Although I was tempted to comment on the recent, heavily politically
oriented thread, I have restrained myself for once. (well, except for that
I'm sipping a nicely aged bottle of 1988 Inglenook "Reserve Cask" Cabernet
($6US), and ignoring the Democratic National Convention that's straining to
burst forth from my de-energized TV. :^)
I plan to ignore the Republican Convention too - albeit over a different
bottle of wine. Please wake me up in time for the Crush (which appears to
be early this year), and then let me sleep until it's time to vote...
On Fri, 30 Jul 2004 04:14:16 GMT, "Tom S"
There's a lot to be said for non-partisanship, particularly in this
forum. But will you be drinking a more expensive wine when the
Republicans meet? ;-)
To reply, add "x" between
letters and numbers of
Back to wine.... Oh yes, good idea!! I realized early on that I couldn't
*plonk* everyone who discusses politics here, otherwise, half my resources
would be gone. So I learned how to set up a message rule by subject, and now
the newsgroup is back to the way I discovered it 2-3 weeks ago (or
*** A few newbie WINE questions, if I may ***
1) Now that I'm learning as much as I can about wine (reading some books,
going to wine-related sites, and of course, drinking wine), I run into a
little confusion almost immediately. Winecommune.com lists "Bordeaux blend"
under the category "varietals," whereas a book that I am reading lists
Medoc, Graves, Pomerol, etc. as the actual varietals. Which is correct?
Winecommune.com further divides Bordeaux blends into sub-categories,
however, these sub-categories (such as Pauillac, St. Julien, St. Estephe,
Margaux) do seem to be one level above the actual wineries* themselves
(however, there does seem to be a winery* named Margaux as well), yet not
exactly worthy of being labeled "varietal." Please explain!
2) Received my first two bottles of wine that I won on Winecommune.com. One
was perfect, but the other one had some (very slight) leakage (in transit
for 3 days, California to Chicago). Although the seller promises a full
refund if the wine is bad, he claims to have seen that happen before without
any problems. Suggests I let it settle for at least 3 days. I was planning
to keep it longer (WS: "Best after 2006"). Now my dilemma is if I try it
after 3 days, just to see if it's good or not (albeit, I will enjoy it, if
it is), I still have to buy another bottle if I want it for 2006, as
planned. So, if I do go with my original plan to cellar if for 2 years, are
my chances favorable that it still will be drinkable? It's a 1996
Thanks in advance
* One other question: Is my use of the word "winery" correct? I have also
seen "producer" used in, what I believe to be, a synonymous fashion. Am I
In article , nobody@nowhere.
The simple answer, Vincent, is that some wines are "named" for the main grape
(s) that went into the wine, i.e. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, etc
., while others (Bordeaux - region, France is a perfect example) have place
names, i.e. St Estephe, Pauillac, Medoc, etc. In some cases the place goes
much farther in the name, Ch. ______, Medoc, Bordeaux. These wines are define
the place that the grapes came from (and very often the location where the
wine was actually produced), rather than the "blend" of grapes going into it,
usually Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Malbec. the
wine might be 100% CS, or M, or CF, or might be a combination of all five. The
producer (and to some extent the location) will dictate. Sometimes, the exact
percentage of the constituant varietals will be difficult to track down. In
other cases history will usually give you a strong clue.
A really rough "rule-of-thumb" is that much new world wine lists the varietal
(grape type), while much old world wine lists the place. Neither is "correct,"
it is just how each does it. Many US, CA producers are now doing blended
wines, that usually have proprietary names (rather than place names), that
work with the Bordeaux varietals, i.e. Cain 5, which usually uses all five
Bordeaux red varietals.
Others will be happy to give you very useful and excellent detail on just who
does what, with which.
Interesting problem. If the merchant will replace the bottle, I think you
might be more pleased with that result. Wine that has had some leakage can
still be wonderful. If, however, you are going to lay it down for another 2
years, you could possibly have problems - not saying that you WILL, only that
you could. Drinking a still youthful Bordeaux early might not be the most
enlightening thing for you to do right now in your wine journey. OTOH, there
can be a great learning experience in doing so. I'd pop it, and pour a little
into a really large glass, doing all the normal tasting steps, before taking a
little sip, or three, and doing an evaluation. Letting it sit during a slow
dinner, and coming back to it from time-to-time and giving it a good swirl,
for a re-evaluation (don't top up the glass during this experiment), will
began to reveal the wine to you. If there are still "harsh elements" that you
are finding, you might want to decant the remainder, letting it sit in an
unsealed decanter for a few hours. Start the process all over with a glass
from the decanter, and gauge the "progress" of the wine. At the very least,
you should have a fun evening charting the evolution of the wine and THAT
experience, alone, should be worth the price of the bottle. After you've had a
few glasses (shared with a fun person(s), you can then decide whether to
acquire an additional bottle. By following the merchant's recommendation, and
being patient, they might well be willing to extend a financial courtesy to
you with respect to the second bottle - I surely would. If you are going to
cellar for another few years, maybe pick up two bottles, in case WS was off in
their "time-to-drink" speculation, and it still needs more time, OR, in case
they were right and you LOVE the wine! Wouldn't it be nice to have an
additional bottle in your cellar, if it's GREAT?
