Any Wine Connoisseurs?

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by CivicLx, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. CivicLx

    CivicLx Professional

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    I'm considering getting wine as a Christmas gift for my mom and stepdad and wanted to study up a little bit. Does anyone know anything about wine or have any tips to offer? I'm going to inspect their little collection tomorrow to get an idea. I'm actually trying to get a little info out of my mom by telling her it's for a secret santa thing at work. We live in Northern California so a place like Napa or Paso Robles isn't too far away. They belong to a club type thing from the Beringer winery if anyone has heard of that.

    Also, I did a quick google search and came up with a page called winelibrary.com I believe they have a message forums, but if anyone happens to know of some others, please sugges them:)

    Thanks in advance.
     
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  2. Fee

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    How much do you want to spend?

    Do your parents prefer red or white varieties?

    Do they prefer only California wines, or are they willing to try Oregon, Washington, New York, French, German, Italian, Chile, Australia?

    You don't even need to go to Napa to get decent wine, you can start with Trader Joes, Beverages & More, Cost Plus World Market, and even Costco. But it seems like you need more info first.
     
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  3. StealthGnome

    StealthGnome Semi-Pro

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    I heard the deeper hole in the bottom goes towards the bottler's pride in their wine.
    Deeper the better?

    Sorry, I know nothing about wine. Not at the legal drinking age.
     
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  4. CivicLx

    CivicLx Professional

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    at first i thought you were being a smartass, but it sounds like you're serious. I have no idea what you're talking about though so I'd be interested in hearing what someone has to say about that.

    Fee, I think they prefer white from looking at their collection. I know NOTHING about wine myself. I would be looking to spend up to about hmm...maybe $50-$100. I would like to get them something either they'll think tastes very good, or something that tastes awful but would be a gem in a collection.
     
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  5. CAM178

    CAM178 Hall of Fame

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    Maybe get them some obscure but very highly reviewed wines? Paso Robles has some great wines. And obviously Napa and Sonoma have wonderful wines, too.

    I love wine, but I have a lot to learn, and a lot to experience. And 95% of what I drink are reds, so what I wrote here might not be of much help.

    I'd recommend going to some wine websites and seeing what the more popular/highly reviewed are.

    Get them a variety. Also (and this is not meant to be sexist), I've found that women prefer whites, and men prefer reds. Perhaps a nice combination?

    Wine is a gift I usually get for specific people. Last year I remember getting a few bottles of Frog's Leap and a couple of others. One bottle I shared with my brother (who lives in CA) was J. Lohr from Paso Robles, as it is such a nice wine. I believe it was a Merlot. And we got another bottle of a red that was from that area, but I can't remember it for the life of me. It was awful when we opened it, but when it had time to breathe (after I had left), my brother said it was amazing. That's wine for you.

    Some wines that I've tried and loved are Frei Brothers Reserve Cab 2001, Conde de Valdamar Rioja 2000, Francis Coppola Pinot Noir 2004, Beringer Founder's Estate Merlot 2002, and Beringer Knights Valley Cab 2000 (one of the best I've ever had). But this was when I was living in rural NH, so I only had access to the more popular brands. You, on the other hand, have access to wines that most of us will never get, as they are in your backyard. The small wineries have very limited distribution, so get it while the getting's good! Best of luck.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2007
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  6. CivicLx

    CivicLx Professional

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    cam, I will definitely be doing some research on wine, but in the meantime, what is the difference between a white and a red? Also, this isn't going to be the main gift, but I would like to get them something that would really add to their collection. How expensive can these bottles get? What's the most expensive wine you've ever seen?

    Thanks again:)
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2007
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  7. CivicLx

    CivicLx Professional

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    I'm still not quite sure what you're talking about but I have an idea. I'm reading some 411 on beringer's site and they say to check the ullage on the wine. I guess this is the gap between the bottom of the cork and the wine. If there is a large gap, it might suggest that something is wrong with the wine. Might this be what you were referring to?
     
