The only possible response to this is spelled in special characters: '#@*'
Back in the Before Times, when things like vacation and restaurant meals were possible, we spent a few days in New York with our daughter, sightseeing, people watching, and eating our way around the city. One of the highlights was dinner at a new-ish farm-to fork restaurant.
Looking for a white to accompany this vegetable-centric feast, I bypassed the trophy bottles (too expensive) and the name-brand Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs. And then I saw it: a Semillon from Lazio. I love Semillon, but I’d never had one from Lazio. I’d never had one from Italy! And the lemon/apple/pear/papaya flavors of a Semillon would be perfect with our meal….we’ll have the Semillon, please!
Instantly, the somm appeared, an enormous grin splashed across his face. ‘I LOVE this wine. (twist) Honestly, it’s the most interesting white on our list. (twist) It’s some relative of the Antinori family. (pulls cork) Old vines..planted in the 60’s (pours, expectant look…)’
The wine was transcendently lovely, an explosion of complex but lithe flavors. Even better was our new best friend, the somm. We got the whole story about the Semillon, a taste of some dessert wine, and perfect, attentive service all night. Because here’s the thing: the surest way to a wine professional’s heart is to pick his or her favorite bottle.
This is as true in wine shops as it is at restaurants. If you happen to pick not the everyday best seller, and not the ‘trophy bottle’ with the big score, but the unusual bottle from the unusual grape and/or the unfamiliar region, the person who was responsible for purchasing that wine is apt to descend upon you, babbling something about how they just discovered this cool Georgian grape variety, it tastes like honeydew melon and kiwi, the winemaker studied in Burgundy, etc. etc. You’ve just made that person’s day, and now they’re going to pull out all the other cool stuff reserved solely for the ‘worthy’. Bonus: you’re probably also getting an incredible deal, because when we truly love an obscure wine, we’ll under-price it to tempt you.
The Pennywise Sale concluding today was absolutely stuffed with those ‘just because’ bottles, wines we put in there just because we wanted you to be able to try a stellar White Rioja, a graceful Roero Nebbiolo, a 21 year old Vino Nobile, and many more. Customers bought those wines- old friends and new, local and well outside our region. We even had a few orders from outside Massachusetts. And every time somebody clicked on one of those wines, my heart and soul did a little happy dance. Just because. Thank you.