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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by Bruce K » Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:06 am

I recall sometime in the mid-'80s going to a Spanish restaurant and having a waiter recommend a Torres Coronas as a velvety wine. Drinking it, I thought, yes, that is velvety and it's going great with this food. While I had enjoyed Bordeaux with my family when I was younger, it was generally beyond my budget at the time (actually, it still mostly is, considering how prices have risen). So after this, I started exploring Spanish and then Portuguese wines -- both of which were largely dirt cheap back then and far more to my taste than Aussie and South American cheapos -- and gradually moved from there to the rest of Europe. The rest is a long, slippery slope...
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by wnissen » Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:07 pm

The three wines that really got me started are all still available, I think. Beringer white zinfandel in 1997 or so is definitely still available, though the bottle I had a few years ago was much drier than I recalled. That was an easy wine to drink, sweet and fruity but not overpowering, and pretty cheap. I tried a Sutter Home and quickly realized that the $1 difference in price signaled a chasm in quality.

Next was Warre's Warrior Porto. We pulled this off the shelf of the local liquor store that had lots of older bottles languishing on the shelves. This was one of the cheaper ports, but it was tough enough to tolerate the warm storage and had aged into something beautiful, complex, and, yes, still sweet. It didn't taste like anything I had ever tried, and it wasn't fruity in the conventional sense, but it was fantastic. We sampled it by taking tiny sips out of a shot glass, Riedel port glasses being several years in my future at this point.

The last one was the cheap Italian red my wife's parents served with meals. I think it was $4 a magnum at Costco, and it was coarse as heck but pretty good with food. My first true table wine. I had thought it was Californian, but I see now that the wine by that name is a Venezie IGT.

Interestingly, I don't drink anything like these wines anymore. Riesling et al. have replaced white zin, what port I drink (not much) is tawnies, and I don't drink merlot or Italian wine more than incidentally. I think this will be a fun exercise.
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:24 pm

I see that JC has a love affair with PIESPORTER GOLDTROPFCHEN!! I too remember knocking back a few bottles trying to impress the local talent in the pub across from the hotel school in London. Sigh..off to see what is around in the local mum and pop store, no way I am going into my local fave spot!!! I will never live that down.
I am surprised no-one has mentioned Mouton-Cadet yet?
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by Ian Sutton » Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:33 pm

Jenise
Definitely some great options in there to re-live - even Mateus! Now that would be a very interesting bottle to retaste.

I really like the sub-text to this, of reflecting on the wine journey and sometimes the reflection is done by revisiting - a bit like someone revisiting their childhood haunts. The idea of revisting those 'epiphany' moments is really interesting. Would we re-taste and remember that first 'wow!' or will we shake our heads and wonder just what were we thinking!!

Having read your potted journey, I'm very much looking forward to hearing how you get on.

regards
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by Ian Sutton » Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:49 pm

Hi Bob
An ITB friend says that if you go far enough back, Mouton Cadet was actually half decent, ditto Harvey's Bristol Cream / Bristol Milk (the latter I can vouch for as he had some from 1950s which was really complex & interesting). I suspect Mouton Cdet has been rubbish for 20-30 years at least.
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:54 pm

I remember a discussion on UK board once about MC Ian. There was even talk about an Open House!!!

BTW, found this comment on a Piesporter Mickelsberg. Hope my experience is better!!

My first Piesporter, so I didn't know what to expect really. The wine is patently well made in the sense that it was in no way offensive, but it had absolutely no character nor even any definable aspects to it. Smooth and semi-sweet, this really did not have any notable characteristics at all. I hope they're not all like this.

Yeah, I once drunk something like that! Wonder if Bristol Cream is over here?
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by Daisy D » Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:11 pm

While my interest in wine has definitely grown over the years, I have yet to stumble upon that one wine that is THE wine that totally opens my mind to what wine can be. Part of me wonders if I've set the bar so high as to what i expect to get out of this magical bottle of vino that I hope to find one day. However, I do remember the wine that opened my eyes to the world and definitely intrigued me to learn more.

Concha y Toro Casillero Del Diablo Carmenere (don't recall the year, but didn't have it until roughly six years ago) is the first bottle that opened my eyes to a new world. While I was exposed to wine growing up and learned to appreciate a good glass every now and then this bottle was the first I truly enjoyed. I wish my appreciation of wine would have happened earlier because then I would have really relished the trip our family took to a Sancerre winery when we were in Europe many moons ago. The parents enjoyed it; and my best friend and I were both 21, but we really didn't understand what we were actually getting to experience.
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by wnissen » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:53 am

NV Warre's Warrior Porto "Reserve" - I picked up a bottle at the local BevMo for $15 and opened it. If you told me this was cheap Aussie shiraz spiked with sugar and alcohol, I would believe you. I finished my glass, but this was not enjoyable. I'd much rather be drinking Aussie tawny ports at the same price.


