Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Wine >
Mar 10, 2011 06:56 AM

new to wine - recommendations

I have finally acquired a taste for wine, however am completely lost in the wine store. I have tried several chardonnays which I enjoy, but thought that I would explore other whites. Last week I tried a sauvignon blanc and found it to be underwhelming. I thought that I might branch into the pinot grigio or riesling categories this week. Any recommendations? If it helps, while I like chardonnay I do prefer muscato and d'Asti. Thanks for any suggestions.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Sounds like you like sweeter wines? Which chardonnay did you like?
    I'd suggest German riesling to start.. It looks like you live in the Baltimore area, so I'll make recommendations available at Wells Discount Wines. I know nothing about the store. Hopefully they're a reputable retailer.
    For riesling, start with a Donnhoff 2009 estate for $20 a bottle. It's a good introduction to riesling. Also consider the Leitz Dragonstone.
    For chardonnay, I'm going to suggest wines at two extremes to see which one you prefer. You could like both. One is Foxglove Chardonnay. It's the second wine from Varner. Restrained. No oak. Something like $15 a bottle. Another is Rombauer Chardonnay. $33 a bottle. Big and lots of oak. See which one you like.
    They also have some gruner veltliners, which along with riesling are some of the most food friendly wines made. You could try that for a different pace. Ask at the store for a recommendation.

    1. I think a good Viognier is a nice stepping off point from Chardonnay. I find they often have similar qualities (if the Chard is oaked) in mouthfeel, but the differences in typical flavour profiles will allow you to branch out.

      I like Stag's Leap from Napa, but I think they do it best in France.

      1. Good suggestions so far above. You give enough clues to suggest you like sweeter wines but you'll get more help here AND in a wine shop if you can describe the tastes you like because styles vary within single varietals and so many wines are blends.

        Some of the more general descriptors used to categorize wines in some shops are fruity, mellow, bold, silky, crisp, big, sweet, juicy. With some specific grape variety preferences and descriptors like those you'll be able to navigate more easily in reaching your goal.

        Have fun!!!

        1. My best advice would be to take notes about whatever you drink. It will help you keep track of what you like and of the changes in your taste. As tastes evolve in wine drinking I find that most people move farther from sweet (except in the case of dessert wines).

          1. I would recommend that you pick up a copy of Andrea Immer's (now Robinson) "Great Wines Made Simple." It's a general wine reference, but with a big difference - she steps one through many varietals, and many countries/styles of wines. Let's just say, "the homework is well worth the price of the book." The exact recs. are probably a bit long in the tooth, the concepts are still right-on, and with her lists from when the book was published, will resonate with any good wine shop. They can "read between the lines," and make good recs. for what is current. She also offers about 3 different price-points for each tasting exercise, so you do not break the bank. You will NOT be disappointed.

            Enjoy your journey,


            2 Replies
            1. re: Bill Hunt

              Hunt, this is a book I reccomend to all my employees at my wine bar, it really does bring a very fresh and easy to follow approach to wine. Not to mention an enjoyable read. Great reccomendation.


              1. re: ReeseChiarlo

                I still utilize it to structure wine-courses for some societies, that I belong to. Yes, there is some updating, that is required, but it's quite easy, and easy for a beginner, with a decent wine shop. So far, the "courses" have been very well-received. We normally end with some blind exercises in New World vs Old World (and I do not pull ringers). Everyone loves it.

                Glad that you are a fan too,