While lean on business and cashflow, the summer season also means fewer crowds, less maddening traffic and easier access to the the pourer at the wine tasting table, right? Well, not so much if you go to tastings at the Wine Merchant. I fully expected to breeze into last night’s tasting, sidle right up to the table have full access to Mac from Noble Wine Estates and the importer’s rep from Small Vineyards with whom he was pouring. Not so. Where did all these off-season wine lovers come from? It wasn’t difficult to work my way through the crowd, which is good because I was dying to try some of the Spanish and Italian offerings.
I found myself surprised again as I was dazzled by the Giro Ribot Cava. I normally am not a Cava girl- obviously I prefer Champagne but if I am looking for a quaff I tend to go for the Prosecco. Also, I have had a few bad cavas in my day- (I’ll write sometime in the future about Barcelona, the Friexenet tour and a miniature bathtub) so a sip of cava is usually taken with great trepidation. The one I tried had me envisioning the day I own a boat and take a case of Giro Ribot, tons of ice, and some of my best friends for a cruise. Absolutely perfect for summer here in blazing hot SW Florida. In spite of the number of tasters, Mac, Charlene and Thom were -as always- accommodating and gracious with that fabulous irreverence all their customers have come to love and expect. For example, in the tasting notes the Martina Prieto Verdejo was described as being “the perfect wine to serve with ceviche, or just lying around the pool in your speedo.” I love these people. In other places a wine tasting can easily become intimidating or snobby and while they can certainly hold their own in such crowds, Charlene and Thom have made the Wine Merchant into a place for people to actually enjoy wine. Which is likely why they are sill attracting such crowds in spite of the summer slow-down.