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Stocking Up On The Good Wine

October 20, 2017

Happy Friday. First thing’s first. As promised, this morning someone scores a pair of tickets to the port wine tasting and pairing class next Thursday. picked the winning number last night.

Congratulations to Kayla!

For the rest of you, tickets are still available here. Don’t forget that most of the ticket price goes to support the hurricane relief efforts of the Red Cross. So if you found the idea of pairing port with chocolate, cheese, nuts, and grilled meat tempting, maybe the idea that you can enjoy all of that while helping people in need, will push you over the edge to joining Kayla on your own dime.

Speaking of wine, today marks the end of bar mitzvah week on the FLB. The first religious ceremony of the weekend is tonight. And it will start with a ceremonial glass of wine. The kid who is becoming a man this weekend, will lead the blessing. There will be wine at the luncheon. There will be wine at the after party for out of town guests. And once everybody leaves and returns to their homes around the country, I’ll pour myself a glass of wine and sink into the couch.

Fortunately, I recently stocked up on a case of the good wine from 22 2nd St. Wine Co.

I’ve written about this small Troy wine shop a few times before in the past, because I love it. To me, it’s exactly what a wine shop should be. The selection is small, but it’s well curated. This isn’t a place to go and find that bottle of wine you read about on the cover of some wine magazine, or that you may have tried in a local restaurant.

The reason to come to this shop is to try the wine that Heather and her staff enjoy. And they collectively have a perspective on what makes good wine. I’ve compared walking through the shop and looking at all the bottles, including how they are organized, to looking through a music lover’s record collection.

What I like to do is lean on the expertise of the shop’s staff, and have them select a mixed case of wines, based on the intersection of my wine preferences and their wine philosophy. I have a few guiding principles:

1) Wine should be food friendly
2) I am an adventurous wine drinker
3) My tastes lean to old-world style wines
4) Good wine doesn’t need to be expensive

It’s often better to buy wine by the case, because so long as you don’t put it over your fridge, over your stove, or in direct sunlight, it can last years. Still, I don’t recommend saving wine. Buy wine to drink wine. Also, there are often case discounts. At this store in Troy, it’s 12% off your total. That’s like buying 10 bottles of wine, getting another bottle for half price, and a bottle for free.

The other thing is, that whenever I buy a bottle of wine, I like to buy two of the same bottle. That way, once I’ve opened the first bottle, I know exactly what to expect from the second one. So the mixed case I get from 22 2nd Street has three bottles of white wine and three bottles of red wine.

Ideally I would like to keep the case under $150. But that’s not a hard and fast rule. If there’s something delicious that will end up bringing the case cost up an extra couple bucks per bottle, I don’t want to miss out on the experience.

Here’s what came in my most recent case. The descriptions come from Heather LaVine.

Domaine Seailles Cotes du Gascogne | $13
A red blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc from Armagnac, France created by winemaker Jean Laberenne. Laberenne has been certified for organic winemaking and making wines since 1997, bringing a natural approach to the traditional Bordeaux blend. Dark and silky but with an undercurrent of tannic structure, this is a perfect wine for a Fall evening.

Le Raisin et L’Ange, Pause Canon Blanc | $18
Giles Azzoni produces wine just how he wants and is not interested in designations and bureaucracy. His wines have absolutely nothing added, including sulfur, at any point in the winemaking process. He also farms organically. Production is small and only about 60% of what he produces leaves France. This ‘Pause Canon Blanc’ is mostly Sauvignon Blanc with a bit of Viognier and is a great starter wine for anyone looking to start exploring natural wine.

Brea, Chardonnay | $16
This is an outstanding budget friendly California Chardonnay from Chris Brockway (of Broc Cellars notoriety). Clean, but not without substance and minerality, it is rich, but not buttery. It’s a great everyday table white that’s very approachable to drink and is also produced using organic grapes.

Filipa Pato, Beiras Tinto FP | $15
Felipa Pato’s dad also produces wine, but rather than producing alongside her dad, Felipa purchased a small winery in a different appellation, Eventually, it is assumed, she will reunite with her father’s estate, but, in the meantime, she has carved a big international name for herself by creating expressive and honest wines that are made of native Portuguese grapes.

Domaine la Grange Tiphaine, Trinquames Sauvignon | $17
When we want an enjoyable, natural & affordable Sauvignon Blanc, we often look to the Loire Valley. Produced by a 4th generation winemaker who harvests everything by hand. His vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic. A bit of creaminess, but with nice acidity and notes of tropical fruit, this is a great sipper on it’s own and we also like to pair it with soft cheese.

Quinta Milú, Ribera del Duero | $13
Brilliant value at $13/bottle. 100% Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, medium – full bodied and organic. Winemaker German Blanco refers to his estate as a micro-winery and makes his wine using foot-treading, wild yeast fermentation and minimal handling. Quinta Milu is named for Germán’s son, Lucas, whom they refer to as Milú.

The whole thing came in, after the case discount and taxes, at $174.92 all told. That’s just over 14.50 a bottle, which is about what you’ll pay for an okay bottle of soulless, mass-produced wine at your corner liquor store. Or at least that’s what I was paying at mine. Which isn’t to say that those wines are bad. It’s just that smaller scale wine is different. It expresses something. It means something.

Or if you didn’t want the variety pack, buying a mixed case of those $13 bottles would be a great way to get through fall and winter. I’ve had them both and they totally line up with what I’m looking for in wine.

Okay. Now I’ve got to go and put the finishing touches on the bar mitzvah. Catch you Monday.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kayla Germain permalink
    October 20, 2017 11:17 am

    Woot, thank you! Can’t wait!


  1. 7 and 7 on Saturday, October 21, 2017 – Chuck The Writer

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