Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

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Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

Postby Otto » Tue Nov 21, 2006 11:48 am

Once again I look at how much red and white I have stashed away. If I take into account wines I've ordered but not yet received, I have 100 bottles of which 60 are white, mostly Riesling and Muscadet, some Merwah - Obaideh blends also ;) ! I know it's unpopular to say so, but I find whites more interesting than reds. Sure reds can be glorious and complex and I wouldn't like to not have them around. But whites can be something more special.

Reds (not even Burgundy) don't ever seem to have the same purity and brightness of expression. Whites are so transparent compared to reds - and of course I'm not talking only about colour. What I most like about wines, minerals and acids and the always elusive idea of freshness, tend to come out with greater frequency in the whites I drink.

So what surprised me is not that the majority of my cellar is white, but that there is so "little" of it in my cellar.

-O-
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Re: Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

Postby Howie Hart » Tue Nov 21, 2006 12:08 pm

Actually, my cellar is mostly whites also, but for a different reason. The vast majority of my cellar is my home made, and its sometimes difficult to obtain good, fresh black grapes in our area. In general, where I live is white wine country. If I lived in California, I'd probably make a lot more reds. However, because of this, I tend to buy more reds than whites, so most of the store bought wine in my cellar is red.
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Re: Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

Postby Robin Garr » Tue Nov 21, 2006 12:18 pm

Otto Nieminen wrote:So what surprised me is not that the majority of my cellar is white, but that there is so "little" of it in my cellar.


It's an intriguing observation, Otto, one that I find difficult to get my mind around. Here's a thought, though: <I>At its best</i>, white wine can represent a more compelling intellectual experience than many reds. As you've noted so well, the transparency, the clarity, the acidity, the rocks ... great whites rock! But there's so much insipid white wine, and to my mind, the chances of finding an <i>enjoyable</i> red far exceed the chances of enjoyment with a random white.

Comparing it to music, maybe the best whites are like Bach: Intellectual, amazing, but not always accessible. Reds are like Beethoven - or maybe even Mascagni. I can be riveted by Bach's cello sonatas, or the Goldberg Variations - the great white wines of music - for a little while, but then it gets to be hard work, and I want to put on a nice comfy red-wine item like Cav or Pag or something by Donizetti. :)
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Re: Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

Postby Glenn Mackles » Tue Nov 21, 2006 1:50 pm

Boy, this makes me think back. I think, in my old age I am turning to white wines... I don't know why.

When I was growing up wine was awful. Terrible stuff. Concord grape, lambrusco, chianti in grass skirts, MD 20-20. Gallo Hearty Burgundy was the good stuff. And like many men I became influenced by the women in my life. I hooked up with a woman that liked champagne (I later learned that she knew nothing about wine but liked the concept of champagne). So I got into champagne and tried a lot of different kinds and developed some likes and dislikes. But then that woman hit the road and her replacement liked California cabernets (I later learned that she too knew little but liked the concept of cabernets). So I became all about big red cabernets and metaphorically sneered at white wine drinking pansies.... little better than wine coolers, you know. I nearly died from oak overdose in those days.

But then I found myself entering middle age, on my own, someone who liked wine but actually not knowing a damn thing about it or what I really liked. That was about 15 years ago and I have been playing catch-up ever since. I have had fun. I have finally gotten a clue at last what all the fuss about Bourdeaux and Burgundy is about. I have learned that all reislings aren't too sweet. (I'm not really all that keen on sweet wines other than port.) I have found wine I have really enjoyed in all sorts of unexpected places like Chile and Spain and New Zeeland. But the most interesting recent revelation to me is white wine. I have become almost transfixed by the sharp geometry of hard steely acidity juxtaposed in a balancing act with sweet fruit. Chablis and Savignon Blanc are singing to me. I can't help but follow along.

So, the white wine portion of my cellar is in a growth mode. It's not the majority yet but I wouldn't bet against it taking over soon. This is aided by the fact that I seem to be giving away some of the reds I had collected. They make wonderful gifts. And I probably had more of them than I would ever drink.... not all my reds, thank you very much... but some of the big over-oaked cabs that lack subtlety. There is still some growth in the Bourdeaux side of the house and in pinot noir but the big California cab inventory is on the decline.

I have finally learned what others have known for thousands of years; that having a glass (or 2) of wine in the evening (often with dinner but sometimes without) is a true pleasure that is good for both body and soul.

