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Zoethe

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A poseur revealed. [Oct. 5th, 2003|03:54 pm]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |contemplativecontemplative]

We went to see Lost in Translation last night. (Review: those who had read a lot about it being exceptional were a bit disappointed; those of us who had read it was interesting and arty were quite happy with it - delightful, but very introspective and quiet.) Afterwards we went to a small pub down the street for drinks, dessert and discussion.

At the pub I ordered a White Zinfandel. To which Ferrett smirked and commented, "You know, I only recently realized that White Zin is the Budweiser of wines."

It's true. I confess. It's easy to drink, sweet and undemanding, and when I am buying wine by the glass in such a place it's what I get, for two reasons: first, house whites and reds by the glass in such places tend to be pretty yucky; second, I don't know the first thing about wine.

Now, this isn't to say that I don't appreciate fine wine. Present me with a quality wine and I understand the nose, the topnote, the finish. I appreciate the complexity of good wine, have been known to treat each sip from a particularly fine bottle as an unique experience, commenting through the course of the evening how the wine changed as it breathed.

But if asked to purchase a bottle of wine with specific qualities, I would be completely lost. I know less about wine than I know about opera and classical music: at least I have enough experience in those fields to know what I like. In wine I am an innocent, to be led by those wiser.

This is a skillset I would eventually like to develop, though Ferrett's dislike of wine has not lent any motivation to the quest. (He is equally disappointed with my abbhorence of beer, so we're even on this one, but you can purchase almost any beer in a single serving size for under $10 and drink it and not have unmanageable leftovers. Wine is more of a committment.)

Perhaps one day I will have time and the motivation to delve into this fascinating and complex field. For now, I will just look forward to the opportunity to visit juggernt and his lovely wife and charming wine cellar and enjoy the fruits of his knowledge.

The sooner the better.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: theferrett
2003-10-05 01:22 pm (UTC)
I was not bashing you, my love. I was merely amused that for years, I thought my mother's and your love of wine was something elaborate because you could order *a* wine, and I had only realized that hey, to real wine snobs, 'twas no big thang.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-06 02:07 am (UTC)
It wasn't that you were bashing me, simply that you had realized how proletariat a choice I was making - my secret was out.
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[User Picture]From: wolflady26
2003-10-05 01:22 pm (UTC)
One of the things I really enjoy about Germany is that you can get a decent bottle of wine for under $2.00. When we splurge, we get $3.00 wine. Champagne can also be bought for under $3.00.

When I try to buy alcohol in America and see that the cheap bottles of wine run $6.00 - $7.00, it always makes me blanch.

And if it makes you feel any better, you're way ahead of me. I couldn't tell a topnote from a bouquet ;)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-06 01:50 am (UTC)
Reminds me of being in the Virgin Islands, where the rum was $3.00 a bottle but mixes were extremely expensive. You had to be careful at the restaurants because it was cheaper for them to make the drinks strong, and a V.I. pina colada could knock you on your ass.
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[User Picture]From: wolflady26
2003-10-06 05:47 am (UTC)
Heh, that's funny. You wouldn't think the juice for mixes would be so expensive on a tropical island.

I always find it strange here that buying a beer in a restaurant is oftentimes cheaper than water.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-06 06:34 am (UTC)
Juice has to be imported - no plants there on the island. Everything is staggeringly expensive. We brought a dufflebag stuffed with snack foods and basics and only bought meat, milk and fresh foods there (we had rented a condo, so I was cooking). A can of juice was $5.00, the rum was probalby $1.50 for the bars. You do the math!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-06 01:52 am (UTC)

Re: This is what you do

Good point. That would be a start - I know that white is fish and fowl and red is beef and pasta, but a little more depth than that would at least start serving me well.
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[User Picture]From: queenjade
2003-10-05 01:58 pm (UTC)

Not Poseur... Novice :)

The best way to learn wine is to step outside your comfort zone (in this case, white zin) and order whatever sounds interesting. It's a good idea to start out simple with more common grapes, such as sampling cab's or merlots for a while.

Now days, as long as you're not in some really divey bar, it's not likely that you'll get a bad wine. It just might not be exciting or complex, but still perfectly drinkable. If that's the case, finish it and move on to the next one that sounds interesting, and compare it to the experience of the last one. Now, you're not only enjoying spirits, but you're learning what you like.

It's also good to take advantage of your resources. Ask the server/bartender about the selection. That's what they're there for. Most bartenders I know love it when they can help give info about the list and direct you to what you'll enjoy. I love going to the Wine Bar on Market Ave. (across from the West Side Market). They're really sweet and will let you sample a few before you decide on a glass.

I'm lucky in that I have a career that gave me the opportunity to go to tastings and learn wines. However, most of what I know about wine is because my friends love tasting wines as much as I do, and because I have spent so much time trying them.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't be intimidated. Everyone who knows wine had to go through that same process, and the best part is that you never stop learning.

By the way, I don't care for beer either. I think you either love wine or you love beer. I don't know many people who love both.
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[User Picture]From: juggernt
2003-10-05 09:13 pm (UTC)

Re: Not Poseur... Novice :)

I happen to be one of those few who like both beer and wine (well, at least good beer and good wine). Throw in good whisky for the holy triumvirate.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-06 01:55 am (UTC)

Re: Not Poseur... Novice :)

I simply have trouble remembering - I'll remember that I liked that merlot I had someplace, but won't remember what it was.

