Friday, June 6, 2014

How-To: Be Strategic at The Wine Shop

While we prefer to restock our wine rack with a casual visit to a wine shop--wandering the shelves and chatting with the shop keeper--this sort of experience is not always an option. We found ourselves pressed for time on the last day of a huge sale at one of our favorite wine stores, Union Square Wines, in New York City. Spending an hour or so picking a dozen bottles wasn't in the cards, so we had to figure out a way to get in and out quickly, yet still find interesting wines worth the effort.

The sale was 30% a case (12 bottles), so we knew we had to start with a strategy to do this quickly. The store is huge, and the selection wide. Because early summer is the time we enjoy Rose wines, we decided to start there, then supplement with a few reds and whites for flexibility. Within minutes, we had to adjust our plans when we couldn't find as many Rose wines as we had hoped (we did manage to fill half the case, before moving on to reds and whites).

Without specific dinners planned, we moved to selecting some flexible red and white wines: Pinot Noir, Chenin Blanc. Also a few table wines.

Some people might pick a case of their favorites, but we are always looking to try something new. Of course, in our mind, a new vintage of wine we have enjoyed counts. A couple of Roses from Channing Daughters jumped out at us and were added to the cart.

Summer is a time for grilling, so an aggressive red or two works. Argentinian Malbec is almost a surefire win with a grilled steak dinner in the backyard. We also selected a Pinotage from South Africa to test with our grilling.

Sometimes, you need something very different. A bottle of Zweigelt reminded us of our trip to Austria, so we grabbed a bottle. We have no idea what to expect, except a trip down memory lane.

This trip felt a little more haphazard than the last, where we focused exclusively on Italian varietals selected with the help of the wine director. This hodge podge selection may be less thematic, but gives us the opportunity to create our own theme over the course of our tastings. Keep an eye out as we'll be discussing these wines throughout the summer.

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