I had an unusual, though nice, experience in a wine shop recently. I was browsing in a shop that I don't normally visit. It's not in my immediate area and it's actually one of those half wine, half gifty thing shops. That's typically more than enough evidence that the shop isn't worth a geek's time, but rules have their exceptions and this is one.
Nevermind the shop's odd shelf arrangement, with wines placed on what is to me a vague "ligher to heavier" and "earthy to fruity" axis (what does that mean?). Once you get over that, you find a well thought out selection of wines from around the world. Not a geek fest, but much more serious than the modest locale otherwise commands.
What struck me was the final shelf, with a 50% off sign on the top. That's quite a discount, and you might think that means the wines probably stink. But in this part of the world, there are some amazing things to find in wine bargain bins.
Yet the 50% off shelf had some of the exact same wines as on the regular shelves. Not different vintages or vineyard. No, the exact same wines.
At first I thought there must be a mistake. But no. I asked the proprietor and he said he just didn't have enough room for all the bottles, so a few extras go to the bargain bin. Such as a brand new 2006 Cotes du Rhone that's $12 here, but hey, $6 there.
What caught my eye was the 2003 J.M. Raffault Chinon "Clos du Capucins," which an importer refers to as the producer's grand cru. The shelf price was $23.99. But here were two bottles at half off, and I grabbed them both. Nevermind the over the top 2003 vintage. I'm excited.
But one wine in the same shop at two different prices? I've never seen such a thing. Have you?
Meanwhile, a beer note. I've heard about the Duchesse de Bourgogne, a Flemish beer, but until now I've never tried one. Well isn't this interesting. The label says it's blend of oak-aged ales from 8 to 18 months old. It's indeed reddish brown in color with a complex malty aroma laced with sherry notes. In the mouth it's lightly sweet with a full malty flavor with dried plum and other fruit notes. There's clearly a dry sherry quality on the finish, but it nicely balances the sweet elements and draws out the finish. The oak notes are muted, or perhaps integrated rather than sticking out obviously. In sum, this is delicious old world ale that drinks more like wine than "beer." Find some and try it for yourself.