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Red Wine for a Dr. Loosen Gray Slate Mosel Drinker

I am a novice white wine drinker for the most part and really enjoy Dr. Loosen. I find it to be sweet and fruity tasting and very good!! I have tried reds and always seem to not like them because they were "too dry" not "sweet" enough or left a "bitter" taste in my mouth. I want to further my wine drinking and get into "REDS" as my partner is pushing me to try more reds. I was hoping to get some help here in breaking into Red Wines that were sweet/fruity in taste. I choose to say Dr. Loosen Riesling Gray Slate Mosel so you get an idea of the type of wine i like. I do enjoy most Dr. Loosens i have found in my local stores, which reminds me any suggestions if they could be commonly found around would be great. Thank you Very Much!! Jon

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  1. You may surprise yourself. When I first started drinking wine, I loved rieslings and categorically did not like reds due to the bitter tannin taste and overwhelming oak flavors. I assumed this meant I liked sweet wine. It turns out, for me, it has nothing to do with sweetness, and everything to do with whether the tannins are soft and the oak was used sparingly.

    Tannins soften, and oak blows off, as a wine ages. So it may be you are drinking your reds too young. If the wine is bitter and harsh with the first glass, try decanting - or put the cork back in the bottle and give a vigorous shake.

    Wine varieties that have bright, vivid fruit, but not a lot of tannins, are Pinot Noirs and Grenache dominant blends. Try Pinot Noirs from Oregon, California or New Zealand. Also (expensive), but wines from Chateauneuf du Pape.

    For wines with darker fruit, but still soft on the tannins, try wines made out of Lagrein from Alto Adige. Amarone once, it has aged properly, is also a choice. California Zinfandel may work, but it's a bolder, bramble-y wine.

    12 Replies
    1. re: goldangl95

      Thank you very much goldangl95, I am going to head to the wine store here in a bit and look up some of those Pinot Noirs you mentioned. I hope to make the leap into Reds soon...i will give you my feed back on the Reds i do taste and let ya know what i tasted and how i felt about them. Thanks again Jon

      1. re: goldangl95

        goldangl95 is probably right that you don't like the tannins and oak found in a lot of heavier reds. You shouldn't ever "put the cork back in the bottle and give it a vigorous shake" though.

        Find a good wine shop and ask for them to help you find a couple of bottles of red wine that have softer tannins, bright dark fruit, and little/no exposure to new oak. Pinots are known for this, but you can find wines that will meet this description in almost every style including Cabs which are generally known for the opposite. Go to tastings and exposure yourself to many styles. I'd guess you might like French Poulsards or Austrian Blaufrankisches for example.

        You'd probably be wise to start with lighter bodied reds but I almost guarantee you that if you are just getting started with wine what you like most today won't be what you most like in 2-3 years.

        1. re: bg90027

          As long as the wine hasn't developed sediment, giving a vigorous shake to the bottle is essentially the same process as decanting or swirling the wine vigorously in your glass. It doesn't have the same sense of ritual as decanting or swirling to be sure, but there really is no difference in the process.

          Also while still young in my wine appreciation years, I'm not sure I'm ever going to give up my pinots for cabs...but we shall see.

          1. re: goldangl95

            I'm with Goldangl95 - having worked in the wine industry, I have seen MANY winemakers and winery owners utilize this exact technique when decanters weren't available...

            1. re: CarrieWas218

              This seems very counter-intuitive. Many people suggest that a wine needs at least 2-3 weeks of rest in the bottle after shipping to ensure that it hasn't suffered from "bottle shock" from the inevitable shaking and vibration it endures during shipping. I've also read that low-end wine refrigerators are not suitable for long term aging of wines because they don't protect against vibration enough. Why then would you ever intentionally vigorously shake a bottle? It doesn't make any sense to me. I don't work in the industry but I've never heard anyone recommend doing that. Everyone I know in the wine industry will double decant if there is a shortage of decanters available.

              1. re: bg90027

                It's aerating the wine, when you decant you dump the wine out and it moves all over the place into the vessel. When you swirl vigorously to oxygenate the wine in the glass, you do the same. If it makes you feel better you can stick the cork back in, and swirl the bottle around instead of shaking it ...

                Fyi decanting is controversial for the exact premises you state. Oxygenating the wine, many maintain, is really not the same as letting the wine mature to its proper state in the bottle undisturbed, and letting it "breathe" undisturbed after opening.

                1. re: goldangl95

                  Who swirls their wine "vigorously" in their glass? If I did that, I'd expect to be wearing half the glass. It's a gentle swirl. When you decant, you also don't "dump" the wine out, you carefully and slowly pour it while watching for sediment. It doesn't move all around the decanter as you state. The decanter simply increases the surface area exposed to the air.

