I've been buying boxed wine for a while now. My absolute favorite is the Bota Box Old Vine Zinfandel. Other than drinking that I'm drinking Sake instead of grape wine.
Ok, fine gentlemen.
I've always felt left out by the craft beer movement, because I hate beer. I have only a few select mixed drinks that I enjoy (The cape cahddah). I avoided wine because my mother was a raging drunk that lived off boxed wine.
We got a few bottles for house-warming gifts and I spent the weekend in heaven drinking them (besides some foolish Pink Moscato that tasted like absolute fucking shit).
As a noob wine-snob I'm looking for something with no fecal notes and a mouth-feel that I don't give a shit about.
I'm going to assume that I should start with some whites and move onto reds later. Can anyone recommend some decent brands to start out trying? Which flavors are best suited to a filthy plebeian noob?
I've been buying boxed wine for a while now. My absolute favorite is the Bota Box Old Vine Zinfandel. Other than drinking that I'm drinking Sake instead of grape wine.
Don't drink wines from Europe, unless you enjoy cancer
This research determines the concentrations of various phthalates in French wines and grape spirits marketed in Europe or intended for export...
59% of the wines contained significant quantities of DBP...Only 17% of the samples did not contain any detectable quantity of at least one of the phthalates and 19% contained only non-quantifiable traces.
I don't consider myself a wine drinker, but I drink, on average, 3 - 4 glasses of red wine a week. I like wines that have more of a fruit flavor to them, and I'd suggest trying some Pino Noirs to get started. One of my favorite is Cavit Pino Noir because it's super easy to drink and doesn't have that shitty wine taste that a lot of wine snobs love. Estancia Pino Noir is another one I buy frequently.
Gato Negro boxes are only $15 and are decent. I mean it kind of tastes like fruit juice mixed with anti-freeze but it isn't half bad.
I will be avoiding boxes of wine solely based on the fact that my childhood fridge had at least 3 boxes in it at all times from my drunk mother. While it may be the most practical, I want to at least pretend on the surface that I am not some drunken hag.
The worst image I have is her having the bag out of the box and lifting it above her head to get the last drops out.
I'll stick to bottles. I'll even drink it out of wine glasses and not regular old cups.
You can get a pretty good idea of the basic characteristics of each grape by spending ~$10 on a bottle of each kind. Once you find what you prefer, then you can start experimenting (and spending more money). Go to a store and ask for help picking something decent out - to start for red: merlot, cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel, pinot noir; for white: chardonnay, sauvignon blanc. Red zinfandel is actually pretty awesome as long as you don't confuse it with that pink, white zinfandel rot-gut that non-winedrinkers prefer. It's hard to make real recommendations without knowing what you like and what is available in your area.
Just like you wouldn't try out a beer by buying a whole case, I wouldn't start with boxes of wine to sample.
I don't see the point of buying boxed wine. You can get perfectly good bottled wine for 8 - 15 dollars each, which isn't expensive.
These are some of our standard go to wines when we swing by the store. Most are under $20 a bottle and easy to find anywhere. I make no claims to them being award winning or best of the best in class, it is just what we've liked and grown accustom to drinking. Also not recommeding a sepcific year, just the first one that came up in Cellar Traker.
Bota Box is great because it lasts like 6 weeks too. Wine is great because my wife will have one glass and fall asleep leaving me to finish the bottle.
Mollydooker Shiraz - The Boxer
Apothic Red Blend
2006 Green and Red Petite Sirah
Michael-David Petite Petit
Mer Soleil Unoaked Chardonnay
Hmm.. I can't remember what else she buys. I pretty much just buy the Syrah/Shiraz, but there is more that we like. She knows the white wine I like but that Unoaked Chardonnay is the only one I can think of.
I exclusively drink Pinot Noirs, Syrahs, and red blends.
My best piece of advice is try finding some kind of wine tasting event near you or relatively close to where you're at, definitely nothing more than $50 a person.
Out here we have a "Wine Walk" on the third thursday of every month with different food themes (last months was chocolate themed). $20 a person, 15 drink tickets and free samples of chocolates at each of the locations.
Last edited by Vitality; 08-11-2014 at 08:23 PM.
Spent 2 nights in a villa at a nearby winery two weeks ago and did a wine tasting. It was totally worth it. I tend to like Pinot. Grigio or Noir, either way.
i don't drink wine, but my wife says this improves the taste
Amazon.com: Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator: Wine Accessory Sets: Kitchen Dining
an aerator, instead of just leaving it out uncorked for a while, you can just use that to speed up the process.
also use the foodsaver with wine bottle attachment for storage of opened bottles.
