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Jun 7, 2012 10:22 PM

Non Peppery Red Wine

I am trying to find a red wine that the mrs will love, that is red, she usually just likes whites

What she has liked has been a cabernet franc from Ehlers and she has also liked some of the Cote du Rhones we have had, however most are too peppery for her - so I was looking for something with less of a bite at the end, would a chatenau du pape be the right direction?

Sometimes she will like a Pinot Noir but it is very hard to pin down one that she likes or why

she likes sonoma cutrer chardonnay, prosecco, and dry sparkling wines or champagne, and most reislings

hopefully that is helpful in pinning down what she likes
cocktail wise she likes a hemmingway daq or hendricks gimlets if that helps with flavor profiles she likes but probably not - cocktails i can help her with but wines i still dont have a clue - so help me help her :)


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  1. Peppery/spicyness can come from the oak influence. It also can occur due to the grapes or stems or even tannins can give that impression. A lot of times it can be more a function of the wine making style than the grape variety. Which will be part of your problem pinning it down.

    Avoid most Ridge Zins. Malbecs. California Cabs (though she may like Corison less oaky influence). Riojas. They all tend to have spicy characteristics.

    Some smooth, fruit pinots without a lot of oak: Dutton-Goldfield, Papapietro Perry (Sonoma). Cristom in Oregon.

    Syrahs can be pretty peppery, which is why a lot of CdRs are probably not working. I think a Chateauneuf du Pape (which are mostly Grenache) is a good idea. Also there are some good pure grenaches or close to pure grenache blends coming out of Paso Robles.

    1. Try good-quality Beaujolais or Tuscan wines made with Sangiovese (Chianti Classico, etc)...

      1 Reply
      1. re: penthouse pup

        I agree with the Beaujolais rec, not so sure about recommending generally all Tuscan Sangioveses - many have a strong peppery note.

      2. Although it can be hard to find, a good Cannonau (?) from Sardinia may fit the bill.

        1 Reply
        1. A to Z Pinot Noir from Oregon is fabulous

          1. OK, and after reading all responses, to date.

            First, Cab Franc often has a "pepper" quality, and especially "black pepper." I often find similar, and actually enjoy it.

            Syrah, CAN have hints of "pepper," and especially from the Northern Rhône, but New World Syrahs (and Shiraz) do not often come with a "pepper note."

            For me, Pinot Noir seldom has a pepper note, so should be safe. Same for a 1er Cru Beaujolais (Gamay). Seldom any pepper.

            Various Cabs (Sauvignon, or Franc) CAN have pepper notes, though Merlot seldom does.Same for Malbec, though I have found elements of pepper in Petite Verdot. What that all means is that many Bordeaux blends "might" have elements of pepper.

            Good luck, and enjoy!


            10 Replies
            1. re: Bill Hunt

              sometimes she does like a merlot but i think they are too heavy for her, i got a case of northstar merlot awhile ago and she likes a glass of that when we have a bottle of it - but it isnt her favorite

              So i should try one of the Pinot's listed above or a good Chatenau du Pape or Beaujolais

              What would be considered a good du Pape or Beaujolais? I would assume any 1er cru would be pretty good for the Beaujolais or are there any to go after or avoid? For the du Pape i know that is the style and terrior but is there a difference inside of that?

              1. re: Dapuma

                Beaujolais yes. Pinot Noir yes.

                Ch du Pape no - very likely to have a strong pepper component.

                1. re: jock

                  thanks jock - which leads me to more questions :)

                  Each Cru for the Beaujolais is a different terrior (am i understand that correctly)
                  Is there one that is considered a best terrior?

                  I looked on KL wines and did a search for beaujolais cru and it came up with
                  Potel-Aviron: fleurie & moulin a vent & Chenas
                  Chateau des Capitans Julienas (Georges Duboefu
                  Maison Louis Tete Moulin a Vent

                  I am assuming Moulin a Vent is a terrior then and so is Fleurie and Chenas

                  The chateau one is from the Duboef Cru?

                  So confusing...are all the Cru's considered 1er? which cru's are the "better" ones The prices all seem reasonable for this wine right around the $20 mark or a shade under

                  1. re: Dapuma

                    Duboeuf is a huge producer and I am generally not a fan. I would not get too caught up with worrying about which cru is best until you rack up a lot more experience with the stuff.
                    Best to consider the producer and/or the importer. Kermit Lynch and North Berkeley both bring in some excellent Beaujolais. It may take a bit of looking but you should be able to find them in Phx. Look for 2011 or 2010 vintage. Avoid older. Lapierre has a delightful 2011 called Raisins Gauloise (KL). From NBI look for Michel Rey Morgon for full body and Georges Viornery Cote du Brouilly a bit lighter and IMO more complex. KL is from VOS and NBI is at Quail.

                    1. re: jock

                      thanks jock and billB

                      ill see if AZ Wine Co has a any of the ones you recommend and see if the wife likes them or if not what she does or does not like about them

                      will report back once with an update when we test out the wine

                      1. re: jock

                        Sorry to hear you don't think much of Duboeuf's wines. However, they do have a feature which might just nudge Mrs. Dapuma onto the dark side: They have great labels. Silly, but you never know.

                        His Fleurie is pretty reliable, IMO. (In the UK we pay about $16 for a bottle.....What about over with you?)

                        1. re: Robin Joy

                          Duboeuf makes lots of wine of differing levels. Much of what's sold in US is not his best stuff. However, the cru Beaujolais' are generally at least "pretty good." His Fleurie retails in New York for around $12.

                          1. re: ChefJune

                            I agree completely. Unfortunately, too often a US buyer does not have their better offerings. Also, the labels can confuse too many, so a bit of research is worthwhile. Wines with almost identical labels can be very, very different. In FR, that is seldom an issue, as most buyers know how to read those labels, but in the US, one might only have one offering, and it might well not be the best.

                            Even with the 1er Cru BJ's, there should be no "pepper."


                      2. re: Dapuma

                        Some ideas at K & L for around $20 and under in the OR/CA category. I realize some of the tasting notes say "spicy," but I would be curious about whether that translates to the same flavor your wife disfavors:

                        1. re: Dapuma

                          AZ Wine Co has a few labels from KLWM and, I think, from NBI and Jenny & Francois. All solid labels for Beaujolais. My favorite importer for Beaujolais is Louis/Dressner but they aren't available in AZ. As far as mail order cru Beaujolais, the places to look are Chambers St. and Crush Wine Co.
                          Lots of beaujolais can be drunk young but quite a few will shut down for a few years. I'm just drinking some 2004s and a few 2005s are waking up. Drinking 2010 and 2011 as well. Not much in between.