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Off Topic: Wine Snobbery

I just got back from a few days in Napa/Sonoma.  Prior to this trip it was fair to say that I like wine (particularly red wine) and that my previous tasting experiences had convinced me that many $10 bottles were not only as good, but often better than the more expensive wines.  In fact, it is fair to say that I have frankly disliked most of the expensive wines I had tasted prior to this trip.  However, starting at the wine bar in the airport when a friend bought a $55 bottle of Pinot Noir, over the course of the trip I became generally (not always) more appreciative of the more expensive wines.  I tried to be as objective as possible and decide what I like by the taste, not the price.  I was probably influenced by doing a tour at Trinchero and learning how they process their different wines - more machines for their mass production wines, more processing by hand for their more expensive wines, etc. 

I brought back enough wine that I won't need to buy any for a while, but I'm wondering if the next time I go wine-shopping at my local store if I'm going to have a very different perspective that I have ever had previously.

Has anyone else experienced this?

Will the $9 bottle of Tormaresca Neprica still taste great the next time I drink it?

XL BGE, Klose BYC, ProQ Excel, Weber Kettle, Firepit, Grand Turbo gasser, and a portable Outdoor Gourmet gasser for tailgating

San Antonio, TX

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Comments

  • Seanr7Seanr7 Posts: 207

    I went from $10 bottles to $100 bottles then back down to $25 bottles.  There are plenty of great wine to be had in the $25 dollar range.  Here is what I suggest, buy a great $25 bottle and a great $55+ bottle, same type of wine.  Invite some friends over and taste blind, see if you guys can truly tell the difference in the two, I would be willing to bet you can not!

     

    XL BGE
  • To me, the most important thing is to make sure the wine is allowed to breath, temp is right etc.. 95% of my wine purchases are in the $10-12 range so I don't break the bank. It's amazing how much better a cheaper bottle can be if treated properly. I've tasted some $75 bottles that didn't rock my world either. Also, I guess my palate is not as sophisticated as many folks. I just can't taste "those subtle tobacco notes" or "lignon berry hints with a gravlax afterburn"

     

    In the  Hinterlands between Cumming and Gainesville, GA
    Med BGE, Weber Kettle, Weber Smokey Joe, Brinkman Dual Zone, Weber Genesis Gas Grill and portable gasser for boating
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,159
    edited October 2013

    There was a period in my life where I was having Port and Stilton after dinner. Got so I couldn't stand anything Port-wise that was less than a hundred a bottle. Stopped drinking Port.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • A few years ago, my wife and I were at a party.  I struck up a conversation with the guy and his wife about our mutual quest to find great wines under $10.  When my wife saw us, she was horrified.  I was talking to the chancellor of the Baylor University College of Medicine.  He could afford $500 wines and not think twice about it.

    I'm not hung up on varietals or other nonsense.  A good red blend is fine with me.  I will say that I have had better luck across the board with Pinot Noirs, and not so good luck with Cabernet Sauvignons.
    __________________________________________

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Gateway to the Hill Country

  • CookinbobCookinbob Posts: 1,164
    edited October 2013
    I find my enjoyment of wine has more to do with the time and place and the meal.  I prefer full bodied reds, but I do not have the sensitive palate to taste the subtle notes in the descriptions.  In that I work hard for my money, having dropped $50 or so on a single bottle of which I will get maybe 2 glasses from takes away from my enjoyment.  I feel I have spent $ foolishly.  My typical price range is $10 to $15.  I have enjoyed $100+ bottles (on someone else's tab), and while they are surely fine wines, they are not worth it to me.  

    I would rather have 8 $12 bottles than one $100 bottle.  Pour it in a nice Reidel glass and enjoy!
    XLBGE, Small BGE, Homebrew and Guitars
    Rochester, NY
  • MaskedMarvelMaskedMarvel Posts: 1,098
    I'm a total wine snob - it's a very important part of my job..

    The most important thing about wine is you like what you're drinking, and when you find one you like a lot - buy a case of it.



