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Education The RVF Wine Thread
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The RVF Wine Thread
RVF has been a great source of information and entertainment, and sometimes I feel I have nothing to offer back.

I'm not a master PUA, 4HWW businessman, nightclub promoter or academic, but I do know my wine and try not to be snobby about it.

It's been almost two years since I posted up my Wine: Crash Course datasheet. Since then I've been studying up, drinking more and blogging, alongside with my job responsibilities.

I've created this thread with the intent of answering any questions you may have about wines.

This is aimed more at the regular-joe consumer to avoid this thread becoming a wine geek free-for-all. I can point you to interesting new regions and varietals, but I won't confuse you by reciting from memory the St-Emillion Grande Cru Classe A list, the differences in soil type between left and right bank Bordeaux or the various Pradikat levels in Germany (or maybe I will, it's pretty fascinating).

I know there are a few wine geeks here already so if you want to weigh in or correct me, you're most welcome.

Feel free to PM me for wine advice or other stuff
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04-08-2014 06:49 PM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
I like to drink all my wine chilled, regardless of whether it's Pinot Grigio, or Cabernet Sauv. What wines should absolutely NOT be served cold?

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04-08-2014 06:57 PM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
(04-08-2014 06:57 PM)Fitzgerald Wrote:  I like to drink all my wine chilled, regardless of whether it's Pinot Grigio, or Cabernet Sauv. What wines should absolutely NOT be served cold?

It looks like you're in the US, but not sure which part, but if it's hot where you are a little chilling won't hurt. Most published standards say to serve medium- to full-bodied reds (Like your Cabernet Suavignon) at "room temperature", forgetting that these standards originated in Europe. Room temperature over there could be quite cool where you are. I'm in Australia so that's a constant concern.

Stick with between 15 - 18 degrees celcius (59-64F) for medium to full-bodied reds and you'll be fine. These would include Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah (aka Shiraz), some Pinot Noir, Merlot, Malbec, Sangiovese, Tempranillo...

White, sweet and sparkling wines absolutely serve chilled, and get the ice bucket out

Feel free to PM me for wine advice or other stuff
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04-08-2014 07:08 PM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
I enjoy dry reds like Merlot, Cabernet and Tempranillo etc... I'm always confused about how much I should decant. Is opening up the bottle for an hour before consuming enough to allow it to breathe, or do I really need to pour it out into a proper decanting glass?
04-08-2014 07:23 PM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
I've only had one so far, but I highly recommend boxed wine if you're seeking to drink wine frequently, cheaply and abstemiously.

Benefits:
1. It tends to be cheap for the quality, about $20 for 3 L, or $5 for a bottle's worth.
2. It won't degrade quickly like a bottle would, because the wine bag keeps oxygen out.
3. You can leave it on your shelf.
4. No corking a bottle every time you want some, just push the button and wine comes out.
5. More environmentally friendly and economical with space.

Avoid the 5 L boxed wines, they are swill. Black Box Cabernet was the one I had, pretty good.
04-08-2014 07:26 PM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
(04-08-2014 07:23 PM)tarquin Wrote:  I enjoy dry reds like Merlot, Cabernet and Tempranillo etc... I'm always confused about how much I should decant. Is opening up the bottle for an hour before consuming enough to allow it to breathe, or do I really need to pour it out into a proper decanting glass?

There are two reasons to use a decanter and they relate to the wine's age and tannin levels.

If it's an aged, full bodied red the wine is likely to throw a deposit of tannins in the bottle. They are harmless, but detract from the visual experience. Carefully pour the wine into the decanter and observe the neck of the bottle - the moment you see any deposits creeping up, that's when you know to stop.

If it's a young, full bodied red wine you are decanting to expose the wine to oxygen and release more aromas. One thing i suggest to people is decanting half the wine and leaving the rest in the bottle - you can try two different expressions of the same wine and see which one you prefer. However if you have good stemware with large bowls it is usually enough to pour yourself a small amount and swirl the glass.

Feel free to PM me for wine advice or other stuff
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04-08-2014 07:39 PM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
I stopped drinking wine when I discovered port. I always did have a sweet tooth!
04-09-2014 01:10 AM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
I hate it when I can't buy wines from the FSU here in Finland.
Last year I spent quite a time in the FSU and I think Caucasian wines belong to my alltime favourites. (especially Georgian)
Even Moldova and Armenia produces excellent wines for a very reasonable price.

It's sad that the wine culture from FSU countries are relatively unknown to most people in the West.
Luckily I got one more bottle of Kindzmarauli.
04-09-2014 01:39 AM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
(04-09-2014 01:10 AM)Tail Gunner Wrote:  I stopped drinking wine when I discovered port. I always did have a sweet tooth!

