Good Wine?

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Senior Member
Nov 26, 2008
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I would like to hear some comments on what a good wine is
I don't have a clue because some supposedly good wines don't taste so good to me. Could it be I'm just uncivilized or uneducated?
Interesting timing. Today there has been a short discussion on another forum about Yellow Tail wines particularly the Shiraz. First, I should say that I have never tasted any of the Yellow Tail wines. It is a very popular inexpensive wine. Costco in Spokane WA sold 1.5 litre bottles for under $10 (I havent been there since probably May). A couple of years ago it was the best selling wine in BC.

Despite these positives, there are a LOT of people who think it is crap. I know one person who describes it as the McDonalds of wine - cheap but you know what you're getting.

So how does this apply to you. There are many many wines and not everybody (despite what some publications imply) has the same tastes.

Wine snobs think Wild Vines and Arbor Mist wines are garbage. Admittedly, they are sweet and light in alcohol. But many people do like them. I call them 'pop wines'. They are an excellent intro to wine for non-wine drinkers. My son used to like them, but he is now finding most of them too sweet. But the wines I like are too dry for him. He's looking for something in between.

Can you tell us what you have tried recently and why you didn't like it?

Just as Steve said. Different tastes for different people.

If you think it's good wine, then it IS good wine... to you. And really, as you are the person buying it and drinking it, that is all that matters. :)
Like the Tooth said.

I have tasted a lot of terrible french wines which were
supposingly good.
I have tasted cheap wines which were superb.

The best wines I have ever tasted were my own elderberry, elderflower, strawberry and apple-peach.

You decide what is good and no-one else !!!

Would you post me the Apple Peach recipe
I was given 2 1.75 litre bottles of local elderberry made in 1994, at first I didn't like it much but now I'm wishing I had a few more bottles :D
"Wine snobs think Wild Vines and Arbor Mist wines are garbage"

I am just getting started in this hobby.

I do not drink much because I could never find a wine I liked. I have been trying different wines and I really like the Arbor Mist peach chardonnay for $3.50. Wish it had a little more peach flavor. So I decided to purchase a $30 bottle of peach chardonnay. Hated it.

Does anyone know if the Peach Island Mist kit is anything like it?
Or how to reproduce something like the Arbor Mist?
The mist kits are similiar to the Arbor mist you are referring to I.M.O. although again there isnt much peach flavor in those either, its more like a hint. As for wines you will like and not like thats all personal preference and must add that i started off just like you making only fruit wines but after awhile my tastes have changed and now I particularly like red wines but still like the fruit wines as much. I still dont really care for dry white wines though!

I'm not much of a peach fan, so haven't tried the various peach chardonnays. (But I am surprised that you found a $30 one.)

I can tell you that Orchard Breezin' Blackberry Merlot is very similar to Wild Vines Blackberry Merlot. Haven't had them side-by-side for a true comparison but did have them about 3-4 weeks apart.

Just because it is expensive sure don't mean it is good. What you need to do is start with less expensive brands of particular varietals. Try all different styles. When you find a few that are decent to your palliate try a bit more expensive bottle or just keep drinking the ones you found you like. It is impossible for anyone to tell you what brand you will like. Many people like sweet or off sweet wines, I don't care much for them. Some like a Merlot but not a Cabernet or vice versa. Some like a Chard but not a Pinot Gris. Some like a Yellow Tail Cabernet, others want a Schafer Cabernet. On and on.

It boils down to this. A good wine is what ever you like. Don't feel you need to be pressured to like a particular style, brand or cost level. If someone wants to drink a glass of Boone's Farm while I drink a glass of Shafer, so be it, We both are having what we like and having a good time. Don't try to keep up with the Joneses, just be yourself. :b
Why not get out a bit and try some small local wineries, do some tastings....OR just go to grocery store and try a variety of reds one weekend with some friends, some cheese and some chocolate. Be sure to take notes because after a few bottles you will most definitely lose interest in comparisons!
I find the same thing with cigars. I've had all sorts; expensive, cheap, and cubans. They all tase like A$$! It boils down to personal preference. I've had $10 yellowtail that tased better than a $30 bottle.
I think wine is a lot like being introduced to music. You start out with what's on the radio and consumed by the masses. This would be stuff like the Australia's Lindemans, California's Ernest and Julio Gallo, Chili's Santa Carolina, Italy's Masi, etc. The average section of your liqueur store is going to stock only the 2 or 3 most popular wineries from each producing country in large quantities.

But there's a reason why they're so popular. They are sold "ready to drink" and require no additional aging by the customer. They're inexpensive, produced in huge quantities every year for each varietal, and are available everywhere. And to be honest, these mainstream wines aren't half bad.