I'm no expert, but have been drinking wine for a while, for business and pleasure. Here is my advice:
Finding out "what wine you like" is an expensive and subjective process. Not only do you need to taste test a lot of grapes, regions, and winemakers, but your tastes will mature and change as you go along, rendering your previous knowledge incorrect. You can certainly start enjoying wines right off the bat, but you have to accept that some of the wines you buy on recommendation you aren’t going to like, and that even when you find something you do like, you aren’t experienced enough to know if this is as good as it gets, and if you should still keep trying new stuff. This is what makes wine drinking expensive.
The unfortunate truth is that in the average wine shop, most of what is for sale is swill. The rare bottle that is actually good wine at a decent price is snapped up pretty fast. When wine drinkers find a new "gem", they stock up like crazy. Eventually the brand figures out that the vintage is selling like hotcakes, and the next year's vintage comes out double the price, and may possibly try to produce far more wine than the winery can assure quality. This reduces the quality of the following year’s vintage, and combined with the fact that it’s very difficult for a winery to maintain quality from vintage to vintage results in following vintages being subpar. The search for the next "gem" continues and the cycle repeats. Let’s take the case of the macon lugny les genievres 2011 white burgundy. I was an early adopter of this wine, it sold for 15 USD a bottle and I snatched up every case I could get. When 2012 came out, it was half as good as 2011, and now 30 USD. I never bought another. The exact same thing happened with cloudy bay sauvignon blanc 2011, its now barely drinkable.
It really pisses me off when I go to a restaurant and order what I know is a good vintage, and then the waiter brings out the following year (which I know to be shit). You might dismiss it as snobbery, but the vintage matters; it might as well be an entirely different label/product as far as I’m concerned.
How do wine drinkers find the next best thing? They buy a ton of bottles and taste it all and eventually they find something good. The fact that everyone knows it’s a finite commodity combined with the inconvenience/cost to locate the good stuff leads people to seldom disclose what the good stuff is until it’s too late. I think of is as the good fishing spot nobody ever tells about for fear it will get fished out.
Some general tips
-stay away from mass produced brands like E & J gallo, Orlando wines, casella wines, which bring us atrocities like jacobs creek, turning leaf, and yellowtail.
-stick to wines between 20 - 50 USD, this is the "value block".
-there is absolutely no reason to spend more than 100 USD on a bottle unless you are trying to impress someone. The increase in quality is marginal for the increase in cost.
-don't buy wine in shops that source from places that store the wine improperly (you will realize this with experience)
-if you don’t like a particular grape, don’t discount it entirely. Keep an open mind and keep try a different label, a different region, a different vintage. It takes a lot of trial and error.
-The best tip I can suggest is to find friends who really enjoy wine. Wine drinkers hate drinking alone, and they will share some incredibly awesome bottles with basically anyone willing to drink with them. This is how I got started.
My personal tastes for everyday value - I enjoy (in no particular order) pinot noir from yarra valley, white burgundies, red rhones, and tempranillo from New zealand. For rare special occasions that merit a first/second growth or similar quality, I prefer (again in no particular order) - chateauneuf du pape (E. guigal), baron de pichon, chateau haut brion, and montrachet.
a bottle will float if there is enough air inside.
The advice has already been given but the best thing to do if you can is to go wine tasting. I don't know where you live but if you have a wine producing area near you that is by far the best way to find out what you like.
Don't get too carried away with the sniffing and pretending you can taste tobacco and blackberries and shit. It's been proven over and over that the fancy wine snobs can't actually tell the difference between wines if you take the labels off. There is bad wine out there, and it is mainly the super big places that make it (Sutter Home, Barefoot, that Kangaroo one from Australia, etc) but there is plenty of good wine for $8-12 a bottle and I personally won't pay more than that after having been wine tasting in Napa and various other places in California at least 25 times. The $20+ wine you can be pretty confident that it won't suck where on the lower end you have to know what to buy but wine just doesn't vary as widely as beer does and "pretty good" wine and "amazing" wine are pretty similar. The boxes are a good deal, especially if you just want to have a glass or two per night. Personally I stick to bottles just because I lack self control and if there is an open box in my house I will probably wake up with a hangover.
My friends and I would look like a group of vampires if someone saw us tossing around a plastic bag filled with red wine.
If you've got a Total Wine near you, I believe they do tastings on weekends. It probably won't be as much of a variety as at a vineyard, but it's super convenient.
Ménage a trois makes both a red and white blend which are inexpensive and very good. I prefer the red, and reds in general. If you have a Costco near you check them out. They take their wine very seriously it seems like. In some states you do not need to be a member to buy alcohol at store that requires a membership too.