Looks like i may be going into the German Pradikat system after all Idea

Port is great, i'm partial to a nice tawny, but the rubies and vintage ports our there are fantastic.

If you're looking for still wines with higher levels of residual sugar, there are a few key terms you should look for:

Late harvest / late picked / Vendage Tardive - This means the grapes were left on the vines to become very ripe and accumulate lots of sugar before being picked.

Eiswein / Icewine - The juice for the wine is pressed from frozen grapes. The water content inside them become crystallised, so they remain in the skins while the extra concentrated juices are extracted. These wines retain much of their fruit character.

Recioto / Passito - This is specific to the Valpolicella region in Italy, although I have seen some New World producers use these terms to describe the style. The grapes are picked and undergo a process to dehydrate them, once again concentrating the sugars, acids and flavours. An example of this is laying them on straw mats during the winter.

Passerillage - Vines left to dehyrate on the vine, as opposed to doing so after being picked.

Noble Rot / Botrytis - Grapes infected with Noble Rot shrivel up due to the fungus penetrating the skin and sucking out the water. Responsible for the famous dessert wines of Sauternes, Tokaji and many others. Wines are characterised by a flavour of dried apricots

Pradikat System - In Germany there are basically 6 Pradikat levels for quality wines that have to do with their sweetness levels
  • Kabinett - Dry to off-dry
  • Spatlese - Late-picked
  • Auslese - Very ripe bunches of grapes
  • Beerenauslese - Very ripe individual berries, sometimes including Botrytis-affected grapes
  • Eiswein - See above
  • Trockenbeerenauslese - Affected by botrytis or dried on the vine until resembling raisins.

There's Tokaji form Hungary that ranks their sweet wines by Puttonyos. The laws have changed recently with a minumum being around 120 g/L of sugar. Tokaji Eszencia is some insanely luscious stuff that needs to be a minimum of 450g/L of sugar, of course balanced by a high acid level so it doesn't just become like a syrup.

So, that's a pretty good start if you want to explore that sweet, sweet nectar of the gods Banana

Feel free to PM me for wine advice or other stuff
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RVF Wine Thread
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04-09-2014 03:10 AM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
(04-09-2014 01:39 AM)Chaos Wrote:  I hate it when I can't buy wines from the FSU here in Finland.
Last year I spent quite a time in the FSU and I think Caucasian wines belong to my alltime favourites. (especially Georgian)
Even Moldova and Armenia produces excellent wines for a very reasonable price.

It's sad that the wine culture from FSU countries are relatively unknown to most people in the West.
Luckily I got one more bottle of Kindzmarauli.

It's unfortunate, but that's basically a problem of economics. Some of these unknown producers simply cannot compete on price or volume against the rest of the world. Hopefully this is only a matter of time before this is remedied - just look at South America in the past few decades.

I remember how surprised I was to find a Romanian wine, a Feteascã Neagrã, when they have a history of vine cultivation going back 6000 years.

Feel free to PM me for wine advice or other stuff
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04-09-2014 03:16 AM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
Inpookmat wine geographically-
Florida wine is crap IMO
So cal wine is mediocre

Northern Californian wine is incredible. Northern Italian wine too. Bola is a good cheap brand.
04-13-2014 09:14 AM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
I'm now offering free wine consultations:

http://www.rationalwine.com/free-consult/

This is more aimed for the wine neophyte who is looking for their next avenue for exploration, but even if you are already familiar with your Barolos, Burgundies and Barossa Shirazes feel free to give this a try. It’s a free service and you’ve got nothing to lose.

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04-25-2014 01:44 AM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
So if boxed wines are okay, how about Franzia? I picked up Sangria and found it to be very tasty, lots of fruit.

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04-25-2014 10:43 AM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
[Image: 102411-franzia.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVE...9406892008]

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04-25-2014 06:39 PM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
(04-25-2014 10:43 AM)DJ-Matt Wrote:  So if boxed wines are okay, how about Franzia? I picked up Sangria and found it to be very tasty, lots of fruit.

Again, if your tastes and budget lean towards that end of the spectrum, by all means go for it. The problem is these wines will have little consistency.

An article about Fred Franzia - http://money.cnn.com/2007/09/05/news/com...2007090703

Video review of various $2 chuck wines - http://tv.winelibrary.com/2007/04/10/2-b...isode-212/

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04-25-2014 07:33 PM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
Too cold is never good.

