It occurs to me that I should update you on my alleged experience with the Moore Bros. wine shop, where in my anti-Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board fantasy, I “visited” this past weekend to pick up a mixed case I had, in theory, asked Susan there to put together for me on my budget.
Let’s say that I opened a bottle of this Tuscan red from the stash, the first of eight reds in the box. And let’s say it was pretty great, full of bright cherry flavors, lovely roundness and perfect acidity — exactly what you want in a Tuscan red. Let’s further say that everyone drinking it was very pleasantly surprised that a wine this delicious and satisfying cost only $15.
I recently bought a $40 bottle of wine at the PA state liquor store that couldn’t begin to match this $15 Tuscan from Corzano e Paterno in deliciousness and excitement. Mind you, that could simply be a matter of my uneducated tastes. Nevertheless, I had (in theory, because it is illegal to bring wine across state lines in Pennsylvania) shared with a knowledgeable wine expert at a small independent shop what my particular tastes are — the kinds of wines I like, the kinds I don’t — given her a budget (and not a big one, either), and put myself in her hands. Result: she delivered me a wonderful, relatively inexpensive wine that made everybody very happy indeed, and which we’ll definitely buy more of.
And this is only the first red out of the box. Who knows what other surprises are there?
This, folks, is why I keep going on and on about the importance of finding a good wine shop, one staffed by knowledgeable people whom you can trust. If you are an expert in wine, you can perhaps do just fine buying from a giant wine discount warehouse. But I’m not that guy. I’m just a passionate amateur who needs help finding really good wine at a price he can afford. It is highly unlikely that I would have found this particular wine on my own. Let me say again: if you are a wine drinker like me, do a little research, and find a good wine shop like Moore Bros. in your neighborhood. Talk to them about what you like, and what you don’t like. Put yourself in their hands. You won’t be sorry. (But if you live in Pennsylvania, as I do, this exercise must remain strictly theoretical, because you wouldn’t want to transport wine across state lines.)
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About Rod Dreher
Rod Dreher is director of publications at the John Templeton Foundation, a philanthropy that focuses on science, religion, economics and morality. A journalist with over 20 years of experience, Dreher has written for The Dallas Morning News, the New York Post, and other newspapers and journals. He is author of the book "Crunchy Cons." Archives of his previous Beliefnet blog, "Crunchy Con," can be found here. He and his family live in Philadelphia.