Hm. I hope this doesn't foretell the wines to come. Really, I've had better California "ports." The oldest wine brand in the world, apparently, but I guess that just means more time to degrade into plonk.
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by Matt Richman » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:01 am

As the son of a restaurant critic I was around great wine for most of my childhood, but I didn't stoke my own personal interest in wine until my early 30's. The first bottle I remember really thinking about was Bonny Doon's Cigare Volant. I think it was a better wine back then, or my tastes changed because I tried later vintages and wasn't as thrilled.

Then for a birthday (30tj?) my mother bought me a gift certificate to a good local wine store. It was enough of a gift to allow me to browse their selection of $20ish Bordeaux from the 2000 vintage as well as good wine from around the world. That really got me thinking about wine and my interest grew from there.

My real love is Bordeaux, and I have to credit the 1985 vintage along with 1996 for keeping me enthralled. And I still am.
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by Tim York » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:30 am

Ian Sutton wrote:Hi Bob
An ITB friend says that if you go far enough back, Mouton Cadet was actually half decent, ditto Harvey's Bristol Cream / Bristol Milk (the latter I can vouch for as he had some from 1950s which was really complex & interesting). I suspect Mouton Cdet has been rubbish for 20-30 years at least.
regards
Ian


I don't think I've ever had a Mouton-Cadet which has left me feeling better than bored but your ITB friend obviously has more experience. In the 50s Bristol Milk and Cream were semi-respectable amongst serious wine lovers, if too sweet for other than rare use, and your experience, Ian, may show that we gave it less than its due or perhaps it needed more age. I remember that Harvey had an excellent wine list in those days and that other Bristol wine merchant, Averys, had the reputation of being one of the rare places where the Burgundy was real.
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:05 am

You guys are all having fun I see! Pity me please, for my memorable experience, I have just opened Dr.Zenzen`s N/V (!) Piesporter Mickelsberg. Who on earth drinks this stuff?
I know I did in the late 60`s but I don`t have to impress 18yr old chicks anymore!
Stay tuned.
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by David M. Bueker » Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:17 am

Perhaps even more than specific bottles, some books (ranging from the introductory WIne for Dummies to the exhaustive/exhausting Oxford Companion to Wine) have casued me to do intense exploration of certain styles of wine (most notably Champagne).
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by Bruce K » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:48 am

Matt Richman wrote:As the son of a restaurant critic I was around great wine for most of my childhood...


Off topic, but just have to ask: Is your father Alan Richman?
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by Jenise » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:51 am

Bruce K wrote:
Matt Richman wrote:As the son of a restaurant critic I was around great wine for most of my childhood...


Off topic, but just have to ask: Is your father Alan Richman?


I was just going to ask, too!
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by Jenise » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:01 am

Daisy D wrote:While my interest in wine has definitely grown over the years, I have yet to stumble upon that one wine that is THE wine that totally opens my mind to what wine can be. Part of me wonders if I've set the bar so high as to what i expect to get out of this magical bottle of vino that I hope to find one day. However, I do remember the wine that opened my eyes to the world and definitely intrigued me to learn more.

Concha y Toro Casillero Del Diablo Carmenere (don't recall the year, but didn't have it until roughly six years ago) is the first bottle that opened my eyes to a new world. While I was exposed to wine growing up and learned to appreciate a good glass every now and then this bottle was the first I truly enjoyed. I wish my appreciation of wine would have happened earlier because then I would have really relished the trip our family took to a Sancerre winery when we were in Europe many moons ago. The parents enjoyed it; and my best friend and I were both 21, but we really didn't understand what we were actually getting to experience.


Your real epiphany may be yet to come. I drank wine exclusively for years before that Montrachet in Paris set me on fire, turning me from a casual wine preferrer, you might call it, into the budding geek possessed by the memory of something so far and away better than anything I believed possible that it would change the rest of my life. Btw, I don't know if you noticed the black-framed label on the wall of our wine cellar, but it was THAT bottle.
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: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by Matt Richman » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:14 pm

Off topic, but just have to ask: Is your father Alan Richman?


