Getting Started

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Getting Started

Postby Brooke Marchand » Sun Oct 05, 2008 2:23 pm

I remember the first glass of wine I actually paid any attention to. It was about fifteen years ago, when I was twelve. My uncle had shown me how to make a hamburger for grilling on a deck: fat and loose, so that the juices can run through, served medium rare. He let me have a small glass of the wine he was drinking. I think it was a California Cabernet Sauvignon. He asked me what I thought it tasted like. I said blood. 'Yes, that's very good' he said. He thought it tasted both bloody and gamey to him. The evening was memorable because I carried away an inchoate seed, apparently, thinking back: that just possibly, the best thing in life, other than people I love, is a deliciously made hamburger with a glass of good red wine.
A couple of nights ago, I paid attention to wines again. My husband and I attended a wine tasting at a local restaurant called 'The Wine Bistro'. I have two reasons for paying attention to wine, again, now. First, my husband expressed some interest in it and I thought it could be a pastime we could enjoy and develop together. I just recently had twins, so my life is mostly about taking care of them, in addition to my two other young children. So secondly, wine is something other than taking care of children that I can do. Another home, away from home: an escape from the ordinary. I got a little tipsy in the momentary taste of freedom that the wine brought. Consequently, even with good intentions, I couldn’t remember most of the wines I tried, except number 4!
When I got home, I thought that liking Number 4 was all that I had taken away. I was a little embarrassed, because I had wanted to post my impressions of the wines at my first wine tasting. Then I found a cocktail napkin that I didn't realize I had kept, on which I wrote the name of Number 4: Montes. A Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. So, I guess I have perhaps begun a personal association with wine, a preference. I like Chilean reds and will continue to seek out more, to find out how good they can be, to me. And I look forward to learning how to describe my experiences of such wines, and even some explanation of why I might like such wines.
Last edited by Brooke Marchand on Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Jenise » Sun Oct 05, 2008 2:40 pm

Oh no!!!!

Brooke, I have done the worst thing. I am a moderator here and as such I have certain powers. And what I did to respond to your note was mistakenly choose Edit instead of Quote, meaning that my response to you was posted as a replacement for your original post. F word! And what I erased, I cannot unerase. What a calamity. I am now going to have to further edit your post so that my response is removed from the original and only the part I quoted back of the total of what you said remains, or it shall make even less sense. Oh what a dunce I am....

I'll leave the portion I was quoting my response to. Can you use the Edit feature and attempt to put back the rest?

Here, for what little it's now worth, was my response to you:

Brooke, something to think about, and it's something you'll read a lot about here, are the terms "new world" and "old world" (Europe). Where your uncle who shall remain nameless now prefers old world wine, that California cab he poured you on so long ago was a "new world" wine. Chileans are new world too. And what is meant by those those terms is that both the climate, age of the vines, and the wine making methodologies are similar and produce wines with similar taste profiles. So though this wine was Chilean and your early experience was Californian, they are a lot more alike than they are different and you can feel safe generalizing that you particularly enjoy New World style cabernets. IOW, no need to restrict yourself to Chile, although that's a fabulous place to start because Chilean cabs are so much more affordable than California wines of comparable quality. And the Montes IS very good, offering a lot of refinement you can't get elsewhere for twice the price.

Congratulations, btw, on the birth of your twins, and the discovery that wine can provide you with moments of respite.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Steve Slatcher » Sun Oct 05, 2008 3:08 pm

Lesson one... make sure you keep good record on the wines and your tasting notes. And don't rely on posting the details to an online forum as that record :) . As it happened I did read all your post before it was "moderated".

There's a lot to explain about wine tasting in a forum post - I would strongly recomend Michael Schuster's "Essential Winetasting" for learning.

Oh and yes Montes Alpha Cab Sauv is very good, but beware of over-generalising that experience to all Chilean Cab Sauvs. As far as I am concerned Montes Alpha is exceptional - they are the ONLY Chilean wines I have tried that I like. Note that I am not saying Chilean wines are mainly bad here - just that they are not usually to my taste.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Jenise » Sun Oct 05, 2008 3:35 pm

Steve Slatcher wrote: As it happened I did read all your post before it was "moderated".


Do understand, we don't 'moderate' people's posts. We'll fix the spelling in a winery name if it's misspelled or fix up botched quotebacks to appear the way the poster meant it to, but that's it--what you say is what you get. It's just that my Edit button is more powerful than yours, and it's right next to the darned quote button for replies. This isn't the first time I've made this error, just the most disastrous.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Oswaldo Costa » Sun Oct 05, 2008 4:20 pm

I recently slammed the Montes Alpha Cabernet here in a WTN! :twisted:
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Jenise » Sun Oct 05, 2008 5:09 pm

Oswaldo Costa wrote:I recently slammed the Montes Alpha Cabernet here in a WTN! :twisted:


Well, aren't you being agreeable? :)

I liked it last time I had it, here's the TN on it and the other five that were in the tasting (might give Brooke some shopping hints):

2003 Vina Altair "Sideral": uncorked four hours before the tasting, an initial green herb-and-camphor nose blew off, revealing a rich wine of cassis, cedar and spice on ripe red and black fruit. Concentrated, balanced, complex and elegant. In a class by itself, I thought. My first place wine, but inexplicably only group fifth. $25.