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  8. Serve em Up

    Serve em Up Rookie

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    Beringer Knights Valley is famous as a consistent high quality Cabernet. Its is almost always very good at around $25.00

    Here's some other ones:

    Shotfire Shiraz (Australia) Best Shiraz I've ever had $24.00

    Carmody McKnight Pinot Noir: Small boutique winery in California. Awesome Pinot Noir!!! 40.00

    Cabernets from:
    Shafer
    Merryvale

    Chardonnays from:
    Pine Ridge
    Sonoma Cutrer

    Sparkling from:

    Iron Horse
    Schramsberg
    Jordan J


    Some good quality more expensive labels:

    Opus 1
    Far Niente
    Caymus
    Frogs Leap
    Robert Mondavi (reserve labels)


    Good Luck and happy shopping!
     
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  9. If I was spending $50 to $100 on a bottle wine, or receiving a bottle at that price, I'd choose a lovely claret. That is a red bordeax wine. 1995 and 1996 were stand-out vintages, but I doubt you can pick anything up for under $100 now. (A quick glance at a local website, shows a 1995 St. Julien for $125.00).

    2000 was the next stellar year. Look for the something from that year. Any reputable win wine shop can help you pick something out.
     
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  10. Racer41c

    Racer41c Semi-Pro

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    Call over to a place called Plumpjack and get them a bottle of Chardonnay or Merlot. They're both about $50 bucks and some of the best stuff I know of at any price.

    And while your at it, send me one too!
     
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  11. Fee

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    The difference between white and red is the grape or grapes used to make the wine.

    If you are really willing to spend that much money then here is what I suggest: go to http://www.bigfun.org/store/Merchandise.aspx and order the Wine Tasting competition book for $5. Get the names of all of the gold medal winning white wines, then go to BevMo and see what they have in stock, buy 4 of those as a gift for your parents. You can tell them these are all award winning wines (and you are not responsible if they suck ;) ).

    Or pick a decent winery, like Luna, Geyser Peak, or V. Sattui, and just get a selection of their white wines straight from the winery. You may not have time to do a lot of research on this.
     
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  12. SempreSami

    SempreSami Hall of Fame

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    Am a fan of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo myself, excellent with tomato based dishes.
     
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  13. CAM178

    CAM178 Hall of Fame

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    White is just that: white. Whites are a more acidic taste, to me. I generally will only have them if it is with a seafood dish, or if it is the only choice. If I do drink white, it will either be a mellow Chardonnay (Smoking Look, Frog's Leap, Meridien, etc.), or a Pinot Grigio (PG). PG is nice in the summertime, if chilled.

    Wine can get VERY expensive. Some bottles fetch thousands of dollars. I've seen wine on menus that say 'Ask Your Server', and I knew the wine was an incredible bottle. One that is always a winner is a Rothschild (<sp?). They are phenomenal wines, but notoriously exorbitant in price.

    Best of luck with this, and I am glad that I could help.
     
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  14. MTChong

    MTChong Professional

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    I think that while in Italy, I saw a $3,000 bottle of some type of wine. Of course, I just gawked at the price tag -- don't recall what it was called. There are all sorts of wine cellars in Italy that have the same sort.
     
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  15. Dedans Penthouse

    Dedans Penthouse Hall of Fame

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    In Vino Veritas

    Q: What's the word?
    A: THUNDERBIRD!

    Q: What's the price?
    A: 'THIRTY' TWICE!

    Q: What's the reason?
    A: 'GRAPES' ARE IN SEASON!
     
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  16. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    gimme som o dat MD20/20

    suggest to the OP to avoid wines in a carboard box and wines with a screw top cap and see if you can get the poster CabernetJunkie to respond who is our resident wino who actually is involved in a winery..I really enjoyed his Viognier.....pear overtones
     
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  17. ShiroRm

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    these are some excellent italian wines.
    they have a controlled production: they can be produced only in specific areas, with specific grapes and technics.
    there are several brands for each wine. however, these are the wines' names and the regions where they are produced:
    - barolo; dolcetto (red wines from Piemonte)
    - recioto; soave (white ones fromVeneto)
    - brunello di montalcino; chianti; montepulciano (all red from Toscana)
    - sagrantino (red-Umbria)
    - montepulciano d'abruzzo (red-abruzzo)
    - fiano; taurasi (I like it very much); greco di tufo (white-red-white, from Campania)
    - aglianico del vulture (red from basilicata)
    - cirĂ² rosso classico superiore riserva (red from calabria)

