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What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: November 14th, 2016, 10:02 pm
by Craig G
Markus S wrote:Half of what people tell you is hogwash; the other half, you need to pay close attention and listen to.
I used to think that but then I realized it was the other way around.

What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: November 15th, 2016, 11:19 am
by Ian Sutton
Really appreciate all the thoughts folks. I said at the start I'd ask the Mods if they'd shift this to Wine101 when it died down, so I'll ask one of them to do that.

What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: November 15th, 2016, 1:08 pm
by Howard Cooper
Scott E. wrote: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).
[scratch.gif] In what universe is California Cabernet cheaper than Bordeaux?

What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: November 15th, 2016, 1:09 pm
by Corey N.
It never was about the wine; it's about the people you share it with.

What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: November 15th, 2016, 2:41 pm
by Rajiv Ayyangar
1. The subjectivity of wine is greatly overstated.
When I first got into wine, I felt like my experience of tasting a wine was so fleeting, slippery, and personal. As I've learned more and honed my deductive tasting ability, I've found I can see wines more clearly.

At the highest levels (e.g. MS/MW), people agree more than they disagree. There's usually a consensus on quality, because trained tasters have similar perceptions, even if their preferences may differ, which brings me to my next point:

2. Quality is not the same as preference.
The notion of objective quality is best understood within a stylistic context, and may require some palate-empathy if you happened to dislike that style. I'm not the biggest fan of Aussie Shiraz, but I can recognize a good one when I taste it, and I've gained more empathy over the years for people who like that style.

3. The level of rigor in wine "facts" is extremely low
Notions like "transparency", "terroir", "the dumb phase", "shut down", and "minerality" are interesting to think about, but invariably we throw them around like solid facts instead of the tenuous claims they are.

4. Wine doesn't go with Indian food.
It just doesn't.

5. Clarity of perception leads to more memorable and impactful experiences.
This, in a nutshell, is the reason I blind taste. Aside from the intellectual challenge of bringing theory to bear during deduction, I've found that as my tasting becomes clearer and more objective, my experience of tasting wines I love is more detailed. My tasting notes become less fantasy and more discovery and observation.

What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: November 15th, 2016, 8:15 pm
by Berry Crawford
I learned I disagree with everything Rajiv wrote about wine in this thread.

I also think most grape varietals can make world class wines when matched with the right winemaker and growing conditions.

Almost all wine growing regions with good drainage, moderate heat and cool evenings can make world class wines.

Regions like Burgundy and Napa are famous mostly for historical reasons. They make great wines there, but hundreds of other spots on earth could make wine just as good. Most of them probably have few or no vineyards at this point.

New oak generally makes a wine worse.

Eventually the best Pinot Noirs in California will come from the Sierra Foothills and they will rival Burgundy. I know that sounds retarded but if you live long enough, remember this post.

What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: October 12th, 2017, 6:29 pm
by Bill S.
Lession 1) Drink what you like not what everyone says you should like. Critics scores are a good starting place but remember some wineries don't submit their wines to the critics so that unscored $20 cab may drink like its 95 pt neighbor.

Lesson 2) ALWAYS return tainted bottles! and if you have a good relationship with your LWR even those bottles you just don't like. I personally tell all my customers to return it if they don't care for it (most of the time they don't lol).

Lesson 3) Every day is a special occasion. Holding on to that special bottle just because it is expensive is a losing proposition. You may not be around to enjoy it tomorrow God forbid so drink up.

Lesson 4) Learn all you can and listen to everyone talking about wine. You may not agree but any information is better than none.

Lesson 5) Wine is best when enjoyed with like minded people. Join a tasting group or start one yourself.

Lesson 6) Price isn't everything but..... the more you pay the better it should be, the trick is finding those wines that drink above their price tag. I've had $10 bottles that drank like $30 and $60 bottles I wouldn't have paid $20 for but the only way to know is to try them.

Lesson 7) Yes aging makes a HUGE difference. My most memorable bottles was a 20 yr old Ch Haut Brion that made the other $100 bottles we had open taste like grape juice, that one shut up the entire room !

[cheers.gif]

What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: October 15th, 2017, 1:59 pm
by Craig G
Bill S. wrote:Lession 1) Drink what you like not what everyone says you should like.
This is just crazy talk.

