If you haven't already checked out my What I'm Drinking Tonight from last night so you have a little background of where I am and what I'm talking about, I'll wait for you to come back, so go ahead, click over ...
Welcome back. A few years ago I read a book called Love By the Glass, where the couple, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, would go to their local wine store and find finds amongst the displays of boxes and baskets of wine while talking with the merchant. Unfortunately, I couldn't relate. I'm from Ontario, where our "local merchant" is the LCBO (a powerhouse monopoly), and the most talking you get from any of their employees is when your Visa gets declined. But over the last two days I have found myself at Dave Biegemann's Pop More Corks store, where I have seen what being a wine merchant is all about.
Dave engages everyone who walks in, offers them a tasting of what he has open (a selection of 8 wines - 4 white, 4 red), talks knowledgeably about the wines, its place of origin, the grape(s), heck, he even throws in bits about the winemaker as if he knows them personally - then again, maybe he does. Over the past two days I have witnessed wine selling as well as education. His customers gather 'round, wanting to taste the wines he has open, but also they want to hear and learn about what they are drinking. I would have to say that when it comes to selling his customers on wine Dave has more personality than most LCBO employees and gives more info about a wine in 10 minutes than many 'CBOers do in a week.
As for the wines I tried while wondering around the store, I wish I could tell you about them. This is the first time I've ever been so awed with the surroundings that I forget to pay attention to the wines. He's poured something with a blue circle on the label with a 41 in the middle, a beauty of a Spaniard called Tres Picos (I've had this baby before), an Argentinean Cab from Crios and a Chinon (France) Cabernet Franc called Cuvee Terroir; along with a number of whites (kept cold in a metal tub on the counter) ... I promise to pay more attention to the actual wines being poured next time, instead of my usual wandering and marvelling about the store. And to believe I found such a place in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin - amazing. We don't have places like this in Ontario why?