In wanting to be sure that I’ve covered wine 101 from, well, beginning to beginning (that’s why this isn’t a wine 102 blog) I recently tried to get through the Naked Grape’s Introduction to Wine with Ian White. The redheaded model was slightly distracting as she clung to his side throughout the DVD making silly jokes – as I like to think I wouldn’t need a hot model standing next to me when I talk about wine – but it was okay for Ian. I sped the DVD up to 1.5 so it went a lot quicker watching/listening to him slurp his way through about 15 different wines.
He covered the basics; I didn’t learn anything new. When it came time for the “How to Buy Wine” chapter I again wasn’t surprised to learn that Ian felt that you should purchase wine from…a wine merchant.
There are a couple of things I would add here. Getting to know your local wine merchant serves a purpose. A mutual one. The merchant is interested in your repeat business so it is in his vested interest to find out what you like; not what he might want to sell off of his shelf.
When I enter Valencia Wine Company the owner Guy Lelarge knows I usually want a full throttle Zin or spicy Australian Shiraz. If my husband is with me then it’s a Bordeaux or a Chateauneuf du pape. Then Guy will suggest one that I haven’t had or remind me of what I enjoyed in the past.
When I had to meet my editor there a couple of weeks ago, I waited until he arrived to order because 1. I wanted him to choose the wine he liked. and 2. He was undoubtedly going to be paying for it.
Going to Bev Mo more than once during this recent nickel sale, I overheard one of the employees answer a shopper’s query with, “I don’t drink wine. But I see some customers buy this one.”
I then saw the two women fill their carts with said wine. I discreetly waited until the employee was out of ear shot and approached them. “Hi…I wanted to say something to you ladies. That guy doesn’t drink wine…” And then gave them a few suggestions based on wine 101 experience.
They discreetly…replaced the wine in their carts. Saving not only a few nickels, but their virginal taste buds as well.