A week or so ago, we were in Sacramento for a wedding and, after picking us up at the airport, Holly’s brother, Brian, drove us to a tapas bar downtown (inappropriately named Tapa the World, since the city is flat as a pancake) for some food and wine. Brian asked me to select a wine and handed me the list. The list was substantial, so I confined myself to Spanish wines and that helped a little. There were separate pages for Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Priorat, etc., with each page containing 20 to 30 wines. I knew a few of them – Pesquera, Condado de Haza, Aalto and the pricey wines such as Vega Sicilia “Unico” and Pingus (both in multiple vintages, wow!), but wanted to try something I had never experienced and could afford, so I asked the server for assistance. Well, this server was either a beer drinker or, much worse, a teetotaler, because she admitted she knew nothing about wines. Back to the list, I decided to first pick a price point and then a wine. I thought I recognized the name of a good Rioja producer (Artadi) and ended up buying a bottle of the Artadi Vinas de Gain, for about $45.
I picked the 2006 vintage from the multiple years offered under the scientific theory of “not too young, not too old.” This was a lovely and satisfying wine with ample Tempranillo fruit and very nice structure and we thoroughly enjoyed it with our meal. When I got back home, I looked it up online only to discover that Parker’s Wine Advocate had given it a 92 and had even detected hints of truffle. (Well good for them.) The kicker is that the retail price is $36. Boy, do I look like a genius – well, at least for the time being. I should only do as well with my stock picks.