Bed, Bath and Beyond. And booze.
The national retailer known for towels and sheets recently initiated efforts to sell wine and other alcohol beverages, part of a trend to non-conventional wine outlets.
The change bodes both good and ill for wine lovers.
More and more retailers want to get in on the wine trade because more and more people are buying wine. Everyone with foot traffic now vies to be a vino vendor.
The proliferation of sellers comes with a downside.
The best place to get wine value and advice is your local store where someone knows you, knows and loves wine, carefully assembles an inventory, discovers small artisanal makers big box stores will never meet (much less purchase from), and works with you individually to fit their bottles to your palate.
Supermarkets and big national and regional stores are a whole different story. They are all about shelf space and squeezing wine producers who yearn to be on those shelves. There, the market model is not advice and quality. It is price and profit.
Which means we will see a continued proliferation of wine selling under $10, which generally means a proliferation of commodity-quality stuff that competes with craft beer and flavored spirits rather than appealing to the higher angels of our wine taste receptors.
For those who savor the ethereal qualities of quality wine—layered complexities, aesthetic complementarity with food—your best play remains the local wine seller. For the third bottle you pull out during frolicking, rollicking, what-the-hell revelry with friends, Bed, Bath and Beyond beckons.
• Diseño Old Vine Malbec 2011. Underwhelming; no fatal flaws, no wow; plum, black cherry; nice for price, easy drinking second/third bottle. $10
• Scacciadiavoli Montefalco Sagrantino 2007. Sumptuous nose; big dark fruit; lush, elegant taming of difficult grape; how victory tastes. $39
• Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay 2011. Exceptionally clean, crisp acidity, rich; green apples caress, then citrus, peach; superb finish. Judgment of Paris winner continues to deliver. $50
Last round: I just want to say thank you to all the people who gave me reasons to drink wine tonight.