Spec me wine

Soldato
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I'm seeing a woman who is really into wine but I don't really know much about wine, the other day she explained the difference to me between Merlot and Shiraz, she says her favourite is shiraz but I'd just like some tips for when I go buy wine.

Usually I follow some rules she explained to me, like, french is usually good, spanish is smooth, australian is strong, american is rubbish, but I'd like to find out more :D

Can you spec me some decent red and white wines I could easily have available in a place like Tescos?

Budget up to 20 pounds per bottle really.

Thanks
 
Soldato
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16 Oct 2005
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First of all:

I'm seeing a woman who is really into wine but I don't really know much about wine, the other day she explained the difference to me between Merlot and Shiraz, she says her favourite is shiraz but I'd just like some tips for when I go buy wine.

Usually I follow some rules she explained to me, like, french is usually good, spanish is smooth, australian is strong, american is rubbish, but I'd like to find out more :D

Made me laugh; she can't be that into it then.

As for recommendations, she says her favourite grape is Shiraz, any particular country or region? Very difficult to recommend a bottle without knowing what someone likes.

I'd avoid Tesco or the large chains of wine merchants (apart from Nicolas) as the choice isn't great. Waitrose is the best supermarket for wine by far and the small independent merchants are great as the staff 99% of the time know what they're talking about.

As a general rule, Shiraz (aka Syrah) from the French Rhône Valley, Australian Barossa Valley and Hunter Valley and California's Napa Valley are the top wines. Argentina and Chile are increasingly producing excellent Shiraz.

Vintages to look out for are 2007 for Rhône, Australia anything but 2003 really and California I'd say any.
 
Caporegime
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For Shiraz I'd also suggest from the Australian McLaren Vale region as excellent, not being a wine drinker (but living with one) I still remember looking for Xmas pudding one night just because I could smell it as clear as day.... yip was in her glass beside me :)
 
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Soldato
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Out of interest (and hopefully in line with the thread, though hopefully not taking it too off topic)

Does it matter much whether the bottle has a cork or a screw top? I always tend to find myself favouring corked bottles but i'm not sure if its making me rule out other good options
 
Soldato
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Here and There...
Out of interest (and hopefully in line with the thread, though hopefully not taking it too off topic)

Does it matter much whether the bottle has a cork or a screw top? I always tend to find myself favouring corked bottles but i'm not sure if its making me rule out other good options

Very little real world difference to the average consumer of supermarket wines.

If your into ageing and cellaring then there is an argument in favour of corks for flavour even though they increase the risk of spoilage.
 
Man of Honour
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Take her a bottle of Californian Zinfandel to quash her hatred of American wines. Should cost you about £8 max and will be a big sweet read with lots of spicy oaky flavours. Sounds stereotypical but it goes really well with burgers :p

Turning Leaf will do the job or Ravens Wood is a good one if you can get to a Waitrose :)
 
Soldato
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13,795
Out of interest (and hopefully in line with the thread, though hopefully not taking it too off topic)

Does it matter much whether the bottle has a cork or a screw top? I always tend to find myself favouring corked bottles but i'm not sure if its making me rule out other good options

You're definitely missing out.

Screwcaps are in fact very good. Wine stays fresher longer with screwcaps as they don't let any oxygen in. Only downsides are that wine takes longer to age under screwcap and apparently the wine can develop a sulphide type odor (due to the lack of oxygen) although I'm yet to experience this.

99% of top German Rieslings are screwtops, I'm talking the £100+ bottles so don't immediately be put off because a bottle doesn't use a cork.
 
Soldato
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You're definitely missing out.

Screwcaps are in fact very good. Wine stays fresher longer with screwcaps as they don't let any oxygen in. Only downsides are that wine takes longer to age under screwcap and apparently the wine can develop a sulphide type odor (due to the lack of oxygen) although I'm yet to experience this.

99% of top German Rieslings are screwtops, I'm talking the £100+ bottles so don't immediately be put off because a bottle doesn't use a cork.

Agree with this 100%. Plently of good wines have screw caps :)
 

Zip

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Soldato
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Out of interest (and hopefully in line with the thread, though hopefully not taking it too off topic)

Does it matter much whether the bottle has a cork or a screw top? I always tend to find myself favouring corked bottles but i'm not sure if its making me rule out other good options

No, it makes no difference, from what ive been told by the wine makers at work and its what that most wineries are using Screw tops now. The only reason they still get used at my work is because the Germans wont touch a bottle with a screw top because they associate it as a cheap wine which isnt good when Germany is one of your biggest exports:p
So my work and i would say a lot of other wineries would only use Corks for the Export market to places like Germany and I think China where they(The general Public) think only **** wine comes with a screw top.

I was also told this by the German exchange Cellar hand this year.
 
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Associate
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I'm not a wine expert but drink a fair amount of red. you won't get it in a supermarket, but it's fairly cheap and my favourite. a south african one called 'the wolftrap', locate and buy it, you'll both not be disappointed, also costs around £8 a bottle! :)
 

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Soldato
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Infact a cork can be more problematic. If it dries out it can shrink and break the seal or it can sometimes contaminate the wine.

That too. We geta lot of leaky bottles brought out to the lunch room for anyone to take home.
At my highest count mu collection was at 68 bottles :D

We also get screw cap bottles that have dented caps. And other bottles come out with nothing wrong at all some times:D
 
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