What have you learnt on your wine journey?

A section for those relatively new to wine, 'geeks in training', and for common wine topics
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Ian Sutton
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What have you learnt on your wine journey?

#1 Post by Ian Sutton » November 6th, 2016, 5:17 am

If you had to share a handful of lessons learnt on your wine journey so far, what would they be?

For starters a couple of thoughts from me:
- Just because a leading critic, or indeed a range of critics or show judges like a wine, it doesn't mean I'll like it. It's my palate that matters, not their palates.
- Find that balance between exploration of new wines and returning to old favourites. It's possible to focus too much on one or the other.

regards
Ian

p.s. With the moderators approval, I'd like to run this on the main forum, but as the comments die down, to shift it to the Wine101 forum as it may prove most beneficial there. On that note, a quick plug for an excellent 1st post by JonT, eloquently asking for advice with enough background to make suggestions practical. I'd be very interested to see what other people would suggest, and in particular hearing any suggestions for Zinfandels that might appeal to Jon.
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Howard Cooper
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#2 Post by Howard Cooper » November 6th, 2016, 6:19 am

Be open minded. There is a lot of uncertainty about which wines will age well. An overoaked wine may fall apart with age, or as the oak integrates into the wine, you may be able to see that the wine really had some nice stuff underneath. A vintage that seems really ripe or really unripe vintage may seem very different with a few years of age. Be prepared to change your mind. I truly hate it when someone posts a tasting note on a wine and someone else tells them they are wrong based on a 10 year old tasting of the wine.
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#3 Post by Mike DiSalvo » November 6th, 2016, 6:32 am

At the end of the day it's only grape juice.

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#4 Post by Josh Kurek » November 6th, 2016, 6:37 am

I have learned a ton about producers, vintages, grape varieties, regions and wine making technique but no matter what knowledge I add it always comes back to three core principles for me:

1) wines are influenced by their setting...drinking good bottles with great friends = great wine experiences.

2) no bottle of wine tastes as good as seeing the excitement of my kids faces at a new experience for them so my wine spending habits have greatly shifted since I have had kids.

3) wine is never absolute, what one person likes another person dislikes...as a result never rule out trying new things.

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#5 Post by Michael Martin » November 6th, 2016, 6:50 am

Your cellar/storage/wine frig is never big enough.
There will always be another wine you "must" have.
Just drink it, don't cherish it forever.
Corked wines should be returned.
Wine is not an investment.
Wax seals are easy to remove despite what people say.
Travel shock is a myth, or not.
Not all roads lead to Burgundy.
High alcohol in wine is not a bad thing.
Low alcohol wines are lovely.
Merlot is good.

And buy an Ah So opener. You will eventually need it.

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John D. Zuccarino
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#6 Post by John D. Zuccarino » November 6th, 2016, 7:37 am

80% of wine is consumed by alcoholics...
"if I cannot move heaven I will raise hell"

Virgil's Aeneid...Hell must have frozen over, somehow I am a Donor


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#7 Post by Jim F » November 6th, 2016, 7:43 am

Good wines, and especially great wines, have seamless balance.
Jim Freeman

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#8 Post by mike pobega » November 6th, 2016, 7:53 am

I have learned much about wine but more important is to just let go and have fun. Acting as if there's a stick up your ass says more about you as a person than it does your wine prowess and lord knows I have spent my lifetime avoiding such people, pretty successful too if I must say so. Good topic.

Happy Sunday.

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#9 Post by Todd L » November 6th, 2016, 7:58 am

To stop chasing points and buy more wines that I do not shake when I decide to open them. Rather than treat them like baseball cards, treat them like food :)
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#10 Post by GregT » November 6th, 2016, 8:42 am

Say you don't care but be sure to buy wines that get high scores and especially buy wines that people talk about most on wine sites so you have something to post about.

Finally, remember that you can antagonize a lot of people with an opinion. Since wine is not essential to life, people are extremely passionate about their beliefs.
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#11 Post by Frank Murray III » November 6th, 2016, 9:07 am

I learned, well, I have met some of the best people on earth--kind, generous, with integrity and a passion to share. I've also learned to trust my own palate.
My best wines of 2018:
2013 Vilmart & Cie Champagne Premier Cru Grand Cellier d'Or
2015 Kutch Sonoma Coast PN
2017 Kutch Falstaff Sonoma Coast PN
2012 Marguet Père et Fils Champagne La Grande Ruelle Ambonnay
2012 Savart Expression Nature Ecueil
2010 Tercero Verbiage (Rouge) Santa Barbara County

Kindness matters.