2006 Montes Alpha: Red and blue fruit on the nose with tobacco, a little leather and dust. Rounded tannins, good finish, and very likeable but it lacks the complexity and richness of the Sideral. My 2nd, Group 2nd. $21.

2005 Marques de Concha, Concha y Toro: Cedary black cherry and plum fruit with generous mint and black pepper. Layered with nicely rounded edges from bottle aging and ready now. Excellent QPR. $17 at Trader Joe's. My 3rd place wine, group 1st.

2006 Viu Manent: Dark and dense in color. Blackberry, earth, dark chocolate, foresty notes. A dilly American oak note dissipates over time. Needs an hour or two of decanting to show well. My 4th, group 3rd.

2007 Casillero del Diablo Reserve, Concha y Toro: Varietally correct black cherry fruit with mint and smoke. A bit simple in contrast with the others but quite satisfying, and like all the others it got some first place votes. My 5th, group 5th. And I have to add a story: one of the guys in our group owns a mining company and spends a lot of time in South America. When he looked over the list, he saw the Montes Alpha, which is one of his favorite wines, and the Casillero del Diablo, which he hates. He was certain he'd be able to identify them immediately, and they would be his automatic 1st and 6th place wines. Didn't work out like that. That is, he turned out to be right about which one was the Montes but he wasn't really sure, and the dreaded Casillero was his second favorite! Ah, the humbling experience of blind tasting.

2003 Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alexander: Big and thick like blackberry puree with anise and dried fig notes. Massively oaked, rough tannins. Clunky and rustic (I presume unfiltered). My 6th, group 6th. But saying it's my 6th isn't really condemning enough: I liked all the other wines but despised this one.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Steve Slatcher » Sun Oct 05, 2008 7:00 pm

Jenise wrote:
Steve Slatcher wrote: As it happened I did read all your post before it was "moderated".


Do understand, we don't 'moderate' people posts.

I understand exactly what happened - I often make the opposite error and quote my own post when I intend to edit! My comment was intended in a light-hearted way. Hope it didn't offend.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Ryan M » Sun Oct 05, 2008 10:14 pm

Concho y Toro's Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet is a very reliable one.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Robert Reynolds » Sun Oct 05, 2008 11:50 pm

Ryan Maderak wrote:Concho y Toro's Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet is a very reliable one.

I have had several Concha y Toro wines that I enjoyed.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Maria Samms » Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:31 pm

Hi Brooke and welcome! I have never had a Chilean wine, but I will certainly try the Montes soon. I haven't been tasting wine that long myself, so kinda a newbie here as well. I won't recommend any books, seeing you have 4 kiddos (twins to boot!). I find that I hardly have a min to eat, sleep, or shower, with only 2 young children, let alone read. But hopefully, you and your husband will have more nights filled with fun wine tastings. I look forward to reading your notes and hearing about your experiences.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Brooke Marchand » Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:15 pm

Jenise, thank you very much for taking the time to post the tasting notes. I will keep the properties in mind and try to find a store where I can shop for these kinds of wines. Also, I I found very interesting your bit about "old world" versus "new world" wines.
On a side note, please don't worry about the editing, really, it wasn't a problem at all!

Thanks very much, Steve, for your recommendation. I am working on a wine book now by Jancis Robinson, I think I will order your tasting book next.

Also, thank you Ryan. Concho y Toro's Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet will be next on my list.

It will take some time before I turn into a real wine drinker, and have much to say. But I realize that this forum is for everybody who loves wine, regardless of their level of knowledge at the moment. So it is nice to read other’s contributions and occasionally say hello.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Covert » Fri Oct 10, 2008 10:46 am

Hi Mrs. Marchand,

A colleague phoned me a couple of days ago and raved about a 2004 Montes Alpha. I remembered your post and suggested Larry post something to you about what he got out of it. Larry is in the clinical trial industry, like I am; but he is actually taking a professional sommelier course in New York City; that’s how serious he is about wine. I talked with him yesterday. He said he saw your post but didn’t respond. Don’t know why, but I am going to ask him to again, because he described the wine in detail to me, and I thought you might find his impressions interesting.

The two of you have me curious about “better” Chilean wines. I never drank one. But, living near New York City I have access to all sorts of wines, so I will borrow from Jenise’s list in addition to specifically purchasing a Montes Alpha cab to try. Then I will attempt to see what is different about the genre.

A few short years ago I would have suggested you try more Bordeaux because that is what I like. But I realize now that people like what they like for reasons they are connected with. For example, Bordeaux is stodgy, conservative, imperious, snooty and dry. That’s not like a beautiful young woman. There is probably something Latin about you, and when you love a certain type of wine it even molds you a little in its expression, too. So I will try to appreciate this Chilean wine thing and attempt to understand it vicariously. And I will pass on any insights I get.