    Enjoy.  IMHO, wine is an excellent complement to a fulfilled life.
    Large BGE -- Greensboro!


  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 1,582

    "To me, the most important thing is to make sure the wine is allowed to breath, temp is right etc.."

    OK.  So that brings up another issue.  My brother-in-law and his wife bought us Vinturi aerators a few years ago as they will not drink a glass of wine that has not been aerated or allowed to breathe for a while.  My wife and I did blind taste tests with and without aeration and we preferred the unaerated wine every time.  My sister-in-law was aghast....

    XL BGE, Klose BYC, ProQ Excel, Weber Kettle, Firepit, Grand Turbo gasser, and a portable Outdoor Gourmet gasser for tailgating

    San Antonio, TX

  • I'm thankful that I'm not sophisticated enough to tell the difference.  to me, the marginal returns on more expensive wine diminish quite steeply.  I think you get more bang for your buck on food than wine.  I try to keep my wine purchases under $30.  there are a few wines in the $25 - $30 range that I really like and am willing to pay for, but typically I find wines that are nearly as good for $10 - $20.  I am, however, willing to spend more $40 - $75 on nice champagne for special occasions
  • Knowing you, Foghorn, you drank it out of a styrofoam cup which gave it an off taste.
    __________________________________________

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Gateway to the Hill Country

  • RRPRRP Posts: 13,035
    My favorite wine story was about 20 years ago at a ritzy black tie banquet where tickets were $150 a piece. Thankfully the company picked up the tab for our table of eight. I recall the meal was the typical rubber chicken and cool at that. Well, anyway our "big boss" a real show off type of guy ordered 4 bottles of wine for our table at $60 a bottle. At one point when the boss hit the head one of my fellow employees says "that wine is for sh*t" and looked on the bottom of the bottle. Sure enough there was a price tag of a local grocery store which read "Ben Swartz Grocery $3.99"
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
  • I'm right there with MaskedMarvel - It's all about what YOU like.  I, too, am a wine snob (self proclaimed, I must add), but what is the point, if you don't like what you're drinking?  When your palate matures with your new found affinity (which it will), use the aerator if you like, and you might come up with different opinion.  

    Explore. Experiment. Life's too short to get tangled up in someone else's rules on a subject like this. 
  • 3 Buck Chuck from Trader Joe's during dinner if I have guests.  Luckily it has become quite trendy here in Chicago, and I can spend more money on grass-fed or prime beef.
    Chicago, Illinois
  • A_Smalltown_EggA_Smalltown_Egg Posts: 19
    edited October 2013

    Like MaskedMarvel I am a professional wine snob.  I have been blessed to travel for work and I have tasted some of the "finest" and most expensive wines in the world.  Some have been mind blowing experiences, some have been disappointments.  Wine is often, but not always, an item where you get what you pay for.  As an example, a cheaper wine may be mechanically harvested where the ripe, under-ripe, over-ripe and rotten grapes are all harvested and put into the wine.  A more expensive wine likely is harvested by hand by experienced harvesters picking just the perfect bunch (or even individual grapes).  Like cooking, if you start with better ingredients your end product is likely better.  How grapes are harvested is just one small part in what ends up in the bottle and each will add to the final price and hopefully quality of what is bottled.

     

    How, where and with whom you enjoy that bottle of wine adds to the experience and quality as well...a few bottles of 2 Buck Chuck on a beach in Oregon (not far from some of my favorite wineries in the country) with my wife and friends is one of my favorite wine memories.

     

    Ultimately, everyone who drinks wine is a wine expert as they know what they like and do not like.  Supposedly I am a "wine expert" but if you disagree with me about the quality of a wine you are just as right as I am.  If you like it it is a good wine, if you don't then it isnt't!

     

    Edit:  wine should be fun and pompous wine snobs SUCK!

  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 1,582
    Knowing you, Foghorn, you drank it out of a styrofoam cup which gave it an off taste.


