Wine Buying 102: Grocery Stores

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Wine Class

Geee...silly me! I thought my wine series posted on this blog was a wine class! That's my objective...to teach people about wine.

Jim MacQueen more than 6 years ago

wine

Hello Jim,
well yes I agree with you....I did not want to go into great details about the cabs however technically a basic 2 or 3 blend cab with 75% cabernet is a cab! and if you add the petit verdo and the malbec you have a meritage by californian definition.Anything else to use your example of pomerol (st emilion is mostly or all merlot...if it's not a cab it's a bordeaux...and the region tells you what is in the bottle. Again i agree with you.
Yes chablis is most often a chardonnay and as you mentioned it is a different stlye of chardonnay the lime stone and slate gives it it's flintiness taste a little bit like a pouilly fume hence the name. I admire you passion about educating people about wine but perhaps you could start a wine class as it is unlikely that most people will retain the way a wine merchant talks about wine while buying wine.

Dominique more than 6 years ago

Sort By Region

Hi Dominique. Thanks for starting this discussion. I think it's important. To answer your question about Italian wines, I would like stores to sort them the way they sort French wines, by region. While it may be true the average wine buyer doesn't really know which types of grape predominate in various European regions, that is the purpose of wine education. I'm trying to help by writing these pieces, so maybe that is a good topic for a coming post. In my opinion, there is no such thing as a "French Cab"; they are all blends or meritages, to use the California term. So, it is important to know that Pomerols are mostly Merlot while other Bordeaux wines are mostly Cabernet. It is imporant to know that Chablis is mostly Chardonnay, but a completely different style of Chardonnay from white Burgundy. And the real point of this is that it is more difficult for a grocery store to deal with this than it is for a true wine merchant, which is why I would suggest the average consumer stick to the better wine merchants while learning all these details.

Jim MacQueen more than 6 years ago

wine

Hello Jim,
a serious wine customer as you mentioned is not he one who needs direction but the average customers who enjoys wine is.
That customers will never go to a French wine section because as you well know they are no information about the wine in the label, also the label means absolutely nothing to them it might as well be written in Chinese it would be the same. Again as you know French cabs are blends with a least 75% cab unlike California cabs that are most likely 100% cab.
I guess one could argue that French cabs are Meritages if we take in consideration what the standard of a meritage is california.French cabs are robust and complex does the average customer want complex of fruity? A.K.A merlot? SO I would sort out french cabs with cabs, merlot with merlot and pinot noir with pinot noir. Now I have a question for you how would you sort out italian blends of cabernet,sangiovese and merlot?
with the italian wines? or with the assorted red blends?
PS: I take back my previous comment of using the sentence "if you are serious about wine" that was not appropriate.

Dominique more than 6 years ago

What is "serious"?

Hi Dominique. I guess you and I have very different ideas about what a "serious" wine customer is. I think anyone serious about wine either walks into the store knowing what they are looking for, or brings along enough published info to help find what he or she wants. Sorting wines by grape variety is certainly one valid approach, but not helpful with European wines which are almost always blends. Once you sort out California or other US states, it is helpful to sort again by grape, but how would you sort French wines into Cabs, Pinot Noirs, or Merlots?

Jim MacQueen more than 6 years ago

wine

If you are serious about wine and want to answer customer needs and making their wine search easier is to organize wines by grape varietals not by region or country. Imagine if a customer is looking for a wine and does not remember the name and doesn't know where it is from.....Only Heinen's.s got it right. Griffift point posted on july 26 2010 is not realistic, customers don't know about wine, they don't want to know about wine they don't have time if they did they'd buy a book. They are not professionals about wine they just want a bottle of wine that they will enjoy. That's all customers want. Finally the biggest mistake a wine steward can do is talk about wine using the professional jargon that "only another professional can understand"

Dominique more than 6 years ago

West Point Market

No one knows more about wine than retailer Mario Vitale at West Point Market. He has made this department the jewel of the region...although, it was always high in my book. But Mario has set an even higher standard. Folks come from all over Northern Ohio and even from out of the state to shop here. There are bargains galore, as well as jewels you don't want to miss.

L Griffith more than 6 years ago