New to wine!
Okyy - so i'm really new to wine. I mean i drink it but know nothing about it. Can you recommend a good site I could visit that would educate me?
Also - do you have any recommendations or suggestions? I like to drink 1/2 - 1 glass with dinner but could never finish a full bottle on my own before it goes bad. What should I do?
Get a simple wine preservation kit/unit (see, for example, www.wineenthusiast.com) . There are various inventions that refill the empty space in your wine bottle with nitrogen, or similarly create a vacuum to prevent spoilage. In this way, you can keep a started bottle at room temperature (for 2 weeks? various opinions on that) so that it is ready to drink when you are. This is more important for red wine, since you can always store an open bottle of white in the fridge. Some might suggest that doing so (with white wine) makes it too cold - if you agree, just use the wine preserver, keep the wine on your countertop, and use one of those foil sleeves (probably available at a store like Sur la Table) to cool down the wine when you're ready to drink it. (Store the sleeve in your freezer.) THey work fairly quickly. Cheers!
The most important thing isn't to read about wine, it's to taste wine. Find a good wine store or wine bar that offers a variety of wines, especially from good importers and good U.S. producers, and taste wine there to see what you like.
Keep track of what you like and don't like. The wine store people might be able to describe the styles to help you make more choices.
I agree tastimg wine is the best way to find out what you like and don't like, buying bottles is not.
Ignore wine ratings they mean very little, if you must then visit cellartracker.com
Finding what you don't like is probably the most important.
Tasting can be done at wine stores, wine bars, restaraunts, wineries.
I store leftover wine in splits which are small bottles you can buy at most wine stores (they will be sold with wine in them). No gadgets to mess with or break.
That is a great, and often overlooked point.
As an example, my wife was a big fan of US Chard "fruit-bombs." They have their place, but lately, I have convinced her that FR Chards are wonderful. It took a few years, just handing her some great FR Chards, but now she has changed her choices, and has upped my wine budget! [Grin]
Keep trying as many, as you can. What might not work tonight, with one producer, might work tomorrow from another. Just because a Sauvignon Blanc from ____, produced by ____ does nothing for you, do not turn your back on that varietal, or even that producer. Keep a very open mind.
One can never know, and experience it all. Just keep tasting, and enjoy.
I cannot agree more. Along those lines, find a wine shop near you, and talk to a good clerk. Talk about what you like, and what you do not like. If they listen, and are competent, they should be able to make useful suggestions. Stick with them, and become a regular. You can head to Trader Joe's, or Costco later on, once you have some great ideas. A good wine shop wants you as a regular, and should be willing to spend some time, listening, then recommending.
If you really enjoy one, talk about that, to discover the "whys." Same for the ones that do nothing for you. Maybe it was the vintage, or the producer, or maybe just a varietal that does nothing for you. There are so very many variables, that one should not rule out a country, a region, a producer or a varietal, just based on one sample.
Though I am much less a fan of Pinot Gris/Grigio, I keep at that varietal, and have found some good producers.
My original start was picking up mixed cases of wine, and tasting, tasting, tasting. I kept notes and talked to the clerks often. It did not take THAT long, before I was filling my cellar with cases of particular wines, but I am always open, and will always discuss the wines for my dinner with the sommelier, or cellar-master, as wine/food pairings are a love of mine, and those folk should know the kitchen that night, better than I can. I also love to explore new regions, and new producers, so I am always open for suggestions. I seldom order a wine that I know well, unless I am hosting, and do not have the latitude to explore.
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Over 30 years ago, I started learning "one wine at a time". I started with Bordeaux. Read alot about it, used Robert Parkers tasting notes and gave my taste buds a workout! These days, you might try that approach with local wine (like maybe Napa Cabs), check tasting notes via the internet, try to educate your taste.Later, when you find something you like (a bit more expensive), buy a bottle or two and store them properly. Try them again in a year or two. It will help you to understand how wine is alive.
As far as not finishing a bottle. My guess is that as you explore wine more and develop more of a taste for it....that might not be a problem in the future ;) But, at least you shouldn't be buying very expensive bottles to try at first, so cork it and enjoy it the second night, learn to cook with it, invite a friend over on the bottles that cost a bit more, if all else fails....learn to make vinegar!
Did you go broke starting with bordeaux? ;) That's my boyriend's wine of choice, so it's what I'm "starting with" too. Luckily, he's a good teacher, and we've had some superb wines!
Your advice for using excess wine is great too—one of my favorite uses for a bottle or so that I don't drink is to boil pasta in it. Yum!