Novice seeks help...

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Novice seeks help...

Postby Kristen R » Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:37 pm

Greetings Everyone:


My name is Kristen and I am a rookie. I enjoy two things almost more than anything else, excellent food and equally as excellent wine. I live on Long Island, NY and have experienced the best restaurants NYC has to offer. With that said, why am I here? I have spent time with food. I know food. What I do not know is wine. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not a complete airhead, I have a palette, I can taste differences, I can smell differences, but at a reasonably lower level than I'd like to.

As I was waiting for my account to be activated, I read through some posts from this forum. You all are so knowlegeble and speak so passionately about the topic at hand that it really is inspiring. So all I want to do is ask if anyone can just sort of point me in a direction, give me some sort of starting place. Overwhelming, is an understatement, when I think about the "wine world". There is so much to learn and taste, I am having trouble getting started. I am interested in any books or other literature that can be recommended. Also maybe how to start tasting, should I start with one kind, or should I mix it up?

Any feedback is appreciated, and I hope my post is appropriate here.

Thanks so much!!
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Re: Novice seeks help...

Postby Howie Hart » Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:46 pm

Hi Kristen and Welcome!

Here are links to 2 recent threads that may help get you started:

Books
http://www.wineloverspage.com/forum/vil ... php?t=2332
Info
http://www.wineloverspage.com/forum/vil ... php?t=2386
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Re: Novice seeks help...

Postby James Dietz » Thu Jul 27, 2006 1:09 pm

Well, for one thing, coming here and reading what people have to say is a great start. You will be reading about wines people like, and from people who are passionate about wines.

Don't worry about not understanding everything that is said. It is natural. It's like anything else; it takes time to learn the lingo, to understand the qualities and characteristics of wine, and all that stuff. But you have to start somewhere, as we all did.

The other thing you can do is to go to organized tastings. Check to see if there is a local wine store that has weekly tastings. That is a great, and relatively inexpensive, way to try lots of wines and get immersed. Another is to see if there are any off-lines in your area (these are just get-togethers of a group of people at a home or a restaurant to eat, drink wine and have a good time).

Welcome, Kristen, to this wine geekdom world. Take your time and enjoy. Soon you will be a pro!!
Cheers, Jim
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Re: Novice seeks help...

Postby wnissen » Thu Jul 27, 2006 1:14 pm

Dear Kristen,

Welcome to the forum! Howie's links will help guide you, but just getting off the ground is a big step. Certainly I remember my first experiences with wine, and being overwhelmed by the incredible number of wines in the world.

My two guidelines would be:
1. Buy what you like, and drink it.
2. Taste anything you can get ahold of.

In other words, there's absolutely no shame in buying that white zindfandel and enjoying it with dinner, if that's what you like. Beringer white zinfandel was the first table wine I ever had, and I still enjoy it from time to time. But at the same time, it's good to be expanding your experience, tasting skill, scent memory, and knowledge by trying as many wines as you can. I still make it a point to attend wine shop tastings, visit wineries, order "sampler" tastings at wine-friendly restaurants, etc. One of the best things I attended when just starting out was a "wine boot camp" offered by a winery here in Livermore. The tasting was 24 tiny samples of the same generic white wine, but each cup had a flavor added to it. There was oak, flowers, grass, etc. Kind of the Bertie Bott's Everyflavor Wine, if you like Harry Potter. Learning to pick out those scents was extremely helpful when trying to figure out what kind of wines are the most interesting.

And above all, have fun.

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Re: Novice seeks help...

Postby James Roscoe » Thu Jul 27, 2006 1:48 pm

Welcome to Kristin the newbie, I could not add anything to the excellent advice you have already received except to make sure you have signed up for Robin's Wine Advisor.
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Re: Novice seeks help...

Postby Jenise » Thu Jul 27, 2006 2:27 pm

Kristen,

Fifteen years ago, I was you. And I had just discovered the internet on which I found one of the first online wine groups which already had as members many of the people who contribute to this forum today like Robin Garr, Bob Ross, Stu Yaniger and Bucko.

I then began the program Walt reccommends: tasting everything I could. I went to local tastings, bought and compared a lot of wines (there were always two open bottles on my counter--I learned more from one glass ea of two wines than I did from two glasses of the same wine), and most of all, I read everything everybody posted and timidly posted tasting notes on the wines I drank. Often I bought the wines other people described just to compare my thoughts to theirs, and I probably learned more from this exercise than anything else. I still do that, and I'm still learning.

So that's what I would recommend. And you picked a good site to join: more than any of the other wine websites on the net, this one takes a strong interest in mentoring. See the "Wine Focus" section? Participating there is a great way to learn as you go: get to know a wine type by reading along, and buying and tasting the wines that sound interesting to you. Topics change monthly, as a rule.

