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Ken Schramms Book Hyped In "Slate"

pain

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I'm into some wines, and freely admit that my tastes run to country wines. I'm pretty sure that Oskaar just sighs and shakes his head sadly when we're talking about wine, LOL. He comes from a family that has been making wine for generations, so its in his blood.

I know I'm giving him a hard time, but to be completely honest, a lot of what I know about wine is directly attributable to him being patient enough with my questions. And he's used his wine knowledge to show me some mead techniques that are *very* cool and help the process *immensely*. He's posted a lot of it in the patron sections.

I'm just a hick from the backwoods of Michigan, now living in the boonies in North Carolina. I'm just a peasant, I'm afraid, LOL.

What sort of rums are you into? My hubby and I both love rum, and are always on the lookout for our next favorite. Our regular rum is usually Mount Gay Sugar Cane. We've a friend who is into Sailor Jerry. I don't like it as much, it is way too strong for me.
 

ken_schramm

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I like good mead, good wine, good Scotch, good Bourbon - I'm even fond of good gin. I don't see any reason to dismiss any of the better things life has to offer. My daughter and I just got back from Germany, and the beers were spectacular. I wish we could have brought home more.

More than anything, I am extremely fond of the learning process. When I have learned all there is to know about finding better foods and drinks, it will be time to die. I don't foresee that happening any time soon. Until then, I am keeping an open mind and an open mouth.

KDS
 

Launcelot

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I love the process of learning, but I will say, while I enjoyed the process of figuring out what I was tasting exactly, the whole wine community left me cold, and even in enjoying the tasting process, I would taste wine for the experience, but drinking it regularly has literally zero appeal.

--L
 

pain

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Ah, but there are so *many* wines to try! Don't fall into the same trap that Mr. Day did and let the entire beverage fall from your life just because you haven't found the right one(s) yet. Example: Up until a few years ago, I would've *never* drunk a merlot, because all the ones I tried were *nasty* to me. So I avoided them, and told anyone who asked that they just didn't interest me. Then my friends Elizabeth and David had us to visit them in their place in Montana.

They happen to be 'wine explorers' (those who seek out various kinds of wine with an eye to see what turns up), and like merlots in particular. When they find a new wine, they try it and take notes in a notebook they keep in the kitchen for that purpose, so they'll be able to track back and find the ones they liked to buy again (good idea, I've adopted it). Anyway, they had this merlot, and they and my husband tackled it with gusto, being that they all like them. I demurred, citing my oft repeated 'I don't like merlot' line. They insisted. So, I gave in and tried it. It was *fantastic*. Full bodied, well balanced, and dry without seeming dry. It left me wanting more. There were so many flavors going on in it, I wanted to keep drinking it just to keep experiencing the various tastes it presented.

Needless to say, I've changed my tune about wine from my stance of 'yeah, whatever, make me a rum & coke please' attitude of my younger years. Now I'm learning that I *adore* tawny ports, and that there are chardonnays I love, and ones I hate (I like Aussie chards better than California, on the average). I've learned that most of the French wines I've had leave me cold, but that German wines are quite nice (for me), and I *really* like icewine. I'm not fond of merlots in general, but there are a couple I've had that are really good.

Don't pay any attention to the wine 'community'. Like any group, they've their share of nose-in-the-air purists, and in the wine world, they tend to be a bit loud about it. I ignore them completely, and let my nose and my taste buds tell me what to buy. Let 'em keep their fancy (and often nasty) wines that are 'cool' because Wine Spectator said so. I'll take the ones I *like*, nevermind what they say!

When I go home to visit my family in northern Michigan in June, I usually make a stop at this eclectic little shop on Lake Michigan that carries all manner of wines, beers and liquors. I've found nifty local cherry wines (it *is* cherry country), meads, wines with names I can't pronounce and styles I know nothing about, and liqueurs made from all sorts of interesting things. I always end up getting several bottles of various and sundry, and still have a bottle of this cherry port I can't get enough of......

Meanwhile, I've had my former negative attitude towards beer turned around by my beer-nut friends. Found that I'm pretty cool with Belgians, and ginger wheat is yummy. I don't care for stouts and porters, but love a good brown ale. I'm nuts for fruited wheat beers, and indifferent about Scottish ale.