    Generally speaking, if you're interested in italian wines, look for these symbols on the bottles: DOCG; DOC or IGP, at least http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denomi****one_di_origine_controllata (damn censorship! replace the **** with "na zi" (united))
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2007
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  18. shell

    shell Professional

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    Without going into too much detail, since we don't really know what the gift receiver drinks - I would highly suggest you go to a wine shop and ask them for suggestions. They should be very good at getting to the types of wine that may work. It sometimes depends on the type of food that the receiver eats, and white vs. red is a very basic thing that you will need to know.

    Most red wine drinkers will always appreciate a good Cal. Cab or zin, since those wines are known to be usually very dependable from California. The price range will vary hughly. Hence the wine shop expert with their suggestions.

    Don't get too hung up on exactly the right wine. I always appreciate trying something that I have not had, and most wine drinkers will feel the same. But don't get it a the grocery store! Ask the experts to pick you out a nice wine in your price range - and for the most part you won't go wrong.

    Good luck in your search. Wine is a facinating journey and a wonderful gift for many people.
     
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  19. Tennis-Chris

    Tennis-Chris Rookie

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    Alexander Valley

    If you are going with a California wine anything produced in the Alexander Valley will be phenomenal. The website below will take you to a listing of all the growers in the Valley.

    http://www.alexandervalley.org

    Several others have already referenced BevMo. Their staff is generally pretty knowledgeable about wine. They also utilize Wilfred Wong of the San Francisco Chronicle to rate their wines and he is very well informed on Northern California wines.

    www.bevmo.com

    For $100-150 you could probably even get them a gift assortment of three or four very nice wines.

    Good Luck!:mrgreen:
     
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  20. CivicLx

    CivicLx Professional

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    thanks for all of the suggestions. Because I don't have that much time until Christmas arrives, I will just probably get them something from Beringer since I know they like it. I will probably end up going to BevMo.

    does anyone know if the wine that BevMo sells is as good as the wine you'd purchase from the winery itself?
     
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  21. AmericanTemplar

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    If it's the same type of wine and the same year, I don't see why it would be any different (with intent).

    I'm from Sonoma County, so of course most people that I know are in the wine industry. Here are a couple of family friend's wineries.

    My dad actually made their website:
    http://www.mietzcellars.com/

    My friend is the Head Winemaker:
    http://www.nallewinery.com/

    I was actually good friends with Beringer's Head Winemaker's son as a kid. I know that their wine is considered to be pretty good in the realm of mass produced wines.
     
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  22. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

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    Red wines are typically dry--my favorite so far has been a 1982 Zinfandil (not white Zinfandil) from Charles Krug (Napa). If you're not sure of what they like, Grgich Hills (also Napa) makes a great Johannesburg Riesling. These are semi-sweet white wines--a good combination if they like both sweet wines (like white zinfandils) and dry wines (like Cabernet, red Zin, Merlot, Pinot Noir or Shiraz). Inglenook has a "reserve" line of wines that are really good too. If you want to risk getting a little "heavier" wine, Sonoma valley has some Merlots that are very good. I haven't been to as many wineries there, so I couldn't point out any great ones. In Virginia, Ravenscroft has a good line of wines. Don't know if you have access to those. I've also gotten some wines in Maine. Most fruit wines are not aged, but there, I got some blueberry wine that had been aged in oak barrels, just like dry red wines. It is dry, but with a fuller, blueberry (as opposed to grape) undertone.
    If you can drive up to Napa, Grgich Hills is near the Sutter Home winery (a little north I think). It's obscure and small enough that they probably haven't tried any of their wines. They aren't that expensive either (probably less than $20/bottle). I'd give them a try.
     
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  23. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    Steve, Shiraz from Australia is kicking everyone. I am talking about the likes of padthaway's Henrys drive reserves and Mollydooker's http://www.mollydookerwines.com/web/index.cfm I like the 2005 boxer for $20 it is by far the best red on the planet for the price. of course there are others like carnival of love rated 99 for $69. go to winecommune.com

    the aussie bigs are amon ra , grange, RWT, trobreck, astralis, dead arm, duck muck among others will blow you away if you got $75-$200
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2007
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  24. richw76

    richw76 Rookie

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    I think one of the better values in wine is a good Chilean cab. or I really like Phat ******* (Aus. Shiraz) for 8-10$ it can't be beat.

