Random Thoughts About Wine Buying/Tasting
I have a few random thoughts about wine that I would like to share with you. On their own each sections isn’t enough for a post but together they should be worthy of your time.
How to be a good wine store customer… Buying wine in a store involves communication by the customer and an understanding of the wines intended purpose by the sales person. IE if I walk into a store and simply ask the clerk for a “good wine” what do you think I’ll get? Probably nothing close to what I really want. However if I walk into a store and say “ I’m having grilled pork chops tonight with stuffed peppers and corn, I want a red between 15-22 dollars and I will show you three pictures from my phone of wines I had recently that I like “ . I’m betting the second technique results in a more interesting suggestion from the sales representative. Try it and see what happens.
A better wine salesperson might even inquire if you intend to eat outside as the wind will blow off a lot of aromatic elements in the wine. In that case I would probably recommend a bolder wine for Al Fresco dining and a more mild wine for indoors.
How to be a good customer and get the good stuff. Occasionally wines will be released in small quantities and are highly sought after, think collector’s items. How do you think those wines are distributed in the marketplace? Typically wine agents /wineries prefer those products be placed on high visibility restaurant wine lists and distributed through retailers that support that brand throughout the year and buy across a wide product range ( IE don’t cherry pick) When the retailer gets the wine there can be waiting lists, release dates or price premiums for the best stuff. If this is something you are interested in trying and collecting a good strategy can be to find a favourite person at your favourite store and give them as much of your business as possible. People do business with people they like so if a sales clerk has a case or two of something really special they will often have the discretionary ability to decide who gets access to those bottles. I always found a way to accommodate my best customers.
Wine tasting strategy. You have two very powerful tools when trying wine at a tasting or in a restaurant/winery, #1 your brain #2 your smart phone camera. It’s pretty obvious you need cognitive skills to taste wine but not so obvious why you need to take pictures. A lot of people take written notes and while it’s a good idea for journalists I think it’s a poor idea for consumers. In my past life I had many exchanges with customers that wanted a specific wine but couldn’t remember it, occasionally I ran across a customer who took notes but left them at home or the office. I never ran across a customer that didn’t have their cell phone with them. Take pictures of the bottle. Take a picture of the menu. Take a picture of the tasting sheet at a public tasting or winery. All these pictures are powerful tools in remembering the wines you like and helping you find them again.
Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food.