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Snooth User: Ed71

Can an advanced wine drinker drink low end wine?

Posted by Ed71, Jul 15, 2014.

Hey dudes,

Just a wondering if an advanced wine drinker with years of experience in his tastes and palate, could possibly drink the lower end stuff?

Its my experience that some have and will not lower themselves to such standards. But what if he/she cannot control the situation? What if it is merely by chance with friends and relatives that he is forced to drink boxes of Franzia wine at his get together? Will he/she refuse such an offering and be labeled a somewhat snoot or out of bounds of normal social settings?

Personally, I would drink it no matter its content (as long as it had alcohol) a get together is what it is....a get together. I personally am not an expert on wine, but I have tasted expensive wine I myself cannot afford which I can say was one of those experiences you never forget. (and wish you had more of it)

But I have also seen well to do people whom I know can afford and have the ability to buy good wine, sit down and drink crap normal table wine and have no complaints about it.

This always confused me since these same friends had basements with their own selection of wine aging away. But they didnt complain about what they were drinking. This is a total reverse of what I seem to hear on the internet on how wine experts refuse refute and totally abhor anything that isnt "great" wine.

How can this be?

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Reply by Really Big Al, Jul 15, 2014.

I think it depends on how you were raised.  Those who have learned to respect other people's opinions and tastes understand that you can't always have it your own way.  You learn to accept the times in which you must drink crap wine (yes, a good quote).  You offer helpful suggestions when it's appropriate but you don't push someone into spending over their budget to satisfy your personal agenda.  Then there are those folks that must always command the situation - having it their way 99% of the time.  You know the type - arrogant like Donald Trump.  Nobody wants to dine with someone like that.

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Jul 15, 2014.

Great topic. I've always been one for enjoying the spectrum of what's out there. I love splurging on great wine, but am just as happy sipping from a cheaper bottle if the setting and the company are right. It's not worth offending people who may not have the spare cash or time to "wine up".

Time and again I prove to myself that you don't need to spend a lot to have great wine. Just pick a good source/curator/retailer to guide you and go for unfamiliar regions and varieties. Or get on a few good email lists and watch for deals.

If you're already feeling spoiled and can only drink the best, then I'm sure there are a few folks here who wouldn't mind an invite to your next event or party.

Reply by dvogler, Jul 15, 2014.


What you described at the end of your post, is reality for the majority of people who not  only like quality wine, but like drinking wine daily.  I have about eighty bottles of nice wine, maybe half of that is over $50 bottles and most need quite a few years.  It's difficult to sit on and not touch it.  I can't afford however, to drink even $30 bottles during the week (maybe I could open one and have a glass each day for three days).  So, like everyone else, I have some go-to's (Spanish, Australian, Argentina..even Italian) that are under $20 and are NOT crappy. 

Now, if I were at a celebration of sorts, and there was a toast, I would at least participate, but if the wine is truly awful, then I wouldn't keep drinking it.  There are some crappy wines though that are a bit better the next day or two days later.  I can drink a Yellow Tail shiraz two or three days after opening (not that I buy it, one was given to me about a year ago) and actually find some pleasantries.

There is nothing wrong with liking lower quality wine.  That's great for those with palates that can tolerate it.  Really, it's all originating in the nose, but you get the point. 

Al, I'd dine with Don anytime! 

Reply by GregT, Jul 15, 2014.

Depends on what you mean by "low end" and whatever you mean by "advanced" drinker. If by "low end" you mean inexpensive, that has nothing to do with quality. If you mean bad wine, that's a different issue. Same thing with "advanced". If you mean someone who has simply had a lot of wine, that's one thing. If you mean someone advanced in years, that's different again and if you mean someone who loves wine, that's different again.

Some people can't stand fish or seafood. If you invite them over and serve them fish, are they supposed to be happy? Some people even have allergies. Not the fashionable ones these days but real allergies. I had a girlfriend who was allergic to lobster. We didn't know and she'd actually eaten it before but one Christmas Eve our hosts in Belgium prepared lobster. Her throat became so swollen she almost died. Who knew? I think we all know people like that but you can't accommodate every whim of every guest or you'd be running a commissary rather than a home.

I suppose I've probably had as much wine as anyone here. If you invite me to your house and you serve me Franzia from a box, I won't drink it.  I'd feel the same if you served me Domino's pizza or MacDonald's burgers or KFC. It's rather rude to invite someone over and offer them crap. Why would anybody do that? Doesn't mean you have to be a talented chef but for example, if you bake some cookies, I'd try them. If you open a box of Oreos, I'd pass.

