September 23, 2007

Chianti bargain and a nice wine shop experience

I stopped by E&R wine shop here in Portland the other day and noticed they have the 2004 Castello della Paneretta Chianti Classico for $10 flat a bottle. Now that’s a bargain in good if not especially acidic Chianti.

We tried a bottle a week ago after finding it on sale for two dollars more at a local supermarket. This wine smells like a slightly modern take on traditional Chianti, with no cabernet in with the sangiovese and caniaolo, and a nice scent of balsamic vinegar mixed with plump, ripe berry fruit. There’s reasonable acidity, not classic amounts but enough to refresh the palate during a meal. For $10, load up, even if this isn’t one to cellar more than a few years.

The story here is familiar – out with the old, in with the new. The old distributor is dumping what’s left of the current vintage in their warehouse. The new distributor apparently will wholesale the next vintage at a higher price than current retail. So don’t wait.

By the way, I’ve been a little critical of E&R wines in the past. It’s clearly not objective criticism. I simply haven’t felt right at that store in the past despite their having clearly the best and deepest selection of geek wines in town. It’s hard to explain, the parts are all there, the whole just never connected for me.

Yet on this visit, two interesting things happened. For the first time, I connected and felt this was definitely one of the best wine shops I’ve seen. A nice discount price on 2004 Chevillon Bourgogne didn’t hurt. But after wandering the store, I couldn’t help but think I’d finally broken through and understood something inexplicable here that I previously didn’t get.

Well lo and behold, at the counter I get an unexpected question. Did I have a problem with some Cotat Sancerre that I purchased there in the past? Well, yes, but that was years ago. No worries they say, here’s a bottle of ’05 Les Monts Damnes to make it whole.

Wow, that’s wasn’t expected. How do they know who I am? I’m a browser who buys little and cheap stuff at that. But that’s a statement by E&R. They made things right and that’s the right way to do things.

Never mind that ’02 B. Baudry Chinon Les Grezeaux they still have on the shelf at $22. Somebody buy that before I can’t resist any more.

1 comment:

Marcus said...

Send me some Chinon. I can't make the trip!