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Tom H

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New to the board, and wines for that matter

by Tom H » Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:28 pm

Good evening, this is my first post...I stumbled upon this site a couple of years ago reading about port..Portuguese in-laws...because I had started a modest collection and wanted to see how I was doing...so far so good. Anyway, I am a former beer drinker who is having a blast discovering wines. It doesn't hurt that we have a vacation home in the Finger lakes and get to do the wine tours whenever the mood strikes.

Having said that I really enjoy reading the posts but it can be overwhelming because I have no idea what most of it means. The past three nights my wife and I have had a different bottle of Merlot each night. Unfortunately I don't have the wallet to get extravagent, but that's okay I don't think my palate is refined enough to care. But tonight we had a Grayson Cellars 2005 and I figured I'd write down what I smelled and tasted. All I came up with was cherries in the finish and smoke on the nose. So I went ot the tasting notes and I was so happy to see cherries but no smoke. It did say toasted oak though. Could that be the smoke? Anyway, I have enjoyed all three that we have has so far. I think I like Merlot. Recently I tried Pinot but didn't like what I tried. Don't remember what they were (but i did really enjoy Dr. Franks Pinot in the finger lakes, hence the desire to try more).

Sorry to ramble but I have one question. If I were to subscribe to one publication to learn more about wine what would it be? I knew I should have paid attention to my father, he was in the wine distribution business for years. Thanks.

Tom
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OW Holmes

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Re: New to the board, and wines for that matter

by OW Holmes » Thu Sep 06, 2007 11:02 pm

Welcome, Tom, and this is the place to be. Ask anything, and you will no doubt get an answer.
As a newbie, you might consider checking the companion forum, called wine focus, where the group concentrates on a particular grape, wine or region, which will really give you a chance to try wines others are trying, and see what you get.
There are no real publications (magazines) I am aware of that are great for those new to wine. There are, however, a number of books. I haven't looked lately, but - don't take this wrong - "wine for dummies" contains the real basics. I am sure others will recommend others.
And never be embarrased about what you like, or that your budget limits you. What YOU like is the most important thing. And all of us are on a budget - though some budgets are bigger than others.
If you like Merlot, that's great. Don't watch the movie "sideways" and you'll be just fine. (The main character in this wine-oriented film detests merlot! And the movie did much to make pinot more popular, and merlot less so.) I am sure many here can recommend a merlot or two that you might like, well within your price range. Columbia Crest, for example. And then you might expand to Merlot from other countries, or Merlot blended with other grapes.
Most of all, I wish for you great fun in this entertaining venture, and again, welcome to the board.
-OW
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RonicaJM

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Re: New to the board, and wines for that matter

by RonicaJM » Thu Sep 06, 2007 11:07 pm

Welcome to the board. I am kind of new here myself. I was very active for a short time last year, then got busy. But now I'm back. I am an ultra- novice compared to a lot of the folks on the board so take what I say w/ a grain of salt. But I recently subscribed to Wine Spectator just to get basic education on what's going on in the wine world. Last year I bought several wine books, too. I think my favorite is Oldman's Guide to Outsmarting Wine. It's written for those who don't know much (like me). Another useful tool was an encyclopedia that has lots and lots of wine lingo and the pronounciation, too.

Anyway, I find that the the more you keep opening bottles the more fine tuned your palette becomes. And keep tasting notes. I came up w/ my own based on several I found on the internet. It's amazing how your tastes will change. And you will forget which wines you've tried if you don't keep track.

Good luck and have fun tasting!
In vino veritas...
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Tom N.