What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: October 15th, 2017, 2:36 pm
by Steve Slatcher
Wine is fermented grape juice, its enjoyment is totally subjective, and it's fun and often tastes nice.

On top of that you can layer symbolism, culture and aesthetic systems if you are into that sort of thing. But just don't let that stuff take over and fool you into thinking wine is special or mystical, or that its quality is objective. Don't let it get in the way of the important stuff.

What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: June 18th, 2018, 12:10 pm
by Bob Kot
It never ends, which is the most endearing aspect.

Always learning, experiencing and keeping myself open to new and old wines, wine makers and the people that engage with wines makes for a never ending revelation.

Cheers!

What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: June 26th, 2018, 1:25 pm
by ChadG
1) When drinking more than one, drink the best first!

2) Food makes wine better, wine makes food better....sometimes...

3) I'm not good at describing wine beyond the cliche terms.

4) Everyone is a critic. When retailers started scoring the whole system lost credibility.

5) Obviously retailers are in it to sell and make money, don't let them tell you what you would like or should like.

6) I like producers, not regions or varietals. Usually if I like a certain wine from a producer, I will like mostly all the stuff they make.

What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: July 9th, 2018, 3:09 pm
by Sh@n A
1) As a beginner, a great way to learn your preferences is (i) trying a lot of wines over a short period of time [e.g., when doing multiple tasting rooms], (ii) when you find something you like, ask the pourer to describe the wine to you and really try to nail down the descriptor of the taste/feeling you gravitated to, and (iii) finding other wines with that descriptor going forward to hone down.

2) Folks will bully you into thinking you are inexperienced when the wine is fact bad

3) Different people disagree truly on when wine has gone bad

4) You generally do get what you pay for

5) It is difficult to taste wines in their peak / properly aged

6) The vast majority drink their wine too young

7) Trust your instinct for what you like/don't like

What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: July 20th, 2018, 1:24 pm
by Alex Russan
That the more I learn, the more I realize there is still to learn or yet to be understood.

Re: What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: November 18th, 2018, 7:14 am
by YLee
I learned my credit card bill gets too high too fast.

Re: What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: November 18th, 2018, 9:51 am
by Rajiv Ayyangar
Berry Crawford wrote:
November 15th, 2016, 8:15 pm
I learned I disagree with everything Rajiv wrote about wine in this thread.
@Berry - by contrast, I actually agree with most of what you said! I’d love to know more about why you disagree with my points. I feel like I didn’t say much that’s controversial.

Re: What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: November 18th, 2018, 10:13 am
by Gene M.
Drinking wine with others is more fun

Sharing wine makes me happy

Re: What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: November 20th, 2018, 3:27 pm
by Ian Sutton
Hi Rajiv
I'm not Berry, but for my own part I'd say I had quite the opposite view on 1, and whilst I have more agreement with your point number 2, there comes a point in many styles where preferences are so strong (either way) that I don't especially have the desire to have a discussion about quality, let alone worry about what that might be on a points scale. I think it's pertinent background that I don't like points or use them, which is a bit of a giveaway to where my views are on objective quality.

Your 3 has me vehemently agreeing with your statement.

For 4 I've enjoyed wine with Indian food, though for me tannins are often a big no-no, but rather perversely warm climate soft and luscious reds can be a bizarrely decent match. Almost by default though, I'd lean towards lighter white wines, though a proper Lambrusco in Ferrara, Italy, was a fun match for the Indian food there. I daresay other fizz is an option as well (as it is with a wide range of foods). That said, unless we're talking of specific subsets of Indian food (e.g. the Bangladeshi / Pakistani anglicised standard menus established over here) there is huge variety, as evidence by a feast put on by Indian colleagues at work recently. Picking one single dish out, the Paneer in mustard sauce was one that showed something far from our sheltered view of what the food style is.

5. Paying attention to what you taste and what you write certainly does help the learning & personal understanding. For me it teaches me more about what appeals to me (and why) than trying to extrapolate to what I might see as objectively good, which is not a target I care to pursue.

So there are things we disagree about, but also things we agree on. I like how you explain your thoughts, so even if I disagree, I have an insight into why you feel that way. It would be hypocritical of me to entertain thoughts of being 'right' on any of the above, when I'm making the case for personal preference as the driving force for me!