    Is that a problem?

     

    Oh, and just in case anyone is wondering - it is OK to carry on the wine that you buy in the airport wine store, but it is not OK to pour it and drink it while on the plane.  To this end, a red Solo cup will serve you better than the really pretty clear plastic wine cup that they sell in the airport wine store.... just trust me on this one.

    XL BGE, Klose BYC, ProQ Excel, Weber Kettle, Firepit, Grand Turbo gasser, and a portable Outdoor Gourmet gasser for tailgating

    San Antonio, TX

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 15,830
    i was given a 75 dollar bottle of tawney port, its unopened, im afraid to taste it
    :)) little steven warned me about that years ago, i maxed at 30 bucks
    :D  other than ports, if its not mateus it aint no use
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,159
    Yeah man it's killer. I only use the good stuff for duck sauce now

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • Wine gives me a headache. Bartender, I'll have a Sam Adams.

    ........................................................................................

    Flint, Michigan.  Named the most dangerous city in America by the F.B.I. three years running.

  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 5,538
    edited October 2013
    I hope I never develop a sophisticated palate. I couldn't afford it.

    I have a choice, nice $25 bottle of wine with my Mac and Cheese and hot dogs or a bottle of three buck chuck with a prime rib eye - guess that's an easy choice.
    Delta B.C. - Vee-Gan: old Indian word for poor hunter. 
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 13,980

    Ed's Red...... Really named Ed's Smooth Red .... Fall Creek Vineyards..... Tow, TX

    This is the $10 red we buy by far most.

    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini.... 5th Salado EggFest is March 14, 2015

  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 1,582

    "I'm not hung up on varietals or other nonsense. A good red blend is fine with me. I will say that I have had better luck across the board with Pinot Noirs, and not so good luck with Cabernet Sauvignons."

     

    @Village_Idiot, I hate to admit it but that pretty much describes my thoughts as well.  To further enhance your appreciation of your new area of residence, you should get your hands on a bottle of Driftwood Vineyards Longhorn Red.  I can't speak to the current vintage, but a few years ago at a wine festival where we tasted wines from all over the world, my wife and I each thought that this was the best wine at the festival... of course, my palate has become more sophisticated since then...

     

    And if anybody can find (in the US) a bottle (or case) of Balance Pinotage/Shiraz from South Africa please let me know.  Like @A_Smalltown_Egg (and probably many of us), one of my fondest wine memories involves cheap wine and good friends - sitting around a campfire in Kruger National Park while visiting South Africa for the World Cup with friends and making new friends from other countries drinking great wine that only cost $4 a bottle.

    XL BGE, Klose BYC, ProQ Excel, Weber Kettle, Firepit, Grand Turbo gasser, and a portable Outdoor Gourmet gasser for tailgating

    San Antonio, TX

  • @Foghorn... just so you weren't blowing the vuvuzela!
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well, "spa-Peggy" is kind of like spaghetti. I'm not sure what Peggy does different, if anything. But it's the one dish she's kind of made her own.
    ____________________
    Aurora, Ontario, Canada
  • 3sheets3sheets Posts: 65
    I still enjoy a good box of wine every now and then.

    Location 33.537588, -83.969298 (33.5 miles and 41 minutes SE of the Mothership)

  • SearatSearat Posts: 48

    Foghorn I think you hit a nerve with the friends.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

    Your story sounds similar to my wife. I took her kicking and screaming for a long weekend of wine tasting and vinery tours. (She’s been mostly a white winer.) She learned about different grapes, fermenting process, and tasted a lot of wine (some bad, some average, some really good). She came home and noted the wines she “use” to drink didn’t taste good any more.

    My vote is bottles in the 18 to 25 dollar range. Try to taste before buying or really trust the recommender. We’re all different including our wine likes. Aerate your wines only improves the wine.

    Buy wines to want to drink and/or share with good friends. Storage and aging is overated (sorry wine pros).

