I don’t always get the chance to read the Wednesday food section of The New York Times so it’s a real pleasure when I do. It’s also not terribly frequent that I feel compelled to comment on or quote another wine dude’s article but I have to say that Eric Asimov nailed something quite primal in this week’s installment of his column, The Pour. The tenet of the article is summed up tidily by its title: To Study Wine, Buy and Drink. People ask me virtually every day how they might learn more about wine. “What books should I read?” “Do you guys teach classes?” The best answer really is simple. Drink. Drink regularly. Drink different. Most important of all, pay attention to what you drink. Keep notes, no matter how basic, on the experience.
As someone who spends his days working in a retail wine shop, I was particularly happy that Asimov recommended a good wine salesman as the consumer’s most important link to this learning process. He suggests that those in search of knowledge build rapport with a consultant at their favorite shop and then have that salesperson put together a case, half white and half red, to get the ball rolling. We’ve been doing exactly this for years at the shop where I work with our mixed-case samplers. At $125 and $175 respectively, these both come in pretty well below the $200-250 range suggested by Eric. So, in the spirit of the week, I thought I’d compile a list of my own selections based on what’s currently in the shop, with one rosé included among the whites, and targeting the $250 price point.
- Delavenne Brut Champagne NV $38
- Brunori Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore “San Nicolo” 2005 $15
- Ratzenberger Steeger St. Jost Mittelrhein Riesling Spätlese Trocken 2002 $20
- Domaine Ricard Touraine Sauvignon “Pierre à Feu” 2005 $13
- Andre Bonhomme Viré-Clessé 2004 $21
- Château Calissanne Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence Rosé “Cuvée du Château” 2006 $12
- Isole e Olena Chianti Classico 2004 $21
- Germano Ettore Langhe Nebbiolo 2005 $20
- Castel di Salve Salento IGT Rosso “Armecolo” 2005 $14
- Fabrice Gasnier Chinon “Les Graves” 2005 $14
- Domaine Olivier & Anne-Marie Rion Côtes de Nuits Villages “La Pretiere” 2003 $25
- Domaine Combier Crozes-Hermitage 2005 $30
These wines are all estate bottled, naturally made, and clear expressions of their places of origin. You may not like them all but each one should provide a meaningful learning experience.