Quality whites show better when at room temp, say 15-25C even. I must emphasize quality. Chill a white burg too much and you aren't getting what you paid for.

Reds can do with a slight chill. Try an ice bucket with just a few ice cubes if temp is a concern in your area. I like the terracota coolers you can find in some dinnerware shops, they are cheap and will keep your wine at a decent temp for a while without much ice.
04-25-2014 11:03 PM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
(04-08-2014 07:23 PM)tarquin Wrote:  I enjoy dry reds like Merlot, Cabernet and Tempranillo etc... I'm always confused about how much I should decant. Is opening up the bottle for an hour before consuming enough to allow it to breathe, or do I really need to pour it out into a proper decanting glass?

Few considerations needed:
Age of wine
Tightness (ha)
Quality
Varietal
ETDrinking
Company

Younger, tighter, quality wines will need a little more time to open up. Decanting will let them explore the world and interact with it. Great quality will need patience, I've done even 24 hours, worth every minute. See the similarity?

Varietal also makes a difference, higher tannins means more time for max pleasure.

ETD is my window, when I want this to be showing its best? This will come with calibration and practice. Get drinking and decanting!

Company is same, want to give a show or just have a drink with a bro?

I do like the idea of decanting half, that way you get two wines.. Easy convo point, you are a man of the world.

Most wines in the market are too young anyway so there will be little harm done. Go for a couple hours if you can.

Shocking: high quality white wines can do remarkably well decanted as well. Don't serve too cold either. I've had my mind blown by Sicilian whites and Loire beasts a few times with this technique. Even 24 hours may not be too much. True story.

Older wines, say 8-10yrs decant to get rid of sediment. Couple of hours max. Really high quality may benefit, shitty ones (I'm looking at you, Silver Oak!) will fall apart... But only one way to know.
04-26-2014 12:46 AM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
(04-09-2014 01:10 AM)Tail Gunner Wrote:  I stopped drinking wine when I discovered port. I always did have a sweet tooth!

Try some of the FSU reds, they do seem to like a little residual sugar in their wines.

What was Stalin's favorite wine is not gunpowder and rocks, it's rather soft and sweet. Kinda surprising.
04-26-2014 12:48 AM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
(04-25-2014 11:03 PM)Fortitudinal Wrote:  Too cold is never good.

Quality whites show better when at room temp, say 15-25C even. I must emphasize quality. Chill a white burg too much and you aren't getting what you paid for.

Reds can do with a slight chill. Try an ice bucket with just a few ice cubes if temp is a concern in your area. I like the terracota coolers you can find in some dinnerware shops, they are cheap and will keep your wine at a decent temp for a while without much ice.

It's all about entropy - It's easier for a cool wine to warm up than the reverse. Aromatics work the same way, better to start tight than end up with a loose, flat wine.

Terracotta is an intriguing material, but i'd imagine there'd be the risk of breakage.

(04-26-2014 12:46 AM)Fortitudinal Wrote:  Shocking: high quality white wines can do remarkably well decanted as well. Don't serve too cold either. I've had my mind blown by Sicilian whites and Loire beasts a few times with this technique. Even 24 hours may not be too much. True story.

I don't disagree with the idea in principle, but I would still suggest using large glasses for such white wines rather than decanting - once the genie is out of the bottle it's gone for good.

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04-26-2014 07:03 AM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
What are some favorable reds from South America that I should be able to easily find for under $20 per bottle?

Oh, and I'm also open to suggestions of excellent Italian prosecco.

Also, how much affect does the international shipping of wine have in the final product? Surely shipping crates of wine in sweltering containers has some affect on the end product.

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04-26-2014 10:29 AM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
(04-26-2014 10:29 AM)Cincinnatus Wrote:  What are some favorable reds from South America that I should be able to easily find for under $20 per bottle?

Oh, and I'm also open to suggestions of excellent Italian prosecco.

Also, how much affect does the international shipping of wine have in the final product? Surely shipping crates of wine in sweltering containers has some affect on the end product.

Chile and Argentina are the most established players in the wine market. Argentina has a reputation for it's Malbec, so that's a good start. For a while Chile was only thought of as a source of cheap wines but now they're emphasising the qualities of different vineyards and latitudes, so more quality international varietals (e.g. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot...) are coming out.

Italian Prosecco, just set yourself a budget and explore, and be mindful of what style you're after - something dry and crisp, or something with a touch of sweetness and a lot of fruit?

These days shipping is pretty reliable, otherwise you wouldn't even be able to export laptops with sensitive parts. More wine is being sealed nder screwcap, which is more reliable than natural cork, so this keeps wine in a more stable condition. Of course there are occasions where the A/C didn't work in a particular container and completely cooks the wine; that why we have insurance.

