Wines to try

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Peter Burns, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. Hi sorry if this is in the wrong section. I have recently joined a wine club and would appreciate some advice on new wines to try. My favourite wine is Chablis, I like most Chardonnay based wines , Viognier is ok so basically I like full, dry to medium dry with fruity tastes. I dislike Riesling as I find it acidic and sharp a more mineral taste. For reds I like Coates du Rhone, Chateauneuf of course and Most Rioja's ( some have a nasty aftertaste and make me feel my teeth have been painted). I have tried some of the usual suspects Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon blanc. and they are ok.

    The club I have joined call a case 12 bottles, always thought it was 6 but hey ho. I have never been to a wine tasting, you will have seen from my pathetic wine descriptions that I don't know the jargon. What I intend is to buy 8-10 bottles of wine I know and enjoy and for the first time in my life try new wines to widen my horizons. Any and all suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  2. Welcome, Peter. Which is the nearest large town/city to where you live?
  3. Welcome Peter. I think many of us probably started out with Chardonnay, Rhone and Rioja, so you've probably made a good start.

    I'm surprised that you prefer Chablis to new world chardonnays, so your tastes are perhaps already becoming more sophisticated!

    If you want to learn more, then I'd certainly recommend you try to get to some tastings. Not sure if you're in rural or urban Scotland, but if, as Mark suggests, you let us know where you're near, someone here will probably be able to suggest some local tasting opportunities.

    A case has traditionally been 12 bottles. But in the last 20 or 30 years, with the growth of the likes of Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club type operations, a case has increasingly been used to refer to six bottles, I suspect partly to help their customers feel more sophisticated, and partly to make a "case" of wine sound cheaper.

    I hope that in time, you'll come to like riesling, as it is in my opinion the finest and most versatile of grape varieties. In the meantime, you might want to think about Portugal, Greece and Hungary, which are producing some excellent wines at pretty reasonable prices.
  4. Is preferring cooler climate white wines more sophisticated? :p
  5. Compared to most mass market new world chardonnay, yes.
    Jonathan Hesford likes this.
  6. Touché! :)
  7. I live pretty much equidistant to Edinburgh and Perth In Fife about 30 miles from each. I'm wheelchair bound (hence joining a wine club) 68 years old wife dislikes all wine, not that she's tried many lol.
  8. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    Welcome Peter.

    On the case point: 'Elf and Safety means a lot of wines now ship in cases of 6, to protect the backs of those handling them, so the definition is in transition a bit. Literally, "a case" of wine is commonly now 6.

    Wine-wise, there's a tremedous amount to explore within you criteria. If you have a Majestic close to hand they have bottles open every weekend which is a good way to do some tasting, and if you have access to a wine merchant, get chatting to them and find out if they have tastings too. There are lots of other white wine grapes that tend to be made in fruity, medium-bodied and not too acidic or oaky styles, which seems to be your happy hunting ground. Pinot Gris from places including Australia, NZ and Alsace (rather than Pinot Grigio), Gruner-Veltliner, some of the slightly more expensive South African Chenin Blancs, maybe something like a Fiano or Falanghina from southern Italy, but really the list is pretty endless. For reds, you seem to like a full-fruited style, full-bodied, but maybe not too dry and tannic? Syrah from many places should fit the bill, some slightly more expensive Malbecs, New World Pinot Noir (think Australia and NZ to begin with maybe), and possibly better reds from Chile too - Carmenere-based wines could be interesting. In Europe, there's obviously so much to explore apart from the Rhone wines and Rioja you mention, and southern European wines in general tend to have that ripeness and bit oomph you might be after.
    Leon Marks likes this.
  9. The Wine Society (with some guidance from Tom and the wine gurus here) sounds like an ideal place to start?
  10. +1 for The Wine Society. They also deliver for free and the van is in Fife at least once a fortnight.
    Leon Marks likes this.
  11. Welcome, Peter.

    I asked this forum a similar (ish) question to you a couple of years ago and received an astonishingly generous and helpful set of responses full of specific examples. See here:

    Starting a cellar / newbie help - two years on

    As others have mentioned the Wine Society could be ideal here. You could do a lot worse than order a mixed case from their ever-reliable Exhibition range, for example.
  12. Thank you for the replies. Andrew I have tried Chardonnay from almost everywhere and while a few have been Mehh-ok never had a bad one thank you. Tom thanks will try some of your suggestions.
  13. Hi Peter,
    For the fuller bodied reds you can try Syrah from warmer climates like Australia or South Africa. Also maybe worth giving some of the "Rhone Rangers" from California a try - anything from the likes of Donny Boon might hit the spot. Closer to home the wines from Southern Italy can also taste of the sun, try grapes varieties such as Nero d’Avola, Primitivo and Aglianico.

    But as others have suggested befriending a good local wine merchant or finding a like minded group of friends / local wine group can be a great way to share the experience and discover new things.
  14. Welcome Peter
    Don't feel intimidated by not knowing the 'secret language' of wine. Focus on what you taste and enjoy, and other words will come along in time.