Matter of focus, I suppose. It's something I've enjoyed but haven't put any concentration into.
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[User Picture]From: demetria23
2003-10-05 02:25 pm (UTC)
Bud Light is actually one of my favorite beers AND I like cheap blackberry wine. I'm a cheap drunk.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-06 02:05 am (UTC)
Yes, but you are young. It's allowed. [g]
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-06 01:56 am (UTC)
[nod] I doubt I'll ever get to the point where I can't bear the taste of a Beringer White Zin - but my embarrassment at liking it may increase [g].
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[User Picture]From: leanerbean
2003-10-05 08:25 pm (UTC)
I highly recommend the fruits of juggernt's wine cellar. Like you, I truly appreciate excellent wines( preferably a fine white) but am a relative innocent when it comes to finding them for myself or knowing particular brands or vineyards. Ted and I enjoyed Sheldon's picks immensely.

His taste in single malt scotch is equally impeccable, if you are one to enjoy a fine whiskey. Although, I sincerely hope his enthusiasm for whiskey was not permanently dampened by our visit.
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[User Picture]From: juggernt
2003-10-05 09:16 pm (UTC)
The only things dampened by your visit were my spirits when you left...


You must return soon to sample further fruits of the cellar (I kinda went overboard this past Saturday whilst at the Wine Seller). I know better than to mix whisky and wine, or to try to keep up with a young woman whom I outweigh by 100 pounds.

Really. Come back soon. This weekend's open :)
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[User Picture]From: leanerbean
2003-10-06 07:36 am (UTC)
Such a gentleman. I'm glad that your taste in fine whiskey remains in tact. :-) I eagerly look forward to another weekend together soon.

This weekend is Ted's birthday. Will you be in Roanoke on Saturday? Perhaps there's a way to get us all together for a drink on Ted's b-day. If not, definitely soon.... :)

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-06 02:00 am (UTC)
Yeah, we simply can't figure out a place in the life schedule for a trip - certainly not this year, as I have NO vacation time left. Perhaps a long weekend next year. Who knows, maybe we can all manage to get together.

And I have enjoyed Shel's taste in single malt scotch on a couple of occasions.
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[User Picture]From: leanerbean
2003-10-06 07:41 am (UTC)
We live an easy 2 hr. drive from Sheldon's place, so if you get out this way, getting together shouldn't be a problem. It's a great time of year to visit the Blue Ridge. I look forward to sharing an enjoyable, fuzzy evening with good company. :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-06 08:02 am (UTC)
Alas, this year there is no chance of us getting out there for the fall colors, save a lottery win - which would rather change the course of many things in life, I think. But perhaps in the spring....
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[User Picture]From: juggernt
2003-10-05 09:18 pm (UTC)
Our local merchant may be getting me a few bottles of Ch. Trotanoy (from the 2000 "vintage of the century"), which we may have enjoyed at Marx Bros. I believe the first bottle we had was Vieux-Chateau-Certan, but...hmm. Good wine makes memories fuzzy.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-06 02:02 am (UTC)
[Goes slightly weak in the knees.]

Oh, promise you'll save a bottle for when I can finally get out there. That was an amazing evening all around, but the wine was just outstanding.

Looking forward to a long weekend of fuzziness someday in the not-to-distant future....
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[User Picture]From: correspondguy
2003-10-05 10:22 pm (UTC)

Not that it matters, but here's my $0.02

Seems to me that you've gotten some good advice, but to reduce it down, it seems that the best way to learn the stuff is 1) Order something new, and 2) Remember what you liked and what you hated.

Wine, oddly enough, you can send back. So, if you hate something, send the damn stuff back. It helps if you make a gawd-awful face.

It would suck if you became a wine snob, but the best way to find stuff you like is to try stuff that's close to something you liked (same country, same grape, same year, same vineyard). Hell, you do that with movies and food.

And, have some perspective - you're not going to get the lovely wine of the century by the glass as the house wine at Joe's Bar or Casa De La Maison House. But, the house red, as others have pointed out, should be drinkable (I didn't like white, so I dunno about whites. I do remember getting glasses of what could be termed kindly as La Piss du Chat). But, if the house wine turns out to be good, then remember what it was and the text time you have a choice, see if there's a similar wine.

And never order the second most expensive wine - that's the one with the biggest markup, or the least bang for your buck.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-06 02:05 am (UTC)

Re: Not that it matters, but here's my $0.02

I doubt I will ever gain the knowledge needed for snobbery, and that isn't really the point. It's the ability to really enjoy the experience. I need to get more adventuresome, though, that's for certain.

(And, Casa De La Maison House - You crack me up.)
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[User Picture]From: tygher
2003-10-06 04:52 am (UTC)

My own two coppers ..

I happen to be rather fond of white zin on the rare occasions that I bother to order wine. I'm really not a wine kind of person .. nor do I like beer.

I am however fond of hard liqor. GIve me a good chocolate martini, or a well made mudslide, and I'm a happy girl.

If you ever come to North Carolina I do suggest visiting the Biltmore House. They make their own wines there, and honestly, though I don't like wine much, I liked several of theirs.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-06 06:31 am (UTC)

Re: My own two coppers ..

Sounds wonderful - if I ever get there. Right now I don't feel like I'll ever get anywhere. There are some vineyards right here in Ohio that I need to visit as well.
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[User Picture]From: danodea
2003-10-06 05:01 pm (UTC)
There's a small label red wine, Siduri, that is just being discovered. Happily for me, I found it about 2-3 months beforehand. If you can still find a few, it is an excellent example of what a low-end but good wine should be like. About 18.50 a bottle, list price at the local wine warehouse. May not be able to find it at a small outlet, and the price may go up soon. My distributor is already saying that he's anticipating trouble finding more of it. In restaurants, it would probably be in the 30 a bottle range, maybe a tad more, depending on restaurant.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-06 07:00 pm (UTC)
I must remind myself to look for this! Thanks for the recommendation.
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