Drink up this Holiday,

Glenn
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Re: Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

Postby David M. Bueker » Tue Nov 21, 2006 2:30 pm

Interesting discussion. I am currently at about 60% white wine in the cellar. In general I find that white wines more often exceed even lofty expectations. It's the reds that frequently fall short, and also tire me out. The freshness and vibrancy of a white wine is always stimulating, even after several flights.
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Re: Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Nov 21, 2006 2:34 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Interesting discussion. I am currently at about 60% white wine in the cellar. In general I find that white wines more often exceed even lofty expectations. It's the reds that frequently fall short, and also tire me out. The freshness and vibrancy of a white wine is always stimulating, even after several flights.


I am getting close to that figure here too. My problem might be that storage at very low temps might not be a good idea? Look what happened to my Forrester CB (if indeed that is the case).
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Re: Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

Postby Rahsaan » Tue Nov 21, 2006 4:44 pm

I guess I sort of see what you're talking about as transparency and stony minerality are easier to convey with white wines.

But personally I try to avoid thinking in terms like white vs. red. vs. sparkling vs. sweet, preferring to think of white and red and sparkling and sweet. As each has its place and there are examples of each that send me into rapture, depending on the situation.

Which is why I like Kermit's little saying (or did he steal it from someone else?) "white wine is empty without a red to follow it and red wine is empty without a white wine to precede it" (I'm paraphrasing)..

All that to say, that if money were no object I would probably have equal portions of white and red in my cellar
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Re: Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

Postby Otto » Tue Nov 21, 2006 6:16 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
It's an intriguing observation, Otto, one that I find difficult to get my mind around. Here's a thought, though: <I>At its best</i>, white wine can represent a more compelling intellectual experience than many reds. As you've noted so well, the transparency, the clarity, the acidity, the rocks ... great whites rock! But there's so much insipid white wine, and to my mind, the chances of finding an <i>enjoyable</i> red far exceed the chances of enjoyment with a random white.

Comparing it to music, maybe the best whites are like Bach: Intellectual, amazing, but not always accessible. Reds are like Beethoven - or maybe even Mascagni. I can be riveted by Bach's cello sonatas, or the Goldberg Variations - the great white wines of music - for a little while, but then it gets to be hard work, and I want to put on a nice comfy red-wine item like Cav or Pag or something by Donizetti. :)


But there's so much insipid red wine also! The best reds and best whites may be just as good - as I implied in my first post -, but I crave whites more often. That's all I wanted to say, and I wanted to give a hypothesis as to why.

Besides, Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci are pretty "spoofulated" and inelegant operas. And we don't want any of that now, do we? ;) Donizetti is just lovely and elegant and heart warming in the right hands .... erm? .... throats maybe better. Certainly unspoofulated music.

Glenn, nice story and glad to hear you're getting rid of the spoofy stuff. :)

David, quite so, quite so. Riesling and rocks, indeed.

Rahsaan, I am also impressed and fall in love with many reds. But as I noted, I tend to crave whites more.

-O-
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Re: Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

Postby Charles Weiss » Tue Nov 21, 2006 8:40 pm

My cellar has also become majority white, 44% to 39% (the remainder fortified/dessert or sparkling). I think we've always consumed lots of white wine but didn't cellar much of it. In the past 10 years or so age-worthy whites from Germany, the Loire, Austria and Alsace (in descending order) have packed the cellar.
I'm not sure that nonsticky whites often reach the same lofty heights as reds, but they on average more reliably bring great satisfaction.
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Re: Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

Postby Peter Ruhrberg » Wed Nov 22, 2006 5:21 am

Rahsaan wrote:Which is why I like Kermit's little saying (or did he steal it from someone else?) "white wine is empty without a red to follow it and red wine is empty without a white wine to precede it" (I'm paraphrasing)..


Fair enough, but only if you go back to white after the red. I think a ratio of 2/1 white/red is about right.

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Re: Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

Postby Daniel K » Wed Nov 22, 2006 7:00 am

Otto Nieminen wrote:What I most like about wines, minerals and acids and the always elusive idea of freshness, tend to come out with greater frequency in the whites I drink.
-O-


This looks like something I could have written. Taking a look at Cellartracker it also explains why my cellar is about 75% white(champagne and sweet included). I think my preference for whites started with Champagne actually. Amongst the first really great wines I tried were Dom Ruinart Rose -88, Bollinger GA -95 and RD -90. I guess this set a standard and calibrated my palate and brain, to these types of wine.
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Re: Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

Postby Otto » Wed Nov 22, 2006 7:08 am

Charles Weiss wrote:I'm not sure that nonsticky whites often reach the same lofty heights as reds, but they on average more reliably bring great satisfaction.
Charles


This is where we have to disagree. I think the most memorable wines have been dry whites: Musar 75, DRC Montrachet 2002, Trimbach Clos Ste. Hune 1996.... to say nothing of the wonderful bottle of 10 000 point Cava I once had ;) Horses for courses, I think the English would say?