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Re: New to the board, and wines for that matter

by Tom N. » Thu Sep 06, 2007 11:17 pm

Welcome Tom,

I llike your name although I may be slightly biased. I think this is the friendliest wine site on the web and hope you like it too. There are many publications on wine that you could start with, but as O. W. suggests a good wine basics book is a great place to start. Magazines that are available all have a certain bias, such as the Wine Spectator that many around here have nick named the Wine Speculator (as in investment wines). I would read a good basic wine book first and then check out a couple of wine magazines like Decanter or Wine Spectator for information that you like about wines. Try to get the best fit for your likes and always calibrate your tastes against the tasters in the publication. And the best thing about being a wine newbie is all the great discoveries you make in your education. It is not often that you get to do research and have so much fun at the same time, and I am a research scientist by profession, so I know something about doing research. Glad to have you on board.
Tom Noland
Good sense is not common.
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Sam Platt

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Re: New to the board, and wines for that matter

by Sam Platt » Thu Sep 06, 2007 11:23 pm

Tom H wrote:Recently I tried Pinot but didn't like what I tried.
You are a very lucky man! Do not tempt fate by tasting a good Burgundy. You and your pocket book will rue the day you first taste that juice. :)

Welcome. When I first started I found the Wine Bible quite helpful. It provides a nice overview and some helpful tips for newcomers. The more learned among us tend to diss it, but I think it's very useful in getting started.
Sam

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Howie Hart

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Re: New to the board, and wines for that matter

by Howie Hart » Fri Sep 07, 2007 12:44 am

Welcome Tom,
In case you're not aware of it, Robin Garr, our fearless leader, publishes a free newsletter 3 times a week (M,W,F) that I always enjoy. Click Here for the latest. At the bottom of the article is a link to subscribe. He also has a Food Letter on Thursdays. Also, I'm a firm believer in making wine at home, as knowing the intricacies of making wine helps one appreciate wine. There are some nice press houses in the Finger Lakes where you can obtain some nice juice, must and grapes.
Chico - Hey! This Bottle is empty!
Groucho - That's because it's dry Champagne.
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A.B. Drury

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Re: New to the board, and wines for that matter

by A.B. Drury » Fri Sep 07, 2007 12:55 am

Welcome, Tom!

A newbie here, and to wine, myself. This place has been very helpful so far; just try not to get lost in the stuff that you're unfamiliar with :lol: I definitely make an effort to only open threads that blatantly appear to me as "my level." Questions are respectfully considered and answered here, so don't hesitate to ask!

Enjoy!!
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Nathan Smyth

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Re: New to the board, and wines for that matter

by Nathan Smyth » Fri Sep 07, 2007 1:08 am

Tom H wrote:I think I like Merlot. Recently I tried Pinot but didn't like what I tried... Sorry to ramble but I have one question. If I were to subscribe to one publication to learn more about wine what would it be?

If you like Merlot, but you don't like Pinot [yet], then you want to start with The Wine Advocate:

Online:
https://www.erobertparker.com/subscriptions/secsubscribe.asp

Print:
http://dat.erobertparker.com/WAStore/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=6&cat=US+Domestic

If you're like most people, then sooner or later, you'll get your fill of Merlot, and the more exotic stuff, like Pinot, will start to seem more interesting.

But that will be a few years and many $$$'s down the road.

PS: If you get really interested in it, then I'd consider purchasing Wine-Searcher Professional:

https://www.wine-searcher.com/prof/sub-help.lml

Judging from what I see on Wine-Searcher Pro, there are some outstanding wine shops in NJ, especially when it comes to Italian wine [Barolo, Barbaresco, and Brunello di Montalcino - although they can be very pricey].
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Bob Ross

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Re: New to the board, and wines for that matter

by Bob Ross » Fri Sep 07, 2007 1:19 am

Hi Tom,

Welcome to WLDG, a great place to learn about wine.

Where do you live in New Jersey? I'm in Franklin Lakes, and would love to meet you and shoot the breeze.

Two key ways to learn about wine: get a great local wine retailer and shoot the breeze about wine with other wine lovers.

In my area, the Endless Vines at the Market Basket complex is a great place to meet folks at a very friendly wine bar, and talk about wine.

Beekman's in Glen Rock is a wonderful retailer.

Let me know if I can help. In the meantime, this is a great place to talk about wine. Your first post shows lots of self knowledge and a real interest in learning.

Regards, Bob
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David Lole

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Re: New to the board, and wines for that matter

by David Lole » Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:25 am

Tom,

Welcome.

