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Hello Ladies, Fellas'. This is my first post, so, if I'm in the wrong subtopic, I apologize.
As for me, I think I would fall into the catagory of semi-serious wine drinkers who only has scratched the surface of wine. And the surface I scratched, is probably only superficial, at best.
I started out your common American beer drinker about 15 years ago, moved upward to the "better" beers over the next 10 years.
About 5 years ago,I started drinking wine, with the same intentions of learning as much as possible, while exploring as much as possible.
With beer, I was able to except things for what they were. In other words, I found appreciation for everything brewed...the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Wine, on the other hand, I feel like I pigeoned holed myself over the last two years. My good intentions of exploring ceased and desisted when I found Chianti. Not only that, but I have narrowed it down to just few bottles of certain brands. I cant help but think, that somehow I have tricked myself into believing that everything else, even other known exceptional wines, pales in comparison.
Silly as it sounds, now I'm just that guy that drinks only Chianti, and is afraid to try anything else. Like a bad comedy unfolding right before me....still, I keep watching.

The simple solution is to just leave Chianti's be, and go buy something else, then force myself to like it.
But the better solution, in my opinion, would be to come to a group of more wine educated people, like yourselves, let them know what I like, and see if they can offer some other suggestions to try that is not too far of a stretch from what I'm drinking today. And then maybe I can move onward and upward from there.
Of course now, I'll have to tell you what I like, and possibly throw my undeveloped pallet to the wolves. Smile
But for the sake of learning, and freeing myself from the " same old, same old", I'll take my chances.

1) Badia A Coltibuono Chianti Cetamura 05'
2)Ruffino Chianti Riserva golg Ducale
3)I also like Fattoria Il Palagio Monte Majone 1999 IGT. 100% sangiovese . I'm not sure this is actually considered chianti. Between the Italian language, areas, sub areas, DOC, DOCG, and IGT's...I get rather confused.

Maybe someone with more knowledge could expand...

Any suggestion?

Thanks for your time,

Jay
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quote:
Originally posted by Neonderthal:
Hello Ladies, Fellas'. This is my first post, so, if I'm in the wrong subtopic, I apologize.
Wine, on the other hand, I feel like I pigeoned holed myself over the last two years. My good intentions of exploring ceased and desisted when I found Chianti. Not only that, but I have narrowed it down to just few bottles of certain brands. I cant help but think, that somehow I have tricked myself into believing that everything else, even other known exceptional wines, pales in comparison.


Any suggestion?

Thanks for your time,
Jay



Neo, welcome!!! I am not sure about more knowledge; but if I may, allow me to throw in my two cents’ worth. The gals and fellas around here may not be too favorable on wine clubs. However, as a beginner it is the best thing that I have done. I joined an inexpensive club at Wine Exchange. For 20 bucks per month, they send me one bottle each of WE’s selected red and white of any origin, varietal or producer. This has broadened my wine experience, especially the palate. If it’s affordable, I highly recommended. I have had tasty and quality inexpensive wines, IMO.
So here's my 2 cents. If you just like Chianti, fine. There is no reason you need to expand beyond that if you're happy. Even in terms of Chianti, there is a lot to explore. And if you start exploring, who knows where it will take you?

You can do better than those three too, but if you're happy with those, your palate is the only one that matters.

But if you really want to look farther, why not start from your "home" base. Look at the different regions within the Chianti and Chianti Classico areas. Is there a difference between those from the north and those from the south? Between those who are considered "traditional" and those not? Do you like the sangiovese grape? Maybe you want to try some other Tuscan wines. Brunello, Montepulciano, etc. And if you like those, maybe some barbera or some other Italian varietals. Then who knows, maybe you'd want to try an Italian varietal from California?

Many Chianti Classico producers also use some merlot or cabernet sauvignon, so now you can try some of those from elsewhere. Before you know it, you're all over the world.

For specifics regarding anything, you might want to find a good wine store where they seem to know what they're doing. Lots of stores have in=store tastings for free in the evening. Go to those.

And even if you don't venture too far, have fun.
Thanks for the advice guys.

Sancho, I think your suggestion could be a fun adventure that I could use in conjunction with re-exploring things for myself.

Greg, I appreciate you posing some of your thoughts into questions, without supplying a definitive( for lack of a better word) answer. It kick started my brain, which I realize now, that these are questions I should have been posing to myself from the start.

As far as what I drink, yeah, I know there is better out there. But being from a small town, you have little selection, and you find yourself taking advice from a guy who keeps empty bud light beer cans in the back of his truck.
So, online may have to be my new shopping grounds.