    Now next topic: Pairing of wines with meats (BGE style) and cheese. Any takers …

  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 1,582

    "Now next topic: Pairing of wines with meats (BGE style) and cheese. Any takers …"

    I learned/confirmed this weekend that I don't really like cabernet when I am just drinking.  It ONLY tastes good to me if I am having it with beef.

    A good pinot noir goes with anything.

    A pinotage is the best wine for BBQ.

    XL BGE, Klose BYC, ProQ Excel, Weber Kettle, Firepit, Grand Turbo gasser, and a portable Outdoor Gourmet gasser for tailgating

    San Antonio, TX

  • @searat I am in!  General rule of thumb is more fat, more tannins.  Personally I think old-world wines tend to be better with food...higher acidity and lower alcohol than new world wines on average.

     

    @Foghorn Pinotage is the one varietal I just can't seem to really get into.  A couple I have really liked but on average it just isn't for me.  A nice Zinfadel is good with BBQ.  Actually, BBQ is the rare style of food I like Zin with...the alcohol is usually a bit to high (for me) to enjoy with food.

  • Foghorn said:

    "Now next topic: Pairing of wines with meats (BGE style) and cheese. Any takers …"

    I learned/confirmed this weekend that I don't really like cabernet when I am just drinking.  It ONLY tastes good to me if I am having it with beef.

    A good pinot noir goes with anything.

    A pinotage is the best wine for BBQ.

    I'll play :). I owned a wine, cheese and meat store/restaurant and I just got back from a week at a winery eating pairings for lunch and dinner 4 days straight (for work....it's hell out here). TFJ is far more advanced than me with all things food and wine. perhaps I can get her to jump on as well.





  • Ragtop99Ragtop99 Posts: 1,091
    I enjoy wine, but I find good choices in the $15 - $30 range (retail).  I've had some good $50+ plus wines, but I don't know if I can tell a $100 wine from $60 bottle with much consistency.
    Cooking on an XL and Medium in Bethesda, MD.
  • queuedqueued Posts: 50
    I'm not a wine snob, but I do enjoy nice wines.  If you graph quality vs. price, you will find an exponential curve - that is, there is a much bigger difference in quality between a $10 and $15 dollar bottle of wine vs. a $40 and $55.  The key for me is to find a sweet spot between cost and quality, where I enjoy the wine and feel it was a good value.  

    For some varietals, the sweet spot for me is below $10.  For others, I'll spend well over $20.  I'll even buy a really good young bottle of wine and age for a long while for a special occasion.  It usually depends on the cut of meat I'm eating - the more I've spent on the meal, the more I'm willing to spend on the wine.
    Raleigh, NC
  • BotchBotch Posts: 2,430
    I hit as many local winetastings as I can, but as many have said I think the camaraderie and the cheeses/meats are just as much fun.  I mostly won't buy a bottle that's over $20 (I use that rule for Bluray disks, too), but have been extremely fortunate in attending some really high-end affairs, including a vertical tasting of Caymus cabs (hosted by a retired Navy Captain, whose winecellar was bigger than my living room) and a neat tasting by Chateau St. Jean at the International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot, FL; of the first five wines, some were single grape varietals not for sale, others were for sale; the sixth/final glass was their award winner, which was a meritage of the previous five.  It was phenomenal, and while I could afford a bottle now, it would be an extravagant purchase.  
    I rebuilt my back porch/patio this last spring, and had to pull up all the Reisling grapevines that draped my old porch.  The previous owners actually made wine from the grapes, guess they got two or three bottles every year!  I miss those vines, but it was their weight (along with last year's snow) that flattened my old porch, not sure I want to plant some new ones... 
    _____________________________________________
     
    I Know Why The Egged Bird Sings.
     
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 10,769
    Sometimes more expensive doesn't mean better and sometimes better is more expensive. I've had $35 Padron cigar that wasn't as good as a $5 Brickhouse. On the other hand I see or taste a difference in the 15aand 18 year Glenfiddich.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
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