                  Maybe if there is no sediment, you aren't hurting the wine at all if you shake it. I don't know. I think its really a stretch to call it the equivalent of decanting or swirling though. I would never do it or recommend it to anyone else. I'd also guess that about half of the bottles I open have some sediment in the bottom and I often don't even see it until I pour the last glass.

                  1. re: bg90027

                    I will add that this "shaking" scenario is almost always done on VERY new vintages; wines that have not been around long enough to develop a lot of sediment. And, yes, winemakers will swirl vigorously to "force open" a new, tight wine - not older vintages.

                    1. re: CarrieWas218

                      Agreed. Say you are tasting 2009 Burgandies or 2010 California reds, you will often see the winemaker/person serving - very, very vigorously swirl the wine in the glass. This is really for wines that are just coming on to the retail market in the last year or two, and frankly I haven't ever noticed sediment in them - I would almost think if there was a noticeable amount of sediment that young, that there was a flaw.

                      See this thread about vigrously swirling/decanting for young wines:
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/403169

                      1. re: goldangl95

                        I go to at least two wine tastings a month and spend more on wine than food. I witness people swirl all the time and do it myself. I would never describe the motion as vigorous which to me has a very forceful, borderline violent connotation to it. I am guessing however that we witness the same thing and you are just describing it differently than I would.

                        Most of the red wine I drink is at least 3-5 years old. About half of the bottles will have some sentiment. As I said, you often won't even see the sediment until you are pouring the last glass from the bottle. That thread you linked was interesting. I have never witnessed anyone cover a glass and shake it. I guess this is more common than I realize and given that it is done by professionals is perhaps fine to do. I do think it's important to distinguish to only do this with new release wines and most of those that I buy, I'm going to let age in the bottle for at least a few years unless it's a cheap, fruit forward table wine that is meant to drink immediately.

                    2. re: bg90027

                      Maybe that is why one chooses a large-bowl glass, with a light pour?

                      Hunt

                  2. re: bg90027

                    BG - the concept of "bottle shock" also has to do with the fact that the wine has been bottled and topped with a bit of nitrogen which can adversely affect the wine if opened shortly after shipping. It is still in its "raw" form after bottling.

                    The whole shaking vigorously procedure is done AFTER the bottle has been opened and been introduced to oxygen which helps open up the wine and the nitrogen has dissipated.

          2. Dr. Loosen produces some great wines, though I am not familiar with the particular one that you mention.

            Based on your descriptors, I would lean towards a lower-alcohol, fruit-driven red. Some Zins and domestic (US) Syrahs should do nicely.

            With many Rieslings, as with many reds, a taster might focus a bit on a perceived level of "sweetness," where it's really the "fruit," that comes through, and there is little to no RS (Residual Sugar). Many tasters find "sweetness" in Rieslings, that have the same RS content, as a Sauvignon Blanc, but things come through differently.

            For a red with much more body, you might enjoy some Amarones, like a Recioto della Valpolicella, as there is often a perceived level of "sweetness" to them.

            Sample, and enjoy,

            Hunt

            PS - now, I see why the other thread was locked.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Bill Hunt

              Thank you guys very much. I went out and bought a simi sonomo valley Pinot Nior today and a yellow tail Shariz/Grenache. I will let u know who they turn out for me.

              1. re: jonvrgs

                Make some mental notes on what you experience with those.

                Above, I believe that someone mentioned working with a good wine shop. That is excellent advice, as the salespersons will soon become familiar with what you like, and do not like. Yes, the prices might exceed those from a "big box store," over time, and some wines, that you do not like, that is likely to be offset - if they are good, and listen.

                Keep a list of wines, both those that you do like, as well as those, that you do not. Later, stop by here with that list, and your comments. It is very likely that someone will be able to define why you like one, and do not like another.

                Good luck, and enjoy,

                Hunt

            2. Another couple of varieties that might be worth trying are Barbera and Dolcetto (make sure they're actually from Piedmont, though, and unoaked - young ones would be best so that the fruit is still fresh and vibrant), or a Frappato from Sicily. Or, as another poster said in the other thread on this topic, a Beaujolais!

              2 Replies
              1. re: verysimple

                In line with the Beaujolais suggestion, the "Beaujolais-Villages" from Louis Jadot (I've attached a photo below) is easy to find at most stores and quite reasonably priced (around $11 in Boston). Pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes to slightly chill it.

                 
                1. re: Klunco

                  ah yes! This post reminds me. Wine should not be served at temperatures higher than 70 degrees (red or white). If your red wine got that warm, I would put it in the fridge for a bit to cool it off.

              2. I think you will be happiest with the Yellow tail Shiraz/grenache blend you bought. My understanding is that they maintain a bit more residual sugar in their wines than most.

                See, you know wine better than you think.

