Wine Talk

Snooth User: Richard Foxall

Vacation Wines.

Posted by Richard Foxall, Sep 13, 2011.

You could put this under "Wine and Travel," but here's the idea:  dmcker responded to something I said about Cline wines that got me thinking.  Some wines are good, but not necessarily worth seeking out.  They're completely enjoyable, reliable from vintage to vintage, affordable, and widely found.  These aren't always the experiences we are after if wine is a major hobby.  But suppose you go on a vacation outside the Bay Area or another locale where you have access to good wine specialists.  The local markets or liquor stores may not carry less well known brands or items without wide distribution.  And you're gone too long to carry your own wine.  What wines can you buy for under $20 just about anywhere (except a dry county) that will bring you pleasure?  Doesn't have to be a Gallo brand, but what should we look for when it's otherwise slim pickings?  At Thanksgiving, you can find that bottle of LaCrema Pinot for around $20 (more in NY), a bottle of Roederer Estate sparkling maybe, and definitely a Georges duBouef Beaujolais that you can take to dinner and actually enjoy.  Any other good ideas?  What do you do if you're in Wichita, Kansas, where the wine culture (at least as I recall) doesn't exactly support great specialists? 

1 2 next

Replies

152
1879
Reply by napagirl68, Sep 14, 2011.

You order online.

152
1879
Reply by napagirl68, Sep 14, 2011.

LOL!  I HAD to deadpan on that one!  Would that it were, if we lived in Wichita!  But Foxy, we are HERE, in proximity to amazing wine within a 60mi radius!   Honestly, at this current point in time, EVERY SINGLE wine I have in cellar cannot be bought at Safeway.  I promise. 

But what about vacation or travel to a non-wine area?  10yrs ago, I packed 6 bottles of wine in lieu of massive clothes/shoes for a week in Mexico.  After that, I just drank margaritas:-)   6yrs ago, I visited a friend in Utah for 3 days (ever hear of state liquor stores???)  Anyhoo, I again packed my own wine for the trip.  I know it is a world's difference today in flying and transporting liquids.  But I tend toward locales that just happen to have great wine... recently, Oregon :-)  Just had wine shipped back.  If I go abroad, it will be to France, and no need to pack wine:-)  If I have to travel for other reasons, say to Wichita (seriously, we are NOT trying to pick on Wichita!), I will pack some wine to take. 

That said, in a true moment of desperation, mass-distributed Roederer isn't too bad.  I'd rather try to look for a good wine shop in the area first. 

And btw, this has nothing to do with price or snobbiness.  Many of my winery-procured gems are inexpensive.  And I do troll the discount stores looking for those wineries that are forced to sell off their decent stash to avoid the monthly taxes.  It's ALL about taste for me....

0
1
Reply by chadallyn, Sep 14, 2011.

Love the prices and the overall quality of a good mid-ranged Spanish wine/feel the same about Rhone valley wines...

20
2799
Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 14, 2011.

Of course, NG, I know all about your discount store adventures. 

I picked on Wichita for a reason:  My parents lived there for two years while I was in college.  It's a great example of a wealthy place (oil and grain farming money, think Koch Industries) with no access to good wines.  We also had a contributor here who judged wines in Oklahoma, and I've had to travel to Texas, Chicago (yeah, shops, but not like here), and a few other places that just don't have the access we do. 

Traveling with wine is getting harder, since you can't carry it on and you pay for extra or heavy bags.  Can't take wine on a long car trip because it'll cook in the car very quickly.  Can't ship it in the summer (I went to Oregon, too, and didn't ship any back for this reason) because it will cook on the truck, unless you pay extra for temp control, which defeats the purpose. 

So there's a legitimate need for brands that are good enough to drink and widely distributed.  So let's hear it:  What do we buy when the New Hampshire/Utah/Kansas state liquor stores are the only option? Or the big grocery store in Laramie or Boise?

45
148
Reply by ScottLauraH, Sep 14, 2011.

@Foxall, I found your picking on Witchita rather funny.  As a college student, we used to drive from Stillwater, Oklahoma to Witchita to get liquor, beer and wine on Sundays, since liquor stores cannot sell on Sundays in Oklahoma.