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#12 Post by CJ Beazley » November 6th, 2016, 9:08 am

Im circling back around to Chardonnay in a big way.
It's C(raig)

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#13 Post by Andrew Kaufman » November 6th, 2016, 9:18 am

I learned (not learnt) that of the hundreds of winemakers and winery owners I have met, that literally all of them are wonderful people. That is why most of my wine is California. From Bill Phelps, to Dom and Carissa Chappelet, from Jan Krupp to Jennifer Lamb, all great.
Last edited by Andrew Kaufman on November 6th, 2016, 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#14 Post by Russell Faulkner » November 6th, 2016, 9:21 am

Ian is an Englishman. Learnt is just fine (even in Norfolk). :)

I've learnt to listen a lot, but trust, or at least follow infrequently.

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#15 Post by Andrew Kaufman » November 6th, 2016, 9:26 am

Gezus why can't you Brits learn how to spell the Queen's English properly?

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#16 Post by robert creth » November 6th, 2016, 10:11 am

Wine is not a competition sport.
Getting kicked off a mailing list is not big thing.
Accept that you can't buy everything that looks good.
Even if you love California, France makes pretty good juice too.
Quit chasing the high of that "ah hah!" Wine that first thrilled you, that's not where the joy is found.
All roads may not lead to Burgundy, but they seem to lead to Chardonnay.

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#17 Post by Anton D » November 6th, 2016, 10:20 am

John D. Zuccarino wrote:80% of wine is consumed by alcoholics...
And produced by.
Anton Dotson

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#18 Post by Frank Murray III » November 6th, 2016, 10:31 am

Anton D wrote:
John D. Zuccarino wrote:80% of wine is consumed by alcoholics...
And produced by.
John and Anton, why muddy up the thread with this kind of stuff? I don't get why either of you need to post these kinds of replies.
My best wines of 2018:
2013 Vilmart & Cie Champagne Premier Cru Grand Cellier d'Or
2015 Kutch Sonoma Coast PN
2017 Kutch Falstaff Sonoma Coast PN
2012 Marguet Père et Fils Champagne La Grande Ruelle Ambonnay
2012 Savart Expression Nature Ecueil
2010 Tercero Verbiage (Rouge) Santa Barbara County

Kindness matters.

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Ian Sutton
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#19 Post by Ian Sutton » November 6th, 2016, 10:38 am

Andrew Kaufman wrote:I learned (not learnt)
That wine forums are the ultimate test of grammar [wink.gif]

Really great input everyone, some wonderful observations.
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#20 Post by Rudi Finkler » November 6th, 2016, 11:03 am

Don't give up with Bordeaux... :-)
Rudi - The Bordeauxphile -

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#21 Post by David Gerstenfeld » November 6th, 2016, 11:37 am

I know what I like and I like what I know. I no longer pay attention to the critic's reviews with rare exception and buy producers and regions I enjoy.
I love Champage. It's versatile with all cuisine and comes in so many styles. Did I mention I love Champagne?
I can't tolerate overt oak any longer and much prefer the secondary and tertiary flavored of an aged wine from anywhere.
Having consumed some spectacular decades old white burgs over the years, premox really sucks. It really, really sucks.
I have been disappointed more often than not drinking red Burgundies but the highs far outweigh the lows.
Wine collectors are some of the most generous giving people I have met in my life.

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#22 Post by alan weinberg » November 6th, 2016, 11:47 am

make the wine the occasion.
there will always be another great wine.
buy more than a few bottles if it is a great wine (and you can afford it).
get a Pungo.
half bottles are worth a small up charge.
double decant before bringing a bottle to a nearby restaurant.

