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Wine Experts: Please help a Coke Addict Change His Ways

Wine Experts: Please help a Coke Addict Change His Ways

Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 04:23 PM
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Degas
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Wine Experts: Please help a Coke Addict Change His Ways

Okay, just call me a progressive. I'm fully motivated now to resist the powerful urge for a Coke and learn to try sipping wine at popular outdoor cafes in France and Italy. Scary thought isn't it? But here's the rub, I can't stand dry wine as it makes me thirsty.

This country boy needs some serious help so folks back home will be proud of my ability to knock back a few with the locals. What is a good red wine that is slightly sweet or has a mellow fruity taste? I hear people say to ask for the house wine, but how do I know it won't be dry?

Don't let me fall back on my destructive coke habit!
 
Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 04:36 PM
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You are " the original" ..Love it!

Try a Sancerre Rouge! though I also love the blanc

if after we all get home from our travels are you up for a CFl GTG?? in winter Park or Mt Dora? And where has hagan been lately?
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Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 04:38 PM
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Start reading some of the latest research about HFCS (high fructose corn sweetners) and maybe that will drive you away from Coca-Cola.

www.supermarketguru.com/page.cfm/2743
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Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 04:55 PM
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Degas
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jody, this is a serious plea for help from a man caught in a downward sugar spiral!

Seriously, thanks for the suggestion.
I heard red wine is good for the ole ticker!

Good idea about the meeting, but my schedule is up in the air. Set the date and I'll make every effort to come.

However, with the stock market so low, and my continued failure to win the lottery, I may have to take a job again which causes me to travel to the far ends of the earth. Darn the luck.

Still, somebody has to do it so the "little wife" can shop at Big Lot and go weekly to the beauty parlor to keep her towering beehive hairdo looking good!
 
Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 05:10 PM
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Hi, Degas!

Enjoy your postings very much!

Local wines are fine when you are in Europe. You didn't say where exactly in France and Italy, so will have to be general - e.g., in Rome, you can get wines which are sometimes called "vino romano", a local wine that is brought into Rome fresh from the surrounding countryside every day. They are very inexpensive and don't last long, which is why they are not bottled for later consumption. Very very drinkable on the day they arrive!

Generally, American wines tend to be "stronger" than French wines. I can't recall too many Italian wines to make this statement apply to Italian wines as well.

By "stronger", I mean it's more tart, bitter - well, stronger. French wines tend to be gentler and more mellow. Less punch, more smoothness. You'll know what I'm talking about if you try a French wine and then an American wine. Do the French wine first.

As for "fruity", a lot of "dry" American wines are billed as "fruity". Did you mean sweet and fruity? Like a dessert wine? Or just a more full bodied dinner wine?

There is a pre-dinner drink in France known as "kir". It is made with creme de cassis and a white wine. It is relatively "sweet". Try ordering a "kir" before dinner in France or make one yourself here at home - one part creme de cassis to about 5 parts white wine. Comes out light red and sweet.

A "kir royale" is made with champagne.

Your best bet, while in France and Italy, is still the local wine, the house wine. They are all very drinkable and some, like the one we had this summer in Alsace, surprisingly excellent. The price will also not break the bank!

Hope this helps! And have a great time "sampling" wines!

Jason
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Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 05:13 PM
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If talking about French reds, generally wines from Bordeaux may tend to be a bit heavier than say wines from Burgandy. Put another way, wines made essentially from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape will be heavier. Those made from a Pinot Noir should be a bit fruitier. A Merlot should be somewhere in the middle.

In terms of being dry, I'm not sure I've heard that term used in regards to red white, so much as it is used with whites. Heavier, bolder wines wines from Bordeaux will probably not fit what are looking for.

I might suggest that part of the fun of sitting in a Paris cafe is trying new wines. If you're going to France in mid to late November, look for the "Beaujolais Noveau Est Arrive" signs. A good Beaujolais might be a good starter on your path to drunkeness and debauchery.

One more wine tip, WHITE ZINFANDEL, is not a wine. It is grape juice.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 05:24 PM
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jason888, thanks for the info. I have a lot to learn.

A little background is in order. When I lived in Germany I drank white wine, mostly Spatlese (late harvest grapes) or Auslese(very ripe grapes). They were not quite desert wines, but much sweeter than say ordinary table wines.

I've had no experience with red wine, but am willing to experiment; especially if the house wines are not expensive.
 
Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 05:33 PM
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Ryan, so I guess my recent purchase of large jugs of Pink Passion and Red Ripple was a waste of money!

Seriously, I need to do a little taste testing before I get to europe and get all tongue-tied.

I recently tried and liked, a Lambrusco from Italy (Emilia). It was a soft red wine, slightly sweet with fruity aromas and flavors, and a tad effervescent.
 
Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 05:38 PM
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Mmmmm Degas, I cannot stand white wines, champagne or anything brut! But I do like a nice glass of vin rouge.
Most of the table wines in the bistros of Paris are very good. We like to drink Cotes du Rhone or Pinot Noir. The Yankee also likes his Cabernets and Merlots.
But I only drink with my dinner, otherwise I get tipsy and some of us might remember what Scarlett is like tipsy.
So this country girl will advise you to try a glass of Pinot Noir and do tell me how you like it
Mrs Degas would like it to, it goes well with chocolate~
*ps* I must admit, I have never had a Coke in Paris! But I do like Vitelle and I can say it so that is something easy to order if you just don't want any wine
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Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 05:42 PM
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In France and Italy, it is hard to beat the house wines . . to my pallete they are lighter and easier to drink than some of the old standbys. Most if not all cafes will have one on hand and asking the waiter for his reccomendation will seldom disapoint.