Being on "vacation" with limited access to good wine is a problem I encounter rather frequently.  (Vacation is in quotes, because what I will be referring to here is actually visiting my family in Oklahoma and Texas.) 

In Oklahoma any alcoholic beverage with more than 3.2% alcohol must be sold at room temperature in a heavily regulated liquor store.  These stores are still privately owned, but their main business is usually liquor, not wine.  (Budweiser and Miller actually manufacture beer that can legally be sold in Oklahoma grocery and convenience stores.  Still, there is no giant beer cooler.  It's illegal.  It HAS to be sold at room temperature.)  Definitely in these cases it's hard to find more than high end "grocery store" wine.  I usually look for Chateau St. Michelle or Cupcake because their wines are usually pretty decent.   

Texas liquor laws are crazy and go county by county.  The county my parents live in is dry, of course.  By "dry", they mean that you cannot buy liquor there, only beer and wine.  Everything sold in the county has to have less than 15% alcohol.  I won't be finding any Orin Swift wines there!!  So, in this case, it's the grocery store wines again, though there is definitely a lot more variety in the nicer stores, and there is also a World Market which has a pretty decent wine selection. 

41
2934
Reply by outthere, Sep 14, 2011.

Fly and BYO. I'm going to Maui next month and am bringing my Wine Check with me. It holds a standard 12 bottle shipper. You can pack  case or pack less and put re-freezable ice packs in the empty holes. Best thing is that you toss the shipper when done and put the wine check in your original baggage.

152
1879
Reply by napagirl68, Sep 14, 2011.

Brilliant, outthere, Brilliant!!!

45
148
Reply by ScottLauraH, Sep 15, 2011.

@Outthere, that is really cool, but is it cheaper to pay the extra baggage fees than to ship your wine?

45
148
Reply by ScottLauraH, Sep 15, 2011.

Had to share:  Just had a customer who came in to the wine shop that's on a long weekend from DC.  They came in, took one look at our Italian red collection and exclaimed, "NOW it's going to be a good vacation!" 

41
2934
Reply by outthere, Sep 15, 2011.

Extra baggage fees? We don't pay no stinkin baggae fees. You get one checked bag free plus a carry-on right? The Wine Check gets checked in and my clothes come with me in the main cabin in the overhead bin. 

45
148
Reply by ScottLauraH, Sep 15, 2011.

Every carrier that flies out from anywhere close to here charges for each checked bag. 

20
2799
Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 15, 2011.

Right, ScottLauraH, that's kind of my point about why we need this thread:  Maybe outthere is flying some swanky airline, but it's pretty hard to pack wine and make this all work... (oh, and I have kids that have bags and we take books and games in the carry-on...) Hence the need for vacation wine.  Cupcake, pretty good call. 

One other thing about Wichita that will tell you how old I am:  When my folks lived there, I was 19 and 20, still in college.  In NY, where I went to college, drinking age was always one year less than my age, as it crept up to the nationally mandated 21 (if states wanted highway funds, anyway).  But in KS I could buy 3.2 beer (cold) and nothing else.  But the restaurants only served liquor if you were a member of their "club," or a club with reciprocal privileges--OK had similar laws.  So I would go out to dinner when my girlfriend passed through town and we would present my dad's card, they never asked for further identification, and we could drink all the margaritas we wanted. Maybe we could start a thread about old, weird liquor laws....

Getting anyone to pass through Wichita by choice is a miracle.

578
2537
Reply by EMark, Sep 15, 2011.

Different carriers have different policies.  Here in Los Estados Unidos you can check two bags at no charge on Southwest Airlines.  Most of the other major airlines also have special policies (one or two bags checked for no charge) for their elite level frequent fliers.

My personal attitude is that I am OK with them charging me.  I still prefer to check my bag.  I know I am in the minority on this.  I hate feeling like a nomad carrying all my personal belongings through the airport.  Years of business travel cured me of that.

