Saturday, October 01, 2005

1 October 2005 - Random Thoughts

Two issues popped up this week that made me stop and jot down a note to remind myself to write about them.

#1. The first issue was raised with this question: Why doesn't our store have a Chilean Wine Section? The diplomatic answer is that for "international" or widely known varietals we group the wines by the name of the grape, then by place. The less diplomatic answer is a question: why should we have a Chilean section? Think about it for a second. What are the primary wine grapes of Chile? Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere (previously thought to be Merlot), Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. They've recently been planting some Syrah, rather Shiraz -- big surprise. Any indigenous grapes? Nope. Any unusual grapes from other countries? Well, you could argue that Carmenere is pretty unusual, except for the fact that the people planting it probably thought they were planting the much less unusual Merlot. Is there a Chilean wine style? That question prompts another: are we talking about Chilean wine made for Chilean consumption, or for international consumption? What I'm getting at is the fact that Chile has based its wine export business on supplying this market with low-cost alternatives to familiar varietals. I can't argue with success, since they've largely succeeded with this approach. But it's so boring! How many of these wines do I need to carry? And what, in a place with such limited space, do I kick out to make room for these wines? Sorry, but you'll have to drive out to your local big-box discount wine/beer/liquorama to find a Chilean wine section -- it'll be right next to the cheap 1.75L vodka department... By the way, I would love to be proven wrong about this. Hear that wine sales reps? If you've got really good, interesting Chilean wine, bring it on, let me taste 'em!

#2. A customer was buying a bunch of different Chardonnays the other day. In the course of our conversation he mentioned waiting interminably for a case of special California Chardonnay to be delivered to Maryland from a store he contacted in California. They charged his credit card for the $500+ bucks a few months ago, then claimed it was too hot to ship during the summer. I asked him what the special wine was that he was waiting for. Turns out that special Chardonnay is available for sale right here in Maryland, and that I could order it for him and have it delivered the next day. The moral of this story is: Check with a local shop about local availability before shelling out extra cash for that "special" bottle. If it's not available locally, hey, have a ball. If it is available, hey, save yourself some heartache!


Blogger Steve Austin said...

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October 2, 2005 at 4:35 PM  

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