It has nothing to do with price. You could probably get a bag of carrots or even some reasonable cheese and crackers for whatever you'd pay for KFC. If you invite people over and let them know they're not worth the time to make any effort, I'm wondering why you'd invite them over in the first place.

I wouldn't try to make a big deal of it and insult you in your own home however. I'd probably ask you for some water or juice or something because as mentioned, the point is to visit with the people. I can always get something to eat if I'm hungry.

That's not even to say that all boxed wine is bad. In fact, there's some reasonable wine out there in boxes and every year more people are wising up to the fact that it's a great way to ship and store wine, so the choices are increasing. Again, price and quality are only loosely correlated. But if your goal is to foist the cheapest stuff you can on to your guests, that's quite a message you're sending them.

I have a lot of friends who don't care much for wine and they'll ask me over once in a while. They grill hot dogs and burgers. I'll just drink beer or find something else. I don't think there's a time when you have to drink crap wine or eat crap "food", any more than I'd smoke cigarettes or cigars with them just because that's what they do.

You don't need to insult your hosts, but you don't need to participate in all of their activities either. If you have any wit about you, you figure out a way to make it work for everyone without anyone feeling bad or inadequate. That's just being a good guest.

It's funny but I don't know anyone who would serve me Franzia! I generally bring a bottle or a few and most people, even those who don't drink much wine, are usually interested. In fact, for those people it's kind of more interesting. And for some, it's live and let live. Those people who do the hot dogs - I noticed the guy wasn't drinking wine. I asked him and he said no he didn't care for it. So he sticks with beer. He's a good buddy and we get along fine.

Reply by JonDerry, Jul 15, 2014.

This comes up for me every now and again. Sometimes I'll politely decline but most of the time I'm game to try whatever mass manufactured nonsense that might be in front of me. At least a sip anyway.

The other day the host of a party was giving away bottles of wine from a wedding the night before. I knew I shouldn't have taken it, but I did anyway. Well that bottle turned out to be an inconvenience the next day as I was trying to leave work and discovered it was in my trunk with the cork half out. 

Reply by napagirl68, Jul 15, 2014.

In the words of GregT:  It's rather rude to invite someone over and offer them crap. Why would anybody do that?  

Yes, why?  This made me chuckle because I used to have a "friend" who only served decent wine for herself and me.  She would keep a good bottle hidden in the kitchen, and pour the other crappy wine for the rest of the guests.  And I mean crappy wine, not necessarily inexpensive wine.  She says these other people, not being into wine, won't know the difference.  I told her she is a bit*%.  How will they learn about wine if you keep serving them crap?  Finally got sick of her 'tude, as well as her tendency toward rudeness to waitstaff.  Ugh.

At the same time, If I am having friends or family over that aren't into wine, or just want a glass of "red" or "white", I still would never serve crap!  BUT, I also won't pull out that $100 bottle that I've been saving.  With friends that are into wine OR express any interest in learning about wine, I tend to get WAY too generous and end up pulling all kinds of good stuff.  Turns into quite the party ;-)

Inexpensive wine does not have to be crappy.  I just had a Sauv Blanc the other night that I posted on "whatcha drinking tonight" thread.  It was $4.99 at a discounter.  It is decent.  Not the best Sauv Blanc, but it was very approachable.  I am not rich by any means, and while I have some very nice bottles, and tend to spend too much money on wine, I also cannot afford to drink $50/bottle wines all the time.  As a matter of fact, some of those $50 bottles were NOT as enjoyable as a few of my $15 bottles. 

Back to the original question:  I have never tasted Franzia from a box.  If I were at someone's house and they served it to me, I would try it.  If it was something I could drink, I'd have the glass out of politeness.  Especially if I knew that the hosts were not into wine (so maybe they don't know if a wine is good or not) or of limited income.  There are crap wines I have tasted that will never pass these lips again.  One is the infamous two buck chuck.  If someone were to offer me that, I would decline.  And lastly, if I was invited to someone's home or event, and I knew that person had some basic knowledge about wine,  I would expect them to serve something decent (not necessarily expensive, but good).  If not, I would think of them as cheap and rude (like my ex-friend), and no longer attend their events.  If it was a family member who was acting cheaply or rude (yes, I have one of those),  I would BYOB, pop it there and ENJOY.

Reply by barolo, Jul 15, 2014.

Wine selection is like fine art. Purchase and enjoy what 'you' like, what delights 'you'.

There are many inexpensive wines that are really quite good, even excellent depending on pairing and place. Never be embaressed or afraid to follow your heart. 

As for price, with wine it usually means nothing. It is a market value set by others that may or may not meet with your Value approval. If it doesn't? Move on. You have the entire world to explore.

