Saturday, November 04, 2006

Saturday Wine Shopping--On the Oregon Trail at Mission Wines

Today I had a very specific wine goal in mind: buy the 2005 Owen Roe Abbot's Table to stick in the closet next to the 2004 Owen Roe Abbot's Table before it is sold out. Mission Wines in South Pasadena has a great selection of wonderful bottlings, including a wide range of Oregon wines so I headed over to South Pas to see what I could see.

The place was hopping with standing room only at the tasting bar and three very knowledgeable and helpful clerks on the floor. I'm writing up my tasting notes in a separate post, which will be out later today or tomorrow. This is a small, neighborhood wine store with the added amenity of a tasting bar (serving both wine and Craftsman beer on draft) and it has a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Chris Meeske, the owner and manager, has been sommelier at Charlie Trotter's, Patina, and the Highland's Inn, so he knows what he is talking about as do his assistants Chris and David. But they aren't hoverers--they let you browse the aisles and are there to answer questions if need be.

On to the wines. They have a wide range of bottles in the $10-$75 range, all carefully selected. You will find Flowers pinots, Owen Roe wines, Sineann wines, Core, Kilikanoon, and other favorites like Black Chook sparkling shiraz. You will also find excellent selections from France, Italy, and Spain. They have a clearly marked section of wines under $10 that included today selections from nearly every major wine region of the globe. So there's no excuse to be drinking the same old wine for budgetary reasons any more!

As I said I was on the hunt for Oregon wines, and did indeed pick up the 2005 Owen Roe Abbot's Table ($26.99), a spectacular red blend that I like to put away for future holidays. I also got a bottle of the 2005 Sineann Gewurztraminer Resonance Vineyard ($19.99). I've had their pinot gris and really enjoyed it, so wanted to try out this white. And, inspired by Tom Wark's breathtaking photos of Bucklin Ranch, I picked up another bottle of the best gewurztraminer I've ever had, the 2004 Bucklin Gewurztraminer Compagni Portis Vineyard ($17.99). It was hard to do, but I selected just one of Tom's photos to include here, but I urge you to click on his name to check out the rest as well as his other blog posts on Fermentation. I also bought a great wine from the tasting, which I'll write about there.

Mission Wines has a small selection of wine accessories, like Riedel stemware (bought a Vinum Extreme ice wine glass for WBW #27 because I was feeling ridiculously splurgey), Screwpull openers, Vacu-Vin kits, and the all-important WineAway. They have an online ordering system at their website, as well as a newsletter that you can subscribe to. We all go to the wine super-stores sometimes, but a trip to Mission Wines reminds you of what you're missing: a first-class shopping experience, with knowledgeable staff, and a selection of wines made by people who are passionate about the grape.


zinFAN said...

How are the overall prices at Mission Wines comparatively? I've only been in the store a few times and somehow got the impression that they specialize in boutique labels for discerning palates with deeper pockets than mine!It reminded me of Wally's in Westwood (except without the attitude).

Oh, do you have tasting notes for that 04 Bucklin Gewurz? I haven't had much luck with that varietal--all bottles I've tasted seem to be way too flowery and lacking in the requisite acidity to bring it in balance.

Happy Tasting!

drdebs said...

Welcome back, ZinFan! I know what you mean about Mission's prices. They do specialize in smaller wineries (some with cult status) which typically are more costly. But there really is a good selection of under $20 wines if you are attentive to them and aren't getting seduced away to the higher end stuff. There were a lot of great options yesterday--I could easily have walked out with a case of under $20 wine if pay day were a little closer! Ownership of the store changed recently, so if it's been a while you may want to give it a try. And I'll post my tasting event review later today so perhaps a Saturday tasting is worth the drive over? I'm headed to Wally's in December--stay tuned.

Here's the link to my tasting note for the Bucklin on CellarTracker!:
I can't figure out how to hotlink this in comments, so you'll have to cut and paste.

zinFAN said...

Thanks for the link to the tasting notes. "Bone dry and steely" hits the spot. I'll be sure to pick up a couple bottles of Bucklin Gewurz for Turkey Day!

drdebs said...

zinFan: let me know what you think. We're having ours for Thanksgiving, too (subject to lots of mind-changing, of course!).