To me the benefit of taking your vacation wine with you is that you can pick the little treasures in your cellar to enhance the whole vacation experience.  I really like the idea of taking a case to Maui.  Presumably, the trip to Maui involves a rental house/condo.  That is the perfect scenario for delving into the twelve bottle traveling stash to pick a new jewel each day/night. 

20
2799
Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 15, 2011.

Skiing in Tahoe has one enormous advantage over Utah, if you are coming from the Bay Area, and it isn't the time: It's actually faster and often cheaper to fly to SLC and stay there, then go to the mountains each morning.  But when we drive up to Tahoe, we take a ton of really big reds with us, cook dinners in the (rented! I'm not rich!) condo and, man, that stuff tastes good at the altitude, after a day of skiing and a trip to the hot tub.  Heaven.

Hawaii is just a little humid and warm, but the fish and some crisp white sounds pretty nice. I'll have to check the baggage policies next time I go and reserve flights accordingly.

But that still doesn't deal with the Wichitas and El Pasos, Bismarcks and Boises.

41
2934
Reply by outthere, Sep 15, 2011.

Thank you EMark. Sucks they don't have Southwest east of the Rockies.

As far as my paying to check a bag if needed I look at it this way. I can pack 8-10 bottles for my week ranging from $30-$100 a bottle. If I were to buy just one of those wines at a Maui restaurant I would pay $90-$300+. Even with corkage I am far ahead if I have to pay $25-$35 to check that box of wine. I just not understanding your aversion to possibly having to pay  nominal fee for the opportunity to drink exactly what you like while away from home. I know the wine stores where I am traveling are not going to carry the wine I bring. Heck the stores here in Sonoma County barely do.

11
13
Reply by Poldark Maximus, Sep 15, 2011.

If you can't find decent wine at your unfortunate destination, chances are the food will be equally vapid. Or it will be outrageously local -- large cuts of beef, heaps of catfish or redfish, or something in a white cream gravy that gets sucked up by biscuits. So what do you do? Either you drink a beer and be done with it and I have had some great local mocro-brewery beers in Wichita -- or you order a Mateus Rose' spritzer and update your profile to consider the new you.

152
1879
Reply by napagirl68, Sep 15, 2011.

Outthere... you perfectly voiced my point.  I agree wholeheartedly.  I just don't want to drink substandard (to me) wine.  In mexico, when the wine I brought ran out (lots of new friends!), I had the best margaritas..  In Austin, texas, (albiet about 10 yrs ago) I tried some of the Hill country wines... just didn't like them.  Perhaps things have changed....   I just saved my cabs for the steak nites (I swear Texas has the BEST steaks!), and drank beer with TexMex or BBQ.  When in Rome...

Utah was one strange story... I mean, you land in Salt Lake.  There is a BAR at the airport, and let me tell you, it is SRO!  Then drive up to Logan (big Mormon town).  You had (back in '99) to drive out of town to a state liquor store... bars on the windows, stand-alone structure in a parking lot.  Reminded me of the, ahem, porn stores in Nevada!   I was warned ahead of time, so packed lots of  great wine for the trip, praise God, Jesus, AMEN!!!

75
2675
Reply by JonDerry, Sep 16, 2011.

Have to agree, it's hard to drink substandard wine when I know for a fact it's not going to be up to par or not to my tastes.  I'm up for trying all of it at least once though.  To play along, i've always had a soft spot for Clos Du Bois and Rodney Strong from sonoma.  Spanish wines if you can get em, ditto chianti classico's, and always willing to take a shot on a portugese wine.

103
495
Reply by Lucha Vino, Sep 16, 2011.

Where is Stephen H?!  What about Penfolds?  They have a variety of price points and good all the way down to the $8.99 level from my experience.

75
2675
Reply by JonDerry, Sep 16, 2011.

Penfold's, of course.  and let's definitely throw Chateau St. Michelle in the mix.

1 2 next



Continue to the end of the thread to reply
Back to Categories

Top Contributors This Month

1498622 Snooth User: Really Big Al
1498622Really Big Al
77 posts
1413489 Snooth User: dvogler
1413489dvogler
66 posts
324443 Snooth User: outthere
324443outthere
59 posts

Categories

View All




Snooth Media Network