Wine. It's a hit or miss for me, specifically when trying to decipher the many labels offered by a decent retailer. At those moments, it's easy for me to wish to be a sommelier like Dee Ann Quinones, or just have richer wine knowledge like my brother Philippe. Even after taking a short course in wines back in culinary school (where I more often swallowed the samples rather than spitting out the wine into a bucket like demanded), my wine wisdom is based on luck and circumstance. More often then not, my selections are spontaneous, someone gives me a recommendation, or I return to already tested-vintages.
Take this past Thanksgiving weekend, for instance. Me and my wife visited our local wine dealer in Sunnyside -Lowery Liqours - a store with a solid wine selection and a management open to client suggestions, as well as requests. After buying several bottles, the cashier incented me with a discount for a second bottle. Woosh, I went back to a bottle I had passed but looked interesting, Colomé Estate Malbec from Argentina.
Initially, my wife gawked at the price, as at $27 it was almost 200 percent of the price of my usual limits of ten bucks a bottle. "Are you crazy?" she asked. But I insisted and we got it. Voila! While swigging it down with stuffing and turkey, she came to agree on my choice. After finishing the bottle, I checked out the Bodegas Colomé site and found the varietal mix has an interesting history, and is made in a beautiful region, grown at high altitude. Wine Specatator rates it at 91, not shabby. And Jancis Robinson likes it too. Put me down as a fan as well. Now I hope they restocked the shelf, because last time I looked, they were sold out!