I'd stick with these popular, widely available, and inexpensive wineries until you get to know them - sampling various types and varietals of wine made by each, at least until you know what types of wine you enjoy most. For reds, do you enjoy a palate of fresh berry with hints of vanilla, or do you prefer earthy tones with notes of cinnamon? Even this is a ridiculous oversimplification, because wine is about the most variable and complex "food" you'll ever test with your senses.

I agree with others here about visiting wineries and wine tastings. Even take advantage of free promotional wine tastings at your local wine store. We used to organize a "wine night" once a week, where each of us would take turns hosting a party where everyone was expected to bring a bottle of wine to. All the wine goes on a table, and everything is opened at once to allow people to choose what they want.

Once you know exactly what you like, let the staff know while you visit a much larger wine store and they'll usually be of great help in expanding your wine "horizon". To a certain degree, price does make a difference generally speaking. Just keep in mind that the $8 bottle of wine is meant to be drunk right away, while more expensive wines may not be. In fact, the higher the price, the more chance there is that the bottle of wine you buy might need (or at least benefit from) additional aging.
IF i MUST buy wine (and, gee, why would any one of us because our closets are full of our own good hooch) I would buy Kendall Jackson Merlot or Pinot Noir. $12/bottle. Not cheap, but not breakin' my bank, either. WHY is it good?'s not too acidic and it has a good aftertaste. So...I guess, THAT's the definition of a good wine, at least to me.
Generally speaking, the wines that the "experts" recommend, are the wines that I don't like.

I much prefer the sweeter wines, and I tend to buy the cheaper wines. Alice White Red Lexia (and plain old white Lexia), are two wines that I like.

Granted, I've never tried expensive wines. But any wine that is completely dry (or close to it) is not for me.

Think about it. In all drinks except wine, almost everyone much prefers sweetness. Sodas, tea, coffee, gatorade, fruit juices, etc. Almost everyone prefers these drinks to be sweet. Yet when it comes to wine, the "experts" would have us believe that the best is dry.

Admittedly, people can acquire a taste for dry wines over time. And I don't begrudge anybody who loves their dry wines. They're just not for me.
When I started making wine SWMBO only liked sweet wines. Like the Island Mist line and White zinfandel. NOW, she cant stand a sweet wine. My wife and Daughter now love dry wines. partial to reds but now changing to whites also.
I think my opinion is in the minority here, but I tend to share the tastes of the "experts." I do believe that there are such things as "good" wines and "bad" wines and that it is not solely determined by subjective opinion and personal taste. Qualities such as balance and harmony of components, depth of flavour, complexity, length, expression of grape variety and region are all factors that contribute to a wine's quality. Whether or not you enjoy a particular wine, you can still judge its quality by assessing these factors. For example, I don't really enjoy fortified wines that much, but I can still ascertain whether or not the one I am tasting is "good" or not.

While you can definitely find excellent inexpensive wines, many mass produced commercial wines are designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator and while they are sound and cleanly made, they are often boring and lacking in character. I think that truly fine wine should sometimes have a challenging element to it... something that makes you think and question what is in the glass... much like a stinky cheese has some borderline unpleasant notes that are balanced by the more easily appreciated qualities of richness, unctuousness, etc. I've tasted some outstanding wines that have had aromas and flavours that I probably would have found objectionable when I first started drinking wine.

I would never try to suggest to people that they drink something they don't enjoy, and I would never look down on someone for drinking something that I personally think is "bad wine" (I'm a wine geek, afterall, not a wine snob!) but I think that there are objective factors that can be assessed to determine quality.

Also, I think it is important for winemakers to taste as many wines as possible from as many wine producers, regions, and grape varieties as possible. How else can we hone our palates and improve our tasting abilities?
I'm very much a novice when it comes to wine. I've recently discovered how much fun it is to make wine, and so I have an interest in "understanding" the wine culture. History, types of wine, what wines supposedly go with what foods, etc. And I think I'd like to vacation in California some time for the sole purpose of attending some wine-tasting events. I'd like to sample a wide variety.
While trying new wines is fun and broadens your potential appreciation for the experience, it also helps you increase your chances of making great wine. Making wine without knowing wine is very much like attempting to be a musician who has never heard music, or a fiction writer who has never read a book. And a wine maker who only knows the mainstream inexpensive wines at your local store is like a musician attempting to write a masterpiece whose only heard Britney Spears songs.

Not to insult the Britney Spears fans among us here....
I'm very much a novice when it comes to wine. I've recently discovered how much fun it is to make wine, and so I have an interest in "understanding" the wine culture. History, types of wine, what wines supposedly go with what foods, etc. And I think I'd like to vacation in California some time for the sole purpose of attending some wine-tasting events. I'd like to sample a wide variety.

I don't know where you live (please update the Location field in the Control Panel), but you don't have to go to California to go wine tasting.

Admittedly, I have lived near at least 50 wineries since the end of September, and haven't gone to any of them. Too lazy, I guess. Although I drive past them regularly.