All About Wine Tasting

Jay and Brian
Jay (left) and Brian talk about wine tasting favorites

If you are under the impression that the only place you can drink wine is at home or at a restaurant, you’re in for a big surprise! There are many choices. Come join our hosts and hear about their experiences in tasting rooms, wineries, and even at your local retailer.

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Show #2
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Click Here: How to Taste Wine, without spilling it on your shirt

14 Responses to “All About Wine Tasting”

  1. 1 Tim E. Jan 21st, 2005 at 8:06 pm

    Merlot….. Ok this has been bothering me. My wife and I saw and enjoyed “Sideways” before Christmas but were caught by surprise by Miles’ comment about Merlot. “If anyone orders Merlot, we’re leaving… I’m not drinking Merlot”

    Not being a wine “expert”, I didn’t totally understand his comment. My first thought was that Miles was inferring that Merlot is a beginner wine and anyone who orders Merlot shows their wine inexperience. But then as I thought about it some more, I felt that he was promoting the “wine snobbishness” that the wine industry and your podcast is trying to break down. While the comment was funny in the movie, I think it sends out the wrong message to those that are still finding their way around the many varietals. “Am I allowed to drink merlot now? I don’t want to look like an amateur”

    So am I missing the joke here? For me if I like Merlot, I’ll drink it. So what if my palate isn’t refined, does that make me look silly. I can do that all by myself without the help of Merlot. My current fav is Zinfandels, I hope that’s not on the taboo list too. 🙂

    Keep up the good work. Today’s podcast and leigh’s recent comment has really piqued my interest in Paso Robles wines. Off to the wine store I go!


  2. 2 Mike P. Jan 21st, 2005 at 9:10 pm

    Hey guys,

    I really like this podcast, I’m not a big “wine guy” but I think your show is great, it’s simple but very interesting. It’s great to find a podcast that doesn’t talk about “podcasting”.

    I too am curious about the Merlot comments in “Sideways”. I say that line from at restaurant dinners now for a good laugh…but Merlot is my wine of choice most times. What’s the deal?

    Also, do you have any experience with Virginia wines? I’ve had some good ones on some tastings out here in the Virginia Wine Region, but can any compete with California wines?


  3. 3 John Hlinko Jan 21st, 2005 at 9:14 pm

    Well, I could personally take or leave Merlot. But while I loved the movie “Sideways,” I agree — drink what you like. To heck with “Wine police.” I like an Australian Shiraz myself, and I know I get looks of disdain sometimes when I say that. But if I hold my glass at just the right angle while drinking, that delicious Shiraz blocks those looks right out… 😉

  4. 4 Leigh Older Jan 21st, 2005 at 10:22 pm

    Great feeback. I have yet to see Sideways, but will be sure to check it out to get the full effect. I saw a license plate frame once that really cracked me up in a way, but also would lead to the issue of dogging certain varietals. It read “Friends don’t let friends drink white zinfandel”. A number of people just starting out with wine just see it kind of like drinking a light beer; just a refreshement. This is a great opportunity to show them new and more challenging things. If they get alienated by the Wine Police, all hope of educational value is lost on a personal hit for something they now are embarassed to like. Regarding Merlot, a wine industry friend of mine jokes about Merlot being a mixing grape. This is where the roots of bagging on Merlot have some history. To some purists, it only has a place in blends…but don’t move away from the varietal that you enjoy. When I ask people to qualify their negative comments about wine, its interesting to get answers for their reasoning…we all love our assumptions. I’ll share the only thing I’m an absolute expert on: my own wine preference with Merlot. I have very little Merlot in my collection; but when the food/time is right, I’ll grab some. One of the best wines I have is a reserve Merlot that I never would have found if I’d cut myself off from constant education. My wine journey along the way has included a lot of Merlot, and I love it since *most* new wine palettes (my experiences) find it a more favorable red than Cab to start off (less tannin). Preferences in wine change over time and the fun part is getting something different and new with every new grape and vintage that you discover!