Usually they are synonymous. There are many possible levels of involvemnt in
the production of wine around the world. One may grow the grapes, extract the
juice, ferment it, bottle it, store it for some time, then sell the wine to an
exporter, or merchandiser, or handle even that, themselves. Other times,
someone grows, someone else crushes, someone else buys the juice and may make
the wine, or even re-sell the juice to one, who does. After the fermentation,
all sorts of roads can be taken with respect to getting the wine to the
consumer. The answer then, is "it depends," but for most purposes, they are
Most of all - ENJOY!!!
On Fri, 30 Jul 2004 13:49:14 GMT, "Vincent"
Varietals are species of grapes. Cabernet sauvignon is a type of
grape. Chardonnay is a type of grape. Merlot is a type of grape.
Medoc, Graves, Pomeral, etc. are regions--geographic areas that
produce a specific style of wine. Depending upon the country there
will usually be some sort of controlling legislation with regard to
the use of one of these regional names. You'll see acronyms like DOC
to indicate an authorized use of a regional name.
Bordeaux tends to favor cabernet sauvignon and merlot as the basic
varietal, but they blend other grapes to develop their characteristic
style. (One bank of the river favors CS and the other leans to merlot,
but I never know whether that is looking upstream or downstream and am
too lazy to look it up this AM.) Regardless "Bordeaux blend" means a
mix of varietals similar to what is found in the Bordeaux region.
Again, you're mixing regions with grape species.
If you're wine shipped in three days recently, it probably survived
quite nicely--it's been cool. Shipping by UPS ground is pretty
reliable, but try to stay away from mid-summer when wines can get
backed in the truck or mid-winter when they can freeze. Spring/fall
are ideal shipping times.
"Very slight" leakage would be undetectable and concealed by the
capsule. If you've got leakage dripped out beyond the capsule, that
seems more than very slight.
Settling after shipping is always a good idea. Don't expect full
quality of a good wine if you rip it out of the box and pull the cork
on the day it arrives.
If you plan to buy some quantity of the Pichon-Longqueville Baron for
cellaring, by all means taste in a week or so. If you only intend to
buy this one or two bottle shipment, then cross your fingers and put
it away for 2006.
Fighter Pilot (USAF-Ret)
"When Thunder Rolled"
"Phantom Flights, Bangkok Nights"
Both from Smithsonian Books
"Vincent" in news:ulsOc.2287$ firstname.lastname@example.org...
Yes, very good idea.
If I might suggest from a little experience with this situation, although
there may be good replies eager with specific answers (sort of like samples
of fish), I've found that the situation is served more effectively by
patient reading in good tutorial books (sort of like learning how to fish).
In this spirit Yoxall titled chapters of his old popular Burgundy book "some
optional history" and "some compulsory geography." Blake Ozias in his old
popular book _All About Wine_ sketched out the major and minor divisions of
wine-making Europe in an overview. The picture that they are all trying to
explain is complex and inconsistent (divisions and entities important in
Bordeaux are different from those in Burgundy, for example, and yet again
from those in Italy, etc etc.). Complexity and inconsistency are exactly
what eager students don't want, so they hunger for formulas or answers to
explain it all. (Sorry, I'm reflecting a little here, I used to teach, and
to run into this often, in different contexts than wine, but the underlying
issue was the same.)
There is always a need for good background-reading books for this, they are
indispensable for someone serious (as Vincent here seems to be). I don't
know any perfect one, I do continue to recommend Stevenson's "encyclopedia"
(ISBN 0789480395) which certainly has the required information, though not
laid out in tutorial form. The overview pages at the beginning of each
region's section are useful.
I would like to learn of other effective books for this purpose for
Anglophone readers. There's one in the last couple of years by a US
graduate of both the MW and MS programs (extremely unusual, and testimony to
his wine knowledge), thinner than Stevenson's, in a "coffee-table" format,
but I don't know it well or have the details handy. Maybe other people
experienced with this situation can recommend other sources?
I'm not surprised you find naing a little confusing. It is. So, Bordeaux
blend is not _a_ varietal (why not grape variety, I ask?). It is a shorthand
to describe a wine made from one of a number of grap varieties.
