Thursday, December 1, 2016

Can our bureaucrats pick wine? Let's see. (Part 1)

Once again it is time to see if those who are selected to pick wine for the entire state agree with real professionals, or if we are getting second rate service. Wine Spectator's top wine picks for the year are rolling out, and as we have for several years, we're checking on how many (or few) of them Pennsylvanians will be allowed to purchase.

Admittedly, wine selections are based on opinion and experience, and in the case of the PLCB, it is their opinion that you won't and aren't allowed to buy these wines (because they don't have the knowledge and experience to select them). Don't count on these vintners buying those direct shipping licenses either.

The #10 wine as selected by Wine Spectator is: Hartford Family Zinfandel Russian River Valley Old Vine 2014 (MSRP $38: cases bottled: 2,200). Surprise: the PLCB has this at 42 stores (out of 601). Rejoice: using their massive buying power as the second-largest purchaser of wine in the U.S., they are selling it at list price — oops, it can be found in the private market for up to 18% less. Of course, even if they did get a deal on it for less, you won't see that price savings, thanks to "flexible pricing!" The PLCB will just keep the difference. Don't you love it when a plan comes together?

The #9 wine as selected by Wine Spectator is: Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte Pessac-Léognan White 2013 ($106: cases bottled: 2,500). But none of that matters, because the state missed out on this one and you can't buy it here. Bummer.
The #8 wine as selected by Wine Spectator is: Antinori Toscana Tignanello 2013 ($105: cases imported: 2,500). Hey! The PLCB stocks this one too, in 5% of their stores (wonder if it's going to be marooned in Potter County?) and with a $4 discount off list. Even a blind hog finds an acorn now and then.
The #7 wine as selected by Wine Spectator is: Ridge Monte Bello Santa Cruz Mountains 2012 ($175: cases bottled: 5,243). Nope, the cube rats missed this one too, although they do have a six years older vintage that would have been around in the "let's store wine in trailers in the sun" days. 
Well, getting two out of four so far was unexpected. I'll be doing another set soon, and we'll see if they can keep up their average.

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