Monday, June 10, 2013

Keep a sharp eye on that sale bin...

 The closeout, or sale, bin one finds at some liquor stores is something that should be approached with cautious reservation but with a peppering of eager curiousity. In my retail days the items that would make our closeout bin fell into one of a few categories.

1. It starts cheap at wholesale cost, stays cheap in the bin, you can turn a case over in, a few days and for $6 a bottle it’s passable wine. So as long as it keeps selling, we keep buying, and ‘closing it out.’

2. We have 10 spots on the shelf for wine from, let’s say, Savoie. We had eight bottles, we just bought four new wines from the region, two have to go to make room. C’est la vie.

3. A wholesaler/importer is closing something out (sometimes it is interesting that they couldn’t  sell at full wholesale cost) so we’re happy to take advantage of the situation.

4. The product is old, it needs to move.

Category 3 is my favorite category because this is the one that would often end up for personal consumption. My most recent purchase was a case of ribolla gialla from a producer that shall go unnamed at $7 a bottle that was being closed out probably because few people know what ribolla gialla is.  

So now that I’m not in retail anymore I do miss those excellent close out lists we would receive on occasion, but I do keep an eye out whenever I’m in stores for something that might be worth trying. Thus we have the above picture - Benito Santos 2009 Igrexario de Saiar Albarino.

This is another darling from the Jose Pastor Selections; Senor Pastor is an importer with a selection that usually connotes low sulphur, natural yeasts, sustainable farming done by a family, and so on and so forth. All of which I am actually quite enthusiastic about, but must be careful while discussing since it’s easy to start sounding a little crunchy.

But with an ever keen eye for interesting white wine, what I immediately saw while looking at this label were a few keys that betray what is bound to be an interesting wine. First, that it is a Jose Pastor wine. Not always great wine, but almost always worthy of further thought and contemplation. Second, the use of the letter “X” in Igrexario; without being much of a linguist, I can only guess that it is from northwestern Spain or possibly Greece. And third, that it is a three-going-on-four year old albarino (which brings me back to Spain.) Albarino as a grape can be very zippy and fresh in youth, but the more serious bottlings make this a great Spanish wine for serious drinkers of... let us say Chablis for a fine French comparison. High acid, interesting wooly or cheese rind characteristics, and frequently marked minerality.

For some those may not be keys of interest, but they are for me. Figure out what keys you might look for in a close out wine (Napa, Montalcino, Chile, malbec, Roter Veltliner...)

At less than $15 a bottle picked up in a closeout bin at a DC liquor store, this was worth every penny I paid for it. Slightly oxidized in a positive way, with a whisper of nuttiness and red apple at the edges that reminds me of wine from Jura in France. High toned acidity and interesting development until it was all gone, which was sooner than I was hoping for. Now I don’t know that it would be worth it to cellar the wine for any longer, but right now as a closeout bin pickup it works for me and I would happily try out older or younger vintages of this wine if I came across it.

Also kind of cool that it is one of three single vineyards that take their names from nearby churches and is named Benito Santos after an early proponent of albarino. Just a little extra trivia.  

No comments:

Post a Comment