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Feb 22, 2011 07:46 AM

Aspiring Wino-- but could use some direction

I have done no research up to this point -- I value opions on this site more than on internet. My only experience with wine is pretty much Red Vs. White. I have always liked Red varieties, it could be a visual thing or taste thing maybe both. For the most part I like the taste of wine (semi beer geek at heart)..but need some directions on what type to try an what brand to buy.

As far as my taste .. not real into fruity flavors , complex does not turn me off, always was told i am more into dry wines.

Everyone I know that is into wine , LOVES IT!!! I feel as if I am missing the boat and also need to be familar for business purposes.

Any easy to guide webiste books recomendations to try are very helpful... I am located in PA where laws are pretty harsh, so I woudl prefer easy to find beverages

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  1. It is really hard to recommend specific brands since it varies so much from state to state. I would recommend finding a local wine shop and asking them to guide you, they might even offer a wine club that would expose you to many different types of wine each month. Wine is very subjective so you have to find your own path to what you like.

    When I started getting interested in wine I bought Karen McNeil's Wine Bible. I would sit down with it on a Saturday morning and read about a specific region and then head off to the wine store talk to the proprietor and discuss what intrigued me and he/she would offer some good wines to explore that region with.

    As I learned more about wine I transitioned from just exploring wine varietals to finding perfect pairings.

    Have fun and don't take it too seriously, it is all about what you like not about what others or critics say that you should like.

    1. Augie6:

      Good for you! I suggest you take at least one *winetasting* course, i.e., one that teaches sensory perception, descriptors and basic evaluation, and then one course where you start finding out what you like, don't, and the whys and wherefores. If any shops or restaurants near you follow "The University Wine Course" text, that would be an excellent approach (If not, with some help from a good wine shop, you can put together the course yourself--but it's best to have a good teacher).

      1. As a fellow Pennsylvanian, I feel your pain...I don't know where exactly you are in the state, but from what I'm told hopping the border into New Jersey or Delaware, while not exactly legal, will often get you better prices and better selection. I wouldn't know personally, though; I live too far away.

        I'm in the process of getting to know wine as well, so I'm only a few steps ahead of you. Oz Clarke—bald, British, and slightly crazy—has a very user-friendly book that I've appreciated called "Let Me Tell You About Wine." It'll help you to categorize wines by two of their most important features—varietal and country/region of origin—to find stuff you like. When introducing friends to wine, I consider New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc a good place to start, because it's typically very drinkable, it's consistent, and its history reflects so much about wine in the last 30-40 years or so.

        Oz Clarke also had a great TV show on the BBC in which he and James May (of Top Gear fame) travel around France and California wine country. A lot of it is them goofing off, but James knows nothing about wine, so it's Oz's job to teach him. So in addition to being an entertaining show, you'll probably pick up some wine facts along the way. It's called "Oz and James's Wine Adventure" and some episodes are on YouTube.

        1 Reply
        1. re: conway314

          conway I will check that book out Thanks!! I do have some connections to get some wine out of state but will leave it at that haha.

          Chinon that is a great idea... I always tell people with tasting a new style of beer to drink enough to know if you like it or not

        2. When I first ventured into wine what I tried to do which helped me to learn was to read as much about a particular wine as I could and then ONLY drink that wine for maybe a month or until I tasted what I was reading.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Chinon00

            I completely agree with this advice.

            Terry Theise, in his wonderful, albeit unfortunately titled book "Reading between the Wines", writes: "If the sheer cacaphony of wine cows you, just ignore it. For at least three months - ideally even longer - choose two grape varieties, a white and a red, and drink nothing but those. Let's say you chose Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah. First you drink all the Sauv Blanc you can lay your hands on, California, New Zealand, Austria, all the various Loires, Alto Adige, and Friuli; you can steep yourself in Sauvignon, seeing how the wines differ and what core qualities they all seem to have. Write each impression down. Do the same with Syrah: Australia, Rhone valley, Lanquedoc-Roussillon, California. When you start getting antsy for change, that's when you're ready for the next duo. You're getting bored with Sauvignon and Syrah because they aren't surprising you anymore But boy do you ever know them. You know them in your bones and dreams. Your very breath smells like old saddles and gooseberries.

            "Let's say you opt for Pinot Blanc and Cabernet Franc for your next duo. RIght away you'll notice the newness of these wines, not only that they are different, but how they are different. You've immersed yourself in those first varieties, and every subsequent variety will automatically be contrasted with them. To know wine, learn its elements deeply and deliberately. Then your knowledge will be durable and your palate's vision will inexorably widen. Trying to skim over the hundreds of different wines at once will only make you cross-eyed."