Feel free to PM me for wine advice or other stuff
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04-26-2014 09:31 PM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
(04-26-2014 10:29 AM)Cincinnatus Wrote:  What are some favorable reds from South America that I should be able to easily find for under $20 per bottle?

Oh, and I'm also open to suggestions of excellent Italian prosecco.

Also, how much affect does the international shipping of wine have in the final product? Surely shipping crates of wine in sweltering containers has some affect on the end product.

Tengen is right, but there is more to it if you dig deeper.

From SA:

Catena consistently makes good Malbec at decent prices.

For the inside scoop ask for Uruguayan wine... They have more to prove in the int market and the wines are great. Tannat is a great cousin of Malbec and if you give enough time or air, magic happens.

Italian prosecco from Costaripa will blow you away. All natural, great quality, could pass for champ in a Blind tasting. Try Ferrari also, does the job.

Shipping is a big gamble. Temperature can be a big issue. Depending on where you are, If you can, ask if they sheep reefer ( refrigerated container). In Japan most ship reefer since consumers won't buy stained labels or damaged wine.
Places like AUS, SNG are a big gamble (too hot and wine gets cooked, cork or not), same can be shipping across the US.
Most reputable shippers ship dry (not reefer) to n America in fall and spring, rarely if ever on summer. Less risk of heat waves and damaged goods.
Another technique is shipping dry when it's cooler but use thermal blankets. That works well enough as long as you don't have to go across panama or suez. . . Some gamble since it's cheaper than reefer.

Funny thing, it's more 'green' to ship by boat to NYC than trucking from NYC to LAX. So your French Wine in the west coast is a bad thing. Food for thought for the deep greens.
04-27-2014 12:09 AM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
A friend of mine has recently introduced me to Lillet Blanc, which is a blend of 85% Bordeaux wines - Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle.

Mixed it with some tonic, over ice and some wedges of Orange. Immediately hooked.

Lillet is unique as it can serve as an aperitif but is also versatile as a component of a cocktail.

And if it's good enough for 007...

   
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04-27-2014 12:57 AM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
My big pet peeve with wine is the dishonest marketing practices that I see wine stores in the US often employ. They will put a label under a brand of wine on the shelf that says, "Wine Advocate/Spectator 90 points!" If you look closely at the tag, however, you will see that the year of the wine rated is different than the vintage of the wine on the shelf. What apparently happens is that when the store sells out of the vintage that was reviewed by the trade publication, they will restock the bottles on the shelf with the newer vintage but leave the tag in place. Several times I've notified store personnel about the discrepancy and their response is always the same- they chuckle and say they will take care of it immediately, but the next time I go back to the store the label is still there. I've heard that this marketing practice is actually illegal.
04-27-2014 07:17 PM
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RE: The RVF Wine Thread
(04-27-2014 07:17 PM)Carlos100 Wrote:  My big pet peeve with wine is the dishonest marketing practices that I see wine stores in the US often employ. They will put a label under a brand of wine on the shelf that says, "Wine Advocate/Spectator 90 points!" If you look closely at the tag, however, you will see that the year of the wine rated is different than the vintage of the wine on the shelf. What apparently happens is that when the store sells out of the vintage that was reviewed by the trade publication, they will restock the bottles on the shelf with the newer vintage but leave the tag in place. Several times I've notified store personnel about the discrepancy and their response is always the same- they chuckle and say they will take care of it immediately, but the next time I go back to the store the label is still there. I've heard that this marketing practice is actually illegal.

There are multiple factors at play here. Number one of course is that the people in the cellars aren't as interested in keeping information up to date as the marketing and trading people - they're just there to man the tills and keep the revenue coming in.

Another factor is that new vintages sometimes come quickly without time for big-name reviewers to give them a taste, so they keep the old reviews as kind of a benchmark. It's a good sales tactic to say "hey, last year's vintage got such a high score, this one must be pretty good too!".

Finally, maybe they are being deceptive, but this is always going to be hard to prove.

Ultimately, the best thing to do is to know what direction your own tastes lean towards, and what to look for on labels to get as close to your preferences as possible.It doesn't matter if a Cabernet Sauvignon gets 100 points if your tastes tend towards the Pinot Noir side.

tard - I HATE to be self-promoting (I Hate Sales), but I am offering a free wine consult service right now, so if you're wanting to get a better idea of your wine preferences, feel free to give it a try

Feel free to PM me for wine advice or other stuff
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04-28-2014 12:03 AM
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