Walter's World of Wines
Wine tastes good.
People consider me something of a wine expert; this is not true. I'm just someone who likes wine and knows a few things about the beverages he drinks. Wine experts are people who have special climate-controlled cellars and spend the annual gross national product of Botswana on wine and are on a first-name basis with people with names like Francois who live in Burgundy and own nice restaurants. I'm not like that. I'm too poor to be like that.
Nonetheless, a basic appreciation of wine is something that is easily in everyone's reach. With a little basic knowledge, one can go into a restaurant (nice ones, even!) and confidently order wine to match with dinner. A little knowledge can overcome the fear of new things that keeps most people from ordering something other than White Zinfandel (which is a terrible match for many foods, and frequently low quality in general) at restaurants. It's not hard. Give it a try. You'll find out about all sorts of tasty beverages. Your pocketbook will hate you for it.
That having been said, one should first start with learning a few basics about wine. Equally importantly, one should understand how to read a wine label, which is significantly easier than reading your average Nutritional Facts label. If you're curious, know that vintages sometimes matter.
You'll probably also want to know a bit about matching wine with food, since wine is a great way to spend lots of money at a nice restaurant. For other dietary restrictions, you can try kosher wines.
The rest is simply a little experimentation on your own. If you're interested, you can try wines from the various wine-growing regions of the world and see how they compare. I have made information available about some of the wines I've tried from the following places:
- France, the ultimate place for
wine snobs that also happens to make pretty good wine. France is
large and diverse enough in wine production and styles that most
works treat France as several regions, including:
- Bordeaux, home of the famous wine Chateaus and names like Lafite-Rothschild.
- Burgundy, land of ultra-rare and ultra-expensive sensual red wines, that requires an encyclopedia to navigate.
- Beaujolais, producers of extremely reasonably priced light, fun red wines.
- Loire Valley, makers of crisp, flavorful white wines and dessert wines.
- Germany, producers of the finest white wines in the world. Try a good Mosel Riesling Spatlese and you'll be singing "Deutschland Uber Alles" too.
- Italy, whose wines, along with their food, are the world's last, best hope for making me gain weight.
- New York, which makes surprisingly good white wine - some of the best in the nation.
- California, the largest wine producing state in the US, and the home of the perpetually trendy.
- Texas, up and coming wines from the Lone Star State.
- Australia, because they can make wine Down Under.
- Spain and Portugal, where Sherry and Port, as well as Rioja, is made.
- Chile, the best in value in the world
- Israel, home of innovative and tasty kosher wines.
- The Rest of the World also makes wine, and some of it is good.
In addition to the geographic regions, I also have pages that collect the above wine reviews into several categories:
- Sparkling wines, including champagne, asti, and your other favorite bubblies
- Dessert wines, the perfect way to end a good meal.
- Kosher wines, proving to the world that it isn't just Manischewitz
Finally, for you teetotalers, I have sampled a few non-alcoholic wines.
My comments on specific wines are presented in what I hope is a concise, easy-to-understand format. Red, white, and rose wines are distinguished by colored icons. The general format is:
1 January 2000 From the garage of Michel and Jean-Phillipe, punk rockers from Belgium, made in the style of their grandmothers, who never made wine. Available only at pretentious nouveau riche wine shops.
$ too much / bottle
Or, for Old World wines:
1 January 2000 This stuff is fine French swill. Nobody should drink it. Ha, ha, ha. Oui, Pierre? Oui, Monseiur Chang.
$ too much / bottle
They are conveniently indicated by color-coded bottles.
- Red Wine
- White Wine
- Rose (Blush) Wine
- Fortified Wine
- Sparkling Wine
You can also learn about my favorite wines, both for quality and price. The prices I cite are the prices I paid (or the price cited by whoever paid for it), and can vary depending on where you live.