Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Wine Preservers

Last week we got in an order of Vacuvin pumps and stoppers and Private Preserve gas, wine preservation tools which will probably end up just being used here by yours truly.  The Vacuvins will trickle out over time but just about the entire case of gas will remain on the shelf here where I will use it to preserve the many bottles we open for tastings.

So why don't such things sell better?  The most common response to my sales pitch for them is that the customer doesn't need such a tool, as in, "There's never any wine left in the bottle at the end of the evening."  Can't argue with that.  You don't need it then.  I bet though, that on occasion everyone could at least save some for the next day.

"Vacuvin" is the most common tool for preserving wine.  It is the small, usually white, plastic vacuum pump that sucks air out of a partially filled bottle using the Vacuvin proprietary rubber stopper.  That stopper has an escape slit on top where the air exits leaving a vacuum in the bottle above the wine surface thereby preventing oxidation.  This is the tool I have used for most of my time in the wine business.

About ten years ago I became sold on "Private Preserve" which is a spray can blend of nitrogen, argon, and carbon dioxide.  Their propaganda asserts that Vacuvin only removes 75% of the air in a bottle and the heavier-than-air Private Preserve, when sprayed into a partial bottle, completely covers the existing wine surface.

"Coravin" is the most recent addition to wine preservation and it is remarkable indeed.  It is most applicable for tasting expensive bottles over time and not losing anything to the atmosphere.  Rather than try to describe the apparatus here, stop in and we'll demonstrate it for you.  If you have three hundred dollars burning a hole in your pocket we'll even get you one!

So air is the enemy of wine in an opened bottle.  If you choose not to use one of the options above, your wine may be fine the next day.  While wine starts to deteriorate as soon as you open the bottle, some go down faster than others.  Usually by the third day, the quality is pretty much gone.  Refrigeration helps to preserve wine although in some PC circles that is just plain unacceptable.

So what do I do?  I gas 'em and refrigerate them overnight before bringing them out the next morning to warm up.  Works for me!

Please join us here at the store this Thursday the 3rd of May at 5pm when Brian Espanol joins us for a tasting from his fine wine portfolio.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Fifteen Dollars

Last September Lettie Teague wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal lauding what fifteen dollars can get you in the way of a nice bottle of wine.  It was the kind of article that makes you scratch your head, not because you're confused by the assertion but rather because it's so obvious, you wonder why you hadn't thought of it yourself.

In the article she mentions the cost of movie tickets (or for that matter any kind of entertainment ticket) and food, especially food that is associated with the entertainment venue.  She might as well have just said food in general since a nice fifteen dollar bottle of wine really is a bargain compared to current grocery store food prices.

I remember reading an article quite a while ago that maintained that getting the ten percent discount on a case purchase was really much more substantial than we realized.  It's like getting a bottle and a half free on a case, or something like that, and compared to other volume discounts, that's a lot!  Today that assertion pales by comparison to the basic pricing of wine circa 2018.  Ever since the recession of 2008, wine pricing in general has been a bonafide bargain compared to practically anything else.  It has to do with global overproduction and competition and that is probably the real backstory to the fifteen dollar wine assertion.

I also remember from ten or so years ago when oil prices skyrocketed and overnight food prices seemed to double.  It was supposed to be cause and effect.  Once the oil prices stabilized the food prices would drop down again.  Yeah, right.

So if we stay with a discussion of food and wine, let's see what fifteen dollars will get us in a nice wine that might go well with pizza, which I'm quite sure would cost upwards of fifteen dollars.  In the store right now we have Riojas, Cotes du Rhones, Malbecs, a Pinotage, and a particularly nice Washington State red blend, all for fifteen dollars or less.  From Italy, which seems appropriate considering our pizza  purposes, we have Montepulcianos, Chiantis, and a particularly special little red from Manduria which is exceedingly close geographically to Campania where pizza originates.  The Primitivo (Zinfandel) we're talking about is a Wine Spectator Top 100 selection and retails here for a mere fifteen smackeroos!

Now that's a deal!  The perfect wine for the purpose!  And it's just fifteen dollars!

Last Saturday Importer Taylor Carmichael presented his Fantini Italians which were really quite good at a mere ten dollars each.  Then last Thursday Nick Simonetti did ten dollar Bulgarians.  Please join us this Thursday at 5pm when Bob Reynolds offers up a fine Pinot Gris from Oregon and three reds, one each from Spain, Chile, and California and if you think the Chilean will be a cheapie...guess again!