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Got a Wine Rack for Christmas: Now What?!?!?

Keith Nivan

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It's very attractive and is meant to go in the corner of the dining room to put my good taste in wine on display for dinner guests, people who are just passing through, etc. Except...

I don't know a Hot Dang thing about wine.

On any given day, there are more electric guitars (6, I think) and cans of Busch Light (a lot) in my house than bottles of wine. This may be about to change: if I can fill the darn wine rack.

Oh, sure, Mrs. Keith (she likes wine, but isn't a Vinophile (or whatever you call a wine-lover)) and I will sip the occasional bottle, but it's usually a bottle of something "reasonable" (think Clos du Bois), not a savoring, or whatever...

But the wine rack could be really cool: it could make my LOOK like I know something about wine, display decorative, colorful or conversation-starting labels, and transform me from a beer-swilling, Hung Up On Power Pop, half-baked guitar player into a guy who has more than two favorite wines: "Red" and "White".

So, here's where I need your help: what are your favorite wines? Why and for what occasions do you prefer them? Which of your fave wines have cool labels, too? If you were bringing a bottle over for dinner and conversation (and you're all always invited) what would you bring? Which labels will make me look like a Cool Wine Drinking Dude to people who don't know me well when they see them in my new wine rack?

And I'll proudly announce YOU as The Recommending Friend at all tastings!

Build this thread out and everybody can use it: Think of it as the ec.com Wine Registry and Reco Resource Center.

Have at it!

Go Bears! crazy


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I think Eric knows quite a bit about wines, so he may want to weigh in on this one. I know a bit but not enough to fill a whole wine rack.

I love red wine, but I suffer from migraines and I pay for it when I sneak some occasionally (like this Christmas!), but you should start with a good Cabernet Sauvignon. It's a beautiful, dark, fruity wine (cassis aroma, like cherries) that I love best. There are some good California wines that don't break the bank--like some of Heitz Wines. I believe they're Napa Valley. Their Martha's Vineyard cabernet is expensive but worth it. They make others as well, though.

I would also stock a couple of bottles of Mogen David or Manischewitz wine for Jewish guests because they're kosher.

Good Luck!

smile --Darlene

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The most important thing you need to know is...buy what you like. That means you need to taste it, go to a wine shop that lets you taste. You may have to pay a small amount but it's worth it, not to get something you hate.

For Reds

Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot

Casillero del Diablo-Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot

Rubicon Cask Cabernet Sauvignon


Cavia Chardonnay

My favorite white is Stags Leap Chardonnay

These are a little pricey for everyday wine, so for everyday white I chose Robert Mondavi woodbridge Chardonnay, but I'm a cheap date wink

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Beth is correct Keith. Buy what you like. When I lived in NYC, my tastes were different than they are now, while residing in SW FL. Due to weather, cooking styles and age (mine..not the wine).

Go to a wine shop that offers tastings. Think about the foods you enjoy eating. Learn about pairing...and then try various vintners.

Also...everyday wines will probably make up the majority of your collection while "special" bottles will make their presence known. Gee...we could go on forever but ultimately...you and your palate will know what's right for you.


bon appetit

I prefer Burgundy / Pinot Noirs because of the type of food I cook. Many of these reds won't overpower chicken or fish mainly because I grill quite a bit down here. But they can also stand up to steak. Very versatile in my opinion.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Keith...I've been in the alcohol business for almost 30 years and the wine end of it for quite awhile now...A lot of it is crazy and BS, but I'll give you a quick and as uncomplicated rundown as I can...I wont recommend any brand names, but I'll let you know what:

the most popular types of wine are:

where they come from:

what to serve them with:

and some trendy areas/types:

A couple of key points to remember before we get started...Mostly all grape pulp is white...The skin color determines whether a grape is "red" or "white"...

France and Italy have a tendency to categorize their wines from the region that the grape grows in(appellation) while most other parts of the world identify their wines by the type of grape(varietal)...Therefore: we will talk about these at the end...


CHARDONNAY- At this point, the most popularly consumed grape in the world for wine is chardonnay...

While it is grown all over the world, California chardonnay is a real safe, quality bet...Try to find a chardonnay from Napa or Sonoma Valley...When stored in oak barrels, it will have a real "oaky, creamy, buttery taste...

PINOT GRIGIO- Becoming the new entry level wine for starters..It is a full bodied, dry(not sweet), crisp wine...Italy, especially, Northen regions(Friulli) make a great Pinot Grigio...

