Many times I see great wines in Retail Shops or on Restaurant Wine Lists or in Portfolios of Importers get deleted. The answer I always hear in response to Why is “That grape or that brand or that country doesn’t SELL HERE”. I don’t believe that for a minute. When I was a wine buyer for Wine Bars or Restaurants the distributors always warned me that these wines don’t sell here. 2 months later after we reordered and sold 100 cases due to popular customer request and I was asked by the distributors “HOW DO YOU SELL THESE”? My answer is always the same. “THE BOTTLES DON’T TALK”!! . I am not protected from this issue as I am a consumer in Restaurants and Retail like you and I work in Wine Retail. I may have passed the same 12 bottles of a particular wine 200 times in a month and never even thought to look at it, purchase it and try it and walk right past it to something more familiar in my comfort zone. This is human nature. Imagine if Wine Bottles COULD TALK??. Wouldn’t it be great if this bottle that supposedly doesn’t sell because no one knows anything about it would just activate a digital voice box yelling “Hey You Mr Customer. I am an amazing wine with dark berry fruit from an excellent vintage. Be a smart consumer and don’t pass me by” But, “BOTTLES DON’T TALK”
Ribera Del Duero, Tinto Fino/ Tinto Del Pais/Tempranillo
I have spoken before about the many, many synonyms between Spain And Portugal for the Grape Tempranillo. As you can see by the map where the Rioja Region is that produces some great Tempranillo but I get asked for the Big Guns from Ribera Del Duero which is on your map slightly south and west of Rioja running along the Douro River on the east side of Portugal. In this Spanish Wine Region, Tempranillo is referred to as either Tinto Fino or Tinto Del Pais. The big gun is Vega Sicilia UNICO. It’s average retail is $300-$500 per bottle depending on the Vintage. I don’t have any to offer and in fact I only thought I had one very very light entry level wine from the region in my store because “BOTTLES DON’T TALK”
2011 Bodegas Neo “Sentido” (Sense) Ribera Del Duero
I walk down the Spanish Wine aisle 20 times per day and i never for some reason noticed these 14 bottles of a wine from Ribera Del Duero at $16.99 from a very warm, dry 2011 vintage and for $16.99 It is 100% Tinto Del Pais or Tempranillo sourced from 50 year to 60 year old vines and this vintage was awarded 90 points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and it is all hand harvested grapes, unfined and unfiltered and aged in 2 year old barrels 70% French and 30% American with a medium char. Why didn’t this bottle TALK TO ME? Bottles can’t talk but I can so I purchased one to review for my blog followers.
As you can see I was going to take this wine out for a test drive in my new “Abstract Bordeaux Lead Free Crystal Julianna Glasses I received from Anna handcrafted in Slovakia. I highly recommend (No Plugs Here) You check these European Beauties out online by reaching out to Anna on Instagram or Twitter at @JuliannaGlass.
As you can see dark black purple hue in the glass with no filter on the photo. After first taste when opening and one hour later, the wine still gave me nothing but some blackberry fruit, spice and burnt straw. It was tighter than my waistline from testing all these wines with cheeses lol. The tannins even after an hour were very coarse on this 7 year old wine and the presence of American Oak was too prominent.
What a Difference An Hour Makes!
(I think these Crystal Glasses made a Huge Difference) By hour number 2 of being opened the wine just blossomed. I am not saying this is Vega Sicilia but I am not certain that wine or any wine is worth $500 Retail anyway but this turned into a serious Ribera Del Duero. Now big time Kirsch Meets Blackberry Brandy aromas with hints of vanilla extract and cedar with a dash of coconut shavings from the American Oak came through. 2011 remember was a really hot year and this wine certainly showed the vintage off. Big Time Black Pepper as well with 14% ABV. On the palate it was medium to full body consistency with very elegant black fruits like boysenberry and blackberry/cherry with the tannins still present and not so coarse as when first opened but a nice chalky grip that all completely disappeared and meshed will with some Aged Danish Havarti and also believe it or not some Grilled Salmon seasoned with Smoked Paprika that made it work. I agree with Parker 90 Points it is for me as well with that kind of tannic backbone this wine can be held for another 10-15 years.
Finally a wine to purchase those aged cheeses as this will pair nicely. A Mahon Curado would be by perfect choice. This is also time to bring out the Well Marbled Beef or Rosemary Leg Of Lamb. Remember to open this a minimum of 90 Minutes prior to serving and put a slight chill for 15 minutes in the Fridge. Imagine how many wines like this get deleted from stores or Restaurants or Distributor portfolios because they supposedly don’t sell. Well these 15 bottles I have of this wine now 14 of the 2011 ( minus the one I bought) may not have been selling because the “Bottles Can’t Talk” but I CAN and so can your ABC Fine Wine Specialist and Sommelier so I expect within a week those bottles all of a sudden WILL SELL… I wonder Why?? Imagine how many others us consumers pass by?