ADVERTISING: Infomercial — How we choose our wines
As our shop grows and the collection of wines expands, we are often asked how we choose the wines we work with? Whether it’s for our wine clubs, placement on our shelves, or a place in our wine specials, we have several criteria we look at to ensure we get wines in our store that will appeal to as many people as possible. ‘between you. . We recognize that we do not buy wine just for our preferences, but also for yours, and over the years we have worked with wine consumers here in northern Idaho, we know your tastes are varied. Diversity is good and we hope to have something for just about everyone.
The first thing we do is taste a lot of wine. No bottle ends up in one of our programs or on our shelves if we haven’t tried it first. We work with distributors all over the state, from Ketchum to Boise and right down to our boutique home here at CDA, all with the goal of sourcing the best and most unique selection of wines from around the world.
Everyone has their own budget and limits on what they will spend on a bottle. Even on the very high end of the budget spectrum, consumers who might spend more than $100 on a bottle may not go over $200. Likewise, for those looking for wines at softer prices, there are places we are ready to go. That’s why we strive to have wines that fit almost every dollar category starting at $10, all the way up to prices that many of us don’t want to discuss.
A big part of the money talk when it comes to wine is also finding wines that offer quality worth the investment. You can always buy cheap wine, but our approach is that it’s always possible to drink better wine, no matter what price you’re comfortable paying. This is the value we strive to provide to each of you when you come to our store looking for the right bottle.
Perhaps the most important criteria we use when selecting wines is varietal accuracy. We want the varietal to shine through the winemaking. Two grape varieties illustrate this more than any other, Viognier and Cabernet Franc. Viognier, a white Rhône varietal, is best when it is unoaked, letting all the vibrant stone fruit flavors shine through. Winemakers who oak their Viognier seem to be trying too hard to turn it into Chardonnay. We prefer, and wine drinkers also seem to allow Viognier to be Viognier.
Similarly, Cabernet Franc shows a distinctive dusty floral character on the nose. The palate shows a different structure than Cabernet Sauvignon and should be allowed to, that’s what makes ‘Franc’, ‘Franc’. In our opinion, the best Cabernet Franc produced this side of the Atlantic comes from the Pride Mountain Vineyards located in the Mayacamas Mountains of Northern California. It shows all the authentic and unique varietal character of Cabernet Franc with only a touch of Merlot blended in to fill out the aftertaste of this concentrated mid-palate varietal. Beyond these two examples, we always want a wine to stay true to its varietal profile.
Another important aspect of any wine we choose is balance. Wines, whatever their varietal composition or designation of origin, must maintain a balance. Wine is the product of some science, but mostly of art and some of these two components coming together in harmony has no ‘sharp edges’ on any wine. All wines have acid, all wines have fruit, all wines have more or less tannic structure, etc. There are so many aspects to a wine but the best wines, the ones we include for you, have none. a quality which unduly dominates the others. They have all these parts in balance, in their place if you will.
Our goal with every bottle and every consumer is to match the bottle to the tastes of the consumer. That’s why we work diligently to learn as much as possible about your tastes and taste preferences, then keep track of everything we learn about the bottles you like and dislike so we can make the best Possible recommendation. It is always based on what you are looking for. Mary and I may or may not take the same bottles home for weekend fun, but the focus will always be on having the right bottles for you. Stop by the store and see if we can help you with your next selection.
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George Balling is co-owner with his wife, Mary Lancaster, of Diner, a wine and gift shop in Coeur d’Alene by Costco. The diner has won the Best Wine Store in Northern Idaho twice, including for 2018.
George is also published in several other publications across the country. After working in wineries in California and judging numerous wine competitions, he moved to Coeur d’Alene with Mary over 10 years ago to open the boutique.
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