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#23 Post by Markus S » November 6th, 2016, 1:39 pm

Good wine cost crazy $hitloads of money.
Wine is NOT necessary to live.
You'll waste tons of money buying bottles that could have sent your child to Yale or Stanford.
Half or the wine you'll buy you will be disappointed with. The other half you can see why you need a 2nd mortgage to chase what lights your fire.
Wine is sometimes worse than the craps table or roulette wheel.
Remember to spit.
It's OK to keep that bottle around for a second or third day.
Half of what people tell you is hogwash; the other half, you need to pay close attention and listen to.
Don't get in bed with wholesalers.
$ _ € ® e . k @

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#24 Post by Andrew Kaufman » November 6th, 2016, 1:43 pm

Ian Sutton wrote:
Andrew Kaufman wrote:I learned (not learnt)
That wine forums are the ultimate test of grammar [wink.gif]

Really great input everyone, some wonderful observations.
Never ever take grammar or spelling lessons from me. I spelt every word in the American language wrong. Or is it spelled? Or is have spelt? See.

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#25 Post by Howard Cooper » November 6th, 2016, 1:49 pm

Andrew Kaufman wrote:I learned (not learnt) that of the hundreds of winemakers and winery owners I have met, that literally all of them are wonderful people. That is why most of my wine is California. From Bill Phelps, to Dom and Carisa Chappelet, from Jan Krupp to Jeniufer Lamb, all great.

Don't understand. Is it only California winemakers who are wonderful people? What is wrong with winemakers in other countries.
Howard

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#26 Post by Andrew Kaufman » November 6th, 2016, 1:59 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
Andrew Kaufman wrote:I learned (not learnt) that of the hundreds of winemakers and winery owners I have met, that literally all of them are wonderful people. That is why most of my wine is California. From Bill Phelps, to Dom and Carissa Chappelet, from Jan Krupp to Jennifer Lamb, all great.

Don't understand. Is it only California winemakers who are wonderful people? What is wrong with winemakers in other countries.
Have not met but two. Neither was my cup of tea and one was a jerk. I can visit with many California owners and winemakers almost anytime. I rarely buy wine anymore unless I have met with or personally tasted in the wine tasting room. Just my thing. I stay local and keep money locally.

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#27 Post by John D. Zuccarino » November 6th, 2016, 2:22 pm

I learned that the wine world is full of very different eccentric wonderful people who are the kindest people...the bonding of trials and tribulations with peeps ITB is priceless ...

Shalom !!!

Salute !!!
"if I cannot move heaven I will raise hell"

Virgil's Aeneid...Hell must have frozen over, somehow I am a Donor


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#28 Post by Sean Malloy » November 6th, 2016, 2:45 pm

Don't ever buy a wine because you feel like you need to buy it or you'll miss out on something....there's always another great option around the corner.

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#29 Post by Dale Bowers » November 6th, 2016, 3:05 pm

Buy slowly as your palate will change over time.
Cheers!

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#30 Post by Tran Bronstein » November 6th, 2016, 3:27 pm

* A sub $20 bottle can be just as good and enjoyable as one 3-4 times its price if the wine appeals to you.

* Politics are divisive (unfortunately). Wine brings people together.

* Americans are awesome people. I was already biased and predisposed to this due to my family on my maternal side being American but the ones I have met through wine have only reinforced this. Whatever happens next week and in the future, God bless your country and your people.

* Anyone who drinks wine deserves the label of wine lover, regardless of whether or not you approve of their choice of drink. Bordeaux drinkers and Wolf Blass drinkers and everyone in between counts as a wine lover as far as I'm concerned.

* Palates can change and more often than not do, so never say never. It took six years but I am a full-on table wine drinker now as well as a sweet wine drinker.

* Screw soda, the only carbonated fruit flavored drink worth drinking is sparkling wine.

* Always taste new wine samples whenever you get a chance to in as many different manners and environments as you can. You don't always have to buy a new wine to taste it. I've tasted far more wine on tours, trade shows, special events, SAQ and LCBO stores, dinners with friends and off restaurant wine lists than I've ever bought and drunk and am far, far better off for it.

* Store your wine properly. If you're going to spend that much money on the beverage, the least you can do is protect it as best you can until you're ready to drink it. You don't need to be a billionaire to properly store and care for your wine, either. My own storage units consist of used 12 bottle wine boxes lining a long hallway, several kitchen drawers and a kitchen closet with wire baskets. The LCBO product consultants have marveled at the condition of my returns when I exchange.

* People really need to drink more sweet wine. Let go of your prejudices and try some. You're bound to hit a style you enjoy.

* People really need to drink more fortified wine, but the industry is also responsible for getting more people to do so.

* What you drink with is as important as what you drink. After Zalto and Schott-Zweisel glass experiences, I will never go back to plain old wine glasses ever again.

