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Learning about wines


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Anyone out there know of any books that can teach me about wines? What goes with what and what the general tastes are from the different regions? I'm not a big drinker at all and usually prefer water or coffees over adult bevies but think it would be interesting to have a basic knowledge of wines sense it seems they have similar characteristics of coffees.

 

Hugs,

Greg

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Although reading a book may not be an bad idea, it really is very personal taste. So what I like, or what is recommended may not be what you like, and that is all right. I recommend patronizing restaurants that feature a wide selection(a wide selection being at least 10, and more likely 20 or more) of wines by the glass, and essentially figuring out what you like with what. You are venturing probably $7 to $20 on the unknown, rather than often $50 to $??? on a bottle you may or may not like. Also listen to a good sommelier at a restaurant you patronize semi-regularly; they usually do have some good recommendations. Yes some are just pushing this or that, but it generally doesn't take much to figure that out. More and more high end places are suggesting wines with specific entrees too. These are generally very good pairings. If there is a restaurant week where you live that is often a good time to sample, as they will often have a relatively inexpensive price fix with some good wine pairings.

I recently had a dinner where the sommelier let me taste two wines I was having trouble deciding between, before actually pouring(charging).

Also wine bars are "in" so there are a lot more of them and they are ideal for tasting something new.

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Greg - sorry I could not work out the meet in Chicago this time, still looking forward to catching up and having another visit after our first meet in Indy. Wine for Dummies is indeed the place to start then try the Windows on the World Wine book. You can also learn a great deal over a cup of your favorite beverage at the bookstore leafing thru the latest issues of Wine Spectator, Decanter and Wine and Food. There is indeed no substitute for trying them. I no longer have your home address, but if you email it to me again, I will select a case of reasonably priced items from my stores and send them out to you as a belated Xmas gift!

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I'm not sure how or where wine is sold in your area - I know laws governing such things vary widely from state to state - but I'd look for local wine shops. The ones in my area often have free tastings - which are good ways to sample without having to plunk down the big bucks. You can probably get on a mailing list for events. There's also a new store here that has a large number of wines in dispensing mechanism that let's you buy small servings - an oz or so - for sampling. I haven't tried it yet but some friends have recommended it.

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Thanks for the tips guys! I know a fair amount of coffee and I figured just like coffee everyones tastes are quite different on what they feel is the better of the batches. While I prefer the African coffees Boobers likes the Indonesian coffees usually. It can be a struggle sometimes getting him to go with what I prefer but we usually come to a nice compromise. Boitopper I'll email you in a day or so. I gotta get ready for the day job here so check your email tomorrow.

 

Hugs,

Greg

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You can only get so much from books and wine drinking doesn't have to be an expensive hobby. I use wine as a substitute for dessert during the week. I get my carbs and something probably healthier than cake or ice cream.

 

At least in the DC area, a lot of liquor stores have tastings, usually during "rush hour" on Fridays & Saturdays and the wines are usually reasonably priced (under $20/bottle, often under $10). Given that Washington & Oregon have a lot of wineries you might find something similar in your area or you might look for a guide to local wineries and take a trip to visit them (bring a designated driver!).

 

Liquor stores with decent wine selections will post scores from Wine Spectator or other magazines. Generally you want scores of 90+. For cheaper wines (under $10), the you often have to settle for the mid-80s, but you'll end up trying good wines you might not approach otherwise.

 

For price, wines from Chile, Argentina, and Australia are often the cheapest and there are plenty of very good wines among them. Try different types--I slowly developed a taste for reds, although I still don't care for Merlot. Most people start with whites--they're fruitier, if not a bit sweeter in taste.

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Do you have Cost Plus World Market stores where you live? If so, try them. They usually have a little blurb on each wine. I've noticed several wines that get high scores by Wine Spectator and another magazine whose name escapes me at the moment for under $15.

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Your best best is to go down to Chateau St. Michelle in Redmond, and talk to them. I frequented the place while I was still in Seattle. They are very generous, and they have a lot of information at hand. Also it is a great way to get a bunch of wine samples.. Just remember to Spit, and not swallow at a tasting.. That stuff will make you drunk quick if you let it.

 

 

PA :+

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