Wine Tasting October 23 ’10

I was told by a reliable source last weekend that I shouldn’t talk about politics on the wine blog. Probably good advice, but sometimes we all need a good rant, which I managed to resist for the most part, but man, it’s tough to hold back as we suffer through what has to be the most dim-witted political dialogue in living memory. Or, what is the same thing, all political rhetoric is now coming across distorted by the “Dopeler effect” by which political ads sound even more moronic the faster they come at you…

In the upcoming (up-chucking?) election, there are actually two initiatives that directly affect the wine business, although the most direct effect is on sales of hard liquor. One of them attempts to do away with State Liquor stores in order to benefit Big Box stores like Costco. Such stores have so much leverage that they would be able to buy from suppliers at much lower prices than, say, a small wine shop on a little island, and would likely put a lot of small retailers and even distributors out of business.

The other version is sponsored by the Big Beverage industry, who say okay, sure, let’s do away with State Liquor stores, but let’s do it in a way that benefits existing big beverage distributors.

As it is now, Washington, like many states, has a “three-tiered” system, which since prohibition ended, has divided the profits in wine and beer sales among producers, distributors, and retailers, and of course the State gets its share of taxes, so call it “four-tier.” Everybody gets a share, with little retailers like us having the worst odds.

In theory, we would all be better off without the extensive regulation that exists in this industry to protect the profits of the big players and the tax revenue of the state. But in today’s world, it is reasonable to expect that deregulation would lead to even more intense concentration of the industry. Presently no entity can be both a retailer and a wholesaler, which somewhat evens the playing field for retailers. But without those rules, an outfit like Costco might become both a distributor and a retailer, crowding out much of the competition.

All I’m saying is that the prudent thing to do is to vote against these two Initiatives; they would hurt state tax revenues at a time when they are most critical, and give those benefits to big players in the private sector who already have more than their fair share.

And in case you haven’t been in lately, we have replenished our stock of Pleasant Valley cheeses and Theo’s chocolate bars, and have a nice selection of both. Also,  Pat and Janice will be making a new batch of Truffles for the Halloween weekend tasting, and taking orders for Thanksgiving!

last week photos

week before last photos


Wine Tasting October 23

Mark Ryan Chardonnay 07 Washington $25 WA91 pts
Light gold-colored, it reveals aromas of toast, mineral, poached pear, and apple. Smooth-textured, balanced, and vibrant in a Chassagne-Montrachet style, the flavors are rich and all components are well-integrated. Drink this outstanding Chardonnay over the next 4 years.

Santa Digna Carmenere 07 Chile $10
Chalky notes of toasty plums, blueberry, raisin give way to finish of dark prunes and spicy white pepper…a great value!

Can Blau 08 Spain $14 WA89pts
Dark ruby-colored, it reveals a compelling bouquet of mineral, smoke, spice box, black cherry, and plum. Sweet and smooth-textured on the palate, this medium to full-bodied effort has excellent depth, concentration, and length.

Numanthia Termes ’03 Spain $22 WA90pts
A super bargain, the 2003 Termes enjoys malolactic fermentation in barrel and is aged 16 months in old French oak. Its dense ruby/purple hue is accompanied by sweet aromas of black fruits, charcoal, licorice, and pepper. Spicy, rich, medium to full-bodied, and exuberantly fruity.

Wine Tasting

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