That said, if it really seriously piques your interest, your curiosity, why then, why not? Does one glass, even one bottle really hurt the budget when looked at from your own personal perspective?

One of the most bitterest disappointments in life is for those looking in the mirror and lamenting why did I not? and finding age, economics, placement, or health keeping them from reaching back for the golden ring missed. And who wants that?

Reply by dmcker, Jul 15, 2014.

Hey, I drink $4 tempranillo from time to time. Give it a few hours to breathe and it's certainly acceptable with several pairings. Can even work better than a number of mistaken efforts at 10x its price.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Jul 15, 2014.

I love finding a good deal on wine.  Not long ago, I took a flyer on a Chianti that had been labeled for an Asian market and found its way to my local discounter for maybe $5.  It was okay, and I drank the whole bottle.  Someone brought a bottle of South American cabernet (that ought to be in quotes) that was wretched.  We had a lot of good wine that night, and I kept opening more bottles while everyone ignored that one.  Next day it went on the vinegar shelf.  I bought a pinot from the discounter that my wife opened while I was in Italy and she thought it was not good enough to revisit over the next few days, so we vinegared it.

But if I'm at a party or dinner and someone asks if I'd like a glass of wine?  Do I ask what they are pouring? Even then, it might be some fruit bomb they love that I know nothing about.  I might find it pretty wretched.  If they know me well enough to know I like wine and drink a lot, chances are they hope I like it.  So they probably won't serve me what they think is crap. That can make it awkward if I think it's crap.  I make a couple neutral combinations--"It's very rich, lots of upfront fruit" -- and make an excuse not to have more. 

I've unintentionally served bad wine--tried on the recommendation of a shop or what have you, and it turned out not to be anything I liked.  Then I go and grab another bottle and apologize.

I do know people who invite guests but don't like to cook and have no apparent discernment; they order in something that shows that it's not important to them.  Not too many friends like that.  What would actually disturb me more is the former friend of NG's who knew the difference and assumed those guests didn't know or care.  Just the idea of serving your guests something you wouldn't consume unless you know that's their preference is incredibly bad manners.  If my friends wanted two buck chuck, I might try to talk them out of it, but I'd serve it. But I wouldn't pour myself a glass of something good out of their sight and give them something I wouldn't consume.  Yikes.

Another way to look at the question:  Say you've been drinking really demanding wines, like nebbiolo and Burgundy, that have unusual profiles.  Can you drink, say, a simple fruity crianza tempranillo?  And I think DMcker got that right.  Sometimes a nice fruity (but not fruit bomby) young wine is just what dinner needs.

Reply by napagirl68, Jul 15, 2014.

LOL... nothing is worse than being invited to a party at someone's house, and being served two buck chuck, while sitting in their dining room looking at a very impressive 100+ bottle collection.  This actually happened to me (it was a work acquaintance).  It wasn't a big gathering either- only ~6 people or so.  I would have much preferred the host to ask the attendees to bring a bottle of wine to open (when asked if they could bring something).

Reply by vin0vin0, Jul 15, 2014.

So when my family gets together, Dad likes his white zin or even more so, his white merlot and the sisters enjoy their piesporter. Now I am not much of a sweet wine drinker, so for family events either I bring something I like and offer to share or I ask the proverbial question - what beer do you have?  The fam knows I like my wine and don't try to force anything on me and vice versa.  Their typical response (which I can appreciate) is that they just can't really tell the difference or even, that stuff you like is too dry!

Thinking back, we have been in a couple social settings (primarily weddings) and were served some kind of fairly generic, not real nice swill, and we just drank it. We had a great time celebrating the event and didn't get worked up about the wine knowing we had some good stuff waiting back home.

Reply by dvogler, Jul 15, 2014.

Since we're talking more specifically about etiquette, I try to bring something that I won't be disappointed if the plonkers try it.  When I go to my wife's padding team parties, I bring something I want and make no bones about not sharing it, unless there's someone deserving or genuinely interested, but they know better than to approach my bottle.

Reply by GregT, Jul 16, 2014.

Yep. That's why I usually bring something. (And will be bringing something for dinner with Foxall this week because who the hell knows what he'll try to foist off on us!!!!!!!)

More seriously though, you don't need to be a jerk but nor do you need to subject yourself to crap. I agree w NG - if I were served Franzia I suppose I would try it, just out of curiosity. I actually went and bought a bottle of Two Buck Chuck several years ago because I really wanted to like it. It was undrinkable. Now since I think that's the source of Two Buck Chuck, I'd expect that wine to be just as bad. However, there are some box wines that would make perfect sense at a pool party where people just aren't into wine all that much. Both Argentina and Australia put out some rather decent products in that category.