    Is it a sometimes bitter, but as much a textural mouth-drying thing? If so, my guess is it's tannins (any similarity to a strong cup of tea?). Sometimes acidity and tannin can work together to give a mouth-puckering sensation, that can be difficult (though some people rather enjoy it). Cellaring such wines for a decade or two can shed or reduce this effect.

    How to expand horizons?

    • I like the winetasting suggestions. For many of this, it's been a key part of exploring our interests
    • Some find it easiest to take it grape by grape, selecting a new grape variety to try a wine made from it every week/month.
    • Alternatively, follow a country or region where you've enjoyed a wine, and venture out from there to say e.g. I like Chablis, what else might I try (e.g. we might suggest Macon for something slightly warmer climate, but still good value. Of from Cotes du Rhone & Chateauneuf du Papes you could explore Languedoc-Roussillon or a forum favourite Chateau Musar (or their cheaper, but still very good Hochar pere et fils)
    • Whichever way you do it, there is a lot to be said for having 2/3 wines that are either what you like, or variations on a theme, plus 1/3 wines where you explore something a bit more off-piste. That might be tweaked to 3/4 to 1/4 or even as far as 9/10 to 1/10. You'll know how adventurous you want to be, from a one region stalwart, to a butterfly sampling here there and everywhere.

    Some suggestions for an 8-10 seemingly well away from what you've listed, but steering clear of the more severe wines that need time to shed the tannins:
    • White Rioja. They can be variable in style, but most mainstream ones should appeal to someone enjoying chardonnay. For something a little cheaper, Torres Vina Sol has been a regular value favourite around these parts.
    • Hochar pere et fils. Majestic were stocking this a while back, but many decent wine merchants have it as well. One that can be like a wilder Cotes du Rhone. Or trade up to the main wine Chateau Musar, stocked in plenty of places, including Waitrose (who handily seem to have an overstock of the quite mature 2003 vintage)
    • Valpolicella / Valpolicella ripasso. A region that seems to have improved a lot in the last decade or two, with richer fruit than many Italian wine regions. There still can be a little bitterness, but the fruit usually keeps it in check
    • Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (not to be confused with the more tannic Vino Nobile di Montepulciano), is again Italian, and again often with vibrant fruit and not too austere.
    • Aldi's Cremant de Jura, assuming it's still from the same source. A very good value fizz, that's another favourite here. Better that than a bottom of the range bottle of Champagne (in my opinion)
    • Bleasdale Frank Potts from Australia. Plenty of options in Australia, but this was an old favourite of ours, much for it being quite complex and approachable on release (the complexity I'm sure coming from being made up of a dogs dinner of grape varieties!)
    • Something older. Those tannins can drop away with time, so finding a wine with a few years cellaring behind it can make a big difference. Try somewhere like the nearby Luvians or Raeburn wines and ask them to find something that's hit maturity & within your budget. Expect something with less vibrant fruit, but with other more savoury, even gamey flavours and aromas coming through.
    • Moscato d'Asti. This one is a bit of a speculative suggestion. Sweet, grapey and effervescent - that's not for serious wine enthusiasts is it?!! Well give it a try. Many here love it (I certainly do), as the acidity is enough to keep the sweetness in check, and the not OTT bubbles lend it a lovely creamy texture. Great not just with desserts, but a wonderful match with chocolate. Also low alcohol, which can be important.
  15. Welcome to the forum Peter!

    I also heartily recommend the Wine Society and if your wife is struggling for your Xmas present the membership might be worth dropping hints for!

    It's well worth the price and you usually get a voucher to spend back so it is inexpensive.

    Of all the 'wine clubs' this is probably going to provide you with the best quality wines at any given price point and lots of readable info too either online or paper copy through the post.

    There is lots of good info here on the forum about buying from supermarkets and what to avoid (which is quite a lot!) and some good deals - Tom C - your host! - regularly reviews wines on the main wine site too.

    Also lots of useful info about choice of drinking glass (stemware) and tips for keeping wine if your drinking alone etc.

    And you can always ask any question here - not only about wine!

    Happy drinking.

    Tom Cannavan likes this.
  16. My number one tip for you would be to always taste wine with food. I've found that most people's "problem" with acidic white wines and tannic red wines is that they are trying to drink them like they would a beer or Gin & Tonic. Most traditional European wines have grown up around food. Without food, the tendency is to go for th smoothest, softest, fruitiest style of wine and that can be a real barrier to exploring and discovering the wider world of wine. Besides, it's so much fun to try wines with different cheeses, preserved meats, interesting vegetables etc.
  17. +1 for the Wine Society - and I also think Jonathan speaks a lot of sense about wine with food. The Competitive Offers from Retailers thread Competitive Offers from Retailers can be worth keeping an eye on for possible bargains.

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