Friday, October 3, 2008

Peace, Wine and Misunderstandings

Being back in VA, or more precisely, back in Richmond, I’m closer to one of my favorite wine shops, Private Stock. The reason why I love this wine shop so much is because the employees there are not only friendly and helpful but it’s one of the few wine shops where I feel like they are actually trying to set you up with a selection that you will be happy with, not just sell you the feature of the month. It was the first wine shop I went into when I turned 21 where the employees looked past my youth and helped me find blends and varietals that would help me discover and develop my palate for wine.

I prefer wine shops that have a smaller selection because it’s more likely that the staff has tasted a fair amount of the selection and is better educated. As opposed to certain warehouse style wine stores where I would only go if I knew exactly what I was looking for. Or better yet, for their awesome beer selection (although wine shops such as Kybecca in Fredericksburg do have a great beer selection as well).

Funny story… one summer I was obsessed with pinot grigio and went into a Total Wine to try something new. When I asked the sales associate what she recommended she pointed out three different pinot noirs before catching herself and back tracking through the store to bring me to the right section. Obviously it was just a mistake, but it still makes me chuckle. Moral of the story… never ask the cashiers in one of these stores. They are confused easily. But I’m getting off topic.

So I went into Private Stock a few days ago hoping that they might have Restless Soul (see previous entry), but alas it was not to be. But they did have one of the most amazing blends that’s ever passed my lips, one that I absolutely adore. It’s Peace Family Vineyard’s red blend. This delicious medium to full bodied red is a blend of Shiraz, Cab Sauv, Grenache and Mataro (a varietal that I’ve personally only seen in this blend) and it has notes of chocolate covered cherries. This is the wine that I hunt down first any time I go into a wine shop for the first time. Of course I’ve only found it in one other shop previously mentioned, which is Kybecca. This blend was first recommended to my friend when they were visiting Private Stock looking for another wine that the shop did not carry. From the first time that I tried the wine, I was in love.

I know I throw around the word “favorite” a lot, but it truly is my favorite red from Australia. It hits all the notes that I want in a red blend and is versatile enough to be served at almost any occasion. Even though it lacks in the spiciness I tend to enjoy, I still try to bring it to gatherings because everyone can enjoy it no matter what type of red wine they drink.

Another wine shop I enjoy going to is Virginia Wine Experience in downtown Fredericksburg. I prefer to go there when I’m looking for Virginia wines, but they also have an extensive selection of wines from every region. The employees there are also very helpful and it’s such a laid back shop it’s hard not to feel comfortable. Which is great if you’ve got a of questions lot like I usually do.

The bottom line is that you need to find a shop where you feel comfortable and the employees actually care about what they are talking about, not just trying to sell off of a list. There are a lot of shops that I like to frequent but can’t mention them all in one post. If you have a favorite shop, let me know. If it’s in Virginia, I’ll make every attempt to check it out. But also let me know about shops outside of the state because I love knowing where to go when I go out of state!

Until next time!
-Wine Chic


john witherspoon said...

Hi Melissa
come by and see me at "my" shop over in Midlothian, The Wine Cellar. Customer service is what we are ALL about. 2600 different labels, cheese and fresh seafood and meat. Would love to chat with ya, always looking for someone to geek out with.

Suzanne Nicar said...

Cool blog Mel! I'm going to piost this page on our wine club facebook page!