He led me to the Alsace section–all of five or six bottles. It is one of my favorite regions for wine, yet I have tasted relatively little, because it doesn’t get as much exposure as Bordeaux or Napa, or even the Loire. No one seems to ever have more than five bottles.
Three of the bottles were affordable to me–two pinot gris and a gewurztraminer. He told me the one of them was light and fruity, a quality I don’t want in my Alsace wines. (They should be full-bodied, dry and heavy, like a good winter fondue.) So that was out; then I had only to decide between the other two. One had a young and fun label, a practice I sometimes look down on. The other had a fussy intricate script on a dusty peach background–a color that hasn’t been popular since 1984. I eyed it studiously. It was either carefully developed by a marketing department to look like something from a bygone era, or it really was from a bygone era.
Since the French are not ones for ironic humor (see weird hipster Chablis article here), I betted on the latter. Maybe I’ll put my foot in my mouth, but it seems like truly Old World-tasting wines, with their mystery and charm, are disappearing in favor of easier flavors in the actual Old World countries. So this ancient-looking label seemed promising to me.
I promptly took the bottle home and opened it. Expecting a rich stew of lanolin and egg yolk, I instead got a fruity, Muscadet-tasting thing. I was disappointed. But of course we drank it, and for $12, what can you expect? I am forever trying to beat the system, hoping that a cheap bottle will deliver a $60 experience. But until France starts paying their workers like they do in South America, we won’t get that.
Oh well, there would always be another bottle tomorrow.