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Special Bottles by the Glass – Worth Trying!

Sometimes you run into a special at a restaurant or bar where they are offering a wine by the glass that they usually either don’t have or is only on the bottle list.  It could be they had a customer return a perfectly good bottle, that they got a great deal from a wholesaler on a case or simply that they have had it for a while and need to clear some space for new arrivals.  If the wine manager is doing their job they should be identifying bottles which are near their life expectancies, and offering them by the glass is one way to clear them out.

Whatever the reason, these specials can offer some great opportunities to try excellent wines for the price of more everyday varieties.  Case in point: at the resort I recently stayed in on the bay in Panama City, Florida, they were offering a Louis Boillot Premier Cru Volnay for $10 a glass.  This is something that was on their wine list for $60.  Since it is a 2003 it is likely to not last a long time once they open the bottle (and in fact it had changed considerably the second night, with the fruit fading a bit).  It is also something that might not have been selling well.  I don’t have a clue why it was there, but it was.  So I drank it.  It was excellent.  Here was a full bodied, earthy red burgundy for $10 a glass.  Regardless of price it was a full bodied red burgundy Premier Cru BY the glass, which is a rare find in and of itself.  All in all this was a good thing.  We’ve had Brunello and Napa Cab by the glass under similar circumstances and have been equally pleased.

Here are the tasting notes for the wine.  After sampling it a few times I can say I wish I had some in my cellar.

Panama City VolnayWine:  2003 Volnay Premier Cru – Louis Boillot – Carelle Sous la Chapelle                                               

Winery Location:  Burgundy, Cotes de Beaune

Tasted By:   Neil                             Date:    March 2014

Tasting Notes:     – Dark red with some amber and brownish tinges, showing it’s age a bit now.  The nose was all red fruit and earthiness, with a little barnyard element to it that had an overall pleasant effect.  The aromas were pretty intense, as you could smell the wine as it was sitting on the table in front of you.  The palate meshed with the aromas, and there are red fruits, earthy tones and leather.  It has an older wine feel but it still carries it’s fruit well.  It is quite full bodied.  This is not a lighter style Pinot, but a pretty classic, well made red burgundy from the Cotes de Beaune.  All in all it is smooth, silky, complex and delicious.

Price Point -   $10 a glass as a “Special Bottle by the Glass”.  This had been on their bottle list for $60.  That suggest a retail price in the $30-$35 range.  This is good stuff.  When you consider most pedestrian wines are $8 a glass in a restaurant this was a steal.  The only Louis Boillot Volnay from 2003 on the basic wine-searcher was $90.

Would We Buy It?   – if we could find it and it was $30 or less we’d buy a couple of bottles.  Drinking very well right now it was excellent at $10 by the glass.  My last night there I ordered another glass and they unfortunately poured the bottle empty and turned it upside down, dumping the sediment in the glass, so I didn’t get to finish the bottle.

When you see some of these special by the glass offerings give them strong consideration.  It is usually a chance to try a pretty good wine.

A votre sante!

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