Got some cheap wine called Apothic (white blend).. man that shit was cash. Their red wasn't that great.
Probably swill to most but I polished the whole bottle off in a couple hours.
I have a friend who is a wino, I'm not, and he swears by Apothic's red. Like it's not his favorite wine or anything, but it's cheap but surprisingly good.
I have never found a blend that wasn't strictly worse than a similarly priced pure wine.
They have a new Apothic blend out that is like Apothic Dark or something, haven't tried it yet. Also I think there is a new menage a trois out that is supposedly similar. Guess I'll give them a try this weekend, nothing that good on growler station and I don't like pumpkin beer.
Buy a bottle of the cheapest red you can find, and a bottle of black cherry soda. Mix. Drink. Get fuuuuucked up. That's how I like my wine.
In all seriousness though, unless you've carefully developed your palate through tastings, it's going to be real difficult to tell the difference between a backyard Cab and a Pinot from some appellation controlee in the depths of France where they consider their terroir a national treasure.
Find a liquor/wine store nearby that is known for their discerning tastes, walk in, and ask the owner or clerk for a bottle of their favorite Pinot Noir, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling (2 good reds, 2 fun whites). Grab a good hunk of cheese, a nice baguette, and some assorted fruit. Go home and try them all, preferably with some friends. And remember: don't become a wine snob.
I'm super bummed that my monthly wine tasting event that I go to got shutdown buy the WA State liqour board. Apparently they thought people were walking the streets and drinking wine or something (which is illegal here).
It was such a good value ($20 for 15 half pours at 10+ different wine cellars) to give all the local wineries an honest taste. Oh well, time to find a different tasting event.
When drinking at Italian restaurants, I'd suggest ordering their house red. Most Italian restaurants I've been to use a red blend as their house wine, and they're almost always pretty tasty and very drinkable. It's an easy way to find a decent wine for dinner without trying to decipher the wine list or asking questions and feeling stupid when you can't pronounce something or don't know what things mean.
You could do this at almost any restaurant. I don't think Italian restaurants necessarily carry a higher level of house wine.
*Edit* Although, thinking about it, I don't think most places like the ones mention above actually have "house" wines. They just have a small selection of cheapo brands that you can find everywhere. Every Italian place I've eaten at has had a special house wine that you most likely won't find outside that restaurant (and which is usually a blend).
Last edited by McCheese; 09-19-2014 at 08:25 PM.
That specific list of restaurants aren't particularly in the same category as an "Italian Restaurant". Atleast not in regards to my patronship.
Even olive garden is a bit more "upscale" than the ones you've listed.
I'd imagine any restaurant mid-tier (olive garden) and up would be a decent wine place regardless of it's genre.
I've ordered plenty of glasses of wine at mid-tier+ burger spots (especially if I'm getting something with aged cheese and/or mushrooms) **Usually a Pinot Noir house selection at this particular spot**
Edit: Red Lobster is bottom-mid-tier out here, and serve somewhat decent wines, selection probably varies due to franchise region.
Last edited by Vitality; 09-19-2014 at 08:39 PM.
French restaurant. House wine
Italian restaurant. House wine
Seafood restaurant. House wine
Burger place. Beer or Whiskey (I prefer Rye with my burgers)
American Bistro (think Tavern style). House wine
Mexican restaurant. Spicy margarita
Asian cuisine. Sake or specialty fruit smoothie/tea drinks
Indian restaurant. Water, just give me water please
One of those shitty chains Vitality mentioned. Whatever is on special, cuz you're obviously slumming it
I live directly across the street from a Chili's, so I often find myself catching a healthy buzz there. I constantly see people ordering wine, both for their table and while seated at the bar.
Chili's is basically the only chain like that (tavern style, mass produced. So 99, Ruby Tuesday, Applebee's, etc) that has food that is even close to edible. It's the best of the shitty bunch.
Hey I never said anything about food. I just go there to get bombed, watch sports and have awkward conversations with the regulars. I can walk home afterwards.
The tannic acid flavor shit always bothered me in wine, I'm not a cork sniffer by any means, but the merlot grape is smooth and has very little tannic crap. My go to is this : smooth and tasty, although all red wines taste the same to me, i can notice a high tannic content, this one does not have much.
Edit, it's not the grape. It's an additive, my bad.
Last edited by Raponchi; 09-23-2014 at 06:24 PM.
There was a bar I used to go to where this 60 year old dude had a little desk lamp he brought and would plug it in at the bar and read a book while drinking red wine
i guess the preconceived notion of drinking wine instead of beer gives you cred, Hipsters, hipster everywhere. My self i just enjoy the bouquet of a good mild red. Shits the day after included.
