Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wendy N. from the cold countryside

Although I still wish I'd found a way to stowaway in Wendy's luggage, one of her recent e-mails makes me feel (slightly) better:

"Before you get too jealous, I'm not having the best time here. Stuck in the country, where it's freezing and rather boring...Thang God for the wine. We paid big bucks for this bottle at a restaurant (20E - about $30) -- a very good, balanced Pinot Noir. It's probably more than I've paid for any wine on this entire trip. This must subsidize wine production in Europe! Can't believe I ever paid $10 for a glass of wine in NYC."

In my experience, $30 is a very good price for a balanced bottle of Pinot Noir -- especially from a restaurant. Moreover, I doubt a $30 bottle, which the restaurant probably paid about $10 for, is subsidizing a lot of wine production. However, I'm conditioned by the U.S. wine market and wine is one of the few things that we pay more for in the U.S. than in Europe. Of course when I looked this up on wine-searcher, I found that Domaine D'Antugnac Pinot Noir 2008 costs around $13 - $15 in some of my local stores. Of course a restaurant here would likely charge around $35 - $45 (as I've complained in previous posts, I've noticed that the mark-ups at restaurants have been creeping towards the 200% plus mark-up level).

I've been thinking about my own wine travels for awhile now and Wendy's e-mails helped encourage me to plan my big 2011 trip. In mid-June, I'll be heading to England for a few days (Taste of London, The Ascot, Wimbledon) and then I'll be going to Paris and The Loire valley. If anyone has any tips, thoughts or advice on touring wineries in The Loire valley, please post them up.

Until the next sniff, sip, quaff or Wendy e-mail,


Alli M.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wendy N.'s Back (well actually she's been writing the whole time....)

My friend and current foreign correspondent, Wendy N., has been reporting in from Europe. Unfortunately, I've been doing a bit of travel of my own (for work, so no big exciting wine stories) and have not had time to share her thoughts.

A few weeks ago, she wrote about the wine pictured above:

"This is a white from the vineyard here in town. It tastes like a Chardonnay, but not overly oaky or buttery. Very delicious, and only 7E (approximately $10). The other white that is famous in this region is the Blanquette de Limoux. It's rather sweet and I guess the region just got its AOC (official Appelation designation)."

As with the previous wine, I couldn't find this bottle on That said, she probably was drinking a Chardonnay as that is a classic French white. Moreover, the French tend to like their Chardonnay with a lot less oak and butter notes than Americans.

If you're looking for good, acidic, grassy, dry Chardonnay, you should forego California and look to France. You may just find a lovely $15 new favorite.

Until (Wendy N.'s) next sniff, sip or quaff,


Alli M.