Daniel K wrote:This looks like something I could have written. Taking a look at Cellartracker it also explains why my cellar is about 75% white(champagne and sweet included). I think my preference for whites started with Champagne actually. Amongst the first really great wines I tried were Dom Ruinart Rose -88, Bollinger GA -95 and RD -90. I guess this set a standard and calibrated my palate and brain, to these types of wine.


Glad to see a soul mate! :) The Dom Ruinart Rosé '88 rocks! That's maybe the single best Champagne we've had on sale over here.

-O-
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Re: Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Wed Nov 22, 2006 9:07 am

I like these kind of posts because they make me look at my own buying/consumption patterns. When I started with WLP I had a no cellared white wines. Now, just over 1/3 of wines I own are white. Riesling is the dominant varietal of all wine here, regardless of color, while chenin blanc and muscadet are close to passing cabernet sauvignon.
I'm with you, Charles. The best of the best dry whites that I've had, have not been as monumental (to me) as the best of the best reds. That might just mean I need to try some better whites. :P
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better DEAD than RED???

Postby Mark S » Wed Nov 22, 2006 1:12 pm

Otto -

I began life's wine journey on whites: Graves & German rieslings, so of course, I can appreciate white wine. It's been my experience, however, that it is more difficult finding ageable, good quality white wines than reds, and for that reason have more reds that white in the cellar. I tend to enjoy them simultaneously, but find I can buy better quality red wine a LOT more easily (and cheaper!) than I can find high quality white. I am less impressed by inexpensive white wine, and I feel there can be a huge quality difference between $15-30, whereas for red wine it seems more of a continuum. My drinking tilts close to 60/40 red-to-white with the cellar perhaps 70/30.
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Re: better DEAD than RED???

Postby Dale Williams » Wed Nov 22, 2006 1:37 pm

I'll be odd man out here and say more than 80% of my cellar is red. That's based on Cellatracker, and the reality is I probably drink 40+% white, but tend to cellar less. I've had great experiences with aged Riesling, Chenin, and Chardonnay (at least in Burgundy), but for my tastes the benefits of cellaring are less clear with whites. The difference in pleasure between drinking young and drinking mature in a solid classified Bordeaux or top GC/1er red Burg is immense. But for me the difference is not as clear with most whites (Savennieres being the clearest exception).

Red 81.12%
Red - Fortified 0.68%
Red - Sweet/Dessert 0.19%
White 9.87%
White - Off-dry 4.26%
White - Sweet/Dessert 3.58%,
White - Sparkling ( 0.19%,
Rosé - Sparkling 0.10%
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Re: Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

Postby Paulo in Philly » Wed Nov 22, 2006 1:56 pm

Otto Nieminen wrote:So what surprised me is not that the majority of my cellar is white, but that there is so "little" of it in my cellar.

-O-


There is a very simple answer to this observation, caro amico, Otto - you drink all of your whites!!!! :P

I love all wines and would have a hard time picking one over the other. My ideal wine experience is always part of a meal, which usually starts with several whites, before heading over to the reds. I liked what Rahsaan mentioned. I don't necessarily like to jump into a red wine, let alone just drink that all everning. I like the diversity and the journey my palate goes through.

When I do my Lieder recitals I spend hours and hours rearranging the order of my program, usually about 30 songs. How to begin the evening? How to end the first half of my recital? How to end the recital? Italian, French, German, American, Brazilian..... so many different styles. I must think of my audience.... and keep them interested and keep the balance between songs that are fast and "up" next to more reflective songs. Even though I would love to sing wrist slitting songs of Hugo Wolf for the whole recital, by the third song they'd be all asleep! For me - balance is key.

I can relate to what you said about freshness. Fresh whites are my favorite - I stay away from over oaked dull fruit forward whites that dominate this American market. BLECH!!! I tend to like bright red fruit red wines, that go well with food. I do not eat a steak on a daily basis, so big overblown reds, or too tannic reds are just too overwhelming. In winter months I do crave more red wines than whites - that is for sure!
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Re: Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

Postby James Dietz » Wed Nov 22, 2006 2:43 pm

Otto, these revelations are making your taste preferences perhaps clearer to understand.. or not???

My cellar is about 20% white, but my consumption (thanx to CellarTracker it was a snap to pull this up) is 50% rose/white and 50% red. So... what does that tell me.. that I drink whites kinda as I buy them, certainly at a faster pace than I drink reds.

