Saturday, August 4, 2007

#16 Is In the Building (and #17, Too..)

If you read my earlier post, you know I was searching for that one wine to fill the remaining open slot in my giant 16-bottle capacity wine storage center.

Today I found it. And I found #17, too.

While you're laughing at me, I'll tell you what happened: My wife and I followed JeetJet's advice and drove out to Palos Verdes today for a picnic. On the way back we visited the Torrance Costco and naturally I checked out their wine selection. I've checked out the selections at the Alhambra, Azusa and Burbank locations and Torrance has them beat. Burbank is pretty good, but not as good as Torrance.

Stacked high in the pallet section were bottles of the 2005 Concha Y Toro Chardonnay, Marques de Concha, a wine I wanted to get after watching Gary Vaynerchuk's recent review, as well as reading what people had to say about it on Cellar Tracker, not to mention glowing reviews from Robert Parker and the Wine Spectator. There they were, and for $13.99, a bottle of it went into the shopping cart no questions asked.

Then a couple of doors down I spied an unfamiliar label, the 2005 Rockbare Chardonnay. A glowing review from Parker sat next to the $10.99 price label. Well heck, for $10.99, a 92 point wine? I'll find some space.

Some guy was shuffling wine bottles around and stocking the bins. What luck, the wine buyer was there! Nice guy, too. I had put the Concha y Toro in the cart no questions asked, but decided I'd ask some questions after all. He highly recommended that one - said this is what a chardonnay should be like. About the Rockbare - he hesitated. "A great summer chardonnay," he called it. Crisp, good acidity, but lacking the buttery oak component that he liked. Hmm.. I'm not a fan of big, oaky chardonnays but something about the way he described this wine gave me pause about purchasing it. Out of the cart it went.

I asked him about a few more. He highly recommended the Norton Malbec Reserve but I wasn't in the right mood for that one. Finally, I wound up picking a 2005 Paraiso Vineyards Pinot Noir. The buyer said this had a nice fruity style, more fruit than earth, and for whatever reason the bottle just appealed to me so into the cart it went.

I complimented him on the selections he had put together. He told me when he started this job last October, there was one group of bins (those of you who shop wine at Costco know what I mean). Now there are two, plus quite a few good wines on the pallets, several that are in the "premium" wooden bins at the other Costcos. He said soon there will be a third bin, so readers take notice! The Torrance Costco is looking good now and should be even better in the near future.

I learned something from this very enthusiastic buyer, but I have to tell you, he learned something from me today, too! I was wearing my Vayniac t-shirt and asked if he was familiar with Gary Vaynerchuk. He wasn't. I mentioned his recent appearance on the Conan show, then turned around so he could see the back of my t-shirt and he wrote down the web address.

Now we got home and I had two bottles of wine with only one slot available in the Emerson coolers. The solution? Easy - I just pulled the wine for this upcoming week and put it into the fridge. That freed up one more slot and now it's no vacancy time at the Emerson Suites.

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