Ground rules:
1. You're never wrong about what you like,
2. No question's too stupid, and
3. Points are vastly overrated. Famous critics have biases and fetishes just like everybody else, and theirs might not be yours.

Now, tell us a little more about yourself. What wines have you been especially impressed with? And did you have an epiphany wine? Most of us were just casual wine drinkers until we ran into one wine that promised nirvana and made us decide, as you did, that we just have to know more.
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: Novice seeks help...

Postby Clinton Macsherry » Thu Jul 27, 2006 3:13 pm

Let me join the others in wishing you a warm welcome, Kristen. You've already gotten some great advice from folks like Walt and Jenise, and I think you'll find this site (or "community," as Robin Garr likes to call it) a great resource a fun place to learn. One slightly different way to approach your questions about wine is through the subject you feel even more comfortable with--food. Do you remember any particularly glorious (or awful) food-wine pairings? Are there any particular favorite meals or dishes you'd like to try find a matching wine for? (There are few hard-and-fast rules about matching, and you may find what works great one night works less great on another, but pairing can be very instructive and a ton of fun.) Of the NYC restaurants you've enjoyed, which one gave you the most memorable wine experience? As someone who almost always enjoys wine in the presence of food, I think there's a lot to learn by looking at one in the context of the other.
FEAR THE TURTLE ! ! !
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Re: Novice seeks help...

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Thu Jul 27, 2006 3:45 pm

I give Jenise's post 94 points! :wink: I especially like those ground rules because as a newbie I was pretty hesitant to ask questions.

The only thing I can think of adding is to start to develop a relationship with a local wine retailer. Find someone you click with that has a good selection of wines. Let her or him know what you like, what you dont like, and a good wine seller will offer you up selections to help you along.
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Re: Novice seeks help...

Postby James Roscoe » Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:11 pm

Bill Buitenhuys wrote:I give Jenise's post 94 points! :wink: I especially like those ground rules because as a newbie I was pretty hesitant to ask questions.

The only thing I can think of adding is to start to develop a relationship with a local wine retailer. Find someone you click with that has a good selection of wines. Let her or him know what you like, what you dont like, and a good wine seller will offer you up selections to help you along.


Don't you think it was a bit too sentimental? It was a great post but 94 points? When you compare it to the 100 point Walter Mitty post by Bob Ross? I'm only giving Jenise 91 points.

Points are SOOOOO STUPID!!!!!
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Re: Novice seeks help...

Postby Covert » Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:16 pm

Jenise wrote: And did you have an epiphany wine? Most of us were just casual wine drinkers until we ran into one wine that promised nirvana and made us decide, as you did, that we just have to know more.


That's a good one. But if you, Kristen, haven't yet found it, I hope you will. I'll bet anybody who thinks of him- or herself as a geek has had an epiphany wine. For a newcomer, that wine will probably come by way of some more in-to-it mentor, rather than from a wine store tasting; and it will probably cost more than a newcomer is willing to pay, at that time; but that special wine, once experienced, will bring all the other wines into an understandable universe, based on how they differ from the epiphany wine. So maybe someone from Long Island, near you, will invite you to a get-together where your epiphany wine might be lurking. Every winelover loves anyone who is interested, so don't be shy about looking for that person.

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Re: Novice seeks help...

Postby Jenise » Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:29 pm

Covert said:
But if you, Kristen, haven't yet found it, I hope you will. I'll bet anybody who thinks of him- or herself as a geek has had an epiphany wine.


You know, there are a few people who haven't, but most of those are the lucky souls who start out on better wines--not quite the leap from jug California chardonnay to Montrachet that you and I went through. Hopefully, Kristen's one of the lucky ones.
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: Novice seeks help...

Postby Jenise » Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:33 pm

Bill Buitenhuys wrote:I give Jenise's post 94 points! :wink:


Not good enough! I want 98! I'm going to hire Michel Rolland!!!!
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: Novice seeks help...

Postby James Roscoe » Thu Jul 27, 2006 5:02 pm

Jenise wrote:
Bill Buitenhuys wrote:I give Jenise's post 94 points! :wink:


Not good enough! I want 98! I'm going to hire Michel Rolland!!!!


It's bad enoug to have spoofulated wines. Now we have spoofulated posts? Is this entire thread in danger of being spoofed? Where's Otto? I'm sure he would be totally outraged at this turn of events.

I assume that if you are going for points and hiring Polland, you will also be inviting Bush and Chaney over for dinner and voting Republican in November? :twisted:
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Re: Novice seeks help...

Postby Otto » Thu Jul 27, 2006 5:17 pm

James Roscoe wrote:
Jenise wrote:
Bill Buitenhuys wrote:I give Jenise's post 94 points! :wink:


Not good enough! I want 98! I'm going to hire Michel Rolland!!!!