SAUVIGNON BLANC- Crisp and citrussy in taste, with an accent of grapefruit or gooseberry taste to it...Zingy...The best sauvignon blanc grows south of the equator with South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina all producing excellent ones...


PINOT NOIR-This is a light red grape which doctors and researchers claim to have the best cholesterol lowering value of all red wines...It is smooth and velvety...The best Pinot Noir comes from France or in the U.S., in Oregon(especially the Russian River Valley)...Upstate New York has some excellent pinot noir's...

MERLOT-Merlot is a popular red medium bodied, dry red wine...It used to be used as a blending grape to round out and keep the price down on the more expensive grapes...It has been praised and slammed by both critics and fans...The Springsteen of wines...Some people love it, while others consider it to be junk...See the movie "Sideways" to exemplify this point...

CABERNET SAUVIGNON: Hearty, full bodied, dry wine...All areas of the world grow "cab" but great classic cabernets come from California and France...


Now...Some other grapes/types to make you look cool or trendy...


REISLING...(Slightly sweet...Germany is the way to go)

PROSECCO...Sparling wine(Similar to Champagne(region)...Italian Prosecco...Winner...Trendy

CHENIN BLANC...A sweeter win...Grab a South African...


ZINFANDEL...Has raisin and jammy features...Full bodied...(GO CALIFORNIAN)...

SYRAH(also known as Shiraz in parts of the world)..A spicier red wine...Go Austrailian

MALBEC...VERY TRENDY...A touch sweeter than Zin...Very Fruity...Grab one from Chile, Argentina, Austrailia or New Zealand

If you really want some conversation starters...

Grab some PINOTAGE which is a hybrid grape made from Pinot Noir and Cinsault...SOUTH AFRICAN

AGORGITIKO-A smokey, red dry from the Nemea region of Greece...

Dont forget the European area wines...Italian CHIANTI...CHIANTI is the region...Sangiovese is the grape...Dry...Look for a Chianti from the CHIANTI CLASSICO region of Italy...Reserva means that it has been aged in oak barrels for a year...

CHABLIS...Classic white from this French region...Made with chardonnay as its predominate grape...

BORDEAUX...French region that blends merlot,cab,cab franc,pinot noir and cab verdot into their blends...

BURGUNDY...Fist fights break out with Burgundy region supporters claiming that their red blends are better than the red blends from Bordeaux...

Wine Food Pairings:


Chardonnay...Grilled chicken, salmon, shell fish, cream sauces...

Pinot Grigio...Chicken, Turkey, Salads, Fish

Sauvignon Blanc...White or light fish...Cheeses

RED-Pinot Noir-Goes with heartier white meats such as Turkey,Chicken or light red meats...

Merlot...Red dishes such as pasta with red sauce, pizza and grilled red meats...

Zinfandel...Same types of dishes as merlot plus duck and capon

Cabernet Sauvignon...Heavy red meats...Smoked and BBQed foods, steak...

Syrah...Spicy pizza and herbed sauces, red meats

As a bottom line...Choose an attractive label, in your price range, with the food that you are serving...Try to stay away from the "famous" named wines...Nothing wrong with them, but snobbery exists...No YellowTail, Barefoot,etc...

ALSO...Stay away from White Zin, Lambrusco and Blush...Considered strictly for beginners...Good wines but the "snob" thing again...

Top 5 Wine Countries Exporting wine to U.S.






Dont leave out the hot, trendy countries...New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Portugal

Have fun and dont worry about it...Any questions...PM me or post them here...I'm sure there are many things that I've written here that people will object, complain or correct me on...That's okay...The only thing that we all agree on here is Raspberries music...(But dont drink Raspberry wine)...

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That is a lot of great information Lew.

I know nothing, except what we like to drink.

They only other thing I would add is, drink the wine you buy.

Don't try save it for a long time,it's not going to get better, enjoy.

Thank you for not crushing my selections, you sir are a Gentleman. wink

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Hey, Lew:

Many thanks, and thanks to all for keeping the post afloat.

I'm not an oenophile yet, but as Bill Murray famously said in "Stripes", "I'm willing to learn."

Lew: I want to be in the Bundles Against the Current locker room when you pop the bubbly after next year's RFL champeenship ... smile


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Ive always been a Scotch drinker, but I also like a glass of wine every now and then. I recently discovered a cheap red called "Campobasso"...

It tastes like it came from Grandpa Calogero's "Bassa-Menta"...Its really good,inexpensive, and 14% alcohol...Great for these balmy Cleveland nights were having now.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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