Enjoy . . Rich
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Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 06:25 PM
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I think some people just never like the taste of certain drinks, or they are acquired taste. Some of this must be innate, not related to age, as I have never liked sweet drinks even when I was very young. I don't think house wine is always so great, it really depends what it is, and what country. I have never had a decent house wine in an Italian restaurant in France, for example, but the French house wines are usually okay, although often not as good as if I order specifically from the wine carte.

I like a macon in France, but that is a very dry white wine, so I wouldn't recommend that. Once I read a wine column somewhere that said if you don't know what to order, you can't go too far wrong with a good Cotes du Rhone red, and I think that is true. It goes with almost anything, as does a Saumur Champigny, which is a light red wine from the Loire. Those are my two favorite lighter, all-purpose French red wines. I'm not sure these will be sweet enough for you, but they are not really dry or tannin-y and should be acceptable to most people. The saumur champigny is a lighter bodied wine, somewhat fruity, and may be a bit dry for you, but it is not usually very high in tannins. It would be better than a bordeaux.

Tannin is what may be perceived as dry or woody or astringent, the aftertaste you might get with a very strong cup of tea. There are red wines with more tannin than others, a Pinot Noir might suit you as it does not have nearly as much tannin as some others, such as cabernet sauvignon. Generally, I think you may not like high tannin content, which doesn't react well with fish. White wine doesn't have a lot of tannin, for example, although I think US producers make wine with more tannin because they over-oak it or something.

I think a merlot is a fruitier wine, and may be slightly higher in tannins, but it is softer and often medium-bodied and why it is so drinkable. The Beaujolais wines are also softer and fruitier and might work for you, I think they are from Gamay grapes which are fruitier.

Anyway, I'm not at all a wine expert, but these are some of my suggestions which I think might work, although I don't like sweet wine so maybe even these could be too dry for you.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 07:11 PM
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I'm a lover of wine when I travel in Europe or just hanging around at home. And I also think it doesn't matter at all if you don't know which wine to ask for. Its all about confidence. If you want a Coke at an outdoor cafe, say it like you mean it! If you want wine ask the waiter what he recommends and tell him OK! No need to worry about something which is so subjective.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 07:15 PM
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If you want a good sweet wine, ok, but not with dinner. With fruit or a dessert, try a Beaume de Venise.
it's commonly served over the wonderful Cavillion melon.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 07:20 PM
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Mmmm sounds so good Mimi
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Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 07:34 PM
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Degas looking for a wine education on fodors travel talk...now that's funny!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2003, 01:11 AM
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Thanks everyone for the great inputs. I learned a lot already. I'm going to take this thing one day at a time. Sing out if you know of any others I might try.

 
Old Oct 3rd, 2003, 01:45 AM
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I know that I will be crucified by any wine experts for this, but while I was in Italy I drank Lambrusco like it was water. It's a sweet, sparkling red wine, kind of a red champagne. The problem is you can only get a good Lambrusco in Italy, although I have found some good ones in Austria, the ones I have found in the States aren't very good.
P.S. You also have to drink the whole bottle, since it's sparkling it dooesn't keep.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2003, 02:30 AM
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If you're not a great fan of overly dry wine then perhaps you could try a medium rosé. For example, you could try a medium-dry Cabernet d'Anjou, which is one of my favourite wines to drink in summer. I'm not a great fan of Provence rosés as I often find them a bit acidic, and I would steer clear of the house rosé wines in most French restaurants as they are often of mediocre quality.

As for sweet wines, try sipping a glass of Montbazillac or Sauternes as an aperitif or to accompany (if you don't object to it) foie gras, or with dessert.
Jason's suggestion of kir is a good one - kir doesn't have to be restricted to cassis/blackcurrant - you can also use crème de mûre (blackberry) or crème de pêche.
You might also try sweet Muscat wine - a popular apéritif in France.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2003, 03:53 AM
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Degas - I can't drink dry wines, either. I keep trying everything, but so far you've already mentioned my suggestion. When I'm in Germany I drink the white 'halb troken' wines. YUM. Good luck with the red, I've yet to find one that I can enjoy (not merely gulp back).

I do like Sangria though - is there something comparable in France or Italy?
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Old Oct 3rd, 2003, 04:17 AM
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The problem with some sweet wines is that it can be a bit like drinking a child's sweet, if you know what I mean! I'd go for the Monbazillac too, but only with dessert or on it's own - never with a main course.

Something which can take the edge off the dryness is chilling the wine - the Italians do this quite a bit with some of there wines. In particular, the Gamay grape lends itself to this - many lighter Burgundy wines can be chilled, as can wines from Switzerland (yes, they do exist - they taste like a slightly heavier rose.)

Remember that in France they still tend not to advertise wine by the grape variety but by the region or even the vineyard, so you need to know the general areas.
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