неделя, 20 юли 2008 г.

Pros' guide to bargain shopping, Chez Panisse

Pros' guide to bargain shopping - link

Jonathan Waters

Wine Director, Chez Panisse

Strategy: Great values from sustainable, small producers

The hits: 2006 Targovishte Traminer, NV Dibon Cava

The miss: 2007 Calina Carmenere

First, a bit of disclosure on Jonathan Waters' hand up. For his quest, I directed him to the Berkeley Bowl Marketplace, where it turned out he already knew wine buyer Simon Ball and scored recommendations before we went shopping.

This actually bolstered his first bargain-hunting tip: Get to know your wine buyer. With more Bay Area supermarkets hiring wine stewards and individual buyers, personal recommendations should be ever easier to get. "If you go home and you don't like any of the wines, then the strategy hasn't worked," Waters said. "But at least it's a good place to start."

To convert our $70 into eight wines and pocket change, Waters employed other tricks up his sleeve, which to be fair is precisely what you need when diving into the bargain-wine sea. He already knew his sparkling pick, the NV Dibon Cava Brut Reserve ($8.99), since he has been pouring it at Chez Panisse. And he steered our cart toward wines from less prestigious Old World areas, including Eastern Europe.

That's how we ended up with the day's surprise hit: a 2006 LVK Vinprom Targovishte Traminer ($8.99) from Bulgaria, a relative of Gewurztraminer that offered pillowy peach and orange highlights atop a minerally, barely off-dry base. Waters suggested serving it with spring vegetables or a cheese course.

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