How you do find that (%#ing wine?
- peppermonkey Jul 12, 2010 11:14 AM
I don't know if it happens to you but everytime I discover a great wine at a restaurant, I can never find it. I search and search through all the wine shops in LA and can never find the exact vintage or type. Tollot-Beaut bourgogne blanc 2002, arnaud ente meursault 2006, Weinbach Grand Cru Schlossberg Sainte Catherine L’inedit 2005, Jean-Luc Colombo “Les Abeillis” Cotes du Rhone 2006. Many times wine shops won't be willing to get the wine for me unless I buy a case, but they won't have the right vintage. Same deal with websites. How do you guys find those wines? Are there any shops in LA or websites that really help you get the wines you want?
For openers, it sounds like you know enough about wine to know that anything but the most currently released vintage could be long past availability under any circumstance. As a former wine retailer I know that most wine distributor/brokers either won't break cases to the retailer or, if they do, they charge a premium per bottle (which the retailer could pass along to you if they wish). But the most obvious problem is that many European wines are imported in limited quantities and often distributed in limited areas of the US. In fact, the exclusivity of limited distribution is often one of the reasons that a great wine will be offered by a restaurant or retailer.
Wine-searcher is probably the best source but it IS limited to retailers with an online store who pay them to show their wines .................... and there are those that don't. One thing that may help is paying for its PRO version. For that $40 or so a year you're supposed to be able to view ANY online store that lists that wine. The free version only shows you that info if NO paying store lists it.
Personally, I've gone so far as to Google the winery and e-mail them, IF I can find them, and they don't list a US distributor. It works sometimes. Lots of times, though, I'll find that a wine is technically distributed only in the New York area (for example). How the restaurants get these wines is usually through local brokers who specialize in such second-party transactions.
Just my 2¢. Hope it helps.
On the off-chance that you ***read*** about these wines in a review somewhere, and are now looking for them . . . .
Wine is a finite commodity. Once all of the, say, 2014 vintage of Cache Phloe Côtes-du-Rhône, or the Domaine Deficit Meursault is sold out, there will NEVER be any more. It may or may not be surpassed by the 2015 vintage -- that is to say, the 2000 vintage may be better than the 2014, it may not be better, but it will NEVER be the same as the 2014 vintage.
In many cases, such as with the Wine Spectator or with Robert Parker, the wines are often SOLD OUT before the publication ever hits the street.
Now that said, it IS easier to find older vintages of French red wines -- such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, etc. -- than it is California reds, and the higher-end French reds (think Château Lafite or Domaine de la Romanée-Conti) are even easier. But older French whites are harder to find, except for wines like Sauternes and other late harvest wines. The same is true for German wines -- older, sweeter whites are easier to find than older, drier whites.
Some distributors are easier to work with than others. I've found some German wines through friendly distributors who give me the names of retailers who carry the wines, but I can't get anyone who distributes Talley in Nevada to even talk to me, for instance.
In general, if you're trying to find older-release vintages of red or white Burgundies, good luck. It's going to be either NY or UK as you have found. 2002 and 2005 burgs are long gone from most retailers' shelves. 2006 are mostly gone too.
In this economy, you'll find some retailers selling some past vintages on consignment or flipping auction purchaes. Places like klwines.com will occasionally have "fairly" priced older burgs from 1999-2005 pop in. They sell through quickly though b/c they might have less than a case to a few cases.
The only sure way of getting some producers' wines is to buy them upon release; so find a producer you like.