I'm with Ken. Much of the fun in life is the experience and the journey, and when there is nothing left to learn, its time to lay down and let them bury me......

Vicky - who bought a bottle of 'two buck Chuck' from Trader Joes to see what all the fuss was about (and landed another tawny port for my hubby and I to enjoy while I was at it)
 

pain

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I've heard about this, read an article a while back about it, but haven't tried it yet. I'll have to hunt down a bottle...
 

Launcelot

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I don't have any problem with the exploration, and while if I ever find a wine that I want a full glass of I will happily include it in my standing cabinet, to date with hundreds of samples, not one has sparked enough interest to actually pour an entire glass.

Mead however has managed to more than capture my attention, so far the only one I have tasted that I really didn't like was my own pineapple concoction... and I have put that up with a note to try it again in a couple of years.

I will keep on looking and tasting and enjoying life. I started down this path with the intention of enjoying the process. Which so far has been going rather well.

Oh, and for the Record... Ken, it's all your fault... I saw your book on the shelf at a local bookstore (I live in the tri-valley, the "other" california wine country) and without buying it whipped out a batch a few weeks later. Then I went back and bought the book.

--L
 

pain

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LOL, yeah, Ken has been the instigator of quite a few new addicts to meadmaking........(stop rolling your eyes, Ken).

Butterlily, we went wildly off-topic here, but if you'd like to try a good selection of commercial meads, check out http://www.honeywine.com. Julia Herz runs it, and she's got a great selection of meads there and can ship to more than half the US states.

In particular I recommend the Mountain Meadows products (CA) and the Sky River meads (CO). Both are made by folks with a true dedication to creating a great mead, and they've both won medals with their wares. My particular favorite is Mountain Meadows Spice Nectar, a metheglin made with a mountain wildflower honey that has a spicy nature, and enhanced with cinnamon and other yummy flavors. I snag this whenever I can find it. Sky River has a traditional mead that they offer in dry, medium and sweet, and is a great example of how to make a good traditional.

If you want different, try Makana Meadery's chile mead. It's a palate killer (*hot!!!*), so don't plan on drinking anything else after it, but is a really excellent mead (of course, you gotta like peppers. This will make you sweat!). Garth Cambray, the owner of Makana (see an article about him on the front page of Gotmead) is actually doing his doctoral thesis on fermentation.
 

UprightJoe

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I love scotch, irish whisky, and bourbon. They're really my first love. Wine and mead are a distant second with beer pulling up 3rd. If it were legal to distill in this country, I'd be visiting www.gotwhisky.com right now :)

I'll have to give Glenmorangie another go - I wasn't super impressed by it the last time I tried it. Of course, I probably wasn't drinking the 18 or 25. I was probably drinking whatever their younger bottle is (12-year I assume). I've got a 21 year Glenlivet in the liquor cabinet that is mighty nice. I was also super impressed by a 15 year Dalwhine I tried recently. I'll be picking up a bottle of that the next time I see it. I don't know how that one eluded me in the past. I've had Dalwhine at least twice that I can think of and I don't remember it tasting remotely like what I just had. I wonder if I was getting screwed by the bar where I drank it.

I used to drink the Macallen 25 by the glass on special occasions when we still had a scotch and cigar bar in town. I remember thinking how outrageous it was that it cost $250 per bottle. Now I'd kill for it at that price. I haven't had the pleasure of a snort of that stuff in years now. Hopefully the price comes down again to where I can afford it again someday.

Luckily bourbon and irish whisky haven't skyrocketed in price (yet). There are good bottles to be had for less than $30 if you know what to buy :).
 

wayneb

Lifetime Patron
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I agree with you, Joe, about the Irish whiskeys. Fortunately pot still whiskey hasn't caught the world's fancy yet, so I can still afford them (and some are pretty darned good)! :D

But I have to admit that my first loves in fermented beverages are good quality Zins or Cabernets. I admit that I enjoy wines and meads more than any other fermented or distilled drinks, and there's an ever widening choice of styles, origins, and varieties to sample. I doubt that I'll ever taste enough that I'll run out of new things to try! ;D

My goal when I first started meadmaking was to produce meads of similar richness, balance and complexity to the better red wines that I've had, but I'm not there yet. I drink and enjoy some commercial meads, but few hold a candle to the better home produced meads that I've had.
 

