By Jim Boyce
It is one thing to try wines and another to buy them. The first helps you learn what you like while the second forces you to decide what you can afford. Case in point: At a recent Carrefour wine fair, I eventually chose three bottles that gave me the best blend of taste and price, all of them from distributor French Wine Paradox.
FWP came into play again with its recent half-price sale at French restaurant Le Petit Gourmand. Despite – or maybe because of – the tight quarters, I enjoyed chatting with dozens of other tastes as we tried some of the 60 to 80 wines on hand – FWP staff repeatedly told us we could have bottles opened and thus try before we buy. Good times! This is what I bought with my RMB500 limit:
Depuis 1531 Bulle de Blanquette (sparkling wine), Limoux, France: RMB100 (2 bottles)
– Cheap but decent bubbly
Martins Tempranillo 2005, Mendoza Argentina: RMB55 (2 bottles)
– Of the New World wines, I thought this provided the best-value body and flavor
Chateau Paran Justice 2001, Bordeaux, France: RMB170 (1 bottle)
– I tried most of the Bordeaux, and while some bottles were less than RMB100, I agreed with a few fellow tasters that this one had the best balance
Paul Valmeras White, 2004: RMB45 (1 bottle)
– Not a favorite, but I thought this would be useful in a blind tasting somewhere down the line.
Yes, I went RMB25 over budget, but I felt this to be a good haul for the price, especially when I include the invaluable experience of talking to and comparing wines with fellow bargain hunters.
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