WHY BUYING WINE FROM WINE SHOPS
IS THE BEST BET – PART TWO!
Regular readers may remember Part One of this short series about the advantages of buying wine from wine shops rather than supermarkets. The series stems from a recent survey I made of people’s wine drinking habits. I’ve been looking at the answers to the 20 questions which cover: the price people are willing to pay for wine; whether they prefer red, white, rosado; if they drink dessert wines, port, sherry; where they buy their wines; how they serve them et cetera.
For a wine anorak like me the results are fascinating, not least of which is the fact that most people seem to think, quite erroneously in fact, that wine shops only sell expensive wines and if you want cheaper wines the supermarket is the place to go.
I’m in and out of wine shops all the time and I know that there is always a good choice of wines under 5 Euros. However it wasn’t until the results of the questionnaire came in that I started looking at exactly how many wines there are in this category. Plus, when I took samples home, they confirmed my opinion that they aren’t cheap and nasty, they’re good and friendly!
Let me give you an example – only yesterday I walked into a supermarket where I live and was horrified to see that they were trying to sell a Chardonnay 2004 (lots of bottles of a wine, no doubt forgotten in the stores and just re-discovered). I didn’t look to see if it was an oaked wine, which would give it some age-ability at least – I didn’t need to, the wine was brown!
I told the smiling young lady about it and she took a note of it. I’m going to go in there tomorrow and see if they are still there – I bet they are, what does some foreigner know! Somebody over-ordered, somebody else forgot them and now they are trying to get a return on their investment. It’s a disgrace!
It’s unthinkable that such a thing would happen in a wine shop. That’s another compelling reason why you should buy from wine shops before the supermarkets! A wine shop for example like La Casa del Vino in Javea, my second port of call whilst investigating the choice of economic wines available away from the supermarkets.
Well lit and roomy, the shop is laid out so that you can wander around and see the wines properly. Most bottles are resting horizontally and those that aren’t are rotated and/or fly out of the shop so quickly they don’t have time to deteriorate as the cork dries out because the wine is not in contact with the cork.
I explained my reason for the visit this time and was given a tour of the shop where in every corner on practically every shelf there are examples of the sub-5 Euro wines to which I refer – they are all over the place! I came away with ten, one of which is in fact not a bottle, but a wine box (more on this BIB, Bag In Box and the whole concept in a later article!) Super choice, super wines – and not a bored checkout girl in sight!
Alex is a range of wines from Bodegas Viñedos de Calidad, DO Navarra. I tried three – the white made from Viura (aka Macabeo) is priced at 3:20 Euros, it’s a clean dry white wine with a hint of green apple and maybe a touch of pear too, just right for when you need a chilled refresher! Their Tempranillo is a wine I recently recommended on the radio (www.bayradio.fm) – it’s fruity but with an earthiness that will appeal to those who like their wine a touch robust, good with pizza! The Merlot, I liked particularly, some stewed plums on the nose and palate and a whiff of menthol too.
DO Valencia provided my next two wines, both called Ximo, one a white Semillon (a variety rare in Spain – so far!) and the other a Tempranillo, from Bodegas El Villar. The white is as charming as it is fruity, a touch tropical a touch citrus, I really like it – 3·40 Euros! The red is Tempranillo, but richer and fruitier than the Alex, testimony to the sunshine hours and temperatures of Valencia as opposed to the northerly climes of Navarra.
Vermador is from Alicante and is and organic red made from Monastrell, the star of the East as far as I’m concerned. It’s chunky in its expansive mouthfeel, with big dark blackberry fruit, but it manages a touch of finesse too. It is also available in BIB which works out to be just 1·97 Euros – check is out against supermarket offerings, not that you’ll find many at the cheap price!
Clos Lupo Reserva (yes, a Reserva for just 4 Euros!) is a Jumilla wine using of course their darling variety Monastrell but also Tempranillo, Cabernet and Shiraz. It’s a blend that works with, for me two pepper notes, a touch of the vegetal green pepper but also freshly ground black pepper spice, and of course a rich dark fruit content and well integrated oak. Germany, which is not blessed with many red wines, loves this one, with the parent company The Spanish Wine Company shipping it by the pallet.
My favourite red, just pipping Ximo Tempranillo, was the Barahonda Tinto Barrica, at just under the 5 Euro limit. I know the bodega very well as it’s one showcased on the TV series, Viva Vino. Monastrell and Cabernet are partners providing super dark blackberry and blackcurrant fruit moulded together nicely with integrated oak.
My favourite white? – well either Ximo above, or Bodegas Bocopa’s Laudum Chardonnay, with a touch of oak for depth of flavour.