Sunday, May 15, 2005

Establish yourself with your local wine shop (PB)

I’ve written in the past about what makes a good wine shop. One of the attributes is an attentive and responsive store staff. When it's the owner, it's that much better. So when I had a glass of wine in a Boston restaurant over Mother’s Day (see previous blog entry) I called my “wine guy” and asked him to see if he could find it by the bottle. He notified me that he was able to procure the Tenuta dell' Ornellaia Toscana Le Volte 2001 that I fell in love with at that special dinner.

I was ecstatic and asked him to order two bottles for me. Though this wine is only $25 per bottle (x 2), that’s still a bit more than I generally pay for wine. Never-the-less, for this wine, I’m not sure it would have mattered no matter what the price! So you can imagine the disappointment when my “wine guy” notified me that the wine was in but it wasn’t the 2001 but the 2002 apparently his supplier misinformed him. So he wanted to know if I still wanted the wine.

There’s a couple of points to be made here. First, a wine by the exact same name, etc. but a different vintage is a totally different wine. I’m not ready to say vintage is everything because a great wine maker can work magic with a less than stellar vintage, but even a master can only do so much. In the case of this wine, the 2001 was a great vintage for Tuscany but the 2002 was a marginal one. Normally I wouldn’t even consider the exhange except that this wine has me so enamored that I am willing to give a different vintage a try knowing how much artful production contributes to the overall quality. The second point, is that I know I can return the unopened bottle if I don’t like the first. Now this is where it pays to establish consistency and credibility with your wine shop. My wine guy e-mailed me to say that even I didn’t like the first bottle when I opened it, to bring it back as well. Now that's a place you're going to frequent.

Well, all this writing about wine, makes me want to open a bottle in preparation for tonight’s dinner. I am preparing homemade carbonara pasta for some friends and we will be trying 2-3 different wines. So, pardon me while I raise a glass...and write some more reviews!

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