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We live in a house that was built in 1910 and thus incorporates a cellar just outside our basement door where home-canned goods, etc. used to be stored. We cleaned it out, but my wife described it as "dank and nasty" so for the past couple of years I've used it to store all my fishing gear in one place.

One day, I was struck by a couple of thoughts. I hear people talking about "appreciating" and drinking wine all the time. Recognizing what I might be missing out on (I'm a beer guy) I realized that the cellar would be the perfect place to store a collection of fine wines for enjoyment at appropriate times.

So, I got out the Skilsaw and the jigsaw and crafted a rack out of 2x4's that will hold over 100 bottles of wine on their sides, as I understand that's how they're supposed to be stored.

I got my collection started with two bottles, but I'm hoping there might be some wine enthusiasts (maybe some of you guys from California?) that might be able to steer me the right way in completing my collection so I can throw open the doors to the cellar and have visitors stare in awe at my classic and varied collection.

I started with these two "nouveau-vintage" wines, both originating from Modesto, California.



The Thunderbird boasts on the label that it is "The American Classic" so thought it would be an impressive addition to my cellar. The label also describes it as "Citrus Wine With Natural Flavors And Caramel Color." I've found its "bouquet" to be "robust," "citrusty" and "lively." These are terms I picked up from a Wikipedia article on wine-tasting.

The Night Train Express is also billed as boasting "Citrus Wine And Natural Flavors."

It has a volatile, charming bouquet and is red instead of white like the Thunderbird. Jake Blues, in the film classic The Blues Brothers, referred to Night Train as, "a mean wine."

As far as the labels go, I would have to give the edge to the striking graphics of the Night Train Express. I think it bears a direct correlation to the product as the morning after I enjoyed a bottle, I felt like I'd been hit by the very train depicted on the front of the bottle.

The Thunderbird label has kind of a Germanic, Art-Deco look to it and probably appeals more to artistic types than true wine afficionados.

Alcohol content for both wines is a demure 17.5% I was surprised to not find a cork under the metal cap: both incorporate a screw-on type cap.

At the time of purchase, I hadn't done my research and failed to pick up a "palate cleanser." I think people usually use some kind of crackers. I found that Jalapeno Cheet-O's worked very well, thoroughly ridding the palate of remnants of the red Night Train before switching over to the Thunderbird.

During the tasting, both wines were served over ice, as the label on the Thunderbird suggests "Serve Cold" and the label on the Night Train Express advises "Serve Very Cold."

These wines were a little pricey. I've had some older gentlemen at the prison where I work tell me the optimum way to "stretch" both these wines is to combine them half and half with a grape-flavored drink mix such as Kool-Aid. This results in a beverage called a "Shake 'Em Up."

Being from rural Missouri and having no real contact with those who truly appreciate fine wines like Night Train and Thunderbird, if anybody has any advice on where I should go next in completing my collection, please let me know. It seems like there are hundreds of wines out there and in order to complete an impressive collection, I'm going to have to start looking beyond cool labels and alcohol content when choosing wines in the future.

I've noted that not very many gas stations carry wine, but a lot of pharmacies and grocery stores do. I'm kind of afraid to buy wine in a liquor store because I feel that when I'm walking out with my selection, the knowledgeable clerk might be laughing behind my back, thinking, "What a fool! I can't believe he thinks that's a good wine!"

The clerks at grocery stores and pharmacies are a lot less judgmental. When I purchased the Night Train at CVS, the clerk gave me a knowing wink, cradled the bottle like it was a baby, carefully slipped it into its protective paper bag covering, handed it to me and said, "Don't leave this laying in the parking lot out back." I appreciated her sarcastic wit: she almost made it seem like I might actually do such a thing.
 

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Boones. It's all about Boones. ;)

And I always like the kiwi/lime mad dog 20/20. That was my morning drink of choice when I was 19.
 

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What an awesome thread. Not what I expected at all.
During the tasting, both wines were served over ice, as the label on the Thunderbird suggests "Serve Cold" and the label on the Night Train Express advises "Serve Very Cold."
- Priceless,...
 

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I would suggest that you start making your own. I wish I had that kind of space for my home brews.
 

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RE: New Wine Collector....

Good Evening Neophytes!

May I suggest a wonderfully fruity 2011 Strawberry Hill or perhaps a rare 2010 Cisco (Malt). Both would compliment your budding collection. The nice thing about the current collection is that the temperature fluctuation will not adversly effect the aging of the wines. I hear that Sutter Home is producing a delicious 2010 White Zinfandel which can be purchased by the six pack at Costco.

I was really excited to hear about the creation of a private wine cellar as that is something I have been longing to do myself. It took me a few seconds to catch on.

Snakeboy66
 

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Luckily boxed wine doesn't need to be on its side, and its stacks neatly
 

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I'm not a fancy California whine :) guy, but I know what I like..

LJ mentioned Boones Farm.. Tis the nectar of the Gods!!

Just remember, the bottle's harder than what's inside..

Country Quencher... Strawberry Hill... The list goes on and on!!!

Before opening...



After a half bottle..

 

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Discussion Starter #11
Edward 40-Hands with Boone's Farm? Gotta hand it to her: after seeing that photo, I feel pretty good about myself.
 

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Chile makes some very nice reds, I'm also partial to their ports. My favorite wine is beer and my favorite beer is Tequila but Tequila is a white wine (technically) so it doesn't go well with French food, unless it's French-Mex, like truffle tacos. As far as the reds go, I miss the Soviets but I'm getting use to the Chinese being quasi-capitalists even though they don't go well with fish. The best wine with fish depends on on the tartar sauce. If your wine has too much tartar sauce it will over power the fish, which would be okay if the fish was a strong fish (or still alive). With sushi, I think beer does a better job of cleansing the pallet, especially if you're going to stack a lot of sushi on the pallet. You could also use a power washer to cleanse your pallet, but the noise might get you kicked out of the sushi bar. That could be bad because most sushi chefs kick like chef-ninjas and I'm only about half as tough as Chuck Norris, unless I'm drinking wine then I'm much less tough because Chuck Norris doesn't drink wine. He would first have to let it breath, and nothing breaths with out Chuck Norris' permission. What the hell were we talking about?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If the "unusual flavor" is good enough for James Mason, it's good enough for me.

Okay, does anybody even remember James Mason?


 

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James Mason? No wonder all the winos wear ascots.
 
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