Tuesday, December 13, 2016

More bad wine news for the PLCB

StateWays is a control state magazine, put out by the NABCA (National Alcohol Beverage Control Association) for the 17 control states to pat themselves on the back for thinking they are doing such a good job running their police-enforced monopolies (which have a guaranteed zero chance of business failure; tough to lose when you write all the rules). They also put out a yearly best wines list, and it only seemed fair to compare the PLCB's performance to their colleagues, after seeing how badly they did compared to the wine pros at Wine Spectator

As a first look, here's how the PLCB did last year on the StateWays Best Wines of 2015 listing. The list doesn't note if their selections are available in control states or not, but a quick check of the top two in each category shows that the Pennsylvania State Stores:
  • Don't have the top 2 Malbecs
  • Don't have the top 2 Sauvignon Blancs
  • Do have the top Rosé, but only through SLO (minimum quantity 12 bottles!) and priced 7% higher than the magazine lists.
  • Do have the #2 Rosé...in five of the 603 stores, at only 9% higher than the magazine lists.
  • Don't have the top 2 American Cabernet Sauvignons
  • Do have the #1 Merlot, but as SLO only (minimum quantity 12 bottles!) at 71% higher ($50 ea) than the magazine price.
  • Don't have the #2 Merlot
So the PLCB stocks 1 in 10 (at 5 stores) and you can get two others if you want to pay more; sometimes a LOT more. (We're always told by the State Store Apologists that these SLO-only and allocation situations are set by the suppliers, not the PLCB. Really? Then why don't they set them for the other control states?)
This year StateWays decided just to make a straight list, not breaking it down by varietal. Let's see how the PLCB did for the top 10. Remember, these are wines selected by other control states, just like PA. The "Best Wines of 2016" list:

#10 - Valenciso Rioja Reserva 2009 ($42.95) -- Not in PA, No SLO

#9 -
Bouchard Père & Fils Beaune Clos de la Mousse 2011 ($65) -- Not in PA, No SLO

#8 - Ravenswood Teldeschi Vineyard Zinfandel 2013 ($37) -- Not in PA, No SLO

#7 -
Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay 2015 ($33) -- The PLCB manages to stock this one...in a whopping 3% of their stores, and look at that: at a price below list! Wow. The blind hog finds an acorn.

#6 - Dr. Konstantin Frank Rkatsiteli 2015 ($14.99) -- Not in PA, No SLO (The PLCB will try to pawn off last year's vintage for a buck over list price, though.)

#5 - Domaine Tournon Shiraz Lady’s Lane Vineyard 2012 ($60) -- Not in PA, No SLO

#4 -
Domaine Sigalas Santorini Assyrtiko 2015 ($27.99) -- Another surprise: the PLCB stocks this at 5% of their stores selling for $3 under list.

#3 - Castello Banfi Florus Muscadello 2012 ($30.99 per 500 ml) -- Not in PA, No SLO (You really have to be careful when searching for this: the PLCB decided to call it just "Banfi Florus" instead of "Castello Banfi Florus." Put the "Castello" in, or just "Florus" and you won't find it, no matter what "improvements" have been done to the PLCB search engine.)

#2 - Maison Ambroise Corton Charlemage Grand Cru 2007 ($185-250.00) -- Not in PA, No SLO 

#1 - Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon Las Piedras 2012 ($278) -- Not in PA, No SLO

Equaling their insipid performance from 2015, the PLCB can only come up with a total of two selections from this control state-approved wine list this year. Still, they aren't overcharging like they did last year......or at least not yet.

So not only can't the PLCB match what the professionals pick, they can't even match what is selected by other control states. I wonder if we beat Utah, since that is one of the goals of the PLCB.

When something doesn't work, or doesn't work well, you replace it.  Pretty simple, really.


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