Why buying wine from wine shops is the best bet, part one

From Costa News SL, March 2010

Wine Shops sell economic wines too!WHY BUYING WINE FROM WINE SHOPS


 I’m currently sifting through a large number of questionnaires about people’s wine drinking habits. They make fascinating reading and you’ll be able to hear what people are saying, anonymously of course, about: how often they drink wine, their preferences, how they serve wine, how much they spend and lots more in Cork Talk over the next few weeks.

 Not all have been submitted yet but of two things there can be no doubt, albeit that the actual stats might change slightly: most of you buy your wines from supermarkets and most spend between two and five euros only. Statistically at this stage that translates to 67% of respondents generally spend under five Euros per bottle; and a staggering 94% usually buy from supermarkets!

 This information precipitated the following question, and some important research too. The question: is there a symbiotic relationship between the two facts, do the two go hand in hand? In other words if the large demand is for wines priced between two and five Euros do such bottles have to be bought at supermarkets?

 Well my entirely satisfying research proves conclusively that there does not need to be such a close relationship at all. You do not have to shop at supermarkets to find wines of this more economical price – it’s a common misperception that needs exposing!

 I went recently to the excellent A Catarlo Todo wine shop in Teulada. It’s local to me and I wanted to see what they have in the shop between these price parameters. However, if you are not in this area as many of you aren’t, considering that the Costa News has four titles, 150,000 weekly readers from Valencia to Marbella on the coasts and inland too, you’ll find the same where you are, for sure!

 I explained my mission and was pointed in the direction of the less expensive wines so that I could choose for myself.

 So, firstly when I list the wines and my comments about them I’ll be able to prove to you that it is a myth that wine shops only stock expensive wines. There are many good wines here that are under the five Euro limit, not just the six I took away with me. But that’s not the only reason why I urge you to skip the supermarket and go to the wine shops.

 The vast majority of people who own and run these shops are doing so because they love wine, indeed they are passionate about it! Sure, it’s a business, they need to turn a profit of course. But the bottles on the shelves are not just units on some accountant’s books – they are living bottles of wine in which their makers invested their knowledge and passion and which in turn are treated with respect by their vendors, the wine shop staff and owners.

 So here are my notes and opinions on the wines – all of course under five Euros:

 Borsao Joven 2008 – from the DO Campo de Borja, just south of La Rioja is made with three grape varieties: Cabernet, Garnacha, Tempranillo. It’s a young wine, one that should have fresh red fruits on the nose and the palate, and that’s exactly what it delivers. Easy drinking, fruity red for anytime.

 Razón 2005 is one of those wines that gives a lie to another misperception – it’s a table wine, so does that mean it’s poor quality? Certainly not, it’s just that in its area of production the winemaker doesn’t want to be restricted to using the officially accepted varieties. It has some oak ageing which allows it to linger after swallowing – darker fruits than the above, good with food.

 Finca La Estacada 2007 has had six months in oak and further ageing in bottle. Made from Tempranillo in the Cuenca area it’s a wine that will prove beyond doubt that good, well-priced wine can be found in wine shops! Dark brambly fruits with vanilla notes – a favourite.

 From DO La Mancha Fontal Roble 2008 is one of those wines that has had some oak but not enough to call it Crianza – the result is a wine that has depth as well as fruit, and is lovely with or without food. Cool purple label too!

 At 3·75 Euros Señorio de Uñela is a remarkably well-priced Rioja joven wine. 100% Tempranillo from this variety’s spiritual home it mends some of the faults of which Rioja has been guilty. It says it’s gloriously fruity and that’s just what it is – not a touch of bitterness on the finish.

 Care Tinto Roble is made from the super-fruity (when grown in Spain) Syrah and Tempranillo in the rolling hills of DO Cariñena, an area that produces exceptionally fruit-driven wines. This is one of a series of wines that have a modern art drawing of a face (Care = face) on the label and I’ve never tasted a poor wine from this bodega! My favourite of an excellent bunch of economically priced wines – not bought from a supermarket!