* Who you drink with is as important as what you drink. The only thing better than drinking wine is drinking wine with family, friends and fellow wine lovers. Unless your family is my Barefoot wine loving family. Anyone out there want to trade families? Just askin'.
Tran's the smart one!- M Grammer

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#31 Post by Scott Brunson » November 6th, 2016, 3:32 pm

After the loss of a very dear friend to cancer this week, I will heed his long time motto--
"Don't save 'em for a special occasion; every day can be a special occasion."
Tous les chemins mènent à la Bourgogne!
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#32 Post by James Wright » November 6th, 2016, 3:34 pm

points scores are about owning wine, not about tasting it or appreciating it.
~ Verteidiger der Wahrheit ~

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#33 Post by Michel Linden » November 6th, 2016, 3:57 pm

Jim F wrote:Good wines, and especially great wines, have seamless balance.
spot on Jim
great wines leave me speechless I cant describe how good they are

great wines taste best when shared
my fellow wine drinkers are very generous with their wines
quarantine can be a good place for a wine to build and evolve

yes yes please return TCA wines

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#34 Post by mike pobega » November 6th, 2016, 5:25 pm

Scott Brunson wrote:After the loss of a very dear friend to cancer this week,
Scott, sorry for your loss.

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#35 Post by Dan Hammer » November 6th, 2016, 7:34 pm

Read Read Read.
Read wine boards. Read blogs. Read wine magazines.

Drink Drink Drink. It's the only way to understand the grape. Drink syrah, zin, CdP, various white varietals etc etc. How will you know what you like if you don't experiement.

Go to offlines. If you're new to this hobby, for the price of a bottle of wine, you're going to drink better wines. At my first offline, I brought a $35 Anderson Conn Valley (ACV) cab sauv reserve. I thought I was hot stuff. AT that dinner, I tasted other wines (mostly more expensive) that opened my eyes. These days, I like to think that I step up and contribute properly to these dinners.

Find a mentor. It helps to be able to converse with someone.
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#36 Post by Joe W i n o g r a d » November 6th, 2016, 7:53 pm

Wine tastes very different with food than without food. If you don't like old world wine, you may be drinking it wrong.

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#37 Post by Sanjay Nandurkar » November 6th, 2016, 11:00 pm

That appreciating wine is a journey. Be prepared for the long ride.

Having a good group of friends who share your passion is very helpful. Offlines are great way to share wine.

This hobby isn't cheap so be prepared to spend.

Travelling to wine regions, walking through the vineyards, talking to the producers gives you a different perspective.

Once you understand your palate throughly you have reached your destination.

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#38 Post by Andrew Hamilton » November 6th, 2016, 11:05 pm

Michael Martin wrote:Wax seals are easy to remove despite what people say.
Please share your wisdom here Michael, I have yet to learn how to easily remove wax seals. Every time I have to face one I feel like an 8 year old who's been given his first pocket knife and wooden block to whittle.

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#39 Post by brodie thomson » November 7th, 2016, 12:04 am

Andrew Hamilton wrote:
Michael Martin wrote:Wax seals are easy to remove despite what people say.
Please share your wisdom here Michael, I have yet to learn how to easily remove wax seals. Every time I have to face one I feel like an 8 year old who's been given his first pocket knife and wooden block to whittle.
So my approach, is to leave the wax seal alone, screw the cork screw thru the wax into the cork and pull it all out in one go. Never had an issue. I do not try and remove the wax seals, I try and remove the cork.. YMMV but it seems to work for me ok.

Brodie

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#40 Post by Michael Martin » November 7th, 2016, 4:12 am

brodie thomson wrote:
Andrew Hamilton wrote:
Michael Martin wrote:Wax seals are easy to remove despite what people say.
Please share your wisdom here Michael, I have yet to learn how to easily remove wax seals. Every time I have to face one I feel like an 8 year old who's been given his first pocket knife and wooden block to whittle.
So my approach, is to leave the wax seal alone, screw the cork screw thru the wax into the cork and pull it all out in one go. Never had an issue. I do not try and remove the wax seals, I try and remove the cork.. YMMV but it seems to work for me ok.

