Wine Shopping in New York

Oct 11, 2006

I’m back on home turf again, having arrived in New York over the weekend.

For exercise on Sunday, before joining Tom and Sara Matthews for dinner, I walked to a few wine shops near my hotel at East 34th Street and 3rd Avenue.

Since I cover California wines, I’m always curious about what wines and what options readers outside the Golden State have at their disposal.

I also like to see all the new or old brands I’ve never heard of--irrespective of where they’re from, and there are too many to process.

One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that in many wine shops east of California, the vintages run one to two years behind the wines I’m reviewing.

That’s not always a bad thing, as I’ll explain in a moment.

I’ve also noticed plenty of older vintages. By that I mean I saw some excellent wines from the 1999 vintage, such as Rockland Napa Valley Petite Sirah, a wine that’s next to impossible to find in California. Yet there it was, standing up on a wine shelf at Windsor Court Wine Shop on 3rd.

I also saw plenty of 2000 vintage reds, such as Cabernet and Zinfandel. These wines are already drinking well, and in a few days you’ll get our new issue, which focuses on Cabernet, and the main vintage I wrote about was 2003.

Since I’ve been working on a story about Pinot Noir, I wanted to see what choices existed. Much to my surprise, I found a few bottles of the 2004 Domaine Alfred Pinot Noir Edna Valley Chamisal Vineyards (93 points) for $30.

I reviewed this wine earlier this year and it is a sensational buy. But it seemingly vanished from the California wine scene months ago.

But there it was at Windsor. I bought a bottle--despite concerns that the wine shop was too warm, at 70 degrees Fahrenheit--and it was delicious.

One of those needle in a haystack finds?

Or are people just missing out on the goodies that are available for the taking?

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