I'm very new to buying wine for myself, I usually just drink whatever someone else recommends. Now that I know a couple of wines that I like, is there an easy way to find similar wines? Is there somewhere online where I could say that I like a specific wine, and get suggestions for similar wines? Or do I just need to go to the store and ask someone who works there?
Welcome. What wines do you like?
Just one more sip.
And please try to describe why you like them. In other words, do you like red or white wine? Why? Do you like sweet wine or a drier wine? Wine with lots of fruit flavors, or wines with more subtle flavors?
Well, up until now I've favored very sweet wines, specifically rieslings. Recently I've enjoyed a couple of cabernets, specifically Atlas Peak and Sterling Vineyard. I think what I like most about them is that they are very smooth, if that is the right way to describe it. Hope that helps, and thanks for your responses!
For smooth, fruity reds, maybe try a red Zinfandel, maybe a Ravenswood or Ridge.
Just one more sip.
It is not uncommon for beginners to start with sweet wines (since obviously the sweetness can be very appealing). But what happens is that eventually you may want to branch out into less sweet wines. For example, someone who starts out drinking sweet rieslings (or even God forbid a white zinfandel), might move to drier rieslings (such as a kabinett instead of a spatlese or auslese) or into pinot gris or viognier. Then you can move into chardonnay and sav blancs.
Many people wind up enjoying dry wines more, and certainly there is enough diversity to find something that will be appealing to you.
If you are already enjoying cabernets, then you should try branching out a bit: red zinfandels (like Board-O mentioned) are often unappreciated, but can be really excellent and offer good value. Many merlots will be very "smooth" and are also excellent (notwithstanding their put down in the movie "Sideways"). As you experiment, eventually try some pinot noir, and some French bordeaux, which may seem a bit more austere than the bolder california cabernets and zinfandels.
The bottom line for a beginner is: taste, taste, taste.
Attend wine tasting events at your local wine store. Throw a big dinner party at your house and ask each couple to bring a bottle or two of their favorite wines.
Now, to answer your questions about how to find the wine. Number One: develop a relationship with a local wine store. Figure out which local store is best for you (wide range of product, good prices, attentive staff, etc...) and spend a bit of time in there. Talk to the staff and get to know them. If you start going into that store once or twice a week, even to only buy one bottle of wine, they will get to know you. A relationship with a store can provide you with access to special wines not available to the public at large, and you'll have someone who can make recommendations for you.
Ask for advice here, at WS. There is no shame in asking for advice, even if you are seeking recommendations for cheap bottles to drink on Tuesday nights ($10 or less). You'll be shocked by how many great recommendations you'll get if you just politely ask. Read the "What are you buying" thread, to see what others are picking up.
Check out www.wine-searcher.com. A great resource for locating wines within your state or within the country. Get the professional version if you become interested in serious collecting. It is well worth the price.
I hope this helps you somewhat.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Rothko,
Very helpful, thank you very much!
Come to CA and go wine tasting ! In a very small area (within 4 driving hours) you can experience the major varieties of the wine world. If this is not doable, go wine tasting and do some more tasting, your palate will evolve and your collection will change. Enjoy.
christinel, in addition to Zinfandel, take a look at Merlot from Washington State. Anything in the $10-$15 range should be tasty. Try Chateau Ste. Michelle. or Columbia Crest Grand Estates.
Folks around here mostly mock it, but Australian Shiraz should be on your radar as well. Avoid the cheap ones with cute animals on the label, but in that $10 price range, try Pillar Box Red, which is an Aussie Shiraz blend and easily found.
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christinel - I don't know what you mean by "smooth" but I think you are describing something without harsh acidity or rough tannins. Atlas Peak wines can actually be pretty tannic though - that's the drying quality you get in your mouth after swallowing. So it might be that you don't like really acidic wines.
Anyhow, if that's the case, and I have no idea if it is, you may want to try wines made from the same grape. I'm just guessing here, but is it likely that your wines were blends of Cabernet Sauvignon and something else? One thing you might do is go to the store where you bought them and ask what was in the wines. Then try something made from the same grapes and the same region.
Remember that a particular grape may be subject to very different conditions in one region than it is in another, so don't just go by grape variety.
And definitely try some Zinfandel, even if that's not what you had in the Atlas Peak.
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