Saturday, August 27, 2005

Wine Gallery

Last evening Ken and I had a marvelous experience at the Wine Gallery on Route 9 in Brookline. This summer we've visited a number of metro Boston wine and liquor stores that have excellent wine departments at discounted prices: Kappy's in Somerville, Martignetti's in Brighton, Marty's Fine Wines in Newton, and several others too unnoteworthy to mention. I must say I had the most fun and the most pleasant experience at the Wine Gallery. And the wines--I must've tasted at least twelve. But let me tell you:

It all started yesterday morning with a phone call to the store (on the corner of Route 9 and Cypress, near Brookline High School) to ask about parking and to get information about several wines. I spoke with the store manager, Wes Narron, who answered all my questions thoroughly and in an unrushed, kindly manner. I started to look forward to the wine tasting, an event the Wine Gallery holds every Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. (Beer tastings on Thursday evenings.)

When we arrived, we headed straight for the tasting area, near the back of the store. I liked the spaciousness of the bar area; so many stores crowd their tastings. The wines were all pinots: a Pinot Gris from Alsace was my favorite

The first of four wines for the tasting was a Pinot Grigio from the far northern reaches of Italy, in the foothills of the Alps. St. Michael Eppan 2004. Robert Parker in the Wine Spectator commented, "A serious white, with floral, apple and mineral aromas and flavors. Full-bodied, with layers of fruit and a long finish. Lots going on. Delicious..." He rated the 2003 a 90. I couldn't find a rating for the 2004. I'd agree with Parker's assessment, particulaly the mineral notes. Ken strongly disliked this characteristic, but I found it bracing and quite pleasing. I can't remember its price, but it was the least expensive of the four. Alsace Willm was next--I found it refreshing, still with mineral properties, but with a delicate sweetness and a complex rendering on the palate. Lots to contemplate while on the tongue. (This was our fave.) Alsace Zellenberg, a Pinot Blanc, 2001, was our next sipping. I loved this as much as Willm, but it was a bit more expensive, but not by a lot. Last was Elk Cove Vineyards' Pinot Gris 2004. This wine was the most expensive of the four, and I liked it the least. It stung my tongue after the smoothness of the previous three, to begin with. And, although it had the superficial qualities of the other pinot gris and grigio, I found the elements combined in a discordant medley that was jarring, to say the least.

How could I have saved the best for last? Now I don't have time to blog about Wine Gallery's Wine Jukebox. Up to 12 tastings any time you visit the store! I will describe in my next post.


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