We all have to start somewhere and I'm so grateful for you reminding me of my humble beginnings with wine appreciation and all the permeatations that follow, if, you, like me, continue on with this incredible journey.

Thanks for your note.

Don't give up on Pinot Noir. In its purest form, it's, perhaps, the noblest of red grape varieties on this planet.

Good luck with the conquest.
Cheers,

David
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RonicaJM

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Re: New to the board, and wines for that matter

by RonicaJM » Fri Sep 07, 2007 10:03 am

Tom, I think it's interesting how many have commented on Pinot here. I also am not a Pinot fan and I know the only reason for that is because until recently I only had cheap Pinot and if there is one thing I've heard a concensus on is that you can't find a decent Pinot that is bargain priced.

I had a Foris at a wine tasting the other day. I think it's in the mid to upper teans in price (maybe more, I don't know) but I liked it. So, as my budget permits, I will start trying more.

I would agree too that this is a very friendly board and the "experts" don't make the "newbies" feel dumb. Even when I said I liked Little Penguin, no one said a word! :wink: ( I think they were all speechless)
In vino veritas...
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Re: New to the board, and wines for that matter

by JC (NC) » Fri Sep 07, 2007 11:19 am

I agree with the recommendation to start with books rather than a magazine subscription. "Wine for Dummies" and "The Wine Bible" already recommended are good. Also Andrea Immer's books such as "Great Wine Made Simple" and "Great Tastes Made Simple." When you are ready for more in-depth info, one of the thick encyclopedias of wine will be helpful--"World Atlas of Wine" or "Oxford Companion to Wine." (Some of the encyclopedias of wine emphasize European wines and skimp on their coverage of New World wines in USA, South America, Australia, etc.) I currently subscribe to "Wine Enthusiast" after dropping subscriptions to "Wine and Food" (not enough wine coverage) and "Wine Spectator" but don't find any of the wine magazines completely satisfactory. I also have purchased specialized books on Burgundies, California wines, etc. but those can wait until you really know your preferences.
I was in the Finger Lakes in June and really liked Dr. Frank's latest release of Pinot Noir, the Hermann Wiemer Dry Riesling and Glenora Cellars Dry Riesling as well as some Vidal ice wines.
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Re: New to the board, and wines for that matter

by Cynthia Wenslow » Fri Sep 07, 2007 11:45 am

Welcome to the Forum, Tom! It is a great source of information and camaraderie... a true community with friendly and knowledgeable people brought together by our common appreciation of wine. What's not to love? 8)
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Tom H

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Re: New to the board, and wines for that matter

by Tom H » Fri Sep 07, 2007 10:30 pm

I am overwhelmd by the friendliness of everyone on the board. Bob, I live in Hightstown in central Jersey.
OW thanks for the tip about the companion forum, I'm on my way now...but not before I get a glass, still Merlot.

Oh, and I've seen sideways twice an loved it...that's why I origianlly tried some pinots but from what you are telling me I shouldn't have expected much for $10 a bottle. The first one I tried like I said was in the finger lakes at Dr Frank's and it went for $26 but was outstanding. I am now kicking myself for not getting a bottle or three because school just started (I teach) and may not be back there for a bit.
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Bob Ross

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Re: New to the board, and wines for that matter

by Bob Ross » Fri Sep 07, 2007 11:36 pm

Tom, have you visited Silver Decoy Winery? http://www.silverdecoywinery.com/

It's been getting some really interesting publicity recently, and I've been considering a scouting trip. Maybe we could visit the winery and with each other some time.
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Tom H

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Re: New to the board, and wines for that matter

by Tom H » Sat Sep 08, 2007 4:33 pm

Bob,
The Silver Decoy is actually close to me but having said that I have never tasted there but my wife has twice. She says they have good whites. I don't think she tasted any red. One of these days it would be nice to make it over there
Tom
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Nathan Smyth

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Re: New to the board, and wines for that matter

by Nathan Smyth » Sat Sep 08, 2007 7:50 pm

Tom H wrote:Oh, and I've seen sideways twice an loved it...