    I can't agree more. Go to a good wine shop, or a liquor store with a good wine selection. I have one in my Area with salesmen which are very knowledgeable and have never steered me wrong.

    That being said I've had a 600$ bottle of wine, and its' exciting and fun to do on a friends birthday or a special occasion like an anniversary but beyond that. I think it's diminishing returns. There are quality bottles in the 15-50$ range that are indistinguishable from their 300-600$ counterparts.

    No matter what you get I'm sure your parents will really enjoy you thinking of them and getting them something they will enjoy.
     
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  25. richw76

    richw76 Rookie

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    Phat B -a -s- t- a- r -d

    I've been censored. Funny part is they sell it in Sam's Club now but the Sam's club bottles Say "Phat B*rd" Or something like that :)
     
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  26. Fee

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    Pleeeeeeeeaaaaasssseeeee NOT Beringer. Okay, yes I am biased, I have a strong personal dislike for that winery, but give them the gift of a new winery to try out. Just go to Bev Mo and ask them for their four top rated California white wines from the guy who does their reviews. Get one Chardonnay, one Pinot Grigio, one Viognier, and one Sauvignon Blanc. I'd bet BevMo can even gift box and wrap them for you. But please not Beringer.

    Okay, rant over. If it has to be Beringer, might as well buy them a wine club membership I suppose.
     
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  27. richw76

    richw76 Rookie

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    Fee say it ain't so. RU a wine snob :) Although I've had the Beringer Reserve and it was good. But they have a LARGE range of products that starts at 4$ garbage thats' on par with MD20/20 to some pretty nice Cab.s
     
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  28. Fee

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    I'm not a wine snob, at all, but Beringer just... Look, I know that every winery in Napa and Sonoma inflates the price of the wines they sell at their winery, but $8 for a friggin bottle of Beringer White Zin? You can buy that at every liquor store and gas station in Napa for about half that. Come on, mark up every bottle you sell, but the WHITE ZIN?!?!?!?!

    Oh mon dieu!

    (PS, I think ther reds are all kind of boring. Rutherford Hill makes better stuff, to name one. Just my opinion.)

    In full disclosure, I worked for the Assemblymember who represented the Northern California district that included the Mendocino and Sonoma wine regions a few years ago. I prefer to spend my money supporting those regions, then the rest of California. Stay loyal to my homies, and all that. ;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2007
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  29. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    tried it, it pals compare to Ausi shiraz "woop woop" for $9
     
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  30. richw76

    richw76 Rookie

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    Thanks for the Tip. Do they sell it in the States? I'll have to keep an eye out. Just for the name I'll give it a go. :)
     
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  31. richw76

    richw76 Rookie

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    I'm sorry I don't really think your a "wine snob" :) but yeah it's kinda crazy. 8$ for white zin. My wife likes any white zen or arbor mist.

    And I feel you on regional support, Keep it real. And there are tons of small winery's with great products that a good wine shop will know about. Greatest thing they are usually in the 10-25$ range.
     
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  32. cabernetjunkie

    cabernetjunkie Rookie

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    If you still need help, feel free to shoot me an email



    whoops,....just click on my user name.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2007
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  33. Fee

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    I knew you were not serious. :)

    I prefer smaller wineries like Andretti, Trefethen, V. Sattui, J. Lohr, and others. I have my preferences, but if someone is going to give me wine as a gift, I like to try new things too, just tell me something about it. Even saying 'the guy at the store recommended it' is okay in a pinch.