I guess now, before I can really start exploring these regions, I need to learn where these regions actually lay, so I can, in layman's terms, put a name to a face. Am I on the right track?

Jay
Hi Neonderthal,

Welcome to the boards. First off, you're probably a rarity in a new wine drinker. Most "newbies" or "not so newbies," go for the sweeter stuff from Australia like Yellow Tail Shiraz, or light fruity wines like cheap Pinot Grigio or Riesling. If you can deal with the intensity of the sangiovese grape (Chianti is one region that works with it, you're going to have an easier time branching out.

By all means, drink what you like, if that means Sangiovese, then by all means, hang there. The rest will come with time. I always recommend this book: Clicky. It'll help you organize some tastings for yourself and friends to learn more.

There are a lot of folks who know a hell of a lot about Sangiovese on these boards. I'd pay special attention to posts on the subject by PurpleHaze, Longboarder, Foghorn, Futronic, and Jochems, and others.

Good luck!
Thanks indybob, I've never been able to drink anything sweet, even semi-sweet. I guess I may have learned that from drinking coffee. Sweeter/sugary mask ( or override) underlying flavors. They get in the way of my pallet, and make it difficult to penetrate, separate and distinguish the subtleties. When I want sweet, I head for the Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon with 1/3 water.

Thanks for the book tip. Indeed, I will be ordering it shortly.

Bear with me, I'm about to pose a question I'm not sure how to pose, or even if its worth posing:

Would it be safe to say as a blanketed statement that you all have your own personal knowledge of certain wines, and categories etc, that you favor? And most of your tastings, and experience ( learning curve) came from that category? And then you took that experience and implemented into newer categories, newer wines, etc?

Jay
Neonderthal,

Sure, that's a fair assessment I think. The first serious red wine I fell for was Petite Sirah, AKA Durif (the French word), about 15 years ago, in college. I know the grape pretty well, what its pluses (huge delicious blackberry, blueberry flavors, with nice tannins), and minuses (often lacks complexity, and tends to get jammy). I've only been a "serious" collector for a bit over a year, and tend to recognize the PSirah qualities in other wines when they appear. While I like a lot of white wines, the red wine I'm having the hardest time appreciating is Pinot Noir, pretty much the opposite of Petite Sirah.

Once you learn more about the Sangiovese grape and all the ways it can be made, like Chianti, Chianti Ruffina, Brunello, Montepulciano, or as part of the Super Tuscan wines (blends that incorporate sangioveses with other varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon), you may want to branch out and find out more about Nebbiolo (Italian grape that makes Barolo), and on to the French varieties.

But, overall, the key is to taste, taste, taste some more. If you live in a small town, get a friend, or your spouse, and find an interesting tasting event in the nearest big city to attend some weekend.
I think Italian wine taste distinctly Italian. So try some other Italian grapes...

Nebbiolo

Barbera

Aglianico

Montepulciano De Abruzzo

And don't write off sweet wines either. You don't have too focus on them, but try one on occasion.

Valpiocello or Amarone, I think both are made out of Corvina.

Negroamaro (only had one but it reminded me of Grenache)

Maybe some French as well.

Cahors (Malbec)

Crozes Hermitage (Syrah)

Cotes Du Rhone

I don't think you will confuse any of these for Chianti, but you want to try new stuff and you don't have a sweet tooth.
quote:
Would it be safe to say as a blanketed statement that you all have your own personal knowledge of certain wines, and categories etc, that you favor? And most of your tastings, and experience ( learning curve) came from that category? And then you took that experience and implemented into newer categories, newer wines, etc?

Interesting questions. As Indybob said, everyone has to start somewhere.

In my own case, my parents were occasional wine drinkers, mostly riesling. But they had a straw covered bottle of cheap Chianti in the basement for many years. I think they actually forgot about it. As a kid, I would taste it from time to time over the years - same bottle - and try to figure out exactly what people liked about it. I only decided that wine, and especially Chianti, was crap.

Went to Europe and tasted lots of French wine and felt the same. Then I planned a Thanksgiving dinner and needed to find a wine. I was always a cook, so I thought I could find something that would be OK to drink. Started tasting in August and keeping notes of the wines.

The day after Thanksgiving, I was going to have a sandwich and thought about which wine I might open, going through the likely flavor combinations in my head and finally deciding on one. At that moment, I realized that by carefully tasting all those wines for a few months I had developed had a flavor memory to draw on and I now understood what people meant when they talked about different preferences in wine. Suddenly wine became interesting and I realized that I could learn about different grapes, regions, etc., and start to make some general conclusions for myself.