    Leigh Older –

  5. 5 Jay Selman Jan 21st, 2005 at 10:27 pm

    There is with some, a sort of elitism in terms of wine. The stereotype of the wine snob does exist, but is not the norm. Those who look down on others for such a highly subjective thing are, IMHO, somewhat insecure in their own preferences. I have no problem with the idea that one may look down on a wine because it is not consistent with their own personal preferences. However, to judge others personal prereferences, well, lets just say, it’s sad. BTW, Petrus, which can cost thousands of dollars, the varietal? Merlot!

  6. 6 Leigh Older Jan 21st, 2005 at 10:40 pm

    Tim E:

    Enjoy those Zin’s and own it! What can possibly stand up better to BBQ, Pizza, grilled steaks, and cheeseburgers like Zin? Or even on its own without anything. Some Zins are a meal on their own. 1/2 my collection is Zins; its not the only thing out there for me, but if I had to choose one varietal on a desert island….I unashamedly say Zin. A little hint on grilled steaks and wine pairing…technically char-grilled meats will chemically conflict with say Cab, even though Cab is generally a great pair with non grilled beef. This is where a Zin can step in nicely. One more Zin note…be carfeul not to put old vine Zins with spicy food unless you are into having your face blown off! Figuratively of course.

    Leigh –

  7. 7 Lee Blattner Jan 24th, 2005 at 8:52 am

    Great show guys! What I really dig about your show is the absence of snobbery and the attention to gently educating those of us who know absolutely zero about the world of wine. I have to be honest, I would have expected a show about wine to be boring (to me), but I can see there is a lot more to this than I expected. Keep up the great shows!

  8. 8 Lenn Thompson Jan 24th, 2005 at 9:09 am

    Great idea and great first couple of episodes guys! Thanks for the email tipping me off…

    Best of all, I can listen at work…at least until my company’s firewall decides to block it!

    I’m going to do a little write up on you guys this week…I’ll let you know when it’s published.

  9. 9 Leigh Older Jan 28th, 2005 at 2:52 pm

    Thanks for the great feedback. We’re already planning to weave the concepts we get here in postings into future shows!

    Leigh Older – Grape Radio

  10. 10 Bobby Anderson Feb 5th, 2005 at 10:57 am

    Miles comment in regards to Merlot are myopic and ridiculous! Try Pahmeyer, Petrus, Shafer, Beringer Howell Mtn, Paloma………just to name a few. Merlot is a beautiful varietal that has been hammered recently but it is oftentimes blended in Meritage wines……..some of the best in the world. Sometimes shock value works in life…… getting me to comment on this board. Cheers……..

  11. 11 Brian Clark Feb 20th, 2005 at 3:28 pm


    Everybody says they like merot, but whenever we do a merlot tasting event nobody shows up. Seems like Syrah, Pinot are the hot alternatives to cab right now.


  12. 12 Peter Michel Mar 4th, 2005 at 9:28 pm

    Hey Brian,

    Just want to say hello, I will be this bookmarked and read up on the news. By the way, I am George’s bro.

    Take care,

  13. 13 Abby Genteel Jul 2nd, 2005 at 6:49 am

    Good morning, all.

    Re. Miles, Miles, Miles…

    Methinks it prudent, gentles, to remind all at this point that this is a guy who swilled the spit bucket. In other words, he’s what back in the English classes we used to call an unreliable narrator. There are several points in the film, in fact, where his wine tasting abilities are called into question (see the Sideways review elsewhere in Grape Radio, frinstance.) And (she said, getting all English geeky), if the ’61 Chevil Blanc is symbolic of Miles’ life, and is a blend of Cab Franc & Merlot, then Miles’ saying he hates Merlot and Cab Franc are an artsy way for the author to say Miles hates himself, yes? [Insert 25-page discussion of what the funeral/feast with the ’61 & the burger with a side of onion rings means…]

    Ta, darlings.

  14. 14 Eric Sep 7th, 2011 at 6:57 am

    I know I am quite late to the table but thanks for your podcasts. I have bookmarked the page and this is the first place I will stop to get info. Helps greatly when I go to wine tastings, at least I can keep up. Thanks.

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