Jump to content

Which Wines Best Represent Their Type?


Recommended Posts

I am interested in trying wines that best represent their respective types. While there is a ready supply of wines at my supermarket for $10-$15 that are just fine for weeknight dinners, I find that -- over time -- these wines all begin to taste the same. Lately, I feel as if the label is the only thing allowing me to tell the difference between a cabernet or a merlot or a pinot. My taste buds have grown stale from lack of use.

In contrast, some wines (that aren't necessarily expensive) can really show off their stuff. I remember trying a Brown Estate zinfadel that set off a little pop in every taste bud in my mouth. It helped me realize what good zinfadel should taste like. Similarly, a $25 bottle of barolo from WholeFoods (whose name is now lost to time) tasted so rich and smooth that it gave me the perfect sense of what barolo should be.

I understand that wine tasting is a personal experience and subjectivity plays a big role in recommendations. However, I am wondering if folks have any wines they would recommend that do an excellent job representing their type. Is there a cabernet (or merlot or pinot) that makes you say, "Now this is what cabernet (or merlot or pinot) should taste like!"?

And are any of these wines under $40? Because that's about all I can afford. (The Brown Estate zinfadel goes for about $35, and I can't recommend it enough, btw).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that can be a really tough one when you're looking just at varietals. A merlot from, say, Pomerol in Bordeaux is going to taste very different from a California merlot. I know it can be overwhelming, but getting just a bit more specific could help you get a sense of what's to be expected from certain wine types- not just varietals.

For example:

Oregon Pinot Noir- I think that Archery Summit's readily available Premier Cuvee Pinot Noir is a solid example of that wine type. Lots of typical black cherry fruit, spices and a bit of earthiness. Can't remember, but I'm fairly certain you can find it under $30.

Any other thoughts, folks?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vinist raised a great point. for example, with Pinot, there are at least 7 or 8 areas you need to look at to get a grasp of what the US is doing, to day nothing of new Zealand, France etc.

Since my pockets are not deep enough, I leave red burgundy for tastings by distributors where I don't have to pay! But I am a fan of pinot from the US so here are a few:

Oregon: Chehalem 3 Vineyards (may be called 3 vines)

Russia River: David Bruce makes a fine one, as does Gary Farrel. I am not a fan of the huge Turley influenced (Helen, not Larry) extracted wines.

Green Valley: Marimar Torres or Iron Horse

Coastal: Dutton Goldfield Devil's Gulch Marin County (may be over $40 a bottle but really fine stuff).

Santa Cruz Mountains: spring for the David Bruce.

Monterrey: Case from Talbott or Morgan 12 clones

Santa Lucia Highlands: Miner Gary's Vineyard

Santa Barbera: Sanford

I could go on and name 20 more rom these areas that would fill the bill just as well, but I think these wines particularly represent the terroir of their various growning areas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...