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Happy Dance (WTNs)


Mark Sommelier
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Last night at work started out with a bang. The first table ordered a 1986 Ducru Beaucaillou ($300) and then a 1959 Leoville Las Cases ($1650). The Ducru is magnificent, still tasting young. Slight hint of brett on the nose, the wine is dense and full bodied. The Leoville came from the Mahler-Besse cellar and was in pristine condition. Top of the shoulder fill, the wine was in perfect shape. Very smooth, complex and mature. This was a great treat. The next table of 4 ordered a Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet 2000 ($450) for the aperitif! This wine is a show stopper. Dense on the palate, finish that goes and goes. Good oak integration. I think this wine will live for a very long time. This was followed by 2 Montrachets (1998 & 2000) from Domaine de la Romanee Conti ($1450 each). What can you say? I was in sommelier heaven. Both wines showed beautifully. I decanted each. The trademark hint of botrytis adds a surreal complexity to these dense chardonnays. Nothing else on the planet tastes like this. This is where I do the happy dance! :biggrin: The tab for 4 - a mere $4400. I wish every night was like this.

Mark

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I think those instances of spending are becoming more rare and more rare. But it always a kick when it happens.

I have a different happy dance but it makes me happy nonetheless. We have a couple, the Kennedys, who come in with their weepy eyed baby and ancient pug. He is a teacher, she might be involved in some type of handwork craft. They are the kind of attractive that is not immediately apparent. Some might call them hippies.

They make dinner every night and have a bottle of wine. Always under 12 dollars. They will always take our recommendations. Her mother is Italian. We always give them something and they always come back in to report about the evening. Their life seems calm and happy. They have that kind of love that seems to elude some of us.

Sometimes they bring me leftovers in a tupperware.

It is my secret daily pleasure to give the Kennedys the most appropriate wine for under 12 dollars. Sometimes if something better is called for I make the difference up myself. I adore the Kennedys. They will never never ever buy something expensive. But they will always drink wine.

over it

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Carema,

I sell all kinds of wine. If someone orders a $25 dollar bottle, I'm just as happy because I know that those $1-2,000 bottles will sell also. It all averages out. Last night happened to be a record breaking night in our restaurant. I peddled over $10,000 in wine - more than half of it to those 2 tables.

Mark

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I was overjoyed with relief for the May numbers when I sold vertical cases of Araujo starting with 1994 to a "never will drink it" collector. I guess it seemed as if the people to whom you sold those lovely treasures actually appreciated them. That was cool. I never actually get to see my people drinking it. (I used to, but not anymore). That is a good experience. To waltz by the eaters and see their happy contented eyes, they look up at you, eyebrows confirming that all is well in that safe enclave. Those are good moments so far and few between.... I miss making people happy in that way (greet through dessert). They mummur contentment. The Kennedys are like that I guess, they always come back. But I never get to watch them happily eat.

over it

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During the six months I worked in a wine shop, I had three or four days in which I (just me) sold over $30,000 worth of juice. It was indeed a great feeling to sell so much good wine (in spite of making no commission) but I derived as much joy from from the people who would return to tell me how much they liked the $12 or $22 or $34 bottles I'd recommended. The wine industry is oddly satisfying that way, no?

Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons: That is all there is to distinguish us from the other Animals.

-Beaumarchais

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MS-- Can you let me know where I apply to become the adopted son of one of the folks at those two tables you sold all that amazing juice to? :biggrin: I had the fun opportunity to spend one of my vendors' money last month in NYC, and I thought I was going a little crazy ordering about $450 of juice between two bottles. These days, I patronize BYOW w/corkage fee restaurants or I keep my restaurant wine tab to $50 or less -- unless it is someone else's (like one of my vendors') moola.

Fully 95% (maybe more) of the wine I buy is in the $30 or less department, probably $25 or even $22 or less. I do splurge on the now and again more expensive bottle, and I do make some exceptions to this rule. I recently had a super bottle of Primitivo for $8, and another dessert wine that bordered on legendary for $10.

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Mark - just getting to taste all of those had to be the best tip of the evening. It had to be fun.

Do folks that drop big bucks like that tend to include you in the discussion? Do they want your opinion on the wine?

Also another question - what do you do when someone orders a wine like this and wants to reject it, but the wine is perfectly good?

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Mark - just getting to taste all of those had to be the best tip of the evening. It had to be fun.

Do folks that drop big bucks like that tend to include you in the discussion? Do they want your opinion on the wine?

Also another question - what do you do when someone orders a wine like this and wants to reject it, but the wine is perfectly good?

Craig,

The fellow who ordered the Montrachets insisted that I get a glass for myself. He told me that my tastevin was too small! As for rejecting a wine like this - I would be the first one to say something is wrong with the wine.

Mark

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I would be the first one to say something is wrong with the wine.

I know that! What I want to know is what happens when you taste a wine like this and you think it is great - in perfect condition - but the customer wants to reject it?

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What I want to know is what happens when you taste a wine like this and you think it is great - in perfect condition - but the customer wants to reject it?

Craig,

Let's just say that part of my art is making certain that doesn't happen. :cool:

Tj: click on the WWW link on my post.

Mark

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Greetings Mark,

A very impressive sale !

A silly question if I may,

Did they ask to see the labels before and inspected the bottles ?

Was it one choice or did they choose from several reccomendations ?

Thanks,

Andre Suidan

I was taught to finish what I order.

Life taught me to order what I enjoy.

The art of living taught me to take my time and enjoy.

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Greetings Mark,

A very impressive sale !

A silly question if I may,

Did they ask to see the labels before and inspected the bottles ?

Was it one choice or did they choose from several reccomendations ?

Thanks,

Hello Andre,

The first guy was with his wife, a friend and 2 children. He was looking at the winelist. I approached the table and gave him my usual "how can I help you?" greeting. He said "we'll start with the '86 Ducru, then have the 1959 Leoville Las Cases". All I had to say was "OK!". The second guy is a regular in the restaurant. He always drinks Le Montrachet. He has had the DRC before, but has also had the Laguiche and Sauzet from me, too. His friends had never heard of the wine before. He asked me to tell them a little about it. Fortunately, the DRC label has some very impressive information on it. 2,649 bottles produced, this is bottle # 0139. They were stunned. I let slip that the imaginary liquor store price of the wine is @$1200. Now they were in awe of their friend. I brought the second bottle still wrapped in its handmade sheath of straw. They took the labels home with them. The whole transaction was very low-key. The host also insisted that I get myself a glass from each bottle, as my tastevin is too small, according to him. :raz: I love nights like these.

Mark

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Mark, sounds like an outstanding evening. And it is even more special to be able to taste such great wines.

I'm in awe of people who will spend so much on a bottle of wine (I am too cheap), but I can understand if they truley appreciate great wine. What I hate are the idiots on huge expense accounts that buy expensive wines, but are clueless and just want to impress someone.

Ed McAniff

A Taster's Journey

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What I hate are the idiots on huge expense accounts that buy expensive wines, but are clueless and just want to impress someone.

Yes, we also get the guys who drink Harlan Estate as the aperitif, then ask me what they should have next.

Mark

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Very good observation.

Thanks.

Andre Suidan

I was taught to finish what I order.

Life taught me to order what I enjoy.

The art of living taught me to take my time and enjoy.

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