“Hot.” So many meanings can be conveyed with one little word. In this case, alcohol level has nothing, at least not directly, to do with it. This is a story about stolen wine. It probably would never have hit my radar if not for an email from my main man in Monterey, Steve. He sent along a link to an article from The Monterey County Herald, "Savvy Thieves Steal Rare Wines from Cheese Shop.” Said thieves broke into the Cheese Shop Carmel after hours just a few days prior to Valentine’s Day and made off with a veritable bundle of wine, including multiple bottles of:
2000 Bond Melbury; 2000 Bond Vecina; 2001 Bond Melbury; 2001 Bond St. Eden; 2002 Bond Melbury; 2003 Bond Melbury; 2003 Bond Pluribus; 2001 Dalla Valle Maya; 1997 Dalla Valle Maya; 1999 Dalla Valle Maya; 1996 Harlan; 1997 Harlan; 1998 Harlan; 1999 Harlan; 2003 Harlan; 1997 Peter Michael Les Pavots; 2000 Peter Michael Les Pavots; 2003 Screaming Eagle; 2004 Screaming Eagle; 2002 6 Litre Silver Oak Alexander Valley.
I’d visited the shop with Steve during a visit in January last year and had also been there years earlier while in Monterey for a business conference. Even so, I wouldn’t normally be writing about pseudo wine news from 3,000 miles away if not for a couple of synchronicities that inspired, nay compelled me to do so.
- An alarmingly similar if larger scale theft occurred within days of this one, yet on an entirely different continent. Do Bianchi reports, with tongue firmly in cheek, on the theft of a thousand bottles of Barolo and Barbaresco from La Spinetta.
- At very much the same time, Wine Camp posted on the frustration of ordering wine at hot restaurants. Hot as in popular? Perhaps; but more to the point, he was referring to hot as in serving temperature – of wine. It’s a common problem in bars and restaurants, where wine is all too often stored in proximity to heat sources and without due regard to ideal serving condition.
So what does one have to do with the other? As much as I hate to hit a guy while he’s down, I have to say that both times I visited the Cheese Shop Carmel, I walked away only with cheese and bread. I took a pass on wine, not because they carry only absurdly overrated cult reds. There’s also a reasonable selection of both California and European wines. I took a pass because the wine portion of the shop was a balmy 80 degrees. That may be comfy for the t-shirt clad staff members but it’s no good for the vino. Those wines were hot before they were stolen, savvy?
The burglarized bottles will almost certainly turn up on the gray market, to be sold to buyers who are, as shop owner Kent Torrey ironically bemoans, “unsuspecting of their illicit provenance.”