Friday, May 25, 2007

The End

photo © Linda Blakely 2007

This week Tom wrote this in our weekly email newsletter:

"After four years, Southside Cellars is closing its doors. Our last day of business will be June 30, which is a Saturday. We'll have an all-day event on that day, to say good-bye to our loyal customers and good friends. We've had a lot of good times here with many of you, and we'll miss those good times (and you.) We sincerely hope that some of you will stay in touch.

We know that many of you will miss our twice-weekly parties (that we called "wine tastings"), the wine and food events, the wine clubs, Divas, Tom's bread and maybe even this newsletter. We are happy to have had the opportunity to share them all with you. We wish we could do it some more.

Unfortunately, it's harder and harder for small retailers to compete in a market that is increasingly dominated by big-box stores. We find that we no longer can. Maybe it's the way of the future, but we'll miss the personal touch, interacting with our customers, sharing the good times and becoming friends. Linda and I will always look for small, locally owned stores and restaurants and give them our business and support.

All of that said, we've got a lot of wine we need to sell. We are open for business our usual hours until the end of June, so don't be strangers. And this isn't the last newsletter, either, although there won't be too many more.

Our wine tastings will stop at the end of May, mostly because it's hard to get support from our suppliers when they know we won't be buying anything from them, but we'll have three more: two this week (Thursday and Saturday, as usual) and one next Thursday. Each of them will be hosted by the reps who have given us the most support, and stuck by us through the lean times this past year."

I can't tell you how angry I am. Not only at the big store that's putting us out of business, but also at those customers who left us to shop there. You know who you are. Go ahead, shop there. You won't get the personal service you got here. You won't get the passion for the product that you got here either. What you will get is some uninformed flunky who has no vested interest in the company trying to tell you how good their private-label shit is that the company makes a huge profit on. And you know what? You deserve it.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hahn Syrah 2004

photo © Linda Blakely 2007

Just about everything Hahn makes is good, IMO. The Central Coast Syrah is no exception. Full of juicy, ripe fruit (raspberries, blackberries) with soft tannins. This wine would be too easy to guzzle, so a bit of restraint is called for. But I'm a professional, so I'll take my chances ;-)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Ever had a "bad palate" day?

photo © Linda Blakely 2007

We've all heard of "bad hair days", but have you ever had a "bad palate" day? I think I experienced that last night. Tom and I took the leftover wines from the store's wine tasting over to our favorite restaurant to have with dinner. We were both somewhat underwhelmed with the wines.

The Lyeth Meritage, which we both have really enjoyed in the past, was thin and lifeless.

The John Duval Shiraz Entity left us shrugging. This was a wine produced by the previous winemaker for the infamous Penfold's Grange. Don't get me wrong, it was good. Very good. But I think it had some big shoes to fill. Had we just tasted it not knowing that it was made by Duval, we might have enjoyed it for the wine it was. Also, the wine was from the Barossa region, which usually indicates a dense, concentrated fruit bomb. The Entity was more subtle and elegant, which I think was more like a McLaren Vale or Clare Valley Shiraz.

The Jim Barry McRae Wood was the best of the three, but it was still not as great as what it had been in the past.

All in all, we think we were just having an "off" night. The store is floundering, customers are losing interest and we are feeling the effects personally. We'll try the wines again in the near future under more happy circumstances. Heaven forbid we are just losing our taste for wine. I shudder to think.