    Civic, you might also want to consider adding a 'Rabbit' corkscrew to your gift. They run about $20 (the fancy silver ones are more, but not necessary) and I love mine because I never mastered any type of traditional corkscrew. Open the bottle in less than 10 seconds? I'm there! ;)
     
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  34. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    yes they do for $9 it is the best shiraz money can buy,

    http://www.woopwoop.com.au/wines/notes.asp?view=5

    you name me a price you want to spend and i will give you the best aussi shiraz name to drink, I have tried many, it is getting out of hand :oops:
     
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  35. Richie Rich

    Richie Rich Legend

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    best red i have had for the money (and i drink a lot of red :oops: ) is wolf blass gold label cabernet. also, it has a screw top (so there NoBadMojo :wink: ) but is top notch wine. it is quality
     
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  36. richw76

    richw76 Rookie

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    As long as you're drinking with friends or family, no such thing ;-) unless all you friends and family are alcoholics :) Even then it's still one heck of a party.

    And I'm going to call around this weekend see if I can find it, Thanks again.
     
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  37. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    aye....you got me there ;) they've been using screw tops and synthetic corks these days more because of cork taint. there is a stigma attached to a screw top however, so i would avoid one of those as a gift even though the wine might be really good

    tons of great wines out there, and everyone has their prefs...it's not like tennis racquets where you can be more objective ;O
     
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  38. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    I own one of those openers, and it's the best single invention since sliced bread. I've used ours so much that I'm just about ready to use the alternate corkscrew that came with it.

    Of late, I have been drinking Oregon Pinot Noirs. Lorane Valley is my current favorite, although I am partial to Blue Moon as well. If it's a nice night and a good steak, it's hard to beat Elk Cove.

    My wife is very partial to Shiraz and her favorite is Cragg's Creek out of New Zeland I believe. I looked them up on the internet, the winery is staffed by 3 people, kinda cool.
     
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  39. Dedans Penthouse

    Dedans Penthouse Hall of Fame

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    in wine there is truth....

    Rabbit, if you like Pinot Noirs, try Iron Horse; I think you'd like it.

    For a really robust 'whine' that just won't quit, try Superstition Reserve that's stocked on many of the shelves in the Rants 'n Raves section. :)
     
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  40. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Iron Horse...sounds like it might have a kick. I'll look it up.
     
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  41. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    R and RR you should try the boxer 2005/6 is a screw top as well, like i said it is the best shiraz for $19, can go up against wins that are $100-$200. It is big, inky and JAM like with many long lasting notes.:) needs decanting

    IT IS RATED 95 BY RP!!!
     
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  42. Phil

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    Yes indeedy, you came to the right place. I myself am considered (by myself and others) to be QUITE the wine conoisseur. I think you are a fine son and you will make your parents happy by choosing any of the five fruity brews listed on my favorite site devoted to the grape:

    http://www.bumwine.com/

    While all of the brands listed in that site are incredibly...effective, each also possesses its own unique characteristics. Do allow me to recommend my personal favorite: Nightrain Express; a concoction that will make your tongue tingle and your belly howl...just the right amount of asescence for such a delicate wine.

    And an added bonus: the 'train packs as much value as it does wallop. You can buy 15 or so bottles for the price of a single "moderately priced" California or French wine. So c'mon, hop on the 'Train today!
     
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  43. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, and to second Phil's recommendation, NightTrain has another use. I was enjoying some just the other afternoon while scraping paint at a friend's house. Regrettably, some of the NightTrain spilled and covered the painted surface. Magically, the paint began to bubble and then peel. I discovered that in addition to gettin' your freak on, NT has a great use as paint remover.
     
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  44. Richie Rich

    Richie Rich Legend

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    i'll look for it but sales of liquor and wine are only allowed to be sold through government run stores. they only buy certain wines so we don't have the selection you guys do south of the border.
     
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  45. Tennis-Chris

    Tennis-Chris Rookie

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    Better yet, how about wine in a box?:mrgreen:
     
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  46. Tennis-Chris

    Tennis-Chris Rookie

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    ROFLMAO!!! That is funny.:lol:
     
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  47. richw76

    richw76 Rookie

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    Location:
    Atlanta
    LMAO, My grandfather used to sell a TON of red rose. I haven't thought about it in years though. :) And MD20/20 is responsible for the only partial black out I've ever had while drinking. But I never threw up just drunk off my can for 6 hours straight :) Good times. Young and stupid.
     
    #47
  48. Shahar26

    Shahar26 Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Messages:
    247
    Location:
    NYC
    Damnit, every time I see this thread it looks like Amy Winehouse :)
     
    #48

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