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What We Drink, Our Tasting Profiles and a Glossary

The Wine We Drink

My goal is to share wines that are currently available and that I hope you will enjoy.  They are not about Robert Parker or Wine Spectator scores or accolades in magazines.  Gary and I do not share the same wine likes and dislikes so we will be able to offer selections for a broader audience.  Our criteria to buy wine based on some crazy criteria.  Did the label capture our attention.  Was it rated by one of the superstore employees or one of the nationally recognized experts.  Was it on sale. We would buy wine at Target, Wine superstores, the grocery store, Costco… really just about anywhere.  To say we threw away a lot of wine is an understatement.

We then started shopping at a small local wine store where the owner of the store tasted everything that she chose to stock.  Daunting, I know but that way she knew exactly what she was buying.  She also has an uncanny ability to remember her customers likes and dislikes.  I will never forget one of our early visits and I asked her if a wines good or not.  Her comeback was,  Is it for me or for Gary?  I said me and she said, “No! put that down but if it was for Gary then yes”  I was taken aback and bought it anyway.    I hated it.  And no surprise Gary loved it.

So her shop has become our primary locale for most of our purchases.  Gary and I are lucky to have a purveyor who knows and understands our different palates but not everyone is so fortunate.  Several years later during a transitionary time for Gary we worked part-time at the shop.  Over the 2 1/2 years he was able to taste thousands of wines which really refined his palate.  I depend on him and the knowledge he gained during that time.

We drink red, white and rosé wines.  Most of the wines are from France but we do venture into other regions on occasion.  The normal spend is $11-$20 per bottle but will certainly go lower when we find something we like and will go higher for special purchases.

Our wine profiles

Our wine style preferences are very different but we do meet in the middle with wine we both enjoy.

I tend to drink mostly red and french rosé wines.  I love “hearty” Pinot Noir so that eliminates most Pinots from Oregon as they tend to be much lighter.  I look for wine from the southern half of the California Central Valley Region – Santa Barbara/Paso Robles area when buying Pinot Noir.  I also drink California Zinfandel and Red Blends, and French Coté du Rhone and Chateauneuf du Pape.

My “go to” red wine is medium bodied although I will go light bodied in summer and full bodied when it’s cold put.  I used to say that I did not drink white wine.  But while at a tasting, it was suggested that perhaps I just had not found a white wine that I liked.  At that tasting they offered a white that I loved.  So far, I learned that white blends from France from the Coté du Rhone and Chateauneuf du Pape regions to be in line with my palate.  Coté du Rhones will be less expensive of the two.

I prefer wines that are well balanced but can easily tolerate more fruit. Dry wines that make you pucker and feels like a desert sand storm blew across your tongue are not my thing.  A lower alcohol content is preferred as I do not want intense alcohol in the nose or on my tongue.  That limits but does not exclude California wines because they tender to be higher in alcohol.

Gary likes all varieties of wine.  Right now he chooses French rosé as his “go to”.  It used to be white wines like Chablis or unoaked Chardonnay.  He likes his red wines dry to very dry.  So dry to me they seem dusty and well, dry in the mouth.  He prefers medium to full bodied wines.  He does not like too fruity or sweet unless it’s a dessert wine  Alcohol content is not an issue for him.

Here are some terms that may help along the way.  This is a partial list culled from the Wine School of Philadelphia dictionary.


acidity — the liveliness and crispness in wine that activates our salivary glands

balance — a term for when the elements of wine – acids, sugars, tannins, and alcohol – come together in a harmonious way

body — a tactile sensation describing the weight and fullness of wine in the mouth.  A wine can be light, medium, or full bodied.

complex — a wine exhibiting numerous odors, nuances, and flavors

dry —  a taste sensation often attributed to tannins and causing puckering sensations in the mouth; the opposite of sweet

finish  — the impression of textures and flavors lingering in the mouth after swallowing wine

fruity — a tasting term for wines that exhibit strong smells and flavors of fresh fruit

mouth-feel — how a wine feels on the palate; it can be rough, smooth, velvety, or furry

oak/oaky — tasting term denoting smells and flavors of vanilla, baking spices, coconut, mocha or dill caused by barrel-aging

spicy — a tasting term used for odors and flavors reminiscent of black pepper, bay leaf, curry powder, baking spices, oregano, rosemary, thyme, saffron or paprika found in certain wines

structure — an ambiguous tasting term that implies harmony of fruit, alcohol, acidity, and tannins

sweet — wines with perceptible sugar contents on the nose and in the mouth

tannins — the phenolic compounds in wines that leave a bitter, dry, and puckery feeling in the mouth