                It is hard going from sweet white table wines to dry reds. There is as you have likely found out a huge difference in taste and mouth feel.

                First, let me say, ignore the person that suggested you try a Chateuneuf du Pape. Don't pay any attention to the nonsense about 'you may be drinking too young' either. The wines you want to drink won't need any aging.

                Here's a counter-intuitive choice - look for a Cal cab that has been described as a 'fruit gusher'. They may be big and full bodied, but they have so much fruit, this style of wine has been described as 'gulping' wines. Try a Cameron Hughes meritage, currently in the market.

                Beaujolais is not one of my favorites, but it may be a good choice for you. Hey, in 6 months try the 2012 Beaujolais Nouveau.

                I don't think Amarone is right for you either - it's a minimum $30 bottle of wine, not the price you want to pay to see if you like something.

                What I read of Poulsards say they are tannic wines.

                Look for Georgian or Russian wines.

                If you are not from California, look for a local winery or festival.

                3 Replies
                1. re: FrankJBN

                  Oh dear. I will have to disagree, I've never had a California Cab within 2-3 years of the vintage being anything but oaky and tannic without a decant (at a reasonable price). Not that a California Cab isn't worth a try (it's all worth a try), but the idea that any wine one would like would not need a decant seems strange to me....

                  And why not Chataneuf du Pape? If you can find it by the glass somewhere, or get it as a gift, the majority grenache blends make it as fine a choice (or more so) than a Califonia Cab.

                  1. re: FrankJBN

                    Poulsards have tannins but they are not what you are probably thinking of when you hear/read "tannic" wines. They are very light, almost strawberry in color and translucent with the body of a beaujolais but more complex and elegant in flavor.

                    1. re: bg90027

                      A few more roughly similar midweight, fragrant, unoaked (usually) reds that might work--Teroldego from Trentino and Ruche from Piemonte (Italy), a Mondeuse noir from Savoie (France), or a Zwegelt from Austria.

                  2. Coming from a different angle -- maybe a foray into French rosés would be a "baby-step" for you -- French rosés tend to be drier than their US counterparts, and many have that slate/mineral/chalk note that it seems you enjoy (a bit of a guess, as I'm never drank Dr. Loosen to my knowledge)

                    Then perhaps some of the reds that are not oaked heavily -- I'm thinking the Touraine/Loire Valley reds, as they're either not oaked at all, or only lightly. We prefer them in the summer because they are so much lighter than many other reds.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: sunshine842

                      Roses are a good idea. Though, for me, personally they ended up being a misstep. For whatever reason, I personally dislike a huge majority of them. They are either have a sticky, sweet taste, or a dusty taste. For me, they tend to not have the purity of fruit with the added dimensions of floral/herbal and mineral notes that I love about Rieslings.

                      There are some exceptions, but I've found it a hard area of wine to navigate...

                      1. re: goldangl95

                        French rosés are not really gold-star wines -- and aren't really intended to be. They're mostly made to be sipped well-chilled on a warm day, and they pair terrifically with summertime foods - we had one last night with grilled shrimp and a couscous salad, and it *rocked*.

                        And this is one of the few times that it has to be French -- California rosés are still heavily oriented toward the "Kool-Aid with a kick" end of the spectrum that earned them such a horrible reputation and made so many people who were around in the 70s and 80s cringe when they see a pink wine. (yes, white zinfandel, I'm looking at you)

                        And they absolutely aren't going to ever taste like Riesling -- different grapes (red, not white, for starters) -- different soil and different production methods. It would be unfair to give rosé a black eye because it doesn't taste like Riesling.

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          I agree with you on the FR Rosés. We love them, as most are food-friendly, or work as sippers on a warm evening (something that we encounter too often in AZ, USA), and are multi-dimesional, and often very interesting.

                          Now, I have been totally unable to convince many members of my International Wine & Food Society folk to even try them, but it seems that they hate all "pink wines."

                          Rosés are the "red-headed step-children" of the wine world, and especially with the FR versions, that is totally undeserved, at least IMHO.

                          Similar could be said for a Brut Rosé. They are scorned by too many, but are great food-friendly wines. In the US, one just does not see that many. Maybe too many people imagine themselves in a scene from the 1950's, sipping such wines from a coupé?

                          Hunt

                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                            As much as a Domaine Ott or a mid to high end Bandol costs, you'd think... Anyway, I suspect the appeal of roses may reflect the relative absence of fresh, low-jam, low or no tannin, balanced fruit, acid-fresh, low AVB, good value reds. Like some of the old French and Italian jugs that used to fill the shelves. Red that can easily be chilled to sip or to cut a good grilling. They;re around (Bardolino, Savoie/Swiss mondeuse, even SAmerican pinot noirs), and I seek them out now as much as I do roses whose taste I can remember a bit.