But can I say I `prefer' one color to another? Nope. The food I'm eating, the setting, the season, the person(s) I'm sharing with, the time of day, my mood, and who knows what else, all have a `say' in what wine I pull out to drink.

And I think I agree with Kermit Lynch on this... white without red, red without white.. .. no way.

P.S. The thread title is a tease.. I expected something more titillating..something that Jenise, for example, might proffer.
Cheers, Jim
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Re: Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

Postby Jenise » Wed Nov 22, 2006 3:01 pm

James Dietz wrote:Otto, these revelations are making your taste preferences perhaps clearer to understand.. or not???

My cellar is about 20% white, but my consumption (thanx to CellarTracker it was a snap to pull this up) is 50% rose/white and 50% red. So... what does that tell me.. that I drink whites kinda as I buy them, certainly at a faster pace than I drink reds.

But can I say I `prefer' one color to another? Nope. The food I'm eating, the setting, the season, the person(s) I'm sharing with, the time of day, my mood, and who knows what else, all have a `say' in what wine I pull out to drink.

And I think I agree with Kermit Lynch on this... white without red, red without white.. .. no way.


Jim, you saved me from having to type my own. Though my cellar is 9:1 red, we drink 50/50 white and life would be empty without both.

P.S. The thread title is a tease.. I expected something more titillating..something that Jenise, for example, might proffer.


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Say, Jimbo, I sent you an email about a month ago asking for shipping instructions. You never sent that, best as I could tell. Oh, and I have a joke for you:

Two bears are in a campground, sitting on the ground and leaning comfortably back against some spruce trees. Each is holding a wine glass. One says to the other: "Oh, now I remember the rule! Red with hunters, white with fishermen."
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White Riesling

Postby Charles Weiss » Wed Nov 22, 2006 3:28 pm

Bill wrote:

Riesling is the dominant varietal of all wine here, regardless of color


I have much more white than red Riesling in my cellar.
Just teasing, Bill. I understand what you mean.

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Re: Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

Postby James Dietz » Wed Nov 22, 2006 3:51 pm

Hmmm.. shipping instructions.. .. Ok.. let me check my spam folder... could you be spam?? I doubt it.. unless it was Kobe spam!!!

I'll have to remember that joke.. good one....

I'm busy cooking turkey fixins today..... great fun... What do you think about a Grenache with turkey?????

Keep Bobo out of the cellar....
Cheers, Jim
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Re: Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

Postby Otto » Wed Nov 22, 2006 7:51 pm

Great replies, thanks! This was an excercise for me as well, because I had never before given a thought as to why I tend to prefer whites.

But I came up with a few more problems. I love fish, so whites tend to be a more natural partner for fish (I don't seem to make them in red wine sauces often). But here's the tricky question: is my food influenced by my love for whites, or vice versa, or is it such a symbiosis that it doesn't matter?

Also, I hadn't thought of what I "cellar" as in the long term and what I drink in the relatively near future because I'm relatively new to wine and therefore I admit that my tastes probably are in flux. Who knows - I might become the greatest fan of spoofulajuice in the near future! ;) Well the high probability of flux in tastes might be a reason I'm so willing to cull all sorts of wines from my modest collection to make room for other stuff. I *want* my cellar to be in flux also. I guess my cellar is a bit Heracleitan in that respect.

What a wonderful excercice this is. I really should think more closesly about what I drink, what I buy, why I drink, why I cellar, etc. ad inf. Until now I've just bought whatever was available and somewhat interesting and opened it when I felt like it. I don't know which is the preferable way. To plan or not to plan, as the annoyingly teen-age-like Hamlet would have asked if he collected wines. Or should I even care about this?

-O-(can you tell I've fried my brains today with Semitic sound changes today?)
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Re: Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

Postby DebA » Wed Nov 22, 2006 9:00 pm

Jenise wrote:Two bears are in a campground, sitting on the ground and leaning comfortably back against some spruce trees. Each is holding a wine glass. One says to the other: "Oh, now I remember the rule! Red with hunters, white with fishermen."


What a great joke when we're camping! (Yes, of course wines go to the woods with us...lol). Thanks, Jenise! :cool:
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Re: Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

Postby SFJoe » Wed Nov 22, 2006 9:50 pm

I have a bit more white than red, not counting rose.

It helps that my white wines mostly age better than my reds.
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Re: Random thoughts: exhibitionism and rocks

Postby MLawton » Wed Nov 22, 2006 10:18 pm

More white than red here too.

Funny thing is that when I go to pick a wine, I think no reds are ready to drink but I hardly ever have a problem finding a white wine.

So not only is our cellar biased but our drinking patterns are too - which I guess is a good thing, given the cellar composition.
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