Oskaar

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skunkboy said:
If you like ice wine a lot, you should keep your eyes out for Botrytis style wine. A sweet dessert wine created
with the help of a fungus which dries out the grapes, instead of having them frozen.

http://www.thewinedoctor.com/author/sweetnoble.shtml
Vicky,

Try the Grgich Hills Late Harvest Gewurztraminer or the Late Harvest Johannesburg Riesling they're both usually pretty stellar. Botrytis (noble rot) is a wonderful thing and is what really make the French Sauternes so highly prized.

Cheers,

Oskaar
 

akueck

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Jun 26, 2006
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Vicky you should try some Auslese or "higher" (beeren auslese or trocken beren auslese) Rieslings. In the direction of icewine without the freezing. And our friend the fungus is usually involved to varying degrees. I'll have to look up the ones they gave us in wine class next time my notes are handy.
 

wildaho

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You know, back when I had my beer bar, all the people from the best distributor in town (all the best beers and most of the good wines, wines being their emphasis) always tried to convert me to wine. "You have the most incredible palate in town", they said "Why don't you specialize in wine?"

To which I replied: "I can appreciate wine but I don't enjoy it." And it's true. There is a lot I can appreciate about wine but it just doesn't do it for me in the long run. I find more complexity and variety in beer (and for a hell of a lot better price) than I do in wine.

Five and half years later (since the bar closed), the same people, when sampling a new beer or wine at my store, are trying to tell me the same thing. "You can pick out the most subtle nuance, I never noticed that until you mentioned it." Uh hem, power of suggestion maybe? I like what I like and I taste what I taste, wine or beer whatever.

Three or four people brought me their meads to try in the bar. Most of them used acid blend and it took a year or so of fermentation (they didn't know the tricks we all know here). They were enjoyable but didn't really do much for me.

My first homemade mead (a crabapple cyser) needed no acid and I was hooked. It's not wine, it's not beer; it's just *effing* delicious. So much range for subtlety and flavor! I've been hooked ever since. I haven't given up on beer, I've just got a beverage that I think I like even more now.

Don't get me wrong! I said earlier that I would whore myself for the 18 year old Glen Morangie and I mean that (Oskaar, what are you doing tonight big fella?). I went through a whiskey/whisky phase there for a while and I still enjoy a proper one.

While the GM is still my favorite Scotch, I do appreciate the Irish's and Bourbons now. Pot Stilled is not the way to go Wayne. Single malts kick ass on Irish like they do on Scotches. For day to day, I like Bushmill's, a blend of single malt and pot still. And their single malt is supreme. Jameson's (too sweet to my taste) is a blend of pot still mixed with grain alchohol. We should do a seperate thread on the vagaries between brands.

Bourbons are the same way. If I have to, I'll drink Jim Beam. But give me a Bookers any day! Now that's a bourbon! So caramelly and rich. A Maker's Mark is okay and so is a Bakers but give me a Bookers any day!

And with all my whiskeys, just a single ice cube please. A little bit of water "opens" up the whiskey but too much will drown it out.

Okay, enough rambling for now...
 

Summersolstice

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Vicky - GM Founder said:
I'm pretty sure that Oskaar just sighs and shakes his head sadly when we're talking about wine, LOL. He comes from a family that has been making wine for generations, so its in his blood.
Oskaar makes a Zinfandel to die for. Funny, but when I attend the after hours parties at Meadfest (after a long evening of sampling some of the best commercial meads available) it's always that Zin I ask for!

What sort of rums are you into? My hubby and I both love rum, and are always on the lookout for our next favorite. Our regular rum is usually Mount Gay Sugar Cane. We've a friend who is into Sailor Jerry. I don't like it as much, it is way too strong for me.
Vicky, I don't think you can get it on the East Coast but next time you're in California you might try to find a bottle of Tanduay Rhum. I only have a couple of bottles left so I've been rationing it! Yes, it may be a sin to not drink it neat but I like mine with mango juice. http://www.tanduay.com/tdycentennial.htm
 

Angus

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I am learning more all the time about the wines that I prefer. Not dry, fruity, good body. Ice Wine is wonderful, but so expensive! Because I have never really liked wine, up until recently, I do not read the critics, or follow the trends. Instead, I tend to taste wines that friends have and see what I like. John Cleese put it perfectly when he said the best wine in the world is the one you like.

