OK, time to get back into the swing of the blog thing. And what a better way to start than listing all the wine I tried today. Note I said “try”, not “drink”. If you’re not in the industry, there’s a very good chance you think all wine-industry people sit around and drink all day. Not true. 1) We spit and 2) we’re usually standing when we taste, either at behind the counter at the store or in front of a table at a distributor portfolio tasting.
Yesterday was a taste-from-behind-the-counter kind of day. We saw a total of seven different distributors, all but two with winemakers in tow. This matters because winemakers require more attention and better behavior than your regular sales rep. The winemakers (hopefully) know more about the wine than your sales rep, so they have more to say. And while some wine buyers may take pride in being rude to anyone who tries to sell them anything, I’m not one of them. If I’ve taken the appointment, you should at least pay attention, maybe ask some questions, try to learn something. Otherwise, don’t take the appointment.
Yesterday there were lots of appointments. Here’s what I had. (I’m working from memory here, so if any of my reps are reading this, give me a break if I’m wrong!)
- Ribero del Dureos (Portugal), one from 2005, one from 2006. Always cool to try the same wine from two different vintages. One was filtered, one wasn’t so that was extra cool.
- 1 Chinon, the winemaker’s 2nd vintage, which I liked more than the first, as did the winemaker.
- Higher end Ribero del Duero. Something like 550 different parcels of land to add up to a total of 4 hectares. This is madness!
- One very nice rose from an island just off the coast of Provence. Lots of mouvedre in the blend…may be why it reminded me of a Bandol rose at a fraction of the price.
- High end Godello from Bierzo region of Spain.
- Tempranillo/Granacha blend from La Mancha
- Wacky blend of five different grapes which added up to a really nice wine that people will like a lot…even thought it’s a sort of geeky wine (for reasons I won’t go into for fear of seeming even geekier than I actually am.)
- A veritable grab bag of goodies, including:
- Nice Muscadet that made me wish for warm weather
- Old vine Quincy (what, you’ve never heard of Quincy?? Come on!!! It’s in the Loire, like near Sancerre. OK, I’m a geek.) which is the more concentrated mate to the Quincy I currently carry.
- Nice little Navarra (big day for Spain)
- Bordeaux - either Cru Bourgeois or Bordeaux Superior, can’t remember, but primarily from St. Emilion fruit…ie mainly Merlot
- Another Bordeaux – Grand Cru St. Emilion
- 2 village-level Mersaults, one from 2005, one from 2006. Slightly different fruit sources, but still cool to taste the differences between sites and vintages.
- 2 Premier Cru-level Mersaults, both 2006. Even cooler to see the difference between two different sites from the same year. These wines would retail somewhere between $70 - $100, so that just made the tasting even cooler. Man, they were good!
- Premier Cru-level red burg by the same producer which we already carry and love. 10 minutes after the winemaker left, a regular customer came in and bought a bottle of this very wine. Would have been sweet if he’d gotten there 10 minutes earlier. Winemakers love to see real customers buying their wine.
- Value-oriented producer from Washington and Oregon (there’s really no reason a winery has to stick to one state, although most do). Pinot Grigio (OR), Chardonnay (WA), Pinot Noir (OR), and Cabernet (WA). In addition to the wines, lots of gossip about distributors and the wine-in-grocery-store legislation, and discussion about the FCC’s policy about not showing butt cracks on TV.
- 1 Menetou-Salon Blanc (never heard of this region either? Come on now…it’s near Quincy!!)
- 1 Valencay (also in the Loire, as is Quincy) – a blend of Gamay, Malbec, Cab Franc, and Pinot Noir, which I think is actually every red grape allowed anywhere in any of the AOC regions in the Loire Valley (and if I’m wrong on that, please don’t tell me.)
Whew! I think I need a beer.