reds) fruit bombs. Furthermore, red wines always have to have 100% new french oak. Its interesting to note that if you take 5 wines from different areas of the world all of which have conjoured up high Parker rating, you will immediately notice a streak of homogeneity ripping through them, and an almost deliberate absence of terroir. In brief, he has a very specific style of taste which I do not agree with 99% of the time. So if you like the wines he rates high, then go for it. Unlike Wine Spectator he is sup[osedly objective,.

Reply by GregT, Feb 8, 2010.

I would imagine that most of the people who disparage Parker vehemently are pretty much familiar with most of the wines he's rated. And they'd agree that the wines made by guys like Randy Dunn and Phil Togni are huge sweet fruit bombs and that's why they usually score somewhere in the mid 90s.

A wine like the 2001 Chave Hermitage? Well, he pretty much gave it the same score as WS and Tanzer did. Then in 2005 he gave Chave 94 where WS gave it 98. Both are pretty good scores I'd think When it comes to CdP, most people tend to class Donjon as "traditional" CdP and he scores that one right around where he scores some of the more "modern" ones. There are a lot of 2007 CdPs that don't have new oak. I would imagine that he made mistakes when giving them high ratings?

I seem to remember some Business Week column in which he recommended a few CA whites that were entirely unoaked, including a couple chardonnays, calling them great values. And he seems to like a lot of the white Bordeaux.

Back in the 1970s there was a little store that opened up in Detroit. That isn't really a wine-drinking town now and it was far less of one then. The guy sold Italian wine, thinking that eventually there'd be a market. Parker was singing the praises of those Barolos and Barbarescos and bought cases of them for himself at retail prices. They didn't really have "modernist" producers then, so these days he's drinking nicely aged traditional Barolo.

There are a few wines from Spain that are big and ripe and I don't particularly love them but I have to admit they taste pretty good and many people seem to really love them, including Parker. As a result of his championing those wines, entire regions have awakened. That's exactly what happened in the Rhone incidentally.

And he likes Mitolo and Fox Creek and a number of wines from Australia. Big, ripe shiraz. So people seem to think that's ALL he likes. Can't someone enjoy wines from many different regions and in many different styles? If a winemaker believes that critic so and so only likes one wine and tries to make his wine taste exactly like that, is that the fault of the critic? Moreover, if the resulting wine is good, does it really truly matter?

But I certainly don't need to defend him. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, as narrow as it may be. And if anyone's tried a significant fraction of the wines Parker has over the years, they may indeed find that he only likes one style of wine. Since I've tasted fewer wines than those people, I don't actually find that he is all that narrow in his tastes. Doesn't mean I agree with them all the time, but from my limited observations, he seems to have fairly wide-ranging tastes.

Just my 2 cents. Cheers!

Here's another viewpoint, from one of the better blogs out there.

Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Feb 8, 2010.

Jeremy, have you read any of Parker's books? While I don't tend to enjoy the majority of the wines he likes (low acid, high ABV, etc.), his Bordeaux books are amazingly informative, not just about the wines themselves, but about the vineyards, the owners, the winemakers, the terroir, etc.

He's also made wine more accessible to the American public, by touting fruity, oaky, low acid, easy-drinking wines. Wines like fruity cab and shiraz have been the gateway for many drinkers, and these are wines he scores highly. Hopefully, most drinkers' tastes will evolve, but even if they don't, so what? They're still drinking wine.

Reply by Doctor Bob, Feb 8, 2010.


You are aware that the 1787 Chateau Lafite sold to Forbes was a fake

Reply by amour, Feb 8, 2010.

I have been following the legal battles over Lafite!
The gentleman collector lives in Florida.

Those modern power-tools etched those initials!

Reply by zufrieden, Feb 8, 2010.

Excellent observation, Jeremy; you have Robert to a jot! Clearly, if one shares his passion for certain styles of wine he can help you grade them along a reasonable continuum. Unfortunately for me, his particular passion is not mine - which is why I jokingly suggested dividing his cores by 1.05.

Reply by atonalprime, Feb 10, 2010.

I like to have an idea of scores on wines, but just as everyone has said, you have to take them with a grain of salt -- when you see three scores with a 5 pt variance, how can that really be a solid representation of the wine? Something is up here, and its probably personal taste/capabilities of taste. Remember too, that every "scorer" is not just one person. That score may have come from Robert Parker, or his minions. If I'm confronted with two wines from the same vintage and region, I might be inclined to pick the higher scoring wine, certainly if the price-point is the same.

When I'm at a wine store or shopping online, all I can go by is what I've tasted and enjoyed (and thanks to, I have a written account of my thoughts on those wines,) but also on what I've read. Just like you, I've barely tasted what the world of wine has to offer us, so it takes a little more knowledge to realize what sets 3 different $15 bottles apart from eachother. Spain is more than Rioja and Rioja is not just one vinyard either. I rarely go to a wine merchant to find a specific bottle, as I find great enjoyment with tasting as many different things as possible, so that I always know what I can come back to and explore further (like the plethora of Rioja wines out there.)

I still see Bordeaux as an immense idea to comprehend all at once, and it wasn't until I started reading up on the Classifications that I was able to start recognize those key names and points on the labels of the wine that helped me steer my buying decisions.

I haven't even begun to tackle South Africa or Australia, but I know that you'd be doing your palette a disservice to ignore these regions.

Bordeaux, Know your growths:

Good maps of the communes within Medoc, Graves and Sauternes, the vintage information is a quite generalized:

And of course, Robert Parker's recent Wine Spectactor vintage chart, from August 2009, not entirely complete and some crazy generalizations about regions, but still its more information than I had before reading it. I like to think of it as a game sometimes, when I'm buying older wines, I certainly want to know if that 1979 Paulliac is even worth buying (mostly for the enjoyment of having a 1979 Paulliac, not necessarily to taste a super-quality-and-condition 1979 Paulliac.):

Reply by amour, Feb 23, 2010.

You may want to know the latest developments...
For example, that the National Wine Commission
of Italy promoted AMARONE to a DOCG,
Denominazione Origine Controllata e Garantita.

This is the highest agricultural distinction in Italy.
Several others were denied.
The following were denied...Collio, Gorizia, Bivongi,

Aso that CALISTOGA was granted AVA. status.....American Viticultural Area.
This means that wineries within that AVA (Northern end of Napa Valley)
can use a CALISTOGA designation on its labels as of 2010.

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