As for Whiskey, not at all!! For some reason I just do not like the taste. Bourbon, Scotch, all the same to me. Now I do not mean they taste the same. Just that I do not like any of them. In fact, I like very few distilled drinks. Except for Rum. Now there is a drink that I can obsess over. In fact, if there is anything that can compete with my love of beer, it is Rum. Current favorite, Ron Zacapa Centenario 23. Truly, the best Rum in the world (in my opinion).

Angus
 

UprightJoe

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And with all my whiskeys, just a single ice cube please. A little bit of water "opens" up the whiskey but too much will drown it out.
Based on the looks I generally get from bartenders and waiters, I thought I was the only one who drank my whiskey this way. :) There are a few that I'll drink without any ice - mostly the darker, richer, more caramely (Is that a word?) whiskeys. I like 95% of my whiskey with one ice cube though.

My everyday whiskey recently has been Tulamore Dew. I can't really get into Jameson's either. My mother-in-law always makes Manhattans with Jim Beam and I have to admit, I've grown to like them a lot. I generally don't drink it straight though. Most recently I've been drinking Basil Hayden and Woodford Reserve in the bourbon realm though I've been trying a new bourbon almost weekly this year. Either my local liquor stores are increasing their selections or a lot of new products are hitting the market. This week, I'll be trying the 10 year, single barrel, Eagle Rare from the Buffalo Trace guys. I tried Buffalo Trace a couple of weeks ago - it's not bad but it tasted really grassy to me. I liked it but I don't see myself drinking it very often.

A buddy of mine is working on getting us a bottle of the 20 or 23 year Pappy Van Winkle. I can't wait to try that. It's virtually impossible to find around here but I think he found somebody willing to special order it for us.
 

wayneb

Lifetime Patron
Lifetime GotMead Patron
wildaho said:
While the GM is still my favorite Scotch, I do appreciate the Irish's and Bourbons now. Pot Stilled is not the way to go Wayne. Single malts kick ass on Irish like they do on Scotches. For day to day, I like Bushmill's, a blend of single malt and pot still. And their single malt is supreme. Jameson's (too sweet to my taste) is a blend of pot still mixed with grain alchohol. We should do a seperate thread on the vagaries between brands.

Okay, enough rambling for now...
But with only three commercial distillers licensed for export out of Ireland these days, how do you get your hands on a proper selection of single-malts from there? I enjoyed some of the Irish single malts that I tried when I was in Ireland (back in the 80's -- too long a time ago), but I've never seen any of them on the shelves at my local Liquor stores.

Pot still labels like Connemara are still better than the blended excrement, such as baseline Jameson's, Tullamore Phew, and Bushmill's bland, that most folks mistake for Irish whiskey -- and I can get some locally. (I will update with a note here that I have not tried Bushmill's single malts. The Black is a tolerable blend, but if I should spend the extra $$ for a 12 or 16 year old Bushmill's malt IYO, I'll give 'em a shot sometime.)
 

Oskaar

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Hmmm, thought I had a better picture of my bar out there, but this will have to do for now until I have time to get a better shot. If you look hard you'll find the Glen Morangie bottle, but I can't see the label, there's Booker's and Knob Creek as well, Maker's and some Bushmill bland, etc.

See here

Cheers,

Oskaar
 

Oskaar

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Summersolstice said:
Oskaar makes a Zinfandel to die for. Funny, but when I attend the after hours parties at Meadfest (after a long evening of sampling some of the best commercial meads available) it's always that Zin I ask for!
Aw shucks, thanks for the shout out SS! :wave:

Missed you this year dude! I did see you on the Thunderhead website though! Your fanbase is expanding past me! Congrats again on the very fine Pyment that won gold this year at the HMMC!! Trevor was totally stoked for you.

Oskaar