Whining about wine

(I will preface this post by pointing out that Top Ten Wines has some affordable, truly outstanding bottles of Cotes du Rhone right now. The Saint Cosme pictured at left was a bargain at $18. Just wonderful.)

This post on Paul Vernon’s Top Ten Wines calendar captures the way many Columbians feel about the guy. You know he’s the best guy in town for wine. You also know there’s a better than even chance you’re going to feel out of your league in his shop. From a Top Ten Wines email yesterday:

The tasting group last Wednesday went well. We will be doing the same thing this Wednesday at 7pm. The idea is the same: Bring or buy an interesting bottle of wine and everyone shares.

There are two stipulations. First, if you’d like to come, you have to call us and let us know (573-442-2207). Second, you do have to share something interesting, so if you’re curious about whether or not your bottle fits our rather idiosyncratic criteria for ‘interesting’, just ask. Local distributors Mark Grundy (Golden Barrel) and Chuck Johnson (Glazer’s Midwest) will be in attendance; Mark has promised to bring a 2005 Caymus Special Selection (92-94 points, Wine Advocate), for those of you who’ve wanted to taste that wine. For those of you without Wine Advocate access, the review for that wine is here.

So, you’re supposed to bring an “interesting” wine, but he puts you on notice that it had really better be interesting. There are criteria, stipulations. I know a fair amount about wine but that intimidates a bit, even if it shouldn’t.

I know why he’s doing it. Someone could show up with a $6 bottle of Lindeman’s shiraz/cab, an inoffensive bottle for a quick weeknight glass, but certainly nothing interesting. Then “Mr. Tragedy of the Commons Illustrator Guy” gets to try a $200 bottle of wine for investing only six of his own. But I don’t think anyone on Paul’s email list would pull a stunt like that. Certainly the shame (and they would at that point be deserving of shame) would correct it from happening again.

Unlike some people I talk to, I find Paul more endearingly abrasive than truly off-putting. He is what he is: an opinionated guy with the best wine store in town.

And now, a Budweiser-style commercial for our fictitious interloper…

Real men of genius.

Today we salute you, Mr. Tragedy of the Commons Illustrator Guy.
You jump at the chance to try expensive wines…as long as it’s free.
Most bottles of wine pour four glasses,
But you’ll try to cram it all into one.

Somebody pass the Caymus!

That two-Benjamin bottle of bubbly at the wine tasting?
Slam it. After all, you brought a half-empty box of Franzia.

Love that squeezy bladder!

So crack open an ice cold bottle of Sauternes, oh Chieftain of Cheapskates.
‘Cuz tomorrow night it’s back to the Mogen David for you.



Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

5 thoughts

  1. This sounds a lot like our beer-tasting events at Sycamore. Somebody brings a Russian River Beatification while the guy next to him nurses his PBR tall-boy.

  2. He who has the event makes the rules.

    Paul is “interesting” to say the least. However, he does know his stuff and does have the selection to back it up. And he lives his business. I usually walk in and give him a price range and what I am cooking and he will give me the wine I need. Sometimes he is very gruff, and others not. It would be off-putting to many people, but I don’t think it is malicious. He is much “better” after one of his wine tastings when he has some wine in him. But then, who isn’t?

  3. I would say that the first few beer tastings were of this nature (although I don’t recall PBR being brought), but the past few tastings have been better and have evolved into most bringing better beers to sample. This evolution comes from tasting poor/average vs. good/excellent beer (and wine for that matter), which in turn opens the door for a more diverse tasting. We still have a few so-so beers brought, but that may be due to a lack of knowledge about the style that we’re tasting or the availability of such styles in MO (i.e., not everyone can get out of the distributing net of MO, so sometimes you have to settle for something that’s readily available). I view this as the primary purpose of a tasting, to not only sample different beers (good or bad), but to educate those interested in the differences between a Scottish ale vs. a red ale for example. I like the idea of a wine tasting of this nature though and may have to investigate Top Ten’s tastings in the future. It’s funny though, because I have no problem dropping the $$ on an expensive beer I come across, but with my lack of knowledge in wine (not total lack of / just less so than beer) I examine the price tag more closely and am more frugal…so a wine tasting might open my eyes or at least my wallet.

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