[cheers.gif]

Regards
Ian

Re: What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: December 2nd, 2018, 12:26 pm
by dsGriswold
I love talking about wine, sometimes the conversations aren't even about wine. [cheers.gif]
I eat a lot of spicy food from around the world and Riesling works really well. So does beer. [wink.gif]

Re: What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: December 30th, 2018, 5:28 pm
by R0$$ M 0 R R 1 $ 0 N
Seek out opportunities to taste. Read to get the back story and nuances (reading complements tasting, doesn't replace it).

Ask questions.

Be true to your own palate. Whether someone else likes or dislikes a wine is irrelevant UNLESS you have determined that your palates align, i.e. you have similar tastes. Be wary of people who pronounce absolutes about wine. There is almost nothing absolute about it.

Re: What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: January 6th, 2019, 6:47 pm
by James.P.OSullivan
- Taste blind, it can help eliminate the hype of overly PR'd wines.
- Wine always tastes better at the winery! It's as much about the experience
- Don't over think food and wine pairings
- Wine is not only for the weekends!
- Talk to staff in wine bars/Local wine store, you would be surprised what you could learn

Re: What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: January 31st, 2019, 10:29 am
by Dave McCloskey
That's a great question. Here's just a few things I've learned over the years.

A.) Embrace changes in palate. What I like today is significantly different than 5 years ago. This has occurred through being exposed to a broader array of varietals and regions. I expect it will continue to change and evolve and that's fine by me.
B.) I've moved away from overblown wines that are overly extracted and high in alcohol.
C.) I love northern Rhone Syrah's. There's something magical about that grape and what those Frenchmen do with it.
D.) 98% of my cellar was at one time composed of red wine. That percentage is decreasing rapidly, as I've come to embrace French whites.
E.) I've learned that I have a low tolerance for overly acidic red wines.
F.) I thought Champagne gave me a headache, so I avoided it. I just found out I was drinking the wrong sparkling wines. Now I have a growing collection of Champagne and absolutely love it.

Re: What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: August 13th, 2019, 7:43 am
by Mike Dutch
Blog for those studying wine... https://www.winerefs.com/post/my-wine-journey

Re: What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: August 13th, 2019, 8:28 am
by James Sanders
1) The best assessment of a wine is at the end of the bottle, not the beginning.

2) Don't follow Champagne with white Burgundy.

3) Don't buy at the winery if it's a producer you are not already familiar with.

4) Group tastings tend to be poor predictors of how a wine will drink at the table.

5) Wines from regions that have been making and drinking wines for many generations will generally produce better wines, and almost always provide better value.

6) In traditional regions, price is a pretty good proxy for quality. Outside traditional regions, not so much.

7) You really do need a cellar and a plan. It's very hard, and very expensive, to drink well buying off the shelf and from restaurant lists.

8) Cap your weeknight intake at half a bottle, less if you lean towards 14+ wines.

Re: What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: August 13th, 2019, 1:48 pm
by Adam Frisch
I learned something quite recently:

I made a skin-contact Marsanne last year. And through all of this (and to the OP's question), I came to the conclusion that I don't actually like Orange wines in the Gravner, Kabaj-style so much. I thought I did and I thought I needed to make a wine in this style. But they obscure too much fruit and become too serious. It's almost like you avoid opening them up with anything but a heavy meal or when you have people over you want to impress. That's not what white wines should be about, I think. So, by pure luck and not by my clever winemaking skills, the Marsanne I did never took to the skins that much in taste and color even after 4 months, and kept its peachiness. It's a light straw color, like urine (in fact, I was shocked at how light it came out) [wow.gif]. Sure, there are some substantial tannins there, but it's more like a very structured white.

I will continue to do skin contact whites for this harvest (different grape, though), but less time on the skins so as to not obscure too much. I hope I can find a good balance between skins and freshness in my white winemaking as I evolve.

Re: What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: August 14th, 2019, 6:23 am
by Michael Martin
Support new wineries. They are usually pushing the boundaries and without them, wine is not as exciting.

Re: What have you learnt on your wine journey?

Posted: August 20th, 2019, 9:32 am
by mattccheung
Palates eventually change, don't stock up on Napa cabs and don't try to buy every premium bottle you see on IG. Trust the producer over vintage.