I don't think hipsters drink wine. Well I guess they do but they opt for mead instead of grape wine.
Personally I like wine with dinner because the only beers I drink are IPA and they fill me up and expand me out too much that I feel uncomfortable after dinner.
Real hipsters drink scotch.
Lack of comments about wine here! I am really getting into the hobby (habit) and have built my cellar up to ~ 150bottles. Huge fan of Pinot Noir (CA, Burgundy, Oregon... in that order most of the time but have a few Grand Cru Burgundies set down for a few years), Nebbiolo (Barbaresco, Barolo) and love me some Sangiovese (Brunello, Chianti, etc).
If you know what style you like I can usually give you a good recommendation in each price range, but beware some varietals suck at reasonable prices. Probably much more red than white in general, whites are pretty meh outside of Chardonay.
If you want a drinkable wine that doesn't break the bank, my go to is an Old Vine Zinfindel from Lodi or Dry Creek areas. If it is hot try and find a Provance (Dry) Rose, preferably from Tavel.
I find the best value for wines is Costco, they have great buyers and some really good wines at reasonable prices.
Last edited by CnCGOD; 10-06-2014 at 03:18 PM.
So far I'm really liking white a bit more than red, but I haven't tried many reds. I've been drinking it on game nights to slowly get hammered so I'm not pairing it with foods or anything. I know I'm like the anti-wine drinker but that's ok.
So far my favorites were Pinot Noir and Moscato.
Pinot is awesome, the problem is it doesn't usually show well under 25-30$. Try a Siduri Sonoma County at ~ 22-24$, that is the best value expression of what Pinot can be. You can also look for a Borgogne but that is going to be a crapshoot.
Start with a good wine then breakout the cheapshit stuff when you are too buzzed to tell the difference.
If you like whites, Id recommend trying some Chablis. It's very unique for Chardonnay (very minerally) and you can get a decent bottle in the 30-40 range.
Yea, Santa Barbara and surrounding areas make what is considered quality and lower cost Pinot. The downside for me is I have a strong preference for Russian River Valley and Sonoma Cost styles.
As far as Burgundy itself, Hoate Cotes de Nuits might be in that 20ish price range or lower and still be good. Not much luck finding that in the US though. A Borgogne from a good producer in the north may also hit this, but likely range higher.
Chablis is ok, doesn't seem to taste like Chardonnay compared to the better known Burgundy styles. The US is starting to get away from the oak and butter bombs which means Sonoma has some fantastic Chard now, I love me some Dutton Goldfield.
Last edited by CnCGOD; 10-13-2014 at 02:07 PM.
every single woman here in australia drinks sauvingnon blanc. even the pregnant ones. look for brands from the marlborough region of new zealand.
I like Monkey Bay if I'm drinking a sav blanc, but I almost never drink Sav Blanc
Last week I went there :
They tour in cities in France every years, you can taste all the wines (and champagne) you want, there is hundreds of stands, and you can buy them - most are between 5 and 15 Euros.
Bought only 6 bottles but left mildly drunk
For those that don't like red wine, try something easy like Julenias or Moulin-à-Vent, cheap (well, in France at least) and surprisingly good for a Beaujolais. Beaujolais are the worst French wines usually, if some restaurant try to sell you great French wine at high price and it is a Beaujolais, like one tried to sell me in USA (seriously were they stupid or awfully incompetent to try that with a French?), you can insult insult them and leave.
French wines are quality to a much lower price (but only when IN France) than wines in the USA. A bottle of 7Euro wine there will totally blow away anything 10$ here. The only wines that are drinkable in the 10$ range IMHO are Zinfindels and Rose here which is a shame.
My go to table wine recently is matua Pinot noir 2013. It's a totally drinkable wine for 10 bucks. Value is really high on this one
My go to for table wine would probably trend more towards a Barberra, Langhe Nebbiolo, or Dolcetto. They are all excellent wines for lower cost. That or old vine zin is always a enjoyable Drink. Rose replaces it in the summer with Tavel being the best but there are lots of options for dry rose.
Last edited by CnCGOD; 02-09-2015 at 07:39 PM.
I drink a lot of zinfandel just because for whatever reason it's usually very drinkable even below $10 a bottle. Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin is like $8 a Walmart and it's really not bad at all while some of the other stuff in that price range is horrible.
Bota Box Olde Vine Zin is my go-to
The other day I drank a white merlot for the first time. Loved it.
The flavor and the tannins come from the skin. It tastes like watered down wine IMO.
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