It's bad enoug to have spoofulated wines. Now we have spoofulated posts? Is this entire thread in danger of being spoofed? Where's Otto? I'm sure he would be totally outraged at this turn of events.

I assume that if you are going for points and hiring Polland, you will also be inviting Bush and Chaney over for dinner and voting Republican in November? :twisted:


The scariest thing? I just posted a positive note on a Rolland wine. I guess the world has indeed come to an end.
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.
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Re: Novice seeks help...

Postby Jenise » Thu Jul 27, 2006 5:29 pm

Otto squeaked:
The scariest thing? I just posted a positive note on a Rolland wine. I guess the world has indeed come to an end.


Very good note, Otto. I give it 89 pts. But I'll also put it on my Top 100 Posts of the Year list just because I like you.
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Re: Novice seeks help...

Postby James Roscoe » Thu Jul 27, 2006 5:31 pm

Jenise wrote:Otto squeaked:
The scariest thing? I just posted a positive note on a Rolland wine. I guess the world has indeed come to an end.


Very good note, Otto. I give it 89 pts. But I'll also put it on my Top 100 Posts of the Year list just because I like you.


I understand Otto also advertises on your web site. Very cozy indeed.
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Re: Novice seeks help...

Postby Jenise » Thu Jul 27, 2006 6:31 pm

James said:
I understand Otto also advertises on your web site. Very cozy indeed.


Well, he does. But it was a personal ad. I'm surprised you recognized him. :P

Hey, we've got to get back to Kristen's original message, she may not know what to make of this hijacking.

So Kristen, I think this all adds up to: open bottle, taste, discuss. Books help too. Kevin Zraly's wine books make excellent reading-to-learn, and way back when I hardly popped a cork without Hugh Johnson's Wine Atlas in front of me. It's my own peculiarity, but somehow reading about the grape and the area it came from at the same time made every glass somehow imprint itself in my mind.
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Re: Novice seeks help...

Postby James Roscoe » Thu Jul 27, 2006 6:52 pm

Kristin, thread drift is a frequent problem here, and I'm one of the main drifters. I think Howie directed you to some book threads. I can't overestimate the value of good wine books. Hugh Johnson's Wine Atlas is a hugely fun book to have but for starters you should get books like Kevin Zraly's Windows on the World Complete Wine Course or Andrea Immer's Great Wine Made Simple. There are a ton of other relatively simple books out there to start you on your way. I actually plowed my way through Karen McNeill's Wine Bible, but this is a pretty thick book. Happy trails!
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Re: Novice seeks help...

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Thu Jul 27, 2006 8:20 pm

Not good enough! I want 98! I'm going to hire Michel Rolland!!!!
I'm sure it would be worth it. $1M a point retainer, $30k/month plus expenses.
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Re: Novice seeks help...

Postby Victorwine » Thu Jul 27, 2006 9:57 pm

Hi Kristen,
Welcome to WLDG. Basically to add to the already good advice given by those earlier-
The Wine Guy’s Credo (by Andy Besch with Ellen Kaye)
• Treat yourself
• Trust your own tastes
• Remember to remember
• Look for novelty and adventure at any given opportunity
• Keep an open mind
• Seek by quality not price
• Speak up ask for help
• Make new memories
• Never walk away empty handed, embrace choice
• Relax it’s just a beverage

Salute
(Fellow Long Islander)
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Re: Novice seeks help...

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Jul 27, 2006 11:13 pm

Welcome to the forum Kristen!! Hijacking is part of life here.LOL.'Excellent points from everyone naturally, taking part in local wine tastings is the way to go. Look in on a few wine stores and ask whats coming up. I help out at my local wineshop and its all fun and very educational.
Yup, take part in Wine Focus here. Many of us will be posting on Gamay/Beaujolias next week, you can find the wines mentioned and see if your thoughts coincide with what is posted here. Writing a tasting note can be a lot of fun and no need to get too carried away. Look forward to chatting again!! I`m Doris btw.
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Re: Novice seeks help...

Postby TimMc » Fri Jul 28, 2006 12:23 am

Just don't buy screw capped wine.
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Re: Novice seeks help...

Postby James Roscoe » Fri Jul 28, 2006 12:28 am

TimMc wrote:Just don't buy screw capped wine.


At least if it's in a big jug and says Gallo across the front of it. Of course if you like it, go for it. I say, buy what you like!
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Re: Novice seeks help...

Postby TimMc » Fri Jul 28, 2006 12:30 am

James Roscoe wrote:
TimMc wrote:Just don't buy screw capped wine.


At least if it's in a big jug and says Gallo across the front of it. Of course if you like it, go for it. I say, buy what you like!


:D
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