Brodie
champagne.gif [welldone.gif] [winner.gif]

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#41 Post by ykwon » November 7th, 2016, 6:04 am

Well, that eliminates using a pungo or coravin on wax sealed wines
y 0 n 9
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#42 Post by alan weinberg » November 7th, 2016, 7:53 am

there are numerous threads on various ways of removing wax seals. I go outside on the grass (so I have no mess to clean) and bang the wax with the handle end of a butter knife. It fractures off and I can easily open the bottle.

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#43 Post by K John Joseph » November 7th, 2016, 8:05 am

Wine is a consumable. Drink the wine how you like it and it will be "optimized" to your palate. Don't decant if you don't want to. Or do if you prefer decanted wines. Drink champagne out of whatever damn glass pleases you the most. Don't hold bottles for special occasions; Wednesday is often special enough. Perfect pairings are never necessary. Tastes change, but don't forget why you fell in love with wine...it will help you respect other folks' tastes even if they're different than yours. Champagne goes well with everything, but mostly with smiles. It's okay to drink wine young. It's just different, but not necessarily less enjoyable. Brett is a fault, especially with age.

I love sharing wine with good people. I love the memories that come with it, the stories, the laughter. It's a conduit to many wonderful things in a way unlike any other drink I've ever had.
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#44 Post by Michael Martin » November 7th, 2016, 8:30 am

alan weinberg wrote:there are numerous threads on various ways of removing wax seals. I go outside on the grass (so I have no mess to clean) and bang the wax with the handle end of a butter knife. It fractures off and I can easily open the bottle.
You CAN do that or you can just....
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#45 Post by Steve Brickley » November 7th, 2016, 11:31 am

Michael Martin wrote:
alan weinberg wrote:there are numerous threads on various ways of removing wax seals. I go outside on the grass (so I have no mess to clean) and bang the wax with the handle end of a butter knife. It fractures off and I can easily open the bottle.
You CAN do that or you can just....
I run hot water from my dispenser over the top and the wax comes right off with a knife. If I am bringing it out, I do this before I leave.
Steve

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#46 Post by lleichtman » November 7th, 2016, 12:00 pm

Read, study, visit, drink. Nothing brings you closer to the wines then stepping in the vineyards. The smell of a wine production facility tells you that you are in the right place. There is never enough storage, money or enough time to drink all of the wines you'd like to try.
Lawrence G. Leichtman

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#47 Post by Andrew Hamilton » November 7th, 2016, 5:35 pm

brodie thomson wrote:
Andrew Hamilton wrote:
Michael Martin wrote:Wax seals are easy to remove despite what people say.
Please share your wisdom here Michael, I have yet to learn how to easily remove wax seals. Every time I have to face one I feel like an 8 year old who's been given his first pocket knife and wooden block to whittle.
So my approach, is to leave the wax seal alone, screw the cork screw thru the wax into the cork and pull it all out in one go. Never had an issue. I do not try and remove the wax seals, I try and remove the cork.. YMMV but it seems to work for me ok.

Brodie

Thanks Brodie and Michael, I'll give that a crack next time I'm facing a waxed bottle.

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Jeremy Holmes
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What have you learnt on your wine journey?

#48 Post by Jeremy Holmes » November 7th, 2016, 6:56 pm

Yep, drill straight in with the corkscrew Andrew.
ITB

Scott E.
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What have you learnt on your wine journey?

#49 Post by Scott E. » November 14th, 2016, 9:00 pm

I have learnt that it is ridiculous to debate the pros and/or cons of wines with others on forums such as these. So incredibly silly when your taste buds are so different than the next guy or gal. Why do you think all that ocean of wine sells out (almost) every year?

I realized (early on) that I will never be able to purchase the DRC-level wines, but I think there are many wines in this category that are mostly hype/trophies anyway and that often times, price will not equate to quality. I have to ignore Bdx and Burg due to price, but I have been very happy with wines from CA and WA (but Napa may be headed the way of Bdx as far as price goes).

I was a red-only drinker from the start, but I now enjoy a fine champer, chard, gewurtz and sauv blanc from time to time. I am much more willing to try something new these days.
$.E$te$

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alan weinberg
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What have you learnt on your wine journey?

#50 Post by alan weinberg » November 14th, 2016, 9:08 pm

Jeremy Holmes wrote:Yep, drill straight in with the corkscrew Andrew.
I have done that but often get bits of wax in the wine so I prefer the whack it rather than drill it technique.

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