I Paid Retail and it was Worth it!

I work in retail. I don’t pay retail! Well, not usually but it was not a usual set of circumstances.

Monday night, I decided I’m going to join the wine club of Bay Grape because it’s such a wonderful shop and community gathering place. It looked like it was sold out and I’d have to wait a month but I sent an email anyway. Tuesday afternoon, I heard back from Stevie, one half of the owner-couple, that there were 3 left and it was a first-come, first-served deal. I was the first to snag one.

I ran home from work in a wine shop to take BART to a wine shop! Pretty crazy but as soon as I walked into Bay Grape, I knew it was the best kind of crazy. The place was hopping, the vibe was “neighborhoody,” and it was dog friendly (yeah). I was alone and so made friends with the poodle-shih tzu mix named Vader because of her puppyhood helmet head.

And the reason for this gathering: the unveiling of this month’s wine club selections.

  • First up, was a Cava that was done in atypical style – it was aged in the bottle for 5 years. It was so good that I wanted to kiss somebody but then I realized that I was a long way from my partner. Presenting Pere Mata Cupada No. 14 Cava 2011. If you find yourself near a bottle, snag it and find out for yourself how wonderfully complex Cava can be.
  • Next up, a Chinon rosé with a story. Every wine has a story but this one was one that did my heart good. It’s the story of Olga Raffault the widow turned renowned winemaker who would not release her wines before their time. (Shades of Lopez de Heredia.) Josiah, the other half of the owner-couple called it the “wine you drink while you are waiting for her Chinon.” Drinking this lovely rosé –tasting of wild strawberries, wild cherries, flowers, flint and orange blossoms—made me want to get a bottle of the Presenting Olga Raffault Chinon Rosé 2014. I am all for Cabernet Franc in any form and have had it still (red and rosé) and sparkling. True confessions, when it comes to rosé, I don’t like ones made of Pinot Noir – they seem kind of weird. I prefer Provencal styles. Recently I had a rosé from Cabernet Sauvignon, which confirmed for me why there are some wines that simply do not a rosé make! That wine was also had the most ridiculous, overly done packaging; the contrast between the pretty packaging and the vile wine in the bottle was astonishing. But I digress – back to the tasting.
  • We ended on a Nero d’avola from a winemaker in Orinda that sources its grapes from a warm and sunny plateau in Mendocino, CA. The aroma was intoxicating and then came the big fruit but also good acidity. I cannot wait to try this again with food – maybe lamb chops. Presenting Ama Cellars Nero d’avola Mendocino 2014.

What a night that:

  1. Reminded me of something I know: wine builds community and 2. Made me realize that sometimes paying retail is worth the price.


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