A wine made in the Bordeaux area MUST only be made from those grape
varieties. In practice only the first three reds and two whites are grown in
So the shortcut word, probably invented to counter the patented "Meritage"
name for the same blend means that the wine (theoretically) conforms to the
actual varietals. Which is correct?
I doubt it. I think you're misreading what your book says.
In France, wines are described NOT by the grape varieties directly, but by
the region, district and commune (village). So these regions - Médoc,
Graves, Pomerol are all wine regions within Bordeaux, they do NOTY describe
the grape variety, though that is implicit. In the case of Pomerol for
example, the great majority of producers make Merlot wines. Other Regions in
Bordeaux are St Emilion, Entre deux Mers, Sauternes, Bourg, Blaye & Fronsac.
Within these areas, (which sometimes take the names of a single village) you
can have villages (or more accurately "communes" which are the smallest
french administrative district) such as Pauillac, etc as Winecommune says.
No. The wineries in that area are usually called "Chateau Something". Every
winery is situated in a commune of some name, and then the commune is
situated within an area and then a region.
So Ch Latour is in the commune of Pauillac, which is in the Medoc area in
the Bordeaux Region.
In general the more vague the name on the bottle, the less good it is (vast
So the lowest of the low from the area has the regional "appellation", name
(as in what rules apply to the making of the wine and where the grapes may
come from) This isn't necessarily related to quality, by the way, but to
"tight description". Appellation Bordeaux Controlée"
Next up is the area, such as Médoc. So you can have a wine such as "La Fleur
du Bordeaux" for example. which may be "Appellation Médoc Controlée".
Even more precise would be a wine whose grapes must come from within a
single commune, You would exptect that wine to reflect some of the
characteristics of the commune. The name may be Ch something or other, or
may not. So you may have "Mouton-Cadet Appellation Pauillac Controllée".
Next up is a single chateau wine. Chateaux are classified in several ranks
(especially in Médoc), from no classification at all (other than the
village) through Cru Bourgeois up to 1er Cru classée 1st classed growth,
according to a classification created in 1855. So You may find three
wineries next to each-other, one being Appellation village name, another Cru
Bourgeois and the next a 2nd growth (2ieme Cru classée Village name).
Yes it's complex, but that's the way it is.
I think so, in fact I think 10 years old the the youngest you shold drink
it, However, I hope it didn't get too hot in transit. Heat is hard on wines.
A producer is - in general - the person or company, and winery the
establishment. So Ch. Tour des Gendres is a winery in Bergerac and the
producer is Luc de Conti, who is also winemaker.
in article email@example.com, Max Hauser at
on 7/30/04 8:01 AM:
Is this the author you refer to? If so, do you recall which of his books
impressed you? Thanks.
Hugh Johnson's Atlas of Wine is one of my best companions for my
expansion of knowledge. The fully contoured maps allow the reader to
understand just how wine making fits in with the world. Some of the
Burgundy maps are astounding in detail and you can really get to grips
with why your wine is tasting so good, where it was made, and the
history of the region. All vineyards are colour coded according to
appelation and cru. It's always nice just pointing at a map at some
region on the other side of the world and saying "I drank that!"
A proper "wine-geek" book I have just started is by Michael Broadbent
(not even going to attempt a mini biography) and it gives a amazingly
comprehensive account of vintages across the globe some starting with
the 1800s. Plenty of tasting notes of some of the best wines.
Two pennies worth.
Thanks, but it's hopeless. After 23 years in tactical aviation, I
still can't remember which wing has the green light and which has the
red. And, even if I knew that, I don't recall which side is the
appropriate passing side.
I guess on the Seine, I'd be facing north, on the Rhone I'd be looking
south and on the Gironde I'd be facing west? I know for sure that with
the Mississippi I'd be looking south and for the Colorado
southwest--that is if I was in a wet spot.
Fighter Pilot (USAF-Ret)
"When Thunder Rolled"
"Phantom Flights, Bangkok Nights"
Both from Smithsonian Books
Which reminds me of an amusing (non-wine) incident a few years back.
I am a very keen sailor - and at the time was "dating" a landlubbing, sweet
young thing, who didn't know her port from her stern (in fact, she had a
very nice stern!!!)
At my local "things nautical" store, I found and purchased for her a sweat
shirt, with "Starboard" written in large green lettering down the right
sleeve, and "Port" (in red letters) down the left sleeve.
A couple of weekends later when we were leaving the marina for a weekends
racing, there she was, to bid us a good luck and good racing; and, yes, she
was wearing my gift - back to front.
Getting this back even obscurely on-topic - remember this question "Any Red
At a tasting of Haut Brion and La Mission in NYC last year, the guy from
the estate told us, for those years where could remember, the
proportions in the mix. For a left bank wine it was often surprisingly
high in Merlot, sometimes even with more Merlot that Cabernet.