No. My mother is Phyllis Richman. She was food critic and editor of the food section for the Washington Post.
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by Daisy D » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:32 pm

Jenise wrote:
Your real epiphany may be yet to come. I drank wine exclusively for years before that Montrachet in Paris set me on fire, turning me from a casual wine preferrer, you might call it, into the budding geek possessed by the memory of something so far and away better than anything I believed possible that it would change the rest of my life. Btw, I don't know if you noticed the black-framed label on the wall of our wine cellar, but it was THAT bottle.


Yes, I did notice the label on the wall. Like you, I enjoy holding onto memories like that. I'm waiting for the day of when I stumble upon THAT bottle. Not that it has to come soon; I'm enjoying everything else I find along the way.
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by Ian Sutton » Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:56 pm

Daisy D wrote:I have yet to stumble upon that one wine that is THE wine that totally opens my mind to what wine can be.


I seem to recall that a particular *critic's response to the question "What's the best wine you've tasted?" was... "the next one - hopefully"

* Hugh Johnson?
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by Andrew Bair » Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:47 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:I remember a discussion on UK board once about MC Ian. There was even talk about an Open House!!!

BTW, found this comment on a Piesporter Mickelsberg. Hope my experience is better!!

My first Piesporter, so I didn't know what to expect really. The wine is patently well made in the sense that it was in no way offensive, but it had absolutely no character nor even any definable aspects to it. Smooth and semi-sweet, this really did not have any notable characteristics at all. I hope they're not all like this.

Yeah, I once drunk something like that! Wonder if Bristol Cream is over here?


Thanks for the note, Bob. This actually reminds me of the time when I bought a J&H Selbach Bernkastler Kurfürstlay Riesling Kabinett, thinking that Bernkastler Kurfürstlay was probably a great vineyard like Bernkastler Doctor or Lay, and not realizing that it was from a Grosslage. I remember it being barely drinkable. A year ago, I tried a J&H Selbach Zeller Schwarze Katz Riesling Qba at a retail tasting, and was surprised that it was halfway decent - not that I'd buy or recommend it by any means, though.
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Oct 06, 2012 3:42 am

Ah well, back to my vinous induction :mrgreen:

N/V Dr Zenzen Piesporter Mickelsberg.

I remember this one and the stuff served in a blue bottle! When I was dating Jessica of Ealing, her dad who ran a pub used to sell this at weddings catered in the pub.
Today, no real nose to speak of, palate has hints of sweetness but no recognisable quality. I served real chilled to staff at the Grill who thought I had lost it! Heck, its only $12.

`09 August Kesseler Riesling Kabinett "R".

This is more like it, tasted at wine store downtown who were promoting wines for our Thanksgiving. Remember this from old Cristalls shop in early 80s by the airport. Nose has some petrol, lycee and pineapple. Mineral tone, good acidity, apricot, pear, pineapple. Naturally too sweet for many I guess but pretty good for $22.
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by Tim York » Sat Oct 06, 2012 1:09 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:
N/V Dr Zenzen Piesporter Mickelsberg.

I remember this one and the stuff served in a blue bottle! When I was dating Jessica of Ealing, her dad who ran a pub used to sell this at weddings catered in the pub.
Today, no real nose to speak of, palate has hints of sweetness but no recognisable quality. I served real chilled to staff at the Grill who thought I had lost it! Heck, its only $12.



That's close to masochism, Bob.

An equivalent penance from my memory lane would be to leave a dry sherry for 6 months in a dusty decanter at room temperature and then force myself to consume it. My parents, like most homes in the neighbourhood, always had decanters of "dry" (fino) and "medium" (Amontillado) sherries in their drawing room; ours came from the reliable Wine Society so were presumably good at the outset but at room temp and after 6 months....... :roll:

I fancy that the Amontillado withstood the treatment better but I rarely drank it then or now. I never realised what a wonderful drink Fino could be until I drank cool from freshly opened bottles in Spain in the late 60s and I love it now.
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Oct 06, 2012 3:36 pm

That's close to masochism, Bob. ....Hey I did it for the team here! Who else is gonna delve into their past :lol:
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by Jenise » Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:23 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:That's close to masochism, Bob. ....Hey I did it for the team here! Who else is gonna delve into their past :lol:


And your past is so long--er, I mean rich!!
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Re: Open Mike (Oct & Nov) - Wines that got you into this hobby

by Bruce K » Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:15 pm

Matt Richman wrote:
Off topic, but just have to ask: Is your father Alan Richman?


No. My mother is Phyllis Richman. She was food critic and editor of the food section for the Washington Post.


Wonderful! As a DC-area resident, I loved reading her restaurant reviews. I also find her successor not nearly as good. She was one of a kind.

(I was almost afraid to ask about Alan because my main knowledge of him comes from watching Treme and reading Bourdain.)
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