Sideways is a difficult movie to talk about without giving away spoilers [for the people who haven't seen it], but I'm curious what you enjoyed about the movie [other than maybe the myth that fat, balding, middle-aged guys might - just might! - be given a second chance* at life by sex vixens like Virginia Madsen].

It seems to me that it's very, very difficult to watch Sideways and not feel as though you're party to a terrible tragedy.

Certainly it has its comical aspects, but wow - that movie exposes some really ugly truths about life.

Which is not to say that you couldn't "love" it nevertheless.

*You know, come to think of it, that's remarkably similar to the resolution of M. Night Shyamalan's Lady in the Water, with Bryce Dallas playing much the same role.
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Bob Henrick

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Re: New to the board, and wines for that matter

by Bob Henrick » Sat Sep 08, 2007 7:52 pm

Hi Tom,

I used to be the (nearly) official greeter here on the WLDG, however of late I guess I have been slack in those duties. But so as to not be kicked out of the club, let me say <B>welcome</B> to the forum. As someone already told you, this is the best wine stop on the info hiway.
Bob Henrick
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Tom H

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Re: New to the board, and wines for that matter

by Tom H » Sat Sep 08, 2007 10:49 pm

Nathan,
I rarely get a chance to go to the movies but when I do I have one request, to be entertained and when i left sideways I left feeling like I was entertained. I am not a critic and am easily pleased. Maybe the message is that we shouldn't be so uptight and let life come to us sometimes. I don't look too much into the character flaws (boy it is hard to discuss without giving things away) because I know I wouldn't do most of what the playboy character did. I don't know, maybe I do just like a good tragedy. And isn't part of life just plain old ugly?

Tom
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Nathan Smyth

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Re: New to the board, and wines for that matter

by Nathan Smyth » Sun Sep 09, 2007 12:05 am

Tom H wrote:I don't know, maybe I do just like a good tragedy. And isn't part of life just plain old ugly?

Agreed.

But man, there are a few scenes in Sideways which are so gut-wrenching that they're difficult to watch.

PS: If you like Paul Giamatti's work, and if you haven't seen it, then you should try Lady in the Water - it's playing on HBO this month:

http://www.hbo.com/apps/schedule/ScheduleServlet

And, in turn, if you like Bryce Dallas Howard, then you have to see M Night Shyamalan's The Village [although it's impossible to talk about that movie without giving away spoilers].

I've got a sneaking suspicion that in a few short years, BDH will supplant Cate Blanchett as the premiere actress in the English-speaking world.

On the other hand, if you like Thomas Haden Church's work, then check out Broken Trail - that is one gorgeous movie.

AMC still plays it every so often, but you can also get it on DVD from the cheap rack at Walmart.
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Maria Samms

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Re: New to the board, and wines for that matter

by Maria Samms » Sun Sep 09, 2007 4:25 pm

Hi Tom,

I wanted to say welcome to a fellow NJ resident! I, too, am fairly new to wine, but have found that this is a wonderful community with lots of friendly and knowledgeable people.

As far as your question, I agree with many of the other recommendations
given, particularly "The Wine Bible" by Karen MacNeil. Another book I would recommend is "Wine Lover's Companion" by Ron Herbst and Sharon Tyler Herbst. It's a sort of wine dictionary, and I use it all the time! Many times you'll come across a term whose meaning you are unsure of, or a wine that you are unfamiliar with, and you can look it up in this book and get a quick definition.

I would also recommend subscribing to Robin's 30 sec Wine Advisor as Howie mentioned.

Finally, the other aspect of learning things on-line or from books is you don't learn how to pronounce wine jargon...so here is a link to Robin's Wine Lexicon dictionary. It's really great!

http://www.wineloverspage.com/lexicon/

It has helped me out so many times. I would go into a wine store and know how to spell what I wanted, but had no clue how to pronounce it...LOL!

This site has tons of resources...it's a fantastic place...WELCOME!
"Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance" -Benjamin Franklin

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