It was literally a flash of insight on that day years ago that started me appreciating wine. I can still remember it clearly. I excitedly told my wife. She said something along the lines of "that's nice dear", and went on about her business.

But from that day I set out to learn. It was Friday, so I bought the Wall Street Journal and read their wine column. Started reading everything I could and more importantly, tasting with an eye to learning what all those bottles represented. E.g. - what exactly is cabernet sauvignon and how is it different from syrah and how does a $30 one differ from an $8 one and how does a French one differ from a California one and an Australian one and so on.

It never stops really. I didn't pick a specific area, just tried to find out as much as I could about everything. And I even came to realize that Chianti isn't all that bad, if you don't base your assessment on the same bottle over 10 years! I did a tasting last year based on the questions I posed earlier - wanted to know if the different subzones in the Chianti Classico region could produce distinctive and recognizable identifying traits. You just keep learning.
Last edited by gregt
quote:
Interesting questions.

Interesting, In a bad way? Sorry, if they seem trivial. But, I have to admit, I was pretty impressed with myself to actually pose those questions in a way that was understandable, and semi-grammatically correct, without just asking, "How'd you learn?". Smile I figure had I ask in a three word sentence, I might get a three word answer. Instead, I ended up getting a better glimpse of personal knowledge and opinions. And I thank you all for your time and effort to help me along.

Jay
I had that impression from the start. When you see 45 active members, and 220 guests viewing the threads, it usually means that people would rather read than participate, for the fear of being chastised. As a former active member of a neon glassblowing forum, its hard for some to accept that their skills may fall short of your own skills, thus leading to animosity. And when someone else comes along who's skills may fall short of theirs, they are ready to pounce. The other side of that coin, as I have found in certain Knife forums, the comradery is a personal one, because we're not competing our wits against one another. Of course, no matter what online community you partake in, after substantial amounts of time elapses, you get tired of answering the same damn question or questions, when newbies arrive.
I may participate in the other sub-forums, I may not. As of now, from what I learned over the last few days is that I need to read, I need to explore, I to taste, and I need to compare. Until that reaches a personal satisfaction, I have nothing of value to offer to the other sub-forums.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, indybob,

Jay
Hey Jay - interesting in a good way.

You asked pretty good questions IMO. Don't think you have nothing to contribute - even if you just ask, you are probably asking something that somebody else was curious about.

Anybody who wants to learn about any subject under the sun should NEVER feel bad about seeking information! Besides - people who are genuinely knowledgable will usually share information freely. You're doing everything right as far as I can tell.

Indybob - yeah, same bottle. My folks hardly ever talked about wine, they just drank it once in a while. It struck them as weird that I was so interested in food and flavors. So I couldn't really tell my parents that once a year I'd try that wine to see if I was understanding the attraction. Had no idea that it tasted like bad vinegar because it was. They drank riesling spatlese and that tasted good to me so I figured that this Chianti stuff was just crap.
Last edited by gregt
quote:
Originally posted by spo:
I think Italian wine taste distinctly Italian. So try some other Italian grapes...

Nebbiolo

Barbera

Aglianico

Montepulciano De Abruzzo

And don't write off sweet wines either. You don't have too focus on them, but try one on occasion.

Valpiocello or Amarone, I think both are made out of Corvina.

Negroamaro (only had one but it reminded me of Grenache)

Maybe some French as well.

Cahors (Malbec)

Crozes Hermitage (Syrah)

Cotes Du Rhone

I don't think you will confuse any of these for Chianti, but you want to try new stuff and you don't have a sweet tooth.


I think Sagrantino deserves and honorable mention here too. Great Italian grape that
s really taking off.

Maybe you should try experiencing Sangiovese in another format, like Brunello, Vino Nobile de Montepulciano or a Super tuscan or two, like Tignanello. One of my current favorites (and not yet well known) is Fubbiano, I Pampini at $30 - $35, beats a Ruffino Riserva gold lable hands down.
Welcome to the boards Neonderthal. My first thought after reading your initial post was Brunello, as some others have suggested. A logical choice considering you like Chianti, but a step that will cost you about $30-$40 extra per bottle. And once you've tried it, there will be no going back Big Grin Vino Nobile de Montepulciano is another good suggestion. I would also suggest looking for some Sangiovese based IGT wines. Some of these are very reasonably priced and not much more than Chianti Classico. A few off the top of my head to consider;

Mazzei, Belguardo series
Poggerino, Primateria
Uccelliera, Castellaccio
Fattoria La Ripa, Santa Brigida
Sette Ponti, Crognolo

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