The BSFW blog offers a periodic airing of our staff's observations and musings about things we find in our market and, frankly, can't live without. This is not a dispensing of erudite information from high on the mount; this is us sharing with you the aspects of the fine wine, craft brew and gourmet worlds that pique our interest.
This congenial approach is something we take seriously - so please feel free to comment! Afterall,it's our customers that inspire us to do what we love to do - and do it even better than before at every opportunity.
Rebecca and I took our places at the Tasting Station this past Tuesday to do what it is we do every second day of the week: meet with our vendors and evaluate the wines they have in tow. The pace was like the weather, mostly calm with bursts of activity. (Check out our Score Card below.)
Tom “the Professor” Welch got things started at 10:30am sharp with a line-up that looked promising. Sanford Chardonnay had me reminiscing in “old man Dan” mode about how this wine used to be a “real player” before the world was inundated with a million similar wines; unfortunately it didn’t live up to the memory. The 2008 Brancott Pinot Noir from New Zealand earned points for being varietally correct and affordable (would be $11.99 on the shelf) while the Wyndam Estates Show Reserve Shiraz 2004 and the Marques de Murrieta Rioja Riserva 2005 didn’t succeed in floating our boats. We told Tom we’d look to add the Brancott when we had room on the shelf. The day continued with similar batting averages from Asa at Horizon, Dan from Café Europa and Kurt from Masciarelli Wine Company.
The predictable highlight of the day was (drumroll...) our 1:30pm appointment with Brian Lamb from Atlantic Imports and his special guest Johannes Leitz from Weingut Josef Leitz of the Rheingau region of Germany. Mr. Leitz was a classic European farmer/ artisan winemaker with mitts for hands, broad shoulders and an obvious passion for his life’s work. He brought a huge, three-panel, panoramic photograph of the vineyards he farms on the banks of the Mosel river and used it to explain how this uniquely situated hillside was ideal for growing Riesling. We tasted six of his wines which ranged from bone-dry (Eine Zwei Dry Trocken 2008 $15.99 retail) to full fruited (Rudesheimer Berg Schlossberg Spatlese 2007 $37.99 retail). All of his wines showed great purity, balance and finesse with varying degrees of minerallity, richness and vibrancy. I thought the Dragonstone (Rudesheimer Drachenstein) Riesling QBA 2008 at a suggested retail of $15.99 would be the best addition as it was affordable, easy drinking and had a cool, recognizable name. Rebecca preferred the Rudesheimer Klosterlay Kabinett 2008 $17.99 for it’s slatey minerallity and layered fruit. Truth be told, we would both have been happy to buy all six wines, but that wouldn’t be a good use of the wine budget!
You can check out our experience with Johannes (our first attempt at videotaping…) and then tell us:
1. Do you think we should go with my choice, Rebecca’s or both?
2. In a relatively small section like Germany (27 facings) do you think having multiple wines from a single producer is OK or would you prefer more diversity?
Most every Tuesday at 10:30 AM Rebecca Rethore and I take our place behind the tasting bar at Ball Square Fine Wines and hold court to a steady stream of wholesale wine vendors. The purpose is to catch up on the latest industry news, hear about new offers, resolve issues, place orders and of course, sample wine. We reckon we sample an average of 50-70 wines from 10-15 vendors on any given Tuesday....
Through this blog we now invite you to join us vicariously as we exalt in an exciting new find, weed out the insipid and debate the merits of wines that fall in between those extremes!
Check in regularly to meet the cast of characters (and characters they are!) who visit us on a regular basis to present their wares. We hope you will also enjoy learning how we make decisions regarding our wine selection. We encourage you to effect the outcome by commenting on the process and results!
Did you know our very own Rebecca writes the Wicked Local wine column? Every Monday she muses about this and that - and every second Monday of the month she picks a few wines that really catch her attention, or "Wicked Wines". This week she couldn't help herself, selecting several wines perfect to woo the object of your affection! (And yes, you can find them all on our shelves.) Check them out here.
Will wine be part of your Valentine's Day repertoire this year? What do you have in mind?