Seems kind of gauche to keep a good bottle in your cupboard and serve the guests plonk. I wouldn't do that. I'd drink anything I would serve my guests. OTOH, I have friends who have done that and of course I made sure I was near the cupboard at all times.

I mean, there's a time to stand on principle and there's a time to make sure you get the good stuff. In life it's far better to feel sorry for someone else than it is to feel sorry for yourself.

Reply by Ed71, Jul 16, 2014.

Well, maybe I used the word "Crap" wrongly. It should be...."wine that is not good wine".  But truthfully, I can drink the most sour and vinegary wine out there and still be happy. Not so good wine to me, is simply a drink with alcohol in it and is mostly used for getting a buzz and getting ones daily resvertrol from wine.

Call me an alcoholic, but thats just how I see it. I never turn down wine even if its boxes of Franzia. However when it comes to "good" wine or even expensive superior wines, its a whole different story. Something not for catching a buzz, but to experience that specific moment. (like a good scotch, cognac, or an aged cigar) Simply to be immersed in pleasure and enjoyment of the senses.

So unless Im at a wine party, or tasting event will I expect something decent. Big parties or just cookouts I usually expect boxes of Franzia and cheap fuzzy beer. (which to my delight I will indulge myself quite happily.)

As for some of my other well to do wine collecting friends, I too also notice that they usually serve up some lower brands or much cheaper wines instead of their 100 dollar collections. But I dont blame them, very good wine isnt cheap and the good stuff is used for very personal important  occasions.

Of course if I were rich and had money to blow, Id have nothing but the good stuff. I'd be at some auction bidding on cases of rare wine or barrels themselves from the actual producer.

But no, Im at the bottom and it isnt all bad like your common day roman soldier, Im stuck with whats affordable. But hey!......any wine (IMO) is better than NO wine! ( long as its made traditionally...unlike some of your store "bumwines" which isnt really wine but more of a flavored juice with added alcohol)

Reply by outthere, Jul 16, 2014.

We'll slug it out with a cheap wine from time to time but life is too short to consistently lower your standards. I'm not trying to come off snobbish. We go to plenty of wine-food events around here where we have to trudge through glass after glass of over-ripe, over-oaked, flabby wines before we find one that really hits the spot. When I am at home I don't want to have to take that same journey. I'd just as soon open a bottle of beer than indulge in a wine I won't really enjoy.

This topic brings up the whole other subject of side bottles. In certain circumstances I have been known to have a side bottle that I do not share with certain guests. You know, the ones that chug and fill their glasses to the rim. Either appreciate it or don't drink it is my only rule. On them I will use some bargain, $15 or under, wines because they're in it for the drunk anyhow.

Reply by dvogler, Jul 16, 2014.

Exactly.  When my buddy Chester and I do a wine event, we usually try to have only people that truly appreciate the wine.  A couple of times, we've had two people who really had no idea what they were drinking.  The theme wines often aren't terribly expensive, but the successive ones are usually very nice.  Chester monitors these ones personally and makes sure that he and I get the majority of it.  It's a sleight of hand method really, distracting them with cheese and conversation.

Reply by MrWino101, Jul 17, 2014.

Very simple question to answer without going through tons of gibberish. YES! If you have a chance, have a friend pop the corks on about six bottles. have them stick in a couple $10 or $20 bottles and some higher bottles also. Brown bag them and do a blind tasting. You'll be surprised at the results!

Reply by outthere, Jul 17, 2014.

WINO, I thought we lost you. Welcome back!

We'll be doing blind Syrah on Saturday, maybe 35-40 different wines. We'll put your claom to the test 'cept for the fact thst there won't be many $10-20 bottles.

Reply by napagirl68, Jul 18, 2014.

Ha!  I think OT's event would involve too much "gibberish" for MRWINO101.  Perhaps he could sit at home and drink his bargain bottles sans conversation.   More for you guys... have a truly amazing time this weekend!!!!!  Can't wait to read about it.

Reply by GregT, Jul 18, 2014.

Mrwino, it's not a new idea. I'd be surprised if most people who like wine hadn't tried that several times. In my weekly tasting groups we would always include various price points. As mentioned before, price has very little to do with quality after a certain point and you're always happy to find out that you like the cheap  $15 wine instead of a $60 wine.

Cheap? Yes I'll drink cheap. Crap? No thank you.

But they're not necessarily correlated. It's like cookies. You can make some yourself pretty cheaply. Or you can serve supermarket cookies that may cost more or less. Pay attention to what's in your mouth and see if you can't differentiate between butter and eggs vs the corn syrup, artificial flavor, and hydrogenated oils that coat your mouth like wax. That's the difference, not price.

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