Just a question - Printable Version

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- yabloka - 10-13-2003 02:26 AM

I've recently been given an opportunity to work at a place that has an extensive CA wine list. My problem is this. I know a bit about wine, various types of grapes, different aromas, how to serve it, but with such a specific list, I need to know how to recommend wines based off of the actual location of the vineyard (mountains vs. valley, coastal vs. inland, one valley vs. another) Being of somewhat limited budget, and being the only wine drinker in the house, I need to get creative ways to expose myself to these wines without drinking a bottle a night. Wine isn't THAT good for you! HELP!!

- Drew - 10-13-2003 06:22 AM

Wine IS that good for you [img][/img], welcome Yabloka. What you're describing the French call "terroir", that mixture of soil, environment and climate that lend unique flavors to the wine. I don't know how, other than tasting yourself, you could possibly learn these characteristics of specific wines on your list. If you trust certain wine writers and tasters, you might find printed tasting notes available for your wines. Also the winerys usually describe their annual offerings on their internet sites. Good luck.


- winoweenie - 10-13-2003 06:44 AM

Welcome to the board Yaloka. One Question....What about the bottle with LUNCH? ww

- ShortWiner - 10-13-2003 09:07 AM

Your employer really should train you in this area. No one should be expected to recommend wines without having tasted them.

- yabloka - 10-13-2003 10:48 PM

Yes, I realize that I should be formally trained, but the sad truth is I'm not. Having to deal with that, I'd rather be well informed than completely ignorant (and not to mention quite drunk after 1 or 2 whole bottles a day in my quest to find things out on my own!) Thanks for the advice!

By the way, I am having difficulty locating any information on a charbono. My wine book doesn't even mention it!

- Drew - 10-14-2003 02:23 AM

An uncommon red-wine grape grown in California's napa valley and mendocino county. Charbono wines are very dark in color, lackluster in flavor, and tend to be both tannic and acidic. Charbono is thought to have links to Corbeau (or Charbonneau), a rare French variety.

Type of wine: Bold, powerful red.

Origin: Thought to have originated in the Savoie region of France, some believe Charbono to be identical to the Dolcetto grape of Piemonte and, in fact, it is found there in both Dolcetto and Barbera vineyards. However, no wine labeled Charbono is produced in Italy. In California, it dates to the 1880s.

Description: Dark, almost opaque purple color with a distinctive aroma of Damson plums accented by nuances of tar, black pepper and old leather. A full-bodied palate with pronounced, but well-integrated tannins give it a rich texture and long finish.

Aging: Refinement develops over five to ten years, although the best Charbonos can age up to 20 years and develop a nobility of bouquet and flavor.

Best location: The vine does best in warm-to-hot climates where nighttime temperatures drop dramatically, facilitating acid development and retention. Small, old vineyards in Napa and Mendocino counties are the major sources of fruit in California.

The above was found on the net. My take on the grape is it produces wines that are tannic, rustic and acidic...have had a few and don't care for them. I have read that there is fewer than 100 acres planted world wide of the grape.
Other than this site go to there is a lot of info there geared for the wine newcommer.


- yabloka - 10-17-2003 12:59 AM

Hey! Thanks for the information and the link. I was wondering if there was a good source to get reviews from. I'm just excited that I now have an excuse to drink wine. The whole wine world felt so snobbish before. I didn't realize there were sites like this were I can ask for help without feeling completely inadequate. Thanks everyone!

- craigrow - 10-17-2003 12:02 PM

Buy "Great Winde Made Simple" by Andrea Immer. She describes how to make reliable predictions about wine based on the label. For example, cooler climates create wines which taste like fruits that grow in cooler climates, apples, pears. Hotter climates create wines that taste like fruits that grow in hotter climates, pinapples, mellons, etc. They're genearalizations, of course, but I find them pretty reliable.

- wineguruchgo - 10-18-2003 08:30 AM

You can go to the specific winery websites and most will have what they call "Fact or Tech" sheets. In there you will find a description of the wines.

You should not have to pay for a single bottle of wine! All winery/distributor reps are more than happy to come into the restaurant and taste the staff on the wines for free.

As a Beverage Manager for a chain of restaurants here in Chicago each September I have the reps come in a taste through their wines with my staff as a "refresher" for the upcoming holidays. We have 88 bottles on our list so this is no small feat. Yet our wines sales skyrocket after I do this!

I would beg/urge management to allow the reps to come in and train you!

- yabloka - 10-22-2003 08:06 AM

Thanks for the tip. I did go out and buy the book (and practically read it that evening!) I found it very useful, but I wish there was more information about some of the lesser known varietals. As for wineguru, what is the fun of exploring wine without buying any? The reps do come and let us taste, but with 85 cabs on the wine list and all of those from California, I was looking for a way to be able to pick up on the slight differences on my own. And boy is it fun!

- wineguruchgo - 10-22-2003 08:49 AM

Hey Yabloka!! Go for it!! I wish I had waiters that were willing to do their own tastings of the wine list at home!

Once you are really comfortable talking about the nuances between the wines you will be amazed at how much more money you will make!

I'm curious to find out which is your favorite and why.

- Thomas - 10-22-2003 09:21 AM

Don't bypass wineguru's comment about making more money. When the waiter knows enough to recommend wines that pair well with the meals, the tip often gets bigger.

- yabloka - 10-22-2003 11:18 PM

I wish I could afford the wine list! The Barelli Creek Cab was the most affordable wine available to me at $25! Ouch! As for my favorte wines, I have always been partial to reds (shiraz and cabernet especially), and the bolder the better. I like peppery, plummy wines, so this new experience of being forced to branch out is definitely exciting. I'm finding that not all whites are fruity "girlie" wines (I know I'll catch flak for that one, but it's late and I just got home from work) The Toad Hollow Cacophony was one wine I was taken by surprise with. As a waitress right now, I definitely realize the potential of not sounding like a bumbling fool when recommending wines. I'm studying wines more than I am Chemistry!

- Kcwhippet - 10-23-2003 03:26 AM

So, what restaurant are you working at? Maybe one of us knows it.

- yabloka - 10-23-2003 10:51 PM

I'm not saying where I work right now (you would laugh!), but the restaurant I will be going to (soon I hope!) is called The Kitchen. I'll be starting off on an on call basis, but hope to make it more permanent (hence the strong desire and motivation to learn quickly). I think their wine list is posted at

- Thomas - 10-24-2003 01:45 AM

yabloka, wine and chemistry go hand-in-hand. I sense the makings of a future winemaker...

- Innkeeper - 10-24-2003 07:54 AM

Very impressive, if not daunting wine list!

- yabloka - 10-25-2003 02:06 AM

Scary isn't it! Now you see why I am so serious! Anyways, I'm taking a much needed break tomorrow. Oktoberfest beckons!

- wineguruchgo - 10-25-2003 08:35 AM

Yabloka I'm going to do some research for you and see if I can narrow down this list for a you a little bit.

It may take me a couple of days, but I have a strategy.

I'll get back to you.

- yabloka - 10-27-2003 01:37 AM

I would be tremendously grateful for any help. After weeks of drinking wine, having beer last night was interesting, but then again so were all of the drunks! Hee hee.

Another question. I just purchased a late harvest Moscato. At what tempurature should I drink this? I'm kind of nervous, since I'm not too big on sweet wines.

[This message has been edited by yabloka (edited 10-28-2003).]