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Re: Getting Started

Postby Covert » Sun Oct 12, 2008 6:57 am

Mrs. Marchand, yesterday I purchased a bottle of 2004 Cono Sur Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon to try. The store had only one Montes cab, but it cost $70. I should have jotted down which Montes it was. If Montes costs that much, and if the lesser Chilean wines do not rock you, then the genre might not be an alternative for you, unless you are rich. I have no idea whether this Cono Sur is representitive of decent Chilean reds or not, but I am going to give it, and a few other, a try, and post my take.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Steve Slatcher » Sun Oct 12, 2008 12:25 pm

Covert wrote:The store had only one Montes cab, but it cost $70.

Montes do a range of cabs. I was assuming Brooke was talking about the Alpha which is what I usually see and hear about. That is around £12 over here - certainly less than $70.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Mike B. » Sun Oct 12, 2008 12:47 pm

Jancis Robinson, Montes, posting here - you are off to a good start.

Cono Sur and Concha y Toro are also strong producers in Chile with some good value priced wines. Be sure to post notes here, taking care to point out what you liked and didn't like. From that, the good folks here can make recommendations for other wines you might enjoy.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Oct 12, 2008 12:53 pm

Hi Mike. Hows it going? Happy Thanksgiving to all in your family.
I look forward to some TNS here from all the combatants!!
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Mike B. » Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:13 pm

Hey Bob, it goes well. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Carl Eppig » Sun Oct 12, 2008 3:27 pm

Happy Thanksgiving to all you Northern North Americans.

The only Chilean red we ever went ga ga over is Baron Philippe de Rothscheld's Escudo Rojo. It runs in the high teens and best popped at five years or so from vintage.

In full disclosure the last one we had was an '03 earlier this year, and it was a disappointment. Don't know whether it was a bad vintage or bad bottle. Will buy more in the future.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Bob Henrick » Sun Oct 12, 2008 4:24 pm

Covert wrote:Mrs. Marchand, yesterday I purchased a bottle of 2004 Cono Sur Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon to try. The store had only one Montes cab, but it cost $70. I should have jotted down which Montes it was. If Montes costs that much, and if the lesser Chilean wines do not rock you, then the genre might not be an alternative for you, unless you are rich. I have no idea whether this Cono Sur is representitive of decent Chilean reds or not, but I am going to give it, and a few other, a try, and post my take.


Covert,
Montes has 2 wines that would be in that $70+ range. One is their Bordeaux blend which they call Montes "M" and the other is a syrah which they call Montes "Folly" both are good, however I would not pay that much for them. IMO they just aren't worth that as I can buy a lot of the real thing for less than $70+. range.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Covert » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:45 am

Bob Henrick wrote:Montes has 2 wines that would be in that $70+ range. One is their Bordeaux blend which they call Montes "M" and the other is a syrah which they call Montes "Folly" both are good, however I would not pay that much for them. IMO they just aren't worth that as I can buy a lot of the real thing for less than $70+. range.


Thanks, Bob. I should have mentioned that the Cono Sur I picked up cost $20, about the range I would consider if I were to deviate frorm my staple diet of cheap Bordeaux, which do not cost more than $20.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Covert » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:46 am

Steve Slatcher wrote:Montes do a range of cabs. I was assuming Brooke was talking about the Alpha which is what I usually see and hear about. That is around £12 over here - certainly less than $70.


Thanks, Steve. I will be able to find an Alpha in New York, I am sure.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Bob Henrick » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:14 pm

Covert wrote:
Steve Slatcher wrote:Montes do a range of cabs. I was assuming Brooke was talking about the Alpha which is what I usually see and hear about. That is around £12 over here - certainly less than $70.


Thanks, Steve. I will be able to find an Alpha in New York, I am sure.


Covert, I find the Alpha here in Lexington for $20, and found some in Sam's Club in Ann Arbor Mi for $14 per. The latter is a great price, and I wish I had taken a case of it. The 2006 Alpha is a very good example of New World cabernet without going over the top in gobbiness.
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Re: Getting Started

Postby Bob Henrick » Mon Oct 13, 2008 10:12 pm

Brooke,

Please excuse my ignorance. I replied to Covert, but failed to welcome you to the forum. So, welcome to the forum!
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Re: Getting Started

Postby OW Holmes » Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:47 pm

Brooke, welcome to the forum. It is a very friendly place, with lots of very knowledgeable, and very friendly and helpful people. I guess with all these knowledgeable people chiming in, I am going to have to give Chilean Cabs another try. I have in the past, including the curmudgeon's (that's BobH) recommended Montes Alpha.
Bob, you may recall you suggested that as we were walking around either Sam's Club or Costco in AA a year or so ago. I don't remember that bottle specifically, but virtually every Chilean Cab I have tried has a "greenness" about it that I don't find particularly appealing. But then again, I probably haven't tried more than a couple dozen, and none for the last year or so.